Skip to comments.The Unbearable Smugness of Liberals: A Guide for the Perplexed
Posted on 07/12/2011 1:58:26 PM PDT by Kaslin
Belladonna's first PJ Advice column answers the age-old question: How do you deal with the intense anger and condescension that Democrats express toward conservatives?
Dear Belladonna Rogers:
I live in deep blue America and am a conservative. When I see old friends after a long absence, or meet new people, they assume Im a liberal Democrat, in part because they are, and also because I live in a blue city in a blue state. I dont like to argue in social settings, so normally I dont reveal my political views. I can deal with differences of opinion, but what I find increasingly unpleasant is how smug and nasty liberal Democrats are when referring to conservatives, Republicans, or even independents. Id like to remain close to old friends and form new friendships, too. How do you suggest I deal with the demeaning attitudes and intense anger that so many liberals express toward conservatives these days?
– Adrift in San Francisco
(1) It is unpleasant to be treated as a moron, or criminally insane, a traitor to all thats good and true, and, of course, a pariah, just because of your politics. Its even more than unpleasant to incur wrath because you dont want to dive head first into the blue seas of the liberal Democrats around you. In regions like yours its easy to be blindsided — stunned, really — by the unanimity of idolatry toward the current president. Its galling to be presented with this uncongenial Venti, topped off as it invariably is by the latte of condescension. Disdainful liberals are unable to hide their contempt for those who differ with them. You begin what seems like an enjoyable conversation, but as soon you declare your political perspective, you go from being an attractive object of interest to the objectionable equivalent of a social leper.
(2) As soon as you realize that youve been presumed to be a liberal, nip it in the bud. Say that youre a conservative. And say it as calmly as you can, not as if its a challenge to a duel. You may have to practice while youre doing the dishes, but get to a point where you can say it with the same nonchalance as if youre saying, Im from Nebraska. No big deal. If you dont reveal your politics as soon as you realize that the other person presumes youre a liberal, youll become increasingly restless in the political closet as you mutely endure the slings and arrows of outrageous insults heaped on you and your fellow conservatives. Youll also find yourself annoyed, not least at yourself, as you suffer through the predictable barrage of liberal arrogance. However conflict-averse you may be, not revealing your true colors is like trying to pass as something youre not. Silence implies assent, and your silence wont serve you well.
If you dont disclose where you stand early on, youll become ever more irritated by how your liberal friends — having assumed you were one of them — refer to conservatives, and by the time you do tell them the truth, youll be far more exasperated than if youd spoken up immediately. By the same token, your liberal friends will be equally irritated at you. Theyll feel that you deceived them which, by your silence, is exactly what you did.
(3) Your tone matters. Dont be defensive, condescending, or aggressive with others, even when, or especially when, they address you in these ways. Be clear and friendly — and give them a chance to continue the conversation or let it drop.
(4) Your implied fear that expressing your political perspective may drive a wedge between you and your new and old friends is justified. It will put some distance between you and them, but in this case good fences make good neighbors by clearly demarcating the potentially toxic territory between you and them.
Think of it this way: if relationships are structures, revealing your political views will ensure that yours are built on firm ground and not on the quicksand of implicit deceit.
Even without a heated argument, a calm discussion is difficult to have with many liberals because they limit themselves to so few sources of information. An interesting exchange is foreclosed by their willful ignorance. It can be like talking with a cult member whose involvement forbids contact with anything that isnt cult-approved. To paraphrase their current hero, they cling to their New York Times and their New Yorkers and have antipathy to people who arent like them. (Senator Barack H. Obama, April 11, 2008.) Ironic, no?
When your interlocutor reads the New York Times and The New Yorker, listens to National Public Radio, and watches The Rachel Maddow Show — all uncritically and in the mistaken belief that these are objective sources of accurate information, what youre dealing with is a person with an extremely restricted understanding of the country and the world. These parochial news sources reinforce one another. And even worse, the liberal will usually refuse to expose him-or-herself to a wider variety of sources. I, myself, had the experience of emailing a liberal acquaintance a link to an insightful op-ed piece that appeared in a newspaper that is, apparently, on the liberal do not read list. In reply, he wrote, The Wall Street Journal? Please take me off your distribution list, Belladonna. Wouldnt even read it. He saw the source, knew it wasnt approved, and that was that.
