Social Question

Judi's avatar

Are Liberals Really that much nicer?

Asked by Judi (37655 points ) May 31st, 2011 from iPhone

I admit that I lean left politically. I am facebook friends with The President.
Many obviously right leaning people tend to post rude and even vicious coments on his page. They probably take up at least half of the comments.
I noticed a friend “Liked” GW Bush’s page.
Out of curiosity, I looked to see what coments were posted on his page.
Every single comment was kind and complementary. Not one derragatory comment to be found.
Are liberals just to nice to trash his page like conservatives do to President Obama’s page or do they censor it?

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126 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

hahaha.. There is someone paid to remove the bad stuff. Palin has people that clean up her Facebook account.

http://obamalondon.blogspot.com/2011/01/inexplicable-edits-on-sarah-palins.html

Nullo's avatar

It’s been my experience that liberals are actually more likely to badmouth than their conservative counterparts.

jerv's avatar

Yes and no.

Liberals are pretty vocal and can often be considerably ruder (less nice) than Conservatives, but from what I have seen, they are far less likely to go as low as some Conservatives do (also not nice).

So, how are we defining “nice” here?

ETpro's avatar

@Judi To answer your question, shameless ideologues at the extreme left or right are all tireless bores if not dangerous radicals. It just happens that most of them around in the US today are right-wingers. In the anti-war days of the 1960s, liberals were insufferable and even violent at times. But the few that are left over from that day are completely marginalized today.

It really started on the right with Joe McCarthy and then Lee Atwater under Nixon. Pat Buchanan picked up the mantle of slimer in chief under the Reagan White House.And there has been a steady stream of them since, puls all the hate and clime broadcast on right-wing media to fire up the base.

Now, about comments on Facebook pages, they are showing their true colors. As @johnpowell notes, right-wingers don’t leave anything to chance. Unwanted comments disappear immediately. The Cons are much more about the con. They are super attuned to photo-ops and managing message. Anyone who refuses to comply is drummed out of the party. Witness Newt Gingrich’s fast backpedaling after dissing Ryan’s Kill Medicare plan.

Notice that when right-wing pundits and politicians go on TV talk shows, every single one recites the same talking points. There have been an unbroken chain of slimes since Atwater, claiming that all liberals are traitors, hate America, disrespect the flag, love to tax and spend, are cowards unwilling to defend their country or worse, treasonous— giving aide and comport to our enemies. It is truly vile.

And if Liberals use any of the techniques that the Cons have used for years, the right cries out something fierce about how unfair and warped it is. George W. Bush flying over New Orleans 3 days after Katrina was compassionate response. Obama on the ground in Joplin MO. after returning from his visit to the UK was a shameless photo-op. Obama going to Ground Zero to lay a wreath was a shameless photo-op. George W. Bush landing on the Deck of the George Washington in a flight suit to announce “Mission Accomplished” when it really hadn’t even begun was just doing a Commander in Cheif’s job.

Judi's avatar

So conservatives are just more prone to censorship?

Judi's avatar

@Nullo; that may be true, but they are instantly deleted when possible. @ETpro; I posted my last coment before I read your great answer.

augustlan's avatar

I think you’ve hit it on the head, @johnpowell and @Judi. In my opinion, liberals are more likely to let insults stand for everyone to see while conservatives are more likely to sweep them quickly away.

Rarebear's avatar

I find that niceness has nothing to do with political leanings. I know fundamentalist Christians who are lovely, and liberal democrats who are assholes. And vice versa.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
iamthemob's avatar

No.

They’re probably equally nice. But I think the “not nice” comes in different forms.

I also think that we have to differentiate between ideologies and political parties. More people consider themselves “conservative” than actually are.

When it comes to politics, there really is no such things as a “conservative” social issue in the U.S….or at least there shouldn’t be. A true conservative would ask “Why are we trying to regulate social issues?”

@Nullo – Don’t you think, though, that it’s highly likely to believe that liberals are more likely to badmouth than conservatives when working from a conservative standpoint? We tend to think of barbs aimed at ourselves as slights, but at others as right.

rts486's avatar

I’ve noticed liberals tend to be even ruder than conservatives. They are just hypocritical about it. Just look at what’s in the media.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Nicer? I don’t know about all that. I’ve encountered rudeness from people of every political stripe. Some liberals aren’t so much “liberal” as they are condescending and in an ack-bassward way trying to show how much better they are than you (if you’re of a social status they deem worthy of their “help”), and gee, you really, really need their help, you poor downtrodden, dispossessed person of colour, you. Because they’re so much better than you.

So they’re being a do-gooder, you see. Really. See how good they’re being? One point for Griffyndor! :/

I’ve been called a lot of names and treated disrespectfully by super-conservative people, of course, but they were at least up front about their contempt of people who were of my socially-designated racial background and of the social class I was born into.

marinelife's avatar

I agree with @Rarebear. We are all people with the whole range of opinion and personalities, and the personality does not have anything to do with political leanings.

janbb's avatar

Why yes, yes we are.~

tedd's avatar

I don’t think someones political leanings determine their level of niceness or their manners. I’ve met super nice liberals and conservatives, and huge dbag liberals and conservatives.

Obviously you tend to get into more heated talks with people of the opposite opinion, so maybe things get a bit ugly there. But in all I don’t think it really effects it.

Jaxk's avatar

In general, conservatives believe that the policies pursued by liberals are bad for the country. They believe the liberals are just flat wrong about their policies. Liberals on the other hand also believe that conservatives are wrong but they also believe their is some nefarious purpose behind it. In other words, conservatives are not only wrong but they know their wrong and are pursuing their goals for some evil purpose. That generally takes the debate to a whole new level. Spurring ads like General ‘Be-tray-Us’ or the old lady being pushed off a cliff.

This whole ‘Evil’ thread can be found on most political debates here on Fluther as well as in the liberal press. It brings an emotional response that liberals have used quite effectively.

tedd's avatar

@Jaxk my friend you will find both liberals and conservatives who believe that the other side is being secretly directed by some kind of evil conspiracy, hell-bent on world domination or some such nonsense.

despite thinking they’re total morons and couldn’t run a country if they tried

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk – I don’t believe you really believe that. As much as we disagree, your approach is generally a reasonable one. Making such generalizations is unsupportable.

Blaming one side for using certain tactics generally, if not inevitably, is a hypocritical one in the political arena…and there’s really no way to measure which side uses it more…at most, we might be able to claim which side is really using it now.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk Conservatives also use emotional response effectively, so I fail to see a distinction there. And given that Obama has been accused of being a Muslim overlord trying to topple America from the top down, I think it safe to say that door swings both ways.

Jaxk's avatar

@tedd and @iamthemob

I don’t disagree and usually try to stay away from generalities. Unfortunately the question rather demands that you do it. I admit to a certain bias. I try to fight it most times and stick to facts but there’s no question it comes through. Nonetheless, I do believe in ‘general’ the liberals are better at the emotional response than conservatives and that they do believe there is some evil intent. ‘Tax cuts for the rich at the expense of the poor’ for example assigns an evil intent. While ‘wealth redistribution’ does not (in my opinion). I’m not saying the emotional response is only used on one side but that it is more prevalent on one side.

@jerv

Your example is hardly mainstream. Not something you might find in an ad in the NY Times.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Jaxk For every “General Betray Us” there is a book like Ann Coulter’s Treason or Byron York’s The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy. Why pretend that this sort of sniping doesn’t go both ways?

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk – The question doesn’t call for a generality other than the truism that “eh…everybody’s messed up.”

I can’t argue with what you believe about who is better at eliciting an emotional reaction – but I don’t think you should so readily cast aside the understanding that you might be seeing more emotional appeals as opposed to substantive ones because you disagree with the substance of the message.

Attributing a sinister intent to the solution of the other side is kind of the go-to distraction argument since debate began. To say that it is at all unique to any side, or more used by one side, seems almost naive, to be honest.

”[insert argumentative position] states that it’s doing [good x], but really they are doing [evil y].” It’s like debate Mad Libs.

I also don’t understand why we’re always talking about “liberals” and “conservatives.” Aren’t we all really talking about Republicans and Democrats? (this is, of course, not solely directed at you).

Jaxk's avatar

@SavoirFaire

Not pretending, just assigning weights. When a congressman stands on the House floor and says ‘Republicans want you to die quickly’, I take more notice than if some blogger says it in some obscure posting. I’ve read some of Ann Coulter’s works and her whole shtick is to say outrageous things. Much of it designed to provoke a chuckle like Jon Stewart or Steven Colbert. When was the last time Ann Coulter was asked to speak on the floor of Congress?

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

Nothing is unique to one side. Spending is not unique to one side side nor is taxing. But they are more prevalent on one side than the other. During the Bush years the republicans tried to spend like democrats. The were rank amateurs. I’m sorry that’s was a distraction where I tried to fight my bias and lost.

As for the conservative vs liberal. They are ideologies. Republicans and Democrats are not. I am a conservative first and a Republican by default. If I ever see a conservative democrat, I might vote for them. I’m not stuck with a political party but I am stuck with my conservative values. Values don’t change, political parties are transient.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk – I agree with your point regarding personal beliefs on the conservative/liberal front. But when we talk about public debate, and generally public political debate, and particularly about the rhetorical strategies used by either side in that, we’re not really talking about conservatives or liberals any more. We’re talking mostly about two sides that are trying to beat each other – the Democrats and Republicans.

PS – it’s funny that as a conservative, but a gay one, I’m forced to vote Democrat. In the end, I feel like both sides equally contribute to an attempt to grow the social regulation of our private lives in equal measure…the Democrats just end up taking the more individual liberty based approaches….

…this may be another question now. ;-)

Judi's avatar

Wow. I didn’t know my question would spark such debate. I just wondered why there were no negative comments on GW’s page compared to our current President, but I am having fun watching the discussion evolve.

incendiary_dan's avatar

I’m trying to find an article about a study that showed people who do things they deem “ethical” (most of which were just pointless consumer choices, like driving a hybrid or buying organic tomatoes) were more likely to be jerks to people around them.

Personally, it seems to me that the bulk of people involved in either wings of the Republicrat party are jerks if their perception of identity is challenged, because it’s more of an identity issue that anything else.

Jaxk's avatar

@incendiary_dan

Wow! Certainly no bias in that response.

iamthemob's avatar

@Judi – Ooooh…just because it’s not clear on FB doesn’t mean that there wasn’t MAJOR Bush bashing during his time. Google his name along with any number of awful adjectives and you’ll find it, guaranteed. Like George Bush is Evil.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@Jaxk Just calling it likes I sees it.

And in case anyone read it too quickly, note that I wrote Republicrat, not Republican.

Jaxk's avatar

@incendiary_dan

Understandably. I would think that Republicrat makes it worse not better. And I like they way you back it up with all the facts. Truly, gives me an identity crisis.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk – But hey now…weren’t you doing just the same thing in your arguments about liberals? There certainly was bias, and there weren’t really facts put forward to back up the assertions.

Either this is a meta-level performative gesture…or perhaps the tactics are more obvious when the other side uses them to you, and you don’t see yourself using them cause you think you’re right…;-)

debates about which side is worse always seem to bring out the worst in the both sides.

livelaughlove21's avatar

All people are assholes, no matter what race, political party, financial situation, religion, etc. And all people are hypocrites. It has nothing to do with just one thing. It’s just people. They suck. I mean…we suck. :)

incendiary_dan's avatar

@Jaxk Thanks for proving my point with your knee-jerk reaction. I guess it doesn’t matter when I start off saying things like “it seems to me”, because I need facts showing various forms of belief are more about identity than knowledge. Good to know that my non-identification with the dominant political system means I’m held to higher standards.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

I admitted bias and I provided examples of my point. Had I just said that liberals were idiots, you’d have a point.

Jaxk's avatar

@incendiary_dan

Actually, I hold you to no standards what-so-ever. But I will admit, my principles do define me as a person. And it is no surprise the Bill Maher is your example of higher standards. What has god wrought.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@Jaxk Ah, assumptions assumptions. Because I posted something by Maher I necessarily find him right? I chose that article to show the statistics he used, which show just how lacking in basic political knowledge Americans are. As for his proto-fascist assertions, I’ll skip, thankyouverymuch.

