Skip to comments.Liberal/Conservative Divide Explained - Paranoia
Posted on 02/17/2013 9:22:01 AM PST by DeprogramLiberalism
Professor George Lakoff describes himself as a cognitive scientist. In his book, Moral Politics How Liberals and Conservatives Think, Professor Lakoff illustrates the problem of accurately describing the dichotomy between contemporary liberalism and contemporary conservatism in America. From the section, The Worldview Problem for Cognitive Science in chapter two:
~The job of the cognitive scientist in this instance is to characterize the largely unconscious liberal and conservative worldviews accurately enough so that an analyst can see just why the puzzles for liberals are not puzzles for conservatives, and conversely. Any cognitive scientist who seeks to describe the conservative and liberal worldviews is constrained by at least two adequacy conditions.~
While I do not label myself a cognitive scientist, it seems that I do what a cognitive scientist does - study patterns of thinking. I have intently studied the dichotomies that separate contemporary liberalism and conservatism in America for many years. So, can my conclusions pass his requirements? We'll see...
~First, the worldviews must make the collections of political stands on each side into two natural categories. For example, the liberal worldview analysis must explain why environmentalism, feminism, support for social programs, and progressive taxation fit naturally together for liberals, while the conservative worldview analysis must explain why their opposites fit together naturally for conservatives.~
I have described the dichotomies between liberalism and conservatism in my Nuclear Counterarguments Essay Series as based on this:
We are all born with an innate desire to direct our own lives (with very rare exceptions). This is a core belief. A young conservative develops by growing up with a balance of influence (family, friends, education, religion, etc.) during his life supporting this belief. So when he comes of ideological age he still retains his original inborn desire to direct his own life, and that all others be provided that same opportunity as well. This is the description of an ideology based on individual liberty - a freedom to direct one's own life.
The liberal, on the other hand, mutates away from his inborn core belief, growing up being conditioned to fear directing his own life. This happens in a response to early childhood experiences, his parent's influence, his friends, his schooling, his religion or lack thereof, the news media he is exposed to, social media, etc. This gradually conditioned, ingrained paranoia explains why liberals almost always desire solutions to personal and societal problems that involve giving up their own individual liberty (directing their own life), and giving up everyone else's as well - think Obamacare. In exchange they desperately seek for a perceived safe solution that they hope will assuage their fears. This almost always results in collectivist solutions at the cost of individual liberty where the collective directs peoples' lives through big-mommy government policies. The ultimate goal for the liberal is to create a safe utopia run by mommy figures that will scare away all of the perceived evil monsters that their liberal paranoia imagines are out there, so they are willing to give themselves (and everyone else) over to this type of voluntary slavery.
I would say that my explanation fully satisfies Professor Lakoff's first requirement of explaining opposite issue positions. His second requirement:
~Second, any adequate descriptions of these two world-views must show why the puzzles for liberals are not puzzles for conservatives, and conversely. As we shall see, this is anything but an easy problem and there are to my knowledge no previous solutions to it.~
Actually it is an easy problem to solve. Conservatives do not understand why liberals are puzzled about certain things that seem obvious to conservatives, because conservatives do not share the acquired paranoia of liberals. And vice versa. The second of Professor Lakoff's requirements too, I would say is fully satisfied.
~But there is a third, far more demanding, adequacy condition on the characterization of conservative and liberal worldviews. Those worldviews must additionally explain the topic choice, word choice, and discourse forms of conservatives and liberals. In short, those worldviews must explain just how conservative forms of reasoning make sense to conservatives, and the same for liberals. Moreover, they must explain why liberals and conservatives choose different topics to discuss and use different words in their discourse to discuss them. Furthermore they must explain why sometimes the same words have very different meanings when used by liberals and conservatives.~
Again, this is elementary to my premise of an inherent liberal paranoia explaining the dichotomies dividing liberalism and conservatism. Liberals and conservatives see the world through completely different sets of glasses. The conservative looks through the clear lenses of his inborn desire to direct his own life and describes the world in that way. The liberal's lenses are clouded with fear, which naturally taints his thinking and conception of the world. He sees very different colors, contrasts and shades from the conservative, and describes them in those separate terms. Quite simply, take away the paranoia from a liberal and you end up with a conservative - he immediately reverts back to his core belief of a desire to direct his own life. All of conservatism that once seemed like nonsense as a liberal looking through paranoia-tinted glasses, all of a sudden makes perfect sense when the glasses are exchanged for those with the bold, uncluttered view of individual liberty. What once seemed logical as a liberal who fears almost everything, now seems, silly, self-defeating, and even counterproductive.
