Thursday, November 15, 2007

Blissful Ignorance

I have had thousands of conversations with liberals in recent years. I understand their point of view, largely because I once shared their point of view. But it amazes me how ignorant liberals can be regarding conservative points of view. And when I say "ignorant" I don't mean to suggest that liberals are inherently stupid or anything of the sort. I mean to say that they have little or no exposure to serious conservative thought, and as such, are by definition, ignorant on the issue.

Unfortunately, it saddens me to report that this is often willful ignorance in the sense that they actively avoid exposure to conservative thought. An example of this tendency can be found at in a post entitled "The Other Side". Kay has signed up for some sort of conservative notice or something, it seems, for the sole purpose of ridiculing conservatives without having read their work. I challenged her to read an interesting book by the absolutely brilliant Thomas Sowell, which she promptly dismissed as propaganda. I suspect that the reason to avoid conservative thought is because one is insecure about one's beliefs and does not want them scrutinized.

Ignorance is bliss, they say. I disagree.


Anonymous said...

Your, and other 'righties' consistent use of the word 'liberal', as an umbrella term to hold over anyone with opposite opinions as yours, is an example of what you seem to be describing.

Why do people like Michael Novak, yourself, and other folks in the 'right' world, like to say that 'they were liberal'? What does that mean? I find it completely mystifying as to what Novak and you mean.

I take it to mean that you stand against most of what Pope John Paul II stood for, as he pointed out for decades the rapaciousness of vicious capitalism, and other selfish human structures.

pariah jeep said...

Hey - no new posts since yesterday except a slew of "anonymous" ones. Wait a minute, no new posts is more accurate!

concrete katie said...

the labels 'liberal' and 'conservative' have been abused.

The religious right....are they conservatives? If so, I run in the other direction.

Big war funds approved by the federal this liberal? If so, I shun the liberals.

I am annoyed by anons blogs. I understand if you are Karen Silkwood, but sniping for no reason other than sniping is COWARDLY. One should not be afraid to express oneself and then one needs to accept the consequences.

Denis isn't in hiding. I appreciate that. There is hope for Denis!

Denis Navratil said...

ck, I use the words liberal and conservative as starting points, and I understand that neither description is likely to totally capture the essence of one's political beliefs, mine included. But lets face it, there is a remarkable consistency of belief among what I would describe as a liberal or a conservative. Most liberals want more taxes for social programs, less for military, while believing that women should have the right to abort unwanted fetuses, while most conservertives believe otherwise, for example. Thank you for taking anon to task, it is well deserved. And what do you mean by "there is hope for Denis"?

concrete katie said...

I no longer recognize the distinctions between liberal and conservative that you outline. For example, WAR. More military spending equals debt and sooner or later lots of additional taxes. And it is your 'conservatives that go on the warpath. Thomas Wolfe (yes in a NOVEL) points out in You Can't Go Home Again that when America is LOST it goes to war. The world he outlines is the world of today, too. There seems to be a cycle which we keep repeating.

Read someone like Albert Camus and there is no liberal and conservative in, say, The Plague. There is a romantic, there is a philosopher, there is a formal religious leader, there is a doctor, and there is A HERO who decides to walk the streets and sanitize by removing bodies because if the plague should ever end there may be a few who survive contamination.

There is hope for you, Denis, because you ask questions. I sometimes think you don't listen to responses but then I hope you don't mind my saying you are a human being and so you are not perfect.

Denis Navratil said...

Not perfect? I've been called worse.

Yes it is the conservative side that tends to want a strong military and to use it. And yes, it costs money. But I think this is what I have been saying, conservatives like the military while liberals tend not to so much. Conservatives see the defense of our country as more critical than say, the threat posed by global warming. Liberals just the opposite in most cases. There are patterns of beliefs that are real and there is no harm in pointing out the differences in beliefs between people, so long as those differences are accurately stated. Accurate understanding of differences, it seems to me, is the starting point for meaningful dialogue and debate. The problem is that too often we can't even get to the starting point.

So we could now have a discussion about the merits of projecting military strength throughout the world. In my view, there are very real threats to our way of life, some of which will require military strength to overcome. I think that there are those for whom negotiation will not work. I doubt that we could have negotiated with the terrorists that brought down the World Trade Center, for example.

concrete katie said...

I grew up in New Jersey. The young Malcolm X believed in the warpath and as he grew, he tempered his stance. By the end of Malcolm's life he and King's teachings were closer. Were Malcolm and King conservatives or liberals??? I know they were humanists.

I am not Catholic but I stood on Michigan Avenue so I could see Pope John Paul come by because he seemed like a world leader to me. When I read about him he is called 'conservative'. But he also was always making the point that there is a spiritual world and there is a material world and that the material world had taken over. He was Polish, he was virile, he reached out and went around the world, he always always remembered the poor of this world. So was he liberal or conservative? He was a formalist. He was a humanist.

Maybe war has become too dangerous. Maybe 'conservatives' and 'liberals' could discuss that.
Maybe world leaders ought to walk the streets and talk to ordinary people. Most ordinary people are just trying to survive. And most ordinary people who are not Americans don't think that America has a fix on the moral high road. In fact, many people reject our way of life.

Anonymous said...

I take it Pariah that you like 'YES' men.

Sorry to cause you discomfort in different observations than yours; WHATEVER they are.

As for myself, I throw my lot in with the teachings of Jesus Christ regarding this world and how we are to live and treat our fellow travelers...

Anonymous said...

Katie...well spoken.

Denis Navratil said...

Hey CK, I read Malcolm X's story long ago and found him to be a nasty fellow, though he seemed to be changing his tune towards the end. I don't recall any policy suggestions from X, other than hostility toward white people, which would make him an extreme lefty.

Pope John Paul would fall into the conservative category I think because of a strong pro-life position. I don't think he was a pacifist though I could be wrong on that one. Conservatives and liberals alike may show concern for the poor though their methods of addressing the problem are quite different. I am fairly sure that JP was not a socialist. Regarding material excesses, same concern, different methods. Excessive materialism is a spiritual problem and I suspect that JP would not be looking to government to solve that problem. JP was a conservative.

Though your examples demonstrate that it is difficult and perhaps foolish to pigeonhole someone as a con or lib, there is still value in using the labels, flawed though they may be.

I think war has always been dangerous and will remain so. Unfortunately, because we are imperfect beings, war is sometimes neccessary to prevent even greater tragedies. Can we avoid violence simply by sitting on the sidelines? For a while perhaps, but in the end, evil must be confronted with force at times. The key is to make sure that you are confronting evil rather than perpetrating it.

I don't think we have a monopoloy on the moral high ground and it is fine if others want to reject our way of life. I reject much of it as I am sure you do as well. But some of the problems we face are not merely that people reject our liberalism (the good kind, you know democracy, womens rights, religious freedom, etc...)but that they seek to destroy us all, and they could care less about our silly squabbles about conservatism or liberalism. They will make no such distinctions as they detonate their bombs in our subways. We face a common enemy but liberals tend to be blind to that fact.

Anonymous said...

Pope John Paul would fall into the conservative category I think because of a strong pro-life position. I, he was pro-life...and Against vicious Centensimus Annus and his other social encyclicals...I read them decades ago...

Anonymous said...

I challenged her to read an interesting book by the absolutely brilliant Thomas Sowell, which she promptly dismissed as propaganda. should be viewed as an the world has to fit his ideological beliefs

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes. My sociology teacher called Thomas Sowell a "lackey" for the "Capitalist Class" (YARF!!!) Ridicule is always easier.