I’m also amused that you, a self-identified conservative, chose my comment to jump on, when I was much harsher to liberals than conservatives.

And since I finally read the thread: liberals think conservatives have an evil agenda and not vice versa? Bullshit. How about all the conservatives ranting about communist agendas?

Jaxk's avatar

@incendiary_dan

I don’t mean to nit-pick but your link was labelled “higher standards”. I guess I erroneously assumed you meant….....well, higher standards.

As for the communist agenda, I don’t have any reservations in saying many believe that the communist idea is a good one. It’s not evil intent to believe that, just unrealistic. There’s much about both theories of socialism and communism that sound good on paper, they just don’t work that way in practice. I don’t assign evil intent just because someone wants a socialist panacea (even though I would assign a lack of practical logic). Claiming that some want you to die quickly or steal their money however, does carry an implication of evil.

tinyfaery's avatar

No. I’m considered a liberal and I’m not all that nice.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk – Indeed you did – I won’t discount that. However, as you well know, we all have facts (well, many of us do) or at least evidence for our opinions. And your initial response was without evidence, asserting generalizations based on some bias potentially, etc. – but then without irony criticize @incendiary_dan for doing the same.

That’s the problem with the interactions. It’s a strange STM loss in debate and politics.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

Actually my initial response was with examples. Also it was not an assertion that liberals were jerks nor ignorant nor evil but rather concerning thier belief structure. By-the-way what is an STM?

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Jaxk For every “Republicans want you to die quickly” there’s a “you lie” or someone talking about “death panels” on the House floor. Again, let’s not pretend otherwise.

Jaxk's avatar

@SavoirFaire

I have trouble equating “Republicans want you die quickly” to “you lie”. However, I will give you the “Death Panels” as a sound example of emotional response. Sarah Palin seems to be one of the few Republicans that are good at that. Probably accounts for some of her popularity (or lack thereof).

I still do not see the thread of evil that seems to permeate the liberal discussions.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk Hardly mainstream, eh? I guess nearly every news outlet (including Fox, NBC, and most in between) are not considered “mainstream”. Never mind that the media matches what I see and hear with my own eyes and ears. Face it, in some respects, both sides are the same

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv

Honestly I watch a lot of news and I’ve not heard that voiced on any channel. Are you sure you’re not embellishing that statement just a trifle.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

(1) I stated that you didn’t provide evidence. And then you answered that you provided examples: ”Spurring ads like General ‘Be-tray-Us’ or the old lady being pushed off a cliff.” Two examples. Please tell me how two examples provide a relevant sample of a relevant size to support the opinion that: ”Liberals on the other hand also believe that conservatives are wrong but they also believe their is some nefarious purpose behind it. In other words, conservatives are not only wrong but they know their wrong and are pursuing their goals for some evil purpose.

I argue it doesn’t. If you do, I would be interested to hear how.

(2) Although you claim that you don’t call liberals jerks, etc., but rather make claims about their beliefs, you stated: ”This whole ‘Evil’ thread can be found on most political debates here on Fluther as well as in the liberal press. It brings an emotional response that liberals have used quite effectively.” The OP, you’ll notice, doesn’t use the word “Evil,” but rather talks about vicious or rude posts on a particular site – and is set up as a question indicating a lack of confidence that this was representative. But suddenly, you characterize the debate as representing a belief that conservatives are “Evil” (a big leap) with nefarious intentions just like most here on Fluther and in the “liberal media” (a favorite and generalized catch phrase if ever there was one – providing the ability to discount information on a massive scale.)

You don’t really have to use the word jerk to call a group jerks.

I don’t see the point in your continued defense of what you’ve said except that it continues to illuminate how much bias may indeed be affecting your views. If others can’t use random examples to create a hyperbolic negative generalization about what the other side says or represents, neither can you. You can’t admit bias, further, or claim that random examples of incidences represent an overall trend but state you know that you’re generalizing about the beliefs of those opposed to you but then criticize another for doing the same thing about those you might associate yourself with, at least in any honest way.

It’s an example of the double-think or STM loss (short-term memory) that infects discussions. Fluther is actually the most tame of the debate forums I’ve seen – I believe you’re familiar with SodaHead, think about the difference there. But even here we’re seeing the finger-pointing that ends up being pointless. Every thing you’ve said in defense here (in our part of the thread at least) has been attempting to defend how it’s okay for you to draw biased and inaccurate generalizations based on what you know are insufficient samples because you seem to think that even with that you know what the other side is thinking better than they do because you’re right. That’s the definition of bias if ever there was one.

You seem to want to be insulated from criticism or responsibility because you’re doing it slightly differently. I don’t really think there’s a middle ground here. If you think you’re right because you’re ideology is better, you’re sorely mistaken – there is not a single ideology that’s generally applicable. Everything is way to complex.

If we’re going to get to discussion instead of rhetoric, we all have to let ourselves be called out on our bullshit. We can’t criticize the same fallacious reasoning or bias on one side that we show simply because they’re the “enemy.”

Conservatives aren’t the enemy. Liberals aren’t the enemy. Anyone, however, who attempts to convince us that generally one or the other is the enemy…that’s the enemy.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk I am honestly a bit confused now. I see Conservatives trying to instill fear and provoke outrage quite often. Maybe you don’t see it because you are on that side of the fence and see it as nothing more than “truth”? Maybe you don’t consider fear or anger to be emotions? Maybe “unpatriotic” isn’t as bad as “evil” anymore because McCarthyism ceased to exist, 9/11 notwithstanding? Or maybe you and I just have different opinions and/or perceptions?

Regardless, I don’t mean to imply that Liberals are better or anything, merely that neither side has a monopoly on bad behavior, or in doing questionable stuff (like lying) to sway emotions. I still maintain that political leanings have no bearing on a person’s ability or willingness to be an asshole.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

Wow, I’m not sure how big a sample you want me to present but I’ll get my research assistants right on it. The point was, if your think I’m wrong you will respond differently than if you think I’m trying cheat you or manipulate you for personal gain. This point is in direct response to the question asked “are liberals really that much nicer”. My answer would be no for the reasons I’ve stated. Liberals are generally quite self-righteous in their belief that they are more compassionate, more caring, more selfless. Fluther is lousy with statements like ‘you’ve made yours and don’t care about anyone else’. The whole racist and bigot arguments are based on this concept. I’m not saying liberals do this as a way to manipulate anything, I’m saying they actually believe it.

As for being insulated from criticism or responsibility, you must be kidding. The liberal media point, I think you misinterpreted my point. There is liberal media and there is conservative media. I was not trying to draw the conclusion that all media is liberal but rather that the media that is liberal, uses a common line (or thread) that represents this point. Conservative media likewise will use a common line (or thread) to make their points.

You seem to be drawing the conclusion that my point was to denigrate liberals for using this lousy tactic. When really I don’t see it as tactic at all but rather a basic part of their belief system. Just as I don’t rail about spending as a tactic to garner support for republicans but rather because I don’t believe government should be spending what we don’t have. It’s part of my belief system.

I doubt there is a liberal out there that believes we went into Iraq to liberate them from tyranny and create a democratic republic in the midst of the middle east. At least what they generally say is that we were there to steal thier oil, or to avenge Bush 1, or because we love war, or any other of a variety of nefarious purposes. Think to yourself about why conservatives would be against this health care bill and why liberals would be for it. Liberals want it because they care about others, they want everyone to have good medical care, and the insurance companies don’t care about people only profits. The conservatives have a different take on the whole program but it does not include thinking the liberals are evil for wanting it, just misguided. They believe it will raise the cost, lower availability, and stifle innovation. A distinct difference in the way they look at it. The liberals believe those opposed are evil while the conservatives believe those in favor are just wrong.

I’m not sure I can explain it much better than that. It’s not an attempt to denigrate anyone nor draw any conclusion on which is better, let alone righter. I’m not sure where you going with the enemy point but I’ll keep my eyes open in case I see one.

Judi's avatar

@tinyfairy, I love you anyway.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Jaxk Also Michele Bachmann and every Republican who claimed that Democrats wanted to “pull the plug on grandma” (e.g., Chuck Grassley). A pox on both their houses, I say.

Jaxk's avatar

@SavoirFaire

No need to whisper, it’s a point well taken. And shows that even the most diligent study (can’t help self aggrandizing just a bit) will have exceptions.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

Wow, I’m not sure how big a sample you want me to present but I’ll get my research assistants right on it

There is profound irony in you starting your statement off like this. In our discussion I’ve said both sides have examples to show that both do x, say y, use z tactics. So you don’t need evidence. There’s plenty of examples. The problem is you don’t seem to understand that your conclusion is bullshit. Complete, utter, 100% bullshit. And you defend it. Because you’ve assumed that you’ve seen enough examples. My whole point is that there are examples, but no evidence for your conclusion, because there’s always a counterexample. So by drawing a conclusion (which you’ve stated as a belief, but that’s as close as most get) you’ve drunk the Kool-Aid. I ended by saying the one enemy is the person trying to convince you in the democratic political back and forth that the other sided is the enemy. So, why would I care if you get a research team on it? Your position is indefensible. What boggles me is that you continue to defend it.

This point is in direct response to the question asked “are liberals really that much nicer”. My answer would be no for the reasons I’ve stated.

Which was, in fact, my answer. But it wasn’t yours. You embellished to make a point about liberals generally as opposed to conservatives, stating that conservatives are better thinkers and liberals think based on fear. No. That’s indefensible. It’s arrogant. It’s a half-truth. Because both have noticeable segments that are based on fear and a generalized assessment of the others. But you don’t see yours. You see the problems in one side, but not the other – you see the issues but it’s a problem only for liberals. Perhaps because you’re positions are generally not fear driven, but that says nothing about conservatives – it says something about you. A good thing, which is why I’m flabbergasted at your continued attempt to characterize one side as being better than the other. Nope. When it comes to the rhetoric, the lowest common denominator wins all out, regardless of sides. I’ll state that as the fact.

Liberals are generally quite self-righteous in their belief that they are more compassionate, more caring, more selfless.

You’ll notice also that this was my assertion. I stated that liberals tended to be “smarmy.” I think you’re right.

Fluther is lousy with statements like ‘you’ve made yours and don’t care about anyone else’.

Okay – but “Fluther” is not liberals – I mean, many “conservatives” have said this thing on this site. And many do everywhere. So, yeah…but so what?

The whole racist and bigot arguments are based on this concept.

Again – so what? I think you’re right – but as I watch “The Daily Show” right now on Hulu, Bill Moyers is talking about how he doesn’t like talking to politicians because they assert opinion built to obscure the facts – use them and hide them at the same time. We’re being sold an opinion and nothing else. We’re being presented nothing to think for ourselves.

I’m not saying liberals do this as a way to manipulate anything, I’m saying they actually believe it.

Here’s where it gets dangerous – liberals? They? You know what “they’re” thinking? And your authority is essentially what you’re thinking?

As for being insulated from criticism or responsibility, you must be kidding. The liberal media point, I think you misinterpreted my point. There is liberal media and there is conservative media. I was not trying to draw the conclusion that all media is liberal but rather that the media that is liberal, uses a common line (or thread) that represents this point. Conservative media likewise will use a common line (or thread) to make their points.

I’m not kidding, and the reason why I’m shocked is that because you’re generally rational in discussing issues, it’s ridiculous that you seem to be completely brainwashed into taking aside, and attributing your line of thinking to that side as it’s represented in the public debate. You are saying that you have a side, and it’s better and smarter and righter than the other side generally. That’s kind of silly. And you’re only paying attention to what the other side does wrong as evidence of what that “side” is thinking. But you insulate your side from being characterized by doing the same things, and generalizing their thinking based on the bad examples. Why?

You seem to be drawing the conclusion that my point was to denigrate liberals for using this lousy tactic. When really I don’t see it as tactic at all but rather a basic part of their belief system. Just as I don’t rail about spending as a tactic to garner support for republicans but rather because I don’t believe government should be spending what we don’t have. It’s part of my belief system.

No. Your point was to assert that conservatives don’t think a certain way even though many of the tactics and statements and arguments are the same, except from the different side. You’ve attributed your rational thinking on many points to a side and assumed a general content or approach because of the belief system.

