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July 4, 2016 / conservadox

against liberals (and conservatives)

After I got into an argument on Shabbos with an idiot who called Obama a Muslim, it occurred to me that the Left and the Right are both demented in their more extreme forms- but in very different ways.

The right wing in this country has become very successful in creating a media that tells them exactly what they want to hear.  So when you see a claim that is highly at variance with factual reality (e.g. “the Obama is a Muslim” thing, birtherism) it usually comes from the Right.  Because right-wingers have little respect for any factual reality that they didn’t create themselves.

Also, right-wingers have more of a fuhrer complex.  My (wholly subjective) sense is that they were far more nutty about defending their Lord and Savior George W. Bush when he was President than leftists are about Obama (who, as anyone who actually READS Left media will notice, gets plenty of fire from the Left).

On the other hand, leftists, in my view, often just have bad ideas.  The idea, for example, that Islam is morally equivalent to other religions is not an idea I find particularly persuasive.  The idea that defending your country against foreign attack (as Israel has done against Hamastan, etc) is a war crime is also an idea I don’t much cotton to.  The Left is less dishonest, but their values are not mine.

George Lakoff,  a leftish linguist, has an interesting post on the rise of Trump.  But before he mentions Trump, he writes:

The conservative and progressive worldviews dividing our country can most readily be understood in terms of moral worldviews that are encapsulated in two very different common forms of family life: The Nurturant Parent family (progressive) and the Strict Father family (conservative).

What do social issues and the politics have to do with the family? We are first governed in our families, and so we grow up understanding governing institutions in terms of the governing systems of families.

In the strict father family, father knows best. He knows right from wrong and has the ultimate authority to make sure his children and his spouse do what he says, which is taken to be what is right. Many conservative spouses accept this worldview, uphold the father’s authority, and are strict in those realms of family life that they are in charge of. When his children disobey, it is his moral duty to punish them painfully enough so that, to avoid punishment, they will obey him (do what is right) and not just do what feels good. Through physical discipline they are supposed to become disciplined, internally strong, and able to prosper in the external world. What if they don’t prosper? That means they are not disciplined, and therefore cannot be moral, and so deserve their poverty. This reasoning shows up in conservative politics in which the poor are seen as lazy and undeserving, and the rich as deserving their wealth. Responsibility is thus taken to be personal responsibility not social responsibility. What you become is only up to you; society has nothing to do with it. You are responsible for yourself, not for others — who are responsible for themselves.

It seems to me that the Nurturant Parent (“NP”) model of politics really does work sometimes- but not all the time.  There are lots of Strict Father (“SF”) cultures out there- and they are really good at producing lots of children who will, under the open borders policies favored by NP liberals, take over your country.  So it seems to me that the NP model is self-defeating, because an NP society can’t reproduce itself and can’t defend itself against SF cultures.

On the other hand, the most extreme Strict Father cultures (e.g. ISIS, Nazi Germany) can be pretty unpleasant places to live.

All of which is a long way of saying that nature’s God (or as an atheist would call it, evolution) favors a balance of NP and SF.  The Torah exemplifies this: the same Torah that calls again and again and again and again for supporting the poor among you (the NP side of the Torah) also calls for the odd bit of SF genocide against enemy nations.  We need not literally commit genocide against Amalek, any more than we need to redistribute land every 50 years.  But we need to keep the values behind both rules in our heads.

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