It would seem that the explanation of a societal conditioning of paranoia dividing the contemporary liberal from the contemporary conservative completely and simply fulfills all three of Professor Lakoff's requirements. I would say that his search for an adequate explanation for the dichotomies between liberalism and conservatism is over. I suggest that Professor Lakoff read the Nuclear Counterarguments Essay Series for much more insight into the liberal/conservative divide (as should every liberal and conservative). For the conservative the essay series is an ideological reference library like no other, including practical tactics for bringing liberals to our side. For the liberal it is a polite, personable exit counseling process of self-re-education designed to completely remove the inherent paranoia that is the foundation of contemporary liberalism in America.
Sounds entirely plausible to me!
The liberal, on the other hand, mutates away from his inborn core belief, growing up being conditioned to fear directing his own life. This happens in a response to early childhood experiences, his parent's influence, his friends, his schooling, his religion or lack thereof, the news media he is exposed to, social media, etc.
This gradually conditioned, ingrained paranoia explains why liberals almost always desire solutions to personal and societal problems that involve giving up their own individual liberty (directing their own life), and giving up everyone else's as well - think Obamacare.
In exchange they desperately seek for a perceived safe solution that they hope will assuage their fears.
Sounds like what I learned in my college political class in the ‘60s.
Liberals base all facts on emotion, while conservatives base all emotion on facts.
El Rushbo doesn’t call him George “Whackoff” for nothing.
He reminds me of other liberals who actually restate conservative positions quite accurately, then bubble with simmering rage that such positions even exist in the first place.
In fact, rhymes-with-Lakoff skates very close to the Left view that conservatism itself is a form of mental illness. In the current gun control war, watch for “addressing mental health issues” to skew in the direction of ideologically determined standards of what is & is not mental illness.
The foundation of liberal thinking is only one emotion - fear.
Check out Evan Sayet’s new pamphlet/book “Garden of Evil”, it too has a great take on this subject. He’s the comedian who went from Left to Right. Fascinating hypothesis.
Hmmm...one can be evil or one can be mentally deficient, but not both, as the two qualities are mutually exclusive.
Unless of course your name is George W. Bush. The liberals couldn’t decide if Dubya was stupid, or evil, or both.
“Judge a man not by the quality of his friends, but by the quality of his enemies.”
I was inspired by Evan’s famous video on liberalism.
They want to impose their will on others. These are the same types that gravitate toward positions of petty power, like home owner's association boards. They have very strong opinions about how everyone else should live.
You theory sounds spot on, however, in regard to the sheep upon whose backs the leftist elites build their power.
This is a terrific analysis, although trying to pin the causes on upbringing may be a little strained.
How about this?: liberals simply have weak character; at their core, iberals are weak people - - they are born that way.
Liberals do not think that way. Liberals are easily conned, easily manipulated, and utterly unwilling to admit when they are wrong. (Their obsession with constantly attempting to elicit apologies from Republicans is an offshoot of these strained thought processes.) Liberals, when confronted with bare-bones truth that contradicts their irrational world view, will scrunch their eyes shut, shake their heads, and chant nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah until whatever truth it is they find offensive goes away, rather than revise their thoughts and beliefs to conform to a truth that is slapping them in the face. They simply do not have the capacity to revise their thoughts and beliefs to conform to the truth before their very eyes if that truth contradicts the foundation of the beliefs they irrationally hold onto as a weapon in the constant struggle against their own insecurity.