No no no no. Conservatism and liberalism are ideologies that if adhered to make one stupid. I privilege pragmatism as an approach, which generally leads to an association with conservatism in government, liberalism in policies and principles for me.

Think to yourself about why conservatives would be against this health care bill and why liberals would be for it.

In the end, most likely, I’d say that it’s because they think it will work better for them in the end.

Liberals want it because they care about others, they want everyone to have good medical care, and the insurance companies don’t care about people only profits. The conservatives have a different take on the whole program but it does not include thinking the liberals are evil for wanting it, just misguided. They believe it will raise the cost, lower availability, and stifle innovation. A distinct difference in the way they look at it. The liberals believe those opposed are evil while the conservatives believe those in favor are just wrong.

That’s ALL Kool-Aid. That’s the stated position on both sides. I believe that the most important part of the conservative view is actually that this grossly over-empowers the fed in a manner that is very likely unconstitutional.

I mean really…REALLY…conservatives DON’T think or don’t express the issue as “evil liberal commie socialist attempts to destroy America”? See this, entitled The truth About Obama’s liberal fascist healthcare plan. It comes from this simple google search, liberals health care evil.

I’m not sure I can explain it much better than that. It’s not an attempt to denigrate anyone nor draw any conclusion on which is better, let alone righter. I’m not sure where you going with the enemy point but I’ll keep my eyes open in case I see one.

I never say your point was to denigrate liberals – I don’t understand your defense of conservatives. I realize you might feel a duty to, but as I always asserted your general rational approach here, and that there’s BS on both sides so that we can’t generalize about a side being “better” than another, I don’t see why you’re still worried about being accused of casting the other side as “bad.” But it’s a little upsetting that you don’t think you’re trying to assert which side is better – that’s exactly what you’re doing. You’re saying that conservatives approach the issue rationally, whereas liberals are deluded by their belief about who they are, often into acting in ways that aren’t in line with who they believe they are. They’ve been convinced that they should think the other side has an agenda against the people, or the other side, whereas the conservatives haven’t.

Really? Google liberals trying to destroy america or Obama socialist agenda or liberals hate facts and tell me whether that’s true. Just in case you’re wondering whether you weren’t really saying that conservatives didn’t think like liberals and just thought they’re side was right without all the taint of the whole “it’s the conservative/liberal/whatever evil agenda…a sampling:

In general, conservatives believe that the policies pursued by liberals are bad for the country. They believe the liberals are just flat wrong about their policies. Liberals on the other hand also believe that conservatives are wrong but they also believe their is some nefarious purpose behind it.

Obama’s ‘Nefarious and Malicious Intent’

I’m not saying the emotional response is only used on one side but that it is more prevalent on one side.

It’s not an attempt to denigrate anyone nor draw any conclusion on which is better,

Claiming that some want you to die quickly or steal their money however, does carry an implication of evil.

liberals want to steal your money

liberals want you to die

Etc.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

Generally you’re a lot more rational than this. I assume I’ve touched some nerve somewhere. You seem to think by calling my opinion ‘Bullshit’ that it is then totally repudiated. You want to assign a lot of statements to me that I didn’t make. Then use the old tactic of turning a tendency into an absolute. Clever, because if you can make it an absolute then any deviation becomes proof. It doesn’t work that way. There are no absolutes. But it allows you to dredge up the most obscure crazy bloggers and try to use them as proof that the theory is ‘Bullshit’. Nothing mainstream or relevant just just crazies that can’t really be put on either side of the spectrum. But if you can turn the tendency into an absolute, they become proof. I’m more than a little disappointed.

You seem to take offense to the idea that I embellished my answer. This is a discussion board. That’s what they’re for. Trying relegate me to a yes or no answer won’t work. And for clarity, Fluther is mostly Liberals. Or at least that is what the members think.

I never said one side is better, smarter. more logical, or more pragmatic. You made that up out of your own bias. You seem to want to continue with this enemies idea that I have neither stated nor endorsed. In the universe of competing ideas, looking at any opposition as the enemy doesn’t resolve anything. But knowing why someone is violently opposed to your position would seem useful.

I feel no obligation to support anyone. Nor is this by any strecth a defense of conservatives. It is however an attempt to understand why we are so violently opposed to each others views. Conservatives and liberals can look at the same problem and come up dramtically different answers. Their must be a reason for that and understanding why would seem to be a start on resolving the differences. You don’t like my theory, that much is obvious. You seem to feel that it somehow denigrates liberals. I don’t agree but what the hell, that’s your opinion.

You must have seen enough of my posts to knwo that merely saying it’s ‘Bullshit’ won’t shut me up. And the list of bloogers is really amusing. Most are so far out there you can’t tell what they are, liberal, conservative, nazi, anarchist, communist, or born again christian. At least when @SavoirFaire and a few others called me out on this they used real examples, a bit more mainstream. I could tell who they were atlking about and what ideology we were talking about. You don’t like my theory, make up your own.

Jaxk's avatar

Sorry about the spelling errors, the damned thing posted before I was finished.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

(1) I’m not trying to shut you up by saying your belief is bullshit. But your belief is that democrats believe there is some sinister motive on the other side, whereas conservatives do not. And I’m saying that’s bullshit, it’s a generalization, and as such is absolute. It’s talking about a common characteristic that one side has that is absent on the other side.

That makes the google searches (which was MILLIONS of references) extremely relevant. It shows the many on the “conservative” side that do work on fear. Please explain how that is not responsive.

(2) I never disagreed the Fluther is not a mainly liberal site. I just said Fluther is not liberals. Further, your bringing Fluther in undermines you complaining about my google searches because you use it as an example to show why and how your belief is valid. Again, either a tactic is valid or not – it is not valid when you use it, and invalid when used against you.

(3) Your conflict about the bloggers is exactly why it’s not really useful at all to talk about liberals and conservatives as we are more often dealing with people aligned with parties. So we have to talk about Democrats and Republicans, or perhaps right wing and left – but those are almost the same when we talk about opposition to the views of the other. The war is on the political front.

(4) Regardless of what you think the beliefs of others are, there are voting trends to look to that reveal who in which group votes one way or the other, listens to one politician or another, etc. You can’t discredit them through a whole “well those aren’t real conservatives/Christians/Democrats/etc.” argument.

(5) Determining where the real problem is is precisely the issue that I want to get at. But you don’t seem to understand that I’ve been saying that the enemy is the person trying to get us to fight, characterizing the other side with generalizations, etc. Saying “they want this…do you want to have that?” as an inflammatory tactic. When you say that such a thing is a liberal, but not conservative, move generally…that’s doing exactly the thing that’s divisive.

(6) I didn’t go “mainstream” because the debate is constantly public and involves all. But if you want mainstream, what about this:

RNC document mocks donors, plays on ‘fear’

The Republican National Committee plans to raise money this election cycle through an aggressive campaign capitalizing on “fear” of President Barack Obama and a promise to “save the country from trending toward socialism.”

The strategy was detailed in a confidential party fundraising presentation, obtained by POLITICO, which also outlines how “ego-driven” wealthy donors can be tapped with offers of access and “tchochkes.”

House Republicans are planning a show of force with a thumbs down vote on raising the national debt ceiling.

The Washington Post reported that the House is holding the vote after markets close on Wall Street in order to soften any potential investor shock. That means, in advance of a meeting of all 241 Republican representatives with the president Wednesday, what House Republicans are trying to do is scare President Barack Obama and other Democrats, but not scare anybody else. As they say in the real world, good luck with that.

Republicans continue to be their own worst enemy

But the Republican governors — like Ryan and his fellow Republicans in Congress — have pursued a more radical course that sharply disadvantages most Americans. Even worse, they have sought to enact their agendas without warning their constituents. Republicans did not run last year on a platform of ending collective bargaining, slashing school budgets and gutting Medicare — in essence, favoring society’s most powerful at the expense of everyone else — yet that’s precisely what they’ve done since gaining power. That’s not merely bad policy; it’s bad faith — and bad news for Republicans’ electoral prospects.

Perhaps I am misunderstanding what it is that you’re claiming. I believe that the current political climate is fueled in fairly equal measure by an attempt by one side of liberals trying to discredit the other side of conservatives and vice versa. I believe that you’re saying that it’s really only one side for the most part. And I respond that’s bullshit, and that’s part of what makes us divisive – people blaming the other side.

So…what is it that you’re saying.

iamthemob's avatar

Here’s the problem with all the vitriol in politics today: When we dehumanize people, we make them nothing more than zombie followers of a movement. No longer are conservatives and liberals actually people who live all around us, instead we have turned those who disagree with us into radical caricatures of the movements they identify with.

If you’re not willing to tell your liberal friend that he’s a socialist, American-hating, Nazi, then don’t brand liberals with any of the above titles. If you are willing to call your liberal friend those names, well, you probably won’t have any liberal friends.

The same holds true for liberals. Don’t throw those Islamophobic, fascist, extremist titles at conservatives, unless, of course, you just enjoy being unreasonable and annoying.

Is it too much to ask that we disagree, but do it politely and with tact? Disagreements are a necessary and central part of any democracy, but vitriolic name-calling isn’t necessary, and while it may be central to the politics of this democracy, it shouldn’t be.

If a conservative actually is Islamphobic, call him out on it, and condemn the views, but don’t automatically brand all conservatives as Islamophobic. Conversely, if a liberal really does think the Constitution is evil, challenge him on it, but don’t assume that all liberals want to throw Constitution out and replace it with Marx’s Communist Manifesto.

Civility has never been a strong point for this nation when heated political issues are in play. But as of late there has been an escalation of ad hominem attacks against whole movements. Ideas are still being offered up and debated in the public arena, but these ideas are all but obfuscated by the insults being hurled back and forth between ideological groups.

Judi's avatar

I think this will be the first time I ever “stopped following” my own question.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

Sorry I’m not biting on your any ‘generalization’ is an ‘absolute’ theory. Any time you group people for any reason, they will have traits in common and they will have differences. For instance if I say liberals (or Democrats) generally distrust big business and conservatives (or Republicans) generally distrust government. I believe that to be true but not absolute. Most have a healthy distrust for both but if push comes to shove, and they have to make a choice, Democrats will put their faith in government while Republicans will put their faith in business. That’s not an absolute. I dare say, you may find some Democrats that go the other way and may may find some Republicans that do as well. Finding a single or even a few that go the other way does not disprove the trend.

And frankly you need to separate this notion that fear is the same thing as distrust. I can fear someone without thinking they are trying to cheat me. And I can think someone is trying to cheat me without fearing them. Fear (at least the way we’ve been using it) is a tactic. Scare the voters into thinking the policies of the other side will be a disaster. Both sides do this. Fear can be more transient. when you find out it’s not as bad as you thought, the fear dissipates. Distrust however lingers. If I think you motives are bad, even a good outcome doesn’t necessarily alleviate the distrust.

For some reason you seem to think I’m trying to take a cheap shot at Democrats (I’ll use your word). You simply don’t trust my motives here. That’s unfortunate.

As for the rest of the post, I’m not sure why you railing against the Republicans since I see no connection with either what I’ve said or the question in general. As for your second post you seem to be asking us to play nice. I think I have and as proof, I submit that I haven’t called a single one of your posts ‘Bullshit’.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Jaxk The quantifiers on generalizations are vague. If one says something like “liberals do X, and conservatives do not do X,” the second clause may look like it says that no conservatives ever do X. When interpreted in that way, the statement is an absolute and would be falsified by any example of a conservative doing X.

Now, I take it you won’t disagree with that and will instead say the above is simply not the proper interpretation of anything you have said. The most anyone could reasonably interpret you as saying, you might reply, is that “most liberals do X, and most conservatives do not do X.” Fair enough. But “liberals” and “conservatives” here are broad terms that apply to much more than professional politicians. Thus it seems that examples from outside the mainstream may very well be relevant, especially if there are a lot of non-mainstream conservatives or conservative groups. We would need to look at the whole group (or at least a representative cross-section thereof) before making judgments about what most of its members do.

Finally, you might try to limit the proper interpretation of your position as “liberal politicians do X, and conservative politicians do not do X.” Of course, this wouldn’t include your own “General Betray Us” example, so we might have to expand the position from being about politicians to being about the mainstream political apparatus (politicians and the PACs that support them, plus whatever other qualifications you’d like to include). To this, one might respond with campaign advertisements like this one from George W. Bush.