(5) What not to do: Dont think you can convert a liberal to your views. Political affiliation has become a matter of tribal and personal identification with a group. Although it may appear to be rational, it isnt, entirely. Its emotional. The desire to remain a liberal, even in the face of all the evidence of its failures, is born of humanitys — and all living creatures — deepest instincts to affiliate with others and to retain that affiliation regardless of logic or facts. Not everyone has either the desire or the need to think analytically about political realities. Many base their politics on a yearning to be part of a movement larger than themselves.
By revealing that youre a conservative, what the liberal will hear is this: I could have chosen to be a member of your tribe, but Ive decided your tribe doesnt represent my understanding of the world. What this, in turn, conveys to the liberal is, Ive rejected the premises that undergird your entire world view. The foundations of your understanding of the world are not mine.
While people can and do change, they dont turn around on a dime because of a single powerful conversation over drinks or dinner. Change occurs, if at all, over years or decades, through the slow accretion of new or newly-understood information and newly-formed impressions, as well as through the gradual accumulation of experiences and observations.
(6) Adult friends cannot and do not agree on everything. You can try in an amicable way to agree to disagree on politics. You can look for other areas of commonality. You may or may not succeed in your search.
Its also possible that your differing political views are too powerful to sustain a close friendship, even if you succeed in finding other areas of mutual interest. The enormity of your political differences may always be the rogue elephant looming in the corner, ready to trample on discussions of a wide variety of other topics.
(7) When revealing that theyre not liberals, some conservatives will add, Im a fiscal conservative and a foreign policy hawk, but on domestic social issues such as abortion, gun control and gay marriage, I think you and I would agree. Of course, if thats not true of you, that option isnt available.
(8) Many conservative women, in particular, encounter liberal men in social settings who become uncontrollably loud and abusive when a conservative woman fails to nod pleasantly and express respectful agreement with his political views. When this happens, remain as cool as you can. Hold your ground. Let the liberal become apoplectic while you calmly say, I disagree with your characterization or I dont share your contempt, I dont accept your premises, or I see things differently.
You be the rational one, while the liberal is driven around the bend not only by your views and your knowledgeable statement of facts, but also by your composure and your refusal to be bullied.
Dont be surprised or stunned into silence or submission when this happens. And it will happen. Expect it. Trust me.
(9) Try to be patient with your liberal friends. Their unexamined premises and their overwhelming desire for affiliation with their tribe are understandable, and not everyone has the temperament or inclination to think for him-or-herself. Theyre like prisoners trapped in a dungeon, unable to escape.
(10) You could approach the challenge this way: try to show the liberals in your life what a thoughtful conservative is really like — as distinct from the demented fiend on the lunatic fringe conjured by their fevered imaginations.
– By Belladonna Rogers
Don't let them make you feel guilty about being in favor of freedom and against big government.You have Jefferson and Madison on your side.
Let them go to Hell in their own way, as is every American’s right. Fight so hard that they leave you alone, though.
If they never speak to you again, what have you lost? NOTHING.
If they assume I’m a liberal, I just let them keep going until I have the ammo to trip them up on their own words. Such as:
“It’s a shame we don’t have a real champion for women in charge like John Edwards.”
“I’ve thought about quitting my job and just flying all over the world in a big jet to warn everyone about Global Warming like Al Gore does.”
“It’s such a shame Anthony Weiner had to step down. I thought he made a really strong connection with young people.”
Then watch to see if they agree with you.
Certainly helpful advice. Beladona did not mention one of the hallmarks of Sarah, her unshakable joy. If your intellectual life, religious beliefs and politics do not make you joyful you are doing something wrong. Liberals are never joyful. Show them the way by expressing constant joy in the face of their dread.
Point number 6 makes the assumption that one is dealing with adults. While the liberal may be a chronological adult, the person’s psychological or emotional level may still be juvenile. Thus the violent displays when encountering different views, ranging from keying a car due to a bumper sticker to beating up Kevin Gladney.
A conservative can not deal rationally with such people.
Love it !! Will absolutely use in my very next conversation.
Who wants to call < expletive > < /expletive > liberals friends, anyway? Acquaintances, maybe, but they can’t be trusted enough for friendship.
Find some new friends!
I despise liberals
I shut them up and fast— I tell them I used to be a liberal. Have never found one who went beyond my saying that. They don’t because they know I know their playbook. Never met a conservative who ever became a liberal though. Says something that....
Exactly, It also helps that Liberals see me as a funny, easy going, nice, tolerant and accepting guy (which I am). You can see the confusion in their faces when I let them know, usually with humor, that I am conservative.
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