Certainly, there are notable exceptions such as David Horowitz, PJ ORourke, Bernie Goldberg, Michael Medved and others who were smart enough to lift themselves out of the mire of self-loathing liberal stupidity but these folks are, unfortunately, rare exceptions.
Being an unabashed liberal is a matter of character (or more accurately, lack of character). Liberals are generally humorless and bitter because, you see, everybody else is (richer, happier, luckier, prettier, fill-in-the-blank) than they deserve to be and that is just not fair. (Words like "fair", and phrases such as "social justice", are common favorites used by liberals.) Liberals are social duds who are either chronic malcontents or simply that guilt-ridden subset of white liberals who feel that their own good fortune (and by extension the good fortune of others) is somehow undeserved. In any event, liberals usually see themselves as "victims". They always see anybody beneath their station as "victims".
In this world, there are people (most people, in fact) who look at all other people as their equals in every way, as people who are capable of realizing their personal aspirations and doing the right things, as people who should be treated as equals. Alternatively, there are people who look up adoringly at people they view as somehow better than themselves. These are the same people who look loathingly down on other people they view as their lessers. Guess which kind of people liberals tend to be?
Interestingly, true liberals are often physically slow and unathletic. They were picked last for playground basketball games. They have no interest in competetive sports, especially team sports. Competetive sports is, in fact, very much an alien concept to them. To be blunt, true liberals (genuine socialists) are almost always clumsy oafs.
Additionally, true liberals are humorless. Seething, deep seated anger causes an entrenched bitterness that ends up defining them. The evidence of this abounds and can be seen on certain TV stations every day. The liberals have no Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter or Mark Steyn or Howie Carr or Dennis Miller or Ronald Reagan... They have Keith Olbemann and Helen Thomas and Ed Shultz and Lawrence O'Donnell and Barack Ubama.... there is simply not a lot of laughter there. Liberals, in fact, find laughter... uncomfortable. (What's there to laugh about? Look at all the suffering in this horrible, unjust world.) True liberals dont get jokes, even if they chuckle as if they do. (Test this for yourself - - tell a true liberal a joke. For additonal laughs, ask the liberal if he/she/it has a good joke to tell you.)
Liberals can appear to be normal people and are often able to handle their jobs and academic endeavors competently. They can usually fake normal socialization with other people, even if their self-centeredness prevents them from ever establishing true friendships. Liberals do not have true friends, merely acquaintances who can be used in some way, especially to affirm their own crazy political notions.
But it is their sociopathic selfishness that is the most troubling thing about liberals. They see absolutely no problem with walking into the polling place on election day and voting for big government to confiscate more money - - from their neighbors! Normal people would view this behavior as boorish and rude, but liberals apparently convince themselves that they are somehow accomplishing something; perhaps the exercise soothes their irrational guilt under the tragic misbelief that they are somehow helping others (using other peoples money, of course), notably, the poor.
So, by voting for thuggish big government to take more money from their neighbors in order to enable their Democrat politicians to buy the votes of societys losers, bums, and parasites, liberals feel better about themselves. (Dont ask me about this mindset - - figuring out liberals would best be left to a team of very good psychiatrists.)
Anyway, I believe that the percentage of true liberals in this country is actually very low - - far less than a typical Democrat election-day turnout would indicate. The rats run a good con and there is no shortage of fools littering the countryside (not to mention the concentrated Democrat parasite nests known as "cities") who will continue to buy into the con.
Think about this - - how gullible did you have to be in 2008 to fall for a campaign that could have been formulated by a boardwalk psychic; a campaign based primarily on two essentially meaningless words, hope and change, words that sound so... positive... but that allow the smiling, naval-gazing listeners imagination to turn them into whatever he or she wants? Unfortunately, in todays soundbite world such a campaign can be (and was!) successful. And so we ended up with community organizer Barack Hussein Obama as President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
Pray for America. America has RE-elected the African communist Obama. It appears at this point that Americans are insistent on committing national suicide.
No. Liberalism is a societal conditioning. There are many possible factors, of course (that is why I have written 22 essays about it). But think about the conservative high school student that goes off to college and comes home a few years later a liberal activist. They weren’t born that way. The evolved into it.