In the end, I’m just not sure these sorts of comparisons are worthwhile. When a technique works—or at least looks like it works—there will be people on all sides who rush to employ it. Might as well focus on the issues themselves in the main.

jerv's avatar

Time to grab some popcorn and pull up a ringside seat.

Jaxk's avatar

@SavoirFaire

It’s not the proper interpretation of what I said because it’s not what I said. What I said was:

“In general, conservatives believe that”........blah blah blah.

When I said “in general,” that means it’s not an absolute. It’s a common tendency, a trait shared among many. We’re down to arguing the definition of “In general” how did this happen.

I don’t mean to criticize as I know you’re trying to help but if I change the statement as you suggest It means something different. You are suggesting that I change it to a technique, it’s not a technique or a tactic. At least I don’t believe it is. So if I change it as you suggest, I’d be arguing something I don’t believe. And then you go back to ‘fear mongering’, which really is a tactic. Even with a generalization I’d be hard pressed to say which side uses that tactic more.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk – I’m not asking anyone to play nice. I’m certainly not. I simply expect more from you. You have a serious blind spot that seems to not allow you to see what the criticism is.

In your response to @SavoirFaire above, you claim that he has improperly interpreted what you said. Then you paraphrase, but the blind spot is exactly where you type “blah blah blah”...because that’s where you have the general assertion about liberals.

The problem is not in any of the generalities you claim about any of the groups. I believe in most of what you said. But that blah blah blah is important because it is in the comparison between conservatives and liberals that you privilege and exalt (strong word, yes) conservatives above liberals. They do not do this bad thing that liberals do generally because it is much more their tactic. I’ve never said that you wanted to degrade liberals. But you are refusing to see the common occurrence of the same tactics in the conservative community that you claim are the liberal tactics.

The absolute generality that is a problem results not from talking about one side or the other but how you compare the two. You omit qualities that are prevalent in the conversation from the conservative side.

That you discount, excuse, requalify, dismiss, the literally millions of examples that I provided, clearly without looking at all of them, shows the problem with your opinion. It is also the reason for so much of the disagreement. You freely criticize what is done by people you disagree with, and do not see it when you do it yourself, or find a reason for it.

Nope. It’s all bad.

The opinion again that’s bullshit is that liberals think conservatives have bad intentions more than conservatives think liberals do. That is a qualitative difference. It is absolute because it is talking about the categories as categories and not making claims about each individual in the categories.

So: explain to me how you can possibly defend that liberals have the “nefarious” characteristic where conservatives really don’t.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

I didn’t paraphrase I quoted, The blah blah blah was just to keep from entering the entire paragraph. Are you studying for some kind of psychotherapy degree and practicing on me. Cause if you are, you should be worried about failing the class. I’ve had my words picked apart before but come on. Claiming that you can’t understand what “in general” means. Claiming the if you don’t trust someone that somehow makes you a bad person. And really ridiculous is the idea that if the Republicans are not trusted that means I’m moving them to some exalted position. For god’s sake read your own words. The more I tell you it’s not a tactic, the more you drift aimlessly on saying it’s a tactic.

I’m beginning to think this is not so much about what I said as it is about anger that you’re all so transparent. As for your list, I think you’re the one that needs to go back and look at it. Hell a large number of those are liberals denigrating Republicans. And just to be clear, only about ¼ of the country is Republican and lot more than that don’t like Obama. Just because someone proffers distaste for Obama does not make them a conservative nor Republican.

Your whole argument is so full of holes I could drain spaghetti with it.

Jaxk's avatar

Hey @jerv pass the popcorn. And if you don’t mind, pour me a drink while you up. I could use it.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Jaxk You’ll note that I didn’t actually assert that you said any of those things. I simply made a point about the different ways that people might interpret a generalization and the problems facing them relative to this conversation. At no point did I presume which, if any of them, you meant. If I was asserting anything, it was that there’s just no point in making any of these generalizations.

As for my single use of the word “technique,” I was talking about liberals and conservatives using appeals to emotions. While you started off saying that liberals and conservatives differ in attitude—something that my own experience does not bear out—the conversation quickly drifted to the prevalence of emotional appeals (you did so yourself as far back as your second post on this thread).

My point, then, was that as long as we the people keep responding to these appeals, or as long as politicians believe we are responding to them, there will be people on all sides willing to employ them. And as far as the evidence I have available is concerned, all sides use them in roughly equal measure.

This is not limited to liberals and conservatives, either. Left-libertarians, right-libertarians, populists, socialists, et cetera all do it as well.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk – I notice you didn’t actually answer my question. I ask you to show me what leads you to believe that liberals generally suspect a nefarious purpose in conservative assertions or beliefs where conservatives don’t believe the same about liberals (I actually attempted to keep tactics out of that one).

I also ask you explain how it is that you understand the beliefs of liberals. Is it through things that they say about conservatives?

My only claim here is that, “generally.” distrust is rampant, and those who have a pulpit attempt to exploit that distrust, turn it into fear, or anger, etc., to motivate voting behavior, policy support, etc., regardless of affiliation.

So, this is my challenge to you:

(1) Show that liberals believe that there is a nefarious purpose in conservative ideology in a manner that shows that the same belief is not shared in any similar degree by conservatives about liberals.

(2) Explain how you have come to understand how it is that liberals as opposed to conservatives hold their beliefs, without reference to the actual rhetorical tactics and strategies they use in argument about the nefarious tactics of the conservative position.

If you can do (1), I’ll be amazed. If you can do (2), I’ll be stupefied. The only way one becomes aware of the beliefs of others is through what they express in language. when talking about politics and government, we often, even if unintentionally, use certain rhetorical tactics to convince others that our position is the better one. Those who the tactics are used on will tend to notice them with greater sensitivity until every time one is used, the response is “typical _______.”

In many ways, this rehashes what @SavoirFaire has said above. I believe there is no real difference in attitude between liberals and conservatives. That position is, in fact, the default until proven otherwise. If you do believe otherwise, as it seems you do, you should be called to task to defend that belief, and you should be able to do so strongly, quickly, and clearly. The difficulty is that you must show not only that the attitude is generally present in one group, but generally absent from the other. I believe that the non-productive aspects of the attitudes are exploited for political gain by many in power on both sides, but neither has a clear majority in use. Those rhetorical tactics, emotional appeals, etc., etc., trickle down from politicians to the general population, and many times vice versa. But it’s exactly that rhetoric and those appeals that we often use to form our opinions about the belief systems or attitudes of the ever-present “them.” Which is why where you see “beliefs” separate from “tactics,” I see them as inextricably linked, particularly in the political arena.

I am not sure what you mean when you talk about claims about not knowing what generally means, or claims about distrust making someone a bad person, etc. In all reality, I don’t think personally I’ve made any claims about the actual moral character of an individual in this discussion.

I do talk about “enemies.” I do talk about how you are contributing to the problem. I stand by those assertions/statements. I firmly believe that anyone attempting to give you a reason to disagree with a position statement before they point out what they actually agree on is the person to be distrusted. But that’s more and more of what we see, and when we try to show that one side or the other “distrusts” more, the only point can be to foment distrust.

For me, the word “them” is rarely problematic in generally open discussions of most any particular group. “Them” only becomes problematic when it is used to differentiate from “us.”

Jaxk's avatar

@SavoirFaire

It is always dangerous to use generalizations. I would agree with that. However they are common and serve a useful purpose as well. As example, Blacks generally vote Democratic. That’s not an absolute but the generalization can be useful in determining why and addressing the major reasons a voting block of this size would be so solidly in the democratic camp. Are these reasons real or imagined. If rel what can be done to fix it, if imagined what can be done to change the perception.

Whether we like it or not we all get categorized continuously into groups, male , female, black, white, Hispanic, conservative, liberal, rich, poor, the list goes on. The government asks you to categorize yourself on many of these as do pollsters and any number of organizations.

And yes, everyone will use this information help improve products or policies or garner favor with those groups. So while generalizations can be dangerous, they are useful in developing strategies and tactics. If you can understand the basic belief system you can develop tactics to mitigate the misconceptions. Ideally that’s how it would work.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

Whew, I was beginning to think I was the windiest person on Fluther. I’m glad to see I’ve been relegated to the position of rank amateur. So let me see if I can define this succinctly yet comprehensively. Quite a task.

First, if we are to evaluate difference between Liberals and conservatives or between Democrats and Republicans (for the remainder of this I’ll use political parties to simply things) we must be able to identify those groups. That’s why I can’t use your Google search. I can’t identify who is a Republican, Democrat, or other. Simply saying if they hate Obama they must be Republican is erroneous at best. That’s why I was trying to stick with mainstream media and political figures, so I could tell the affiliation of the speaker.

You seem to want me to publish some sort of thesis or research paper to back up what I see as a trend but honestly Fluther is a poor vehicle for that. It is more conversational. If I was aware of any research done on the subject I would post it. Unfortunately I’m not.

You say I can’t point out the differences without first addressing the commonalities. I think you’re asking for too much on a fluther post and frankly more than you’ll get on most research papers. You’re initial reaction to my theory was ‘Bullshit’. OK that’s fine. The typical response to any theory that challenges our sensibilities is ‘Bullshit’. Whether that theory gains acceptance or not. You seem to feel I’m being divisive by pointing out differences. I would disagree. I think understanding our differences will help to resolve them but hopefully not eliminate them. Differences have a place and can be good.

Now as to your rules. I feel no obligation to play the rules you set forth. Nor is it my intent to convince you or anyone else, I’m right. If I’m able to merely get some on here to think about the issue, I will have accomplished a lot. Even if they continue to disagree with me. Generally (there I go again), if someone puts a little thought into an issue they will come up with a better response than ‘Bullshit’ or my position is the gold standard and unless you can disprove me, I won’t consider it (I’m paraphrasing what I think you said above), So you put forth a test, a set of criteria that says basically, until I can get you to say I’m right, I am wrong. Quite a test and one where I will surely fail. Nonetheless, I’ll give it one more shot. Not because I think I can climb this Mt. Olympus, but rather for the amusement of anyone still following this thread.

The crux of my argument lies in the intent. Not so much whether you’re for or against a particular issue but rather why you’re for or against it. The Republicans generally center around fiscal issues, arguing whether we can afford a certain program and the disastrous results of over spending. And that those opposed will push us into bankruptcy or leave tremendous debt for our children. Sure there’ll be the occasional argument that Democrats want us to go bankrupt but that’s not the norm. Democrats on the other hand will argue that we need to help the poor, the down trodden, the sick. Those opposed are uncaring and just want to make money at your expense.

There’s a difference in there that is subtle. The difference I see is that the Republicans are arguing what will result. The Democrats are arguing that Republicans want that result. I could look at virtually any issue but let’s look at illegal immigration. Remember that I’m summarizing virtually thousand of positions so this should provide great fodder for your objections.

Democrats will argue that we need to resolve the illegal immigration through citizenship. They need a living wage, housing, schooling we need to be more compassionate and make them contributing member, of our society. They will argue that those opposed to this are uncaring and want to keep the illegal immigration so that they can make a profit off them, keep their wages down and profit off them. Of course there’ll also be all the racial arguments that Republicans are racists or worse. The Republicans will argue that we simply can’t afford the influx. that they cost the system way more than they contribute to it. That the states and federal government will go bankrupt. And that we are letting in more criminal element.

Now if I look at these what I see are somewhat different arguments. The Democrats are arguing that Republicans actually want the bad results while the Republicans are arguing that those will be the result (not that the Democrats want those results).

Now I’m sure you will be able to come up with exceptions but that is the basic point I’m trying to make. If you believe that puts the Democrats in a bad light, so be it. If you think that is exalting the Republicans, c’est la vie. If you think that’s being divisive, Hell, we’re already pretty divided.

jerv's avatar

Just as an aside, I have to wonder in the back of my mind how many comedians would be out of work if there wasn’t such a massive divide between Liberals and Conservatives that people on both sides do things that make great fodder and give them so much material to turn into jokes.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

First, you claim that the google references are not usable because you cannot identify who is liberal or conservative (L/C), because: Simply saying if they hate Obama they must be Republican is erroneous at best.

However:
– Clicking on the links should reveal whether the author considers themselves L/C quickly.
– Further, two of the searches were lists of posts and sites badmouthing liberals generally. It’s dishonest to claim we can’t tell whether those authors consider themselves L/C when people generally don’t badmouth their own group.

Second, you claim: That’s why I was trying to stick with mainstream media and political figures, so I could tell the affiliation of the speaker.

However:
– then you’re discussing pundits and politicians, which all have as much motivation to sound interesting or thrilling as they do in actually expressing their position factually. You from the beginning have stated that you believe the suspicion of conservatives to be part of the liberal belief system. You kept criticizing me for referring to tactics and rhetoric instead. BUT if you’re using the media, pundits, and politicians as the reference points, so much of their careers are based on proving they are right, and the other guy is wrong – they are almost all tactics and rhetoric.
– You are also limiting the sample size when if we want to see the real difference we must expand it.

Third, you claim that I want a thesis or research paper.

YOU’RE ACTUALLY RIGHT!

- But you state: If I was aware of any research done on the subject I would post it. Unfortunately I’m not.

My concern is that if you come to a conclusion about a widespread difference about the tactics of parties such that you’re willing to defend it over and over and over again, knowledge of this kind of research is exactly what you should have. Otherwise, you’re trying to state that one side is slinging mud and the other is not…because that’s just what you think and see? How does starting off the conversation like that help?

Fourth, you state: You say I can’t point out the differences without first addressing the commonalities.

However:
– I stated nothing of the kind. My statement was regarding those who start off by pointing out how two groups are different. Because, if the point is to figure out what’s best, to start off by claiming that one side does other things the other doesn’t, etc., that are outside the scope of the actual issue at hand, can only begin the discussion with a divisive tone.

Fifth, you state: You seem to feel I’m being divisive by pointing out differences. I would disagree. I think understanding our differences will help to resolve them but hopefully not eliminate them. Differences have a place and can be good.

However:
– You above state yourself that you have no knowledge of research supporting the difference you assert. So until we know most clearly the difference exists, we should not claim that it does. Yes, if we know the differences, we can discuss them. We should. But it does nothing to support your assertion of difference unless separately we know that the difference is an accurate one.

Sixth, you state that: Generally (there I go again), if someone puts a little thought into an issue they will come up with a better response than ‘Bullshit’ or my position is the gold standard and unless you can disprove me, I won’t consider it (I’m paraphrasing what I think you said above),

However:
– you’ve stated that you don’t know of research supporting your opinion. I stated from the beginning that you need to have strong evidence to make such a claim about the difference in the groups. I’m saying that your assertion about the difference is bullshit because no real evidence or research shows that it’s accurate. I stated that you can’t show your claim about the difference to be true, and you seem to admit that. I ask you to do so, and you refuse because I’m asking too much.

No…I’m asking you to do the actual work that you should have done already in order to form the opinion about the difference that you have.

Seventh: you then try to show how your position is accurate – by using a script that you claim shows how the arguments go…without any actual evidence or reference. It is simply how you believe the argument goes generally…which seems clearly based on your belief that liberals have this belief that makes them argue this way.

However:
– Circular reasoning.

Lastly: You bring up casting the Dems in a bad light.

Again. Please, please, please provide me a single instance of where I claimed you were improperly asserting certain beliefs about liberals or Democrats. I’ve stated outright that’s not my issue. I don’t care. And, for at least the second time, I cast them in the SAME bad light myself in my very first comment. I have been exhausting myself trying to explain how for everything you claim the Democrats or liberals believe there’s a good old Republican or conservative equivalent. You have to do the work necessary to claim this because clearly it’s a claim that ticks people off. If you are interested in furthering the discussion, you’ll figure out if it’s right, or stop making it publicly.

M O S T T R O U B L I N G

Even though you admit you don’t have research or studies to back up your opinion, and even though you offer up no single actual reference to show that you aren’t just working off what you believe to be the case to prove what you believe to be correct, you, in advance, dismiss any examples I might put forward as already determined to be “exceptions.”

This despite the fact that a key element you left out of the Republican script seems to be an accusation that Dems want an immigrant flood because illegal immigrants vote Democrat.

But you know, we could also consider how there’s that extra twinge of fear that you get in a down economy when you constantly refer to all policies from the Democrats as job-killing (that link is to the House Majority Leader’s official web page – please count how many times “job-killing” shows up).

In the end…if you have no actual proof of your assertion, and it only serves to put Democrats or liberals on the immediate defensive…why is it an assertion worth defending?

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

Let me try to address your issues. You seem to put great store in your Google search. I can’t help but wonder if you actually looked at the postings. So I went through the first page of two identical searches one with liberal and one with conservative. then tried to briefly summarize the results.

I took your link liberals are trying to destroy america and evaluated the first page of posts. I came up with the following conclusions:

1. Video of two Senators talking about education (both for it) (didn’t watch it)
2. Video of a guy responding to a conservative post. May or may not be liberal
3. Liberal (presumably) railing against conservatives (conservatism is a scam designed to ruin this country)
4. Conservative (presumably) railing against liberals (Liberals do not know better)
5. conservative (presumably) railing agaist liberls, harshly (But, again, these liberals think they are doing a good thing)
6. Conservative railing against liberals (The objective of the liberals is to destroy this country)
7. Video (affiliation unclear) discussing a conservative ad (not much content)
8. British article about muslims (questionable relevance)
9. Article about the destruction of America. (Affiliation unclear, presumably conservative)
10. Blog post railing against aetheists. (presumably christian) no relevance
11. Question on a discussion board (No party affiliation)

Then I did the same search unsing conservatives are trying to destroy america and got the following results:

1. The Right-Wing Is Trying to Destroy America’s Children (media Matters, presumably liberal) the actual text of the article is more rational.
2. Harry Reid (Democrat) The anti-worker, anti-woman, anti-Obama Republican agenda
3. Republicans Are Willing to Destroy America to Win Elections (affiliation unclear but sympathetic to democrats)
4. Because conservatives are trying to destroy America (no affiliation) details not there.
5. Discussion thread, details too obscure to evaluate.
7. article about the stimulus bill (presumably democrat) So do they hate America, and want to destroy us, or do they hate Obama so much they are willing to sacrifice our country
8. Does the left wing claim Conservatives plan to destroy America in a sad attempt to Gin up their clueless base? Question on a discussion board (afiliation unknown)
9. Article in the Daily KOS (presumably Democrat) AlQueda and the republican party have the same ideaological plan. Divide and destroy America
10. Article about NPR (presumably liberal) right-wing jihad
11. Article espousing civil debate (presumably Conservative) let’s be level-headed and fair

The evaluation is not as simple as you think but is possible. I’ve tried to label those where the affiliation isn’t listed but likely one or the other. And I’ve tried to summarize in a short phrase the applicable statement. Again this is a short sanmple but taken at random on the first page of each search.

On the first search (liberals trying to destroy America) I found one post from a Republican that says the liberals are trying to destroy America. three that say they are destroying America, two of which actually say it is through ignorance rather than malice. And two were actually liberals railing against republicans. The rest had little bearing on our issue.

On the conservatives are trying to destroy America list however I got a quite different picture. 7 said Republicans were intentionally trying to destroy the country or had evil intent. One was actually a Conservative calling for rational debate. The rest either were unable to determine party affiliation or were not pertinent.

So in this short sample I get 7 to 1 on the evil intent scale. Since you’re such a stickler for research, you may want to check my work. I’ll continue on another post since I don’t want my browser to lose this work.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

Yes I am limiting the sample size to those where I can determine the affiliation. If I can’t tell whether it a crazy anarchist or just a libertarian, it skews the results. Surely a research giant such as yourself would know that. And whether it’s a pundit, politician, or layman, the philosophy and ideology come through. I believe it to be valid.

Now we get a very interesting point. You want a research paper or thesis. Why am I so special that you would pick me for this. If everyone on Fluther had to do that before they could express an opinion, there would be no one on Fluther, INCLUDING YOURSELF. But I’ve done the small sample I presented above and found enough evidence to pursue my theory. Which by the way is quite common. First comes the theory then the research to either prove or disprove it.

As to your “However” to the fourth point, I say Bullshit. Show me some research that supports that point.

Your fifth point seems ridiculous on it’s face. If I say ” the traffic lights all seem to be green on my way to work”. You could respond with ‘Bullshit, you’ve done no research on that’. Or you might respond with “yes, they are timed, that’s why that happens”. I would contend that the first response is more divisive.

As for your sixth point, I would say ‘No, your merely being argumentative’ because you don’t seem to like the point I made. I gave numerous example of what I saw all were discounted in your ‘Bullshit’ response.

Your seventh point is a self fulfilling prophesy. You claim my bias skews my example so you don’t need to evaluate it. If you don’t look at it, it remains Bullshit. Thus creating the illusion that it doesn’t matter.

Lastly, of course I’m working off what I believe. Hell, I’ve said that numerous times. And you’re only now getting that point. “tap, tap, tap,.... is this thing on? And quite frankly I might have not dismissed your examples if you had actually done any evaluation of them yourself. Of course if you had, you probably wouldn’t have used them since they tend to support my argument as shown above.

As for the Immigration increasing the roles of Democratic voters. That is a good point. I left it out on purpose to see if you were reading my posts. Also I find it to be less frequently used and seldom in the mainstream. That’s my opinion and yours would carry equal weight.

In conclusion, with the small sample we have (22 posts) Picked by random chance, I get a 7 – 1 ratio favoring democrats as more likely to assign evil intent to Republicans. It doesn’t resolve the issue but provides support for more evaluation and less bullshit.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk – I do applaud the effort going through the posts and seeing what was going on. Not that I’m a stickler for pagerank as the appropriate way to pull out the most important examples—but just note that (and this is my bad) the liberals destroying America thread does not link to the first but second page of that Google search.

That said, comparing the two pages is an interesting exercise, but the research required for you to be able to defend your opinion is exhaustive. I don’t want to go back to the old argument of what you need to know before you express your opinion. But what’s happening here is that you insist on defending an opinion as valid even though it has no real factual support.

And I never claimed that you might not be right. I just doubt highly that you are. What I do think is more likely is that the party not in power at the time that makes claims about the destructive tendencies of the other side. Where the power is heavily contested, those claims become so common on both sides that it’s just out of control.

What I would suggest more than pursuing random research on this would be to look back at, the time period prior to and leading up to the Congressional elections. How the Tea Party frames the arguments is often an indicator of that time I think. It also depends on what the topic of the moment is.

Consider gay marriage. I don’t consider the opponents to it really conservative on that point, but they do. When the discussion is surrounding that, you generally see the argument from liberals (most of the pro-gay marriage proponents I’d argue) stating that it’s about seeking equivalent civil rights. The conservative argument that might be considered the rational counter to that is that they are seeking “special rights.” Accepting the rationality of that position only for arguments sake, the arguments from conservatives on this issue is not merely that, but goes beyond to claim that gay marriage is a step in an agenda to destroy the American family and morals generally, to allow pedophiles to roam free, etc.

Perhaps the problem that we’re having, therefore, is not that we should be looking at the general data, but rather where and why one side asserts or believes that the other side has the “extra evil points.”

Now, regarding your assertions on my points: on the fourth, “only” was probably too strong a word. I’ll say that overwhelmingly, when you opine that people who disagree with you do so because of an extra negative quality or unfair belief about you that your side does not have about them, you’ll end up putting them on the defensive. This general reaction to an accusation is the basis of the Tu Quoqu, a very common fallacy in which one attempts to defend oneself or another from criticism by turning the critique back against the accuser. This is a classic Red Herring since whether the accuser is guilty of the same, or a similar, wrong is irrelevant to the truth of the original charge. However, as a diversionary tactic, Tu Quoque can be very effective, since the accuser is put on the defensive, and frequently feels compelled to defend against the accusation.

To the fifth, you stated that you felt that pointing out differences helped clarify issues sometimes, and that it was important to do so. I agree, but you should be certain that the differences actually exist. If you’re not, we end up going down this road. ;-)

To the sixth, I called out the assertion that liberals believe that conservatives have evil intentions but that conservatives did not believe the same about liberals as bullshit because it’s just one of those things that can’t be proven. It can’t be shown. Mostly because it relies on a claim that someone knows what their opponents are really thinking in general, but also because there is such diversity in the public debate it seems pointless to make it. Particularly because we can always talk about it when we’re discussing an actual policy issue:

(1) This tax break would spur business, says the conservative.
(2) It would not, says the liberal, because it would end up costing x jobs putting a resource drain on the economy. Also, you just want the tax break because it’s part of your plan.
(3) Let’s talk about the issue at hand and not be paranoid, response the conservative.

Scene. ;-)

To the seventh…I don’t think you got what I wrote. I think that’s mostly because it’s not written well – I couldn’t figure out how to make my assertion clear. My main problem was that I wanted you to show me how what you said was objectively demonstrable.

For me, the problem is not that you have the opinion, it’s not really that you state it. Rather…well, as an example from my life, I don’t like the mainstream media. I think it’s a real problem. However I to this day hold that FOX is much more the villain than MSNBC etc. BUT, there is so much media that I may only be perking up when I hear FOX to find the problems. So I try not to state it very often because I don’t want to be called out on it.

My main problem is that we’ve gotten to the point where people feel as if they have the right to have an opinion is so strong that it matters less and less whether it’s correct when they’re questioned on it. Opinions become more relevant to the discussion because people feel like they’re more and more valuable and so state them more and more and refuse to acknowledge criticism of their opinion because it’s their right to state it.

I think we’d all be better off if we just tried to figure out whether, if called upon, we’d have objective proof to support it.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

The debate has been exhaustive. To be honest I don’t put any credence in the Google analysis even though it came out as it did. I just don’t see any validity to it. Even if I’d used the second page.

I think there is a major difference in our starting point and that may account for some of the disagreement. You say “I believe there is no real difference in attitude between liberals and conservatives”. And any deviation from that standard needs to be proven. A false baseline. We know that persoanlities are quite different and most if not all have taken some sort of personality test to show whether they are emotional, assertive, analytical, or submissive. The labels change a lot depending on the individual test, but that’s the basic idea. During my time on Askville, someone submitted one of these tests and everyone (or at least a lot) took it and shared the results. You could easily discern the political affiliation by the results of the test.

That’s why creative people, actors, writers, tend to be liberal while analytical people accountants, business people, tend to be conservative. Not trying to start another flame war but this point is at the root of my argument. If you see a tend, you may ask why but if you never acknowledge the trend you’ll never understand the differences. IMHO

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk – I actually never argued that the baseline was no difference and it needed to be proven. I argued that the assertion that there was a greater belief among liberals as opposed to conservative that the opposing ideology was populated by people with sinister intentions.

Where we see the accusations about the real “agenda” of the other side bandied about constantly, and there’s a history of it being more prevalent on one side than another at various and alternating times, if we are to argue or opine that one side does it more than another, we should have a good amount of evidence or assume that it’s based on the fact that we feel the accusations more because they’re against us.

Your assertion about creatives v. accountants, for instance, is slightly flawed in that we’re more likely talking about very specific points – the divisions between social/political/economic conservativism/liberalism. And inevitably, when it comes to “our money” we all tend to favor the tax policies that favor us.

Let’s break it down issue wise. I would argue that conservatives tend to fear a liberal agenda that is meant to destroy what they see as their way of life or their country when it comes to the “gay agenda” against the family, children and Christians, the “Islamist agenda” against the Constitution and Christians, and the “atheist agenda” against God. They look at any defense of civil rights for the groups or arguments in their favor as “just the beginning” and with the purpose of stomping the opposition down completely.

Let’s look at a common example: gay sexual education. Conservatives (?) typically seem to look at this as an assault on their morals, an attempt to undermine parental authority, even an attempt to recruit or promote the “gay lifestyle.”

Do you agree or disagree with the above? Why or why not? And if you do agree, wouldn’t those types of particular beliefs of a nefarious liberal agenda bleed throughout conservative perspectives to make it difficult to say that liberals think there is a nefarious conservative agenda ”‘more often”?

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

Actually no, I don’t agree. The problem I have is that when you try to lump everyone into these categories on broader social issues, things begin to blur. For instance, I think it’s safe to say that blacks are more liberal or at least they tend to vote Democratic. Yet when Gay marriage comes up they tend to vote against it. Did they suddenly switch ideologies? My point is not about where we stand on a particular issue but more about how we got there. Our approach to solving a problem and how we communicate with each other. If we understand the basic differences we can better communicate.

For instance I have no problem saying that Conservatives believe liberals think they are better than them That liberals think they are smarter, more caring, more open to ideas. While liberals are more likely to think that conservatives are more likely to have a hidden agenda, or sinister motive. It doesn’t matter whether these perceptions are accurate only that we acknowledge that they’re there.

Hell, there have been numerous books written on how men and women communicate. How their thought processes differ. It doesn’t matter whether these differences are inherited from birth or learned so long as we understand them and learn to compensate in our communications. Frankly, a trick I’ve never been good at.

I also don’t believe this is merely a result of the current political climate even though it may have risen closer to the surface. So whether our differences are real or whether we’re merely miscommunicating doesn’t matter. I’ll go on with my delusion, while you’ll continue think ‘the poor deluded bastard’.

iamthemob's avatar

For instance I have no problem saying that Conservatives believe liberals think they are better than them That liberals think they are smarter, more caring, more open to ideas. While liberals are more likely to think that conservatives are more likely to have a hidden agenda, or sinister motive. It doesn’t matter whether these perceptions are accurate only that we acknowledge that they’re there.

Alright – so is it fair to say then that your position therefore is that you feel that this is the case, it is your perception of it, but that objectively you don’t know whether or not it’s true, and therefore express it more as a limitation in your view and a way that it potentially biases your assessment?

If that’s the case, then I 100% agree that it’s valuable to express that. And it’s valuable to defend it, as showing the cases where it does seem to happen bring into question that the problems the other side has with the opposition may be partially created by their own beliefs.

This would be the same as me stating earlier my problem with FOX News – I have a knee-jerk reaction against what they report because of the style they report it in but also because of a general tendency to take a position I don’t agree with.

My problem would then be solely with the manner of your expression, in that you state your opinion as very likely one that is accurate and true, or the implication is that it is objectively defensible. But when you don’t agree with my statement because you have difficulty with lumping everyone into categories, and therefore talk about the differences of the comparison between liberals and conservatives, your admitting the complexity of the question with regard to who believes what in each category.

In fact, the reason why you don’t agree with my statements about the conservative position is precisely the reason why I don’t agree with your attempt to defend your opinion on the beliefs of liberals – what you say is true, but because of the complexity and overlap in many belief systems, it varies at times, across issues, geographically, through time, in various age groups, and so on.

Further support against using these ideological categories as valuable in terms of comparison is in your argument here and elsewhere about the difficulty in determining membership in one or the other. We know what they think they are in terms of libs or cons. But consistency in applying those ideologies varies greatly. In many ways, voting against gay marriage is consistent with a liberal philosophy in that it is approval of government regulation of personal affairs. When conservatives vote against it, they are also in many ways being anti-conservative, because as much as they are voting “traditional values” they are attempting to increase both state and federal regulation of families, contrary to a personal liberty perspective.

Therefore, the problem in the debate is so often that we assume things about the other in an inappropriately broad manner. It’s about prejudice. So arguing whether or not it’s a valid opinion that liberals do something negative is a catch-22 because yes, it is probably valid, but also it is admitting one’s own bias in their approach. You listen differently when you think someone believes you have a hidden agenda, just as you do when you think that someone thinks they are smarter than you. You read a tone where there may be one, but there may be none. You find that you believe your suspicions are proven much more quickly than you do if you don’t hold them.

That’s why I argue that your opinion is part of the problem – it is not that you are saying something untrue about liberals, but rather that in doing so and through your defense of the opinion it appears that you don’t accept the responsibility for the bias and prejudices that such a belief entails. This isn’t accusatory because I don’t think that’s your intent, but that’s how it seems to me.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

Well, you’ve certainly painted me into a corner. If I defend my position it proves my bias. and if I’m biased my views can’t be trusted. It is only by agreeing with you that I can be objective thus showing the validity of my position. But at that point my position becomes your position which by default becomes the correct one. I think you may be becoming to enamored by your own psychoanalysis.

Yes you do listen differently when believe someone has a hidden agenda or thinks they are smarter than you. The resolution however is not to ignore that problem but rather to know it exists. It is not the acknowledgement of a particular trait that is the problem but rather the denial that it exists, that’s part of the problem.

I think you’re still trying to assign a value judgement to my point where it really doesn’t exist. You seem to think that if I say liberals don’t trust conservatives that I’ve made a value judgement on their logic or intelligence or some other such thing. We continue to argue this value judgement rather the issue at hand. No value judgement has been proffered nor implied.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk – Shall I not point out that, for the second time above, I pointed out my own acknowledged bias?

I haven’t painted you in a corner. We all have biases. Let’s break all this down.

(1) You’ve stated that liberals distrust conservative motives. I’ve stated that’s reasonable…repeatedly.

(2) You also state they do it to an extent that conservatives don’t. I think that’s a feeling or belief that is not shown clearly in any way by what we know. Do you agree or disagree that we can show you are correct?

(3) You argued that attributing certain argument patterns to conservatives is complicated because of the diverse makeups. I state that undermines an assertion of yours that you can validly claim that liberals can have certain argument patterns because of the same. Do you agree or disagree that it does so?

(4) You agree that you listen differently to someone when you assume that with their position they think a certain thing about you, or when you believe something about that group’s thinking. I claim that means that if you lump liberals together with a certain attitude, it tends to bias your analysis of their position at times. Do you agree or disagree with my claim?

Beyond those points and questions, you are now saying that I’m assigning a value judgment to your opinion. You have ignored, yet again, what I have said over and over again: I don’t disagree (see point (1) above). I disagree that you can show that they do it somehow more than conservatives, because of points that you seem to agree with. I disagree with the difference that you seem to think that there is, because of the various issues associated with the lumping together of groups, the crossovers between them, etc.

The issue of arguments and biases is a complex one. I argue now, after you have avoided my direct question above, that you see that it is complex when dealing with conservatives as a group, but refuse to do so when talking about liberals.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

I know you want to squeeze me into a corner, admit I could be wrong and then write the observation off as political bias. It’s not that easy. Could I be wrong? Of course. Anyone that says they can’t be wrong is only kidding themselves. How ‘bout you. Could your opinion be wrong? Could it be that your own political bias simply won’t let you see what would be fairly obvious to others?

Yes I said the Google search made it difficult to identify the affiliation of the speaker. That doesn’t mean it is difficult to do, only that it is difficult from a Google search. Hell I couldn’t tell the gender either. That doesn’t mean you can’t tell the difference between male and female.

“You argued that attributing certain argument patterns to conservatives is complicated because of the diverse makeups. I state that undermines an assertion of yours that you can validly claim that liberals can have certain argument patterns because of the same.”

What was that and where did you get it? I never made any distinction like that. Hell, I grouped conservatives as well and made a general assessment. The truth is people are grouped all the time,black, white, rich, poor, old, young, rural, city you name it. Those groups are then used to make general assessments of what types of programs or arguments might work with those groupings. How do we get the black vote or the women’s vote, or the Hispanic vote. You may explain the same policy differently in each of these settings.

Grouping conservative, liberal is no different. No one likes to be grouped but they all are. And like it or not there are characteristics in common in any grouping. I’ve claimed that liberal put more faith in Government and conservatives put more faith in the Free Market. That is the same grouping and the same kind of assessment. You’re argument that these groups are too complex to make an assessment is simply wrong. They have traits in common.

As for your number 4, NO, I don not agree. If what you said is true then no analysis could ever be done between differing groups because of the bias of the analyzer.

I’m trying to be care and answer all your questions because if I miss one you seem to interpret that as some evasive or subliminal maneuver.

As for your number 2, I disagree. I’ve provided numerous examples and shown the fallacy of counter examples. I tried very hard not to get wound up in your Google search because I didn’t think it was a good tool. You badgered me into using and when it came up different than you wanted you simply moved on. Basically you won’t accept what I present even if I use your own criteria. Now you want me to say I can’t show it, simply because you won’t hear it. Sorry I won’t do that.

Your argument has boiled down the same thing as calling some one a drunk. If they deny it, that’s proof that they are. The more data I provide or arguments I make is only proof of my bias and therefore can be dismissed. And now, like a schoolmarm standing over a kid saying “admit it, you made that up”, you expect me to say, yeah it doesn’t really work that way. Unfortunately I’m not a kid. And it does work that way.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

For a person who claims to be a conservative that claims that liberals are the ones that generally are suspicious of the motives of conservatives, you’re certainly suspicious of my motives, aren’t you. ;-)

On the point about the argument patterns of conservatives, you asked:

“What was that and where did you get it? I never made any distinction like that.”

It was with this statement:

Actually no, I don’t agree. The problem I have is that when you try to lump everyone into these categories on broader social issues, things begin to blur. For instance, I think it’s safe to say that blacks are more liberal or at least they tend to vote Democratic. Yet when Gay marriage comes up they tend to vote against it. Did they suddenly switch ideologies?

So either we can say that people who claim to be a part of a certain ideology will not share the argument that may be publicly common for many who also claim to be a part of that ideology (which we both should agree is true), or people who are part of the ideology must be consistent with all of their positions or they are not properly part of the ideology. Those are our two options by necessity.

If we accept that either you’re consistently, across the board conservative or not a conservative, we have a problem – because no one would likely be a conservative.

Now, you complained about the “broader social issue” component. If you want to flesh that out, it would be great. I question why it makes a difference what issue we’re talking about, as there is going to be a general liberal perspective and conservative one on most every issue.

You made the argument about illegal immigration. That’s a pretty broad social issue as well, as of course it is a political and economic one. So why can you outline a liberal argument about immigration, but not a conservative one about gay marriage? Why is your argument about the fear of conservative agenda in the first more valid than mine about the fear of liberal agenda in the second?

Realize that I asked about argument patterns, that seemingly show an underlying suspicion. This is completely different than generalizing about a population of a particular ideology or race on an issue, because there are metrics to use. You say that a liberal will likely believe x, a conservative y…but that’s because the liberal ideology is x, and the conservative y. We can generalize about the black vote because we have the numbers.

But the more qualities we include, the less likely we are that the generalization will be correct as applied. If I say conservatives will generally believe x on issue y, will I be correct? Who knows. Because if it’s a white, female, upper-class conservative who doesn’t have a college degree, she may have different interests on particular issue y than a black, male, middle class PhD…also defined as a conservative. And if the first is 20 and the second 60, we are less certain. And if one is from the northeast and the other the southwest, we still are less certain.

The problem is that the generalizations are less and less descriptive the more we think about the group in question. And it’s less and less likely we’ll be able to say that the public argument reflects. So when we say that a group shares characteristics, that’s true. But if someone is a member of multiple groups, as we all are, if one group generally says one thing about an issue, and the other group says the opposite…are the generalizations inaccurate? No, not at all.

But if you agree that this is true, than how is your argument about not agreeing with my statement on gay marriage and conservatives valid?

As to your comment on 4, I smell a false dilemna. One need not be free of bias to accurately analyze different groups. But when you’re talking about analyses that we know to be reliable, then there are controls for the biases of an individual, generally. Large samples, researcher blind controls, raw data that is insulated from personal biases, etc. In point 4, I was talking about personal beliefs about people one disagrees with. This would be your belief about liberals, for instance. You’ve stated that it is in fact personal, and therefore whether or not you’re affected by your beliefs in what you hear daily and what you remember about arguments, etc. has no bearing on large scale polling with much more objective metrics.

And if you disagree with point 2, I would ask again that you demonstrably show through peer reviewed research that you’re right. If you only have individual examples….well, you never discussed the RNC document that I linked to which stated that the agenda of the RNC for the 2010 vote should be to exploit fears about what liberals were doing so that they would get more votes from the conservative community is just generally damning:

The Republican National Committee plans to raise money this election cycle through an aggressive campaign capitalizing on “fear” of President Barack Obama and a promise to “save the country from trending toward socialism.”

I don’t accept what you argue even when you use my own criteria because you state that you don’t have good evidence that you’re right. You don’t. If you do, present it. Give me some objective data. Some numbers to look at. Giving me individual examples is anecdotal…which is just the kind of evidence that get’s all skewed by the memory and attention problems associated with personal biases that I’ve talked about.

I’ve asked over and over and over again for objective numbers and you state that you know of none. HOW did you come to your conclusion then. HOW. Just tell me how. How you believe that your assertion about liberals can not also be directed back at conservatives.

I say that your argument boils down to “Because it’s in the Bible.” If I ask how you know the Bible is true, you say “Because the Bible says it is true.”

You have not presented one single bit of proof for your claim that the conservative/liberal divide exists. Show me something, anything, that shows the general difference. Please. I will look at it. Just please stop trying to say that I’m trying to trap you. I’m not. I just don’t understand how you are arguing trends and general truths but not showing anything but anecdotal evidence for them.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

Obviously I’ve run out of gas on this one. Maybe the problem is that conservatives believe that liberals believe that conservatives are untrustworthy. I suppose I shouldn’t say that without proof :)

Any way good debate, I enjoyed it even if we didn’t come to any agreement.

jerv's avatar

Well, I have heard enough people say that they don’t trust any politician with a D after their name while others don’t trust any with an R, but that is anecdotal.

Personally, I just don’t trust politicians :p

iamthemob's avatar

@jerv – THAT is my very position as well. When a politician speaks about conclusions…I mostly here “Agenda…blah blah blah…Agenda…blah” kind of like the adults speak in Charlie Brown cartoons.

I would go further and say that most of the mainstream media and blogosphere is the same way.

So I try to look at the facts as much as possible. Pragmatism…suck on it. ;-)

@Jaxk – It’s funny, because I will admit my prejudice in that where it comes to social issues I assume a nefarious agenda in conservatives. But I recognize it as such. When it comes to economic issues, I see more in liberals. Where mixed, I see it in both pretty evenly.

I was just having a conversation with a conservative who stated that the “SlutWalk” movement wasn’t about women’s safety, but was part of the liberal agenda to sexualize society. No evidence. I told him that I would use that in this conversation and only do so now because I said that…it seems we’ve come to a reasonable end to the debate.

As I say, I don’t discount that you might be right. I believe it myself in my case. But it’s something that I know about myself and use it to question my assumptions about whether a claim is right or wrong. It’s my issue, not something that I would use to support an assertion.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

I can’t seem to stay away. I say I’m done and then here I am right back. Nonetheless, just for clarity, I tried to steer away from social issues that may be impacted more by other beliefs than conservative or liberal ideology. For instance, when discussing abortion or gay marriage, religion seems to play a large role (maybe even more than the ideology) in both the position and the intensity of the position. So in trying to use those for evaluation how much does religion skew the response? I can’t say so I didn’t want to use them.

I hadn’t heard of the ‘slutwalk’ but it sounds interesting. I always wanted to go to a ‘burn your bra’ demonstration because it sounded provocative. I was much younger then.

There is one other point I will make and it does go back to the Google search as well. When evaluating responses, especially those that get very inflammatory, we need a bit of context. When people get frustrated then tend to respond with name calling or incendiary comments. Whether they actually believe them or not I suppose some would say it a subliminal response or some such thing and they really do believe it. I’d rather not be forced into making that kind of determination. When looking at the responses in Google it’s virtually impossible to tell how many are actually a frustration or anger response vs a real ingrained position.

By sticking to the mainstream media or politicians, you getting more position statements and fewer anger responses. At least that’s what I believe.

@jerv

Same may be happening with some of those responses. If they can’t articulate their point very well, it easy to say I don’t trust them or they’re idiots, or some other derogatory remark. It lessens the burden of proof.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

Your desire to separate out certain issues that you say are influenced more by other factors, like religion, however, is part of the problem.

(1) It assumes that one set of beliefs does not influence others. One’s religious position may be re-enforced by their political one, for instance.

(2) If we are to separate out issues, then we are not making a statement about the general position of one side over the other. We are taking a stance only on certain issues, and how groups may react. That is much more specific.

(3) If you say that religion influences the position of a group of conservatives on certain issues, how great a percentage? If it is significant, then you have a situation where liberals see conservatives voting not on their politics, but on their religion…is that not a reason to distrust the motivations of conservatives?

(4) By sticking to mainstream media or politicians, you’re ignoring the very people you wish to make the assumption about. When you say that so many people’s reactions are contextual, that problematizes your assertions about what they believe because we have to take into account context. Further, the very anger and frustration is what you seem to base your assumption on. If we see people acting a certain way, we attribute, unfortunately, that to people like them. That’s not good, but it’s human. Therefore, if you’re going to say that people respond with emotions, etc., you look at the people, not the public figures.

You stated that you did not want to look at intentions or rhetoric or tactics. Again, that’s what happens in politics and media. If you want to talk about liberals or conservatives generally, that includes everyone and everything.

And if we can’t tell what is an anger response, how are we to judge whether it’s a truly held belief? Looking at politicians and media means that we’re looking at people who have a job to do in expressing an opinion. It would be best, if we are to find out what people actually believe, to look at the people.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk…which is why I especially distrust Palin.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

You’re trying too hard to discount everything I say. It’s beginning to affect your judgement. First I’m not sure whether your using the conservative examples as representative of my point or whether they are merely examples. Rest assured, whether liberal or conservative, I think religion can skew your position and/or the intensity of it.

It’s not obscure for any study to adjust for factors outside of the one they’re trying to measure. If you are against gay marriage that doesn’t tell me anything about your political ideology. And since you forced me into evaluation based on content, I choose to eliminate those arguments where the content measured something other than political affiliation or ideology. Just as if I was trying to determine which group was for or against the death penalty, I would likely discount arguments that are strictly in support of Obama’s action to take out Bin Laden. There are simply too many other factors at work to put them in one camp or the other. And no I don’t see how believing that a fetus is a living human being is reason to distrust that person whether that belief is based on political affiliation or religious affiliation or whether they re Democrat or Republican. Of course that’s just my opinion.

And finally, both pundits and politicians are typically representative of their constituents. They typically give a more measured thought out response representative of their ideology. It’s neither uncommon nor obscure to associate the ideology of the leaders with the ideology of the followers. That’s why Obama has such a huge crowd following his twitters, they need to know what to think :->

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

I will ask you, then, what issues are left to talk about where there are no other major factors at work? Exactly what is it that’s there where we can assess what it is that is generally different about reactions to the arguments form the other side?

The problem I see with you wanting to take out the more social issues is two fold for me. First, you seem to think that there aren’t positions that are generally considered conservative or liberal. Do you agree that most people, if asked what the position on gay marriage would be from both sides, that they would say that conservatives are generally against gay marriage, and that liberals are generally for it? Abortion is another like issue: I would say that most people would say that conservatives are against it, where liberals are against it. These two, I think, are perhaps two of the most clearly associated social issues that are considered part of one side or the other.

Instead, you above state that these issues are affected by other factors. But again, in so many ways politics and religion are inextricably linked, even today. I would ask if you’ve ever heard of such a thing as “the Christian Left” versus “the Christian Right” which I’m sure you’ve heard of. That’s significant because the majority of both parties are Christian.

The second part stems just from that, because while you separate out social issues, you ignore the context from which many liberals deal with conservatives. You are correct that the media and politicians express the feelings of their constituencies to some extent. Leaving aside the whole “and shape or enhance them” discussion, the expression of positions from those on the right are part of the context of what the left thinks when they hear the right talk about any issue. If conservative positions on social issues are of such a manner that they stereotypically or appear to be pushing a Christian agenda, or a “moral superiority,” and right now I won’t argue but that does seem to be the case to me, that inevitably bleeds into the perception of what they’re really talking about on certain economic issues. So when liberals express distrust about certain policies, it doesn’t come from nowhere necessarily, but it would seem that way, potentially, if you are only looking at a particular group of issues. That’s why I don’t think it’s appropriate to separate out the issues because there is a political standpoint on nearly all things we deal with, and if we’re going to say that cons do more than libs or vice versa, we have to look at all of it.

And on a personal note: You’re trying too hard to discount everything I say. It’s beginning to affect your judgement. Please, don’t tell me what I’m trying to do. If you think I am trying to discount everything you say, you clearly have missed the several times that I’ve said that I think you’re right about what you say about liberals in their interactions with conservatives a lot of the time – that they suspect them of wanting something negative, or doing something dubious. I stated several times that your criticism was right. Several times. I never stated that anything you said was inaccurate about liberals except for your claims that similar reactions were absent or near absent from the conservative side.

I’m not really trying to do anything to you. I disagree with you on the above. And I think that it’s dangerous to have such assumptions because it tends to color all approaches to conversations with them.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

Yes But, there’s always a but.

I’m thinking through you argument about religion. I’ve been trying to separate those ideologies as I see them as distinctly different. Possibly because I am agnostic so can easily separate my political convictions from any religious ones. My wife is atheist and conservative. Less conservative than I but much more rabid atheist. She seldom gets fired up about politics but almost irrational about religion. And as for the Christian right, that’s a good label and sold well. I’m just not sure how much pertinence it has. Would it be safe to say that Black theology is a liberal stand or are those Black theologists just liberal. How about Muslims? They align better with the Democrats yet I’d be hard pressed to call them liberal. How about I just counter the Christian right with the Atheist Left. When you add in the religion, it adds another twist that I find harder to categorize. You seem to think they are part and parcel with the political ideology while I find them quite different and distinct. And just to be clear, I don’t discount all social issues just those that tend to align with religious beliefs rather than political ones.

As for the last paragraph, you’ve called me or my position dangerous several times. That would seem to add a level of urgency to your attempt to discredit my position. That’s just an observation, I could be wrong.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Jaxk “Christian right” is just a term for people who are Christian, conservative, and marry those views together. There is also a Christian left.

Jaxk's avatar

@SavoirFaire

Whereas I would absolutely agree with that statement, the term ‘Christian Right’, is generally referring to a specific subset of those that are christian and conservative.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

I say the position is dangerous because it carries assumptions about what someone who holds a contrary position to yours into the conversation, and it tends to skew the conversation.

I’m not saying that having such an assumption always results in badness…but I’m saying that it carries a potential for it. And that’s a lot of what goes on that causes the problem and is making the rhetoric nasty. I attempt to admit my biases to myself…and hold myself back when talking to someone in a contrary position on certain things because of that.

Now, you separate out the religious from the political. That’s great. Not everyone does. And religious rhetoric mixed with politics offers some of the most prevalent and loudest arguments in the political arena. So many of the arguments that are associated with a religious motivation on social issues come from the conservative camp. This doesn’t mean that all conservatives hold them, but they are generally, if not universally associated with the Republican party.

That’s the reality we’re dealing with when we talk about what is likely at least one of the sources of any liberal suspicion of conservative motivations. Although you contend that if we break down the populations its unclear, that’s not what I asked you about. I asked you which side was pro-life, conservative or liberal? Which side is anti-gay marriage, conservative or liberal? If you don’t think there’s a side publicly or generally believed to be associated with those, I disagree – I think there’s a clear association. But I would like to know your answer, and why you think so.

And, I would still like to know what of the issues are left that you think can be clearly discussed without any major factors playing into the decision process, so that they are properly liberal or conservative without a significant effect from another trait.

As to the Christian Right – I stated again that there was no shortage of Christian Democrats. I will state again now that the majority of both parties are Christian because that is the majority of the country. I ask why you think “the Christian Right” is a phrase that is recognizable…and why there is no talk of “the Christian Left.” I have never really heard that brought up.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

Quick note – if your “Yes” was in answer to the fact that a pro-life and anti-gay marriage position are associated with conservatism, just clarify that in regards to the penultimate paragraph. As to the last one, I would ask you to address its pertinence in relation to the first three paragraphs…basically, how it’s a general perception that many liberals encounter, and how that affects their position.

Jaxk's avatar

Good word, penultimate. I had to look it up. Maybe liberals really are smarter than conservatives. Tell the truth, was that from a ‘word of the day’ calendar?

Right or wrong religion brings an added level of emotion. Both for liberal and conservatives. Hell, religion has been around for thousands of years before the was any conservative or liberal. And it has carried a special level of emotion during all that time. Atheists also carry a significantly more intense position when religious issues are discussed. According to them your either an idiot, an infant, or a bigot. I wanted to remove this additional skewing effect but honestly if you think it helps your point, include it. I don’t see it changing the scenario.

To your question however, yes conservatives do seem to be more religious or at least more vocal about their religion. Liberals on the hand have a large base that at least by polling numbers would seem religious but it not clear if they are simply less intense (although I would argue that Black theology is pretty intense, as are atheists). Or maybe they’re simply less inclined to vocalize it as they would get a pretty severe drumming from their own party. Further I concede that pro-life is more associated with conservative while pro-choice is more liberal. Same with Gay marriage. Although in both these camps it seems many cross over. As I said above these religious positions have been around long before political ideology so they can obviously exist without either liberal or conservative ideology.

As for your penultimate +1 paragraph (I know that’s not right but wanted to use your word and there so few opportunities). I don’t see it as pertinent to any of my points. If liberals think conservatives are religious and religious people can’t be trusted, that may be true. But it doesn’t matter because they think conservatives can’t be trusted whether religious or not. Here we are full circle.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

_ If liberals think conservatives are religious and religious people can’t be trusted, that may be true. But it doesn’t matter because they think conservatives can’t be trusted whether religious or not. Here we are full circle._

I don’t think that’s full circle though, because it’s the reason why (or part of it) this happens. If liberals are assuming this agenda because they see examples of it, and improperly generalize that to an entire ideology, it provides help in figuring out why it happens. If conservatives don’t recognize that elements in their group are ruining it for the rest of them in this way, it does no good to criticize or compare the differences of liberals because it looks very much like denial, and is ignorance.

That’s why I get all twisted up when I see generalizations like the one you made when they make such comparisons, because they seem to discount the responsibility conservatives have for allowing them to continue. Making the statement compounds the problem because it shows liberals conservatives aren’t being sufficiently self-critical – it’s anecdotal, but again, we’re talking about how people feel about the other group, and personal experience is mostly affected by anecdotal evidence.

It seems as if the conservative position makes a claim about the liberal and doesn’t ask a big enough “why”? It examines the other side, but not their own. In every case, the reaction of the other side is both about (1) what they bring to the table about what they believe the other side to believe, and (2) what the other side has done. If we look at one, and not two, then we make sure that two happens more and more, and the belief in one becomes more strong. Full circle isn’t quite right – vicious cycle is better. ;-)

Penultimate is one of my favorite words. Penultimate + 1 is ultimate, but I guess I understand the need to use penultimate as much as possible. (and I didn’t look it up…it’s just…it’s a great word. ;-))

iamthemob's avatar

Speaking of conservatism and liberalism, and suspicion of agendas…I just came across this :

This morning on The View, Ann Coulter was asked about the following quote from her new book “DEMONIC: How The Liberal Mob Is Endangering America”;

“Republicans are the party of peaceful order; Democrats are the party of noisy, violent mobs.”

Joy Behar proceeded to ask Coulter if she thought that quote sounded similar to the Tea Party, to which Coulter replied;

“there has been violence, it has all been committed by liberals”

She then went on to defend her point, claiming that the only violence at Tea Party rallies has been committed by liberals attacking Tea Party members.

During her interview she also referred to unemployment insurance, Medicare, Social Security and other safety nets as “treats” and said the American people “get angry when you try to take away their treats”.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

So far you’ve called my position wrong, then dangerous, and now ignorant. I think I’ve remained reasonably rational in the face of such an onslaught. Proving Anne Coulter’s point. :-)

I stated my observation (with which you disagree)). I haven’t asked why and your point on that is reasonable. But before you ask why you must make the observation. If you deny it’s existance you would never ask why. And frankly I find your comment a little disingenuous since I’ve pointed out a similar trait in conservatives (they believe liberals feel superior) and you didn’t take exception to that one. I’m not sure if it’s because you agree that liberals feel superior or whether it may be that you think liberals really are superior. Either way it wasn’t criticized. Only the statement about liberals was categorized as wrong, dangerous, and ignorant.

I saw one of the interviews with Anne Coulter. I always find her interesting. To be honest, I would have to admit that I think ‘Civil Disobedience’ is much more a tool of the Liberals than it is conservatives. And I believe that to be a tactic. Not trying to start up a new flame war, just my opinion.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

If conservatives don’t recognize that elements in their group are ruining it for the rest of them in this way, it does no good to criticize or compare the differences of liberals because it looks very much like denial, and is ignorance.

This wasn’t directed at you. It was a statement about the position. Granted, I do think that it seems like your position falls into this. But I specifically attempted to generalize it in order to make it about general problems, not finger-pointing.

The fact that you now state that I am disingenuous is unfathomable. Every time I agree with you, it seems like you ignore it, and come back and say that I didn’t. When I state that I already agreed with you, you ignore that, and then again say that I didn’t. Right from the beginning, before you commented, I stated my position was similar to yours. You seemed to not see it, so I pointed it out to you:

Liberals are generally quite self-righteous in their belief that they are more compassionate, more caring, more selfless.

You’ll notice also that this was my assertion. I stated that liberals tended to be “smarmy.” I think you’re right.”

When you said again, and also how I wasn’t agreeing with you, I said:

“That’s why I argue that your opinion is part of the problem – it is not that you are saying something untrue about liberals, but rather that in doing so and through your defense of the opinion it appears that you don’t accept the responsibility for the bias and prejudices that such a belief entails. This isn’t accusatory because I don’t think that’s your intent, but that’s how it seems to me.”

I feel like I’m talking to a wall now. I can’t re-agree with you enough for you not to come back and say that I’m not commenting on what you’ve said, let alone to claim that I’m denying that particular point.

Now, I’m done. Do you not see that you are clearly omitting information from the contrary position…literally…in order to defend your own? That your bias is tainting your argument in a manner that makes it impossible to gain a real, self-critical perspective? You are, in fact, in your responses, proving the very thing that is the problem with your argument: you refuse to see when you or your side are doing or feeling the same thing as the others, and you refuse to see how your actions contribute to the other side’s perception of you.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

I’m not sure if I explained poorly but I may have. My point was not that we disagreed but rather that we agreed. And since you agreed with me, the statement did not have the negative affects that you assign to the statement where we disagree. Even though we have no more clinical evidence of a superiority complex than we do of distrust. It just happens to be a point where we agree. Therefore it is neither dangerous nor ignorant.

Lastly, you believe the elimination of the religious argument not only skews my findings but that the elimination, in and of itself shows my bias. I would disagree with that since I don’t believe the religious argument changes my point but it does complicate the issue. When trying to analyze a variable it is easier if you hold everything else constant and just measure the variable you interested in. More than one, just complicates the issue. I’ve been trying to uncomplicate it. And I’ve admitted my bias so I’m not sure how you say I deny or don’t take responsibility for it. I merely believe that I can objectively look and see trends in spite of it. You obviously don’t believe that to be the case.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

You’re still ignoring what it is that I do disagree with. It is not that liberals may generally share certain qualities or beliefs.

It is the denial that conservatives share similar or the same qualities, act in a manner that helps affirm those beliefs, have subgroups that appear to speak for the whole that confirm in fact the suspicions, etc. I don’t know how often I can say it’s the comparison that is the problem.

I do believe that you can get past the bias, but when you discount religion as a factor in what both some conservatives believe (e.g., the liberal agenda) and it’s place in why liberals may think certain things about conservatives, then you are going to be lefts in a situation where you can’t.

I’ll ask you this: Ann Coulter is a loud conservative voice who accuses liberals of having an agenda. There are conservative subgroups who accuse any attempt to gain legal protections for LGBT populations as part of the gay agenda. There are conservative subgroups who want to make Christianity the legally dominant religion.

(1) Do not the above examples show that there are many conservatives who think that whatever liberals say, one should not believe them because they have other motives?

(2) Do the above groups not often appeal to emotions and accusations of discrimination against them in order to push their agendas?

(3) Do the above examples also not provide very good reasons why there may be liberal suspicions of conservative actions generally?

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

I’m sure there’s a good point in there but I’m having trouble grasping it. So let me ask a couple of questions. What legal protections for LGBT are you referencing? And what is anyone doing to make Christianity the ‘Legal’ religion?

As for (1) It only pertains if it a widely accepted view. If a few minor subgroups say or believe it, it doesn’t meet that standard. In other words, you can’t say conservatives believe X just because you can find a single example of a conservative that does. I’m not sure where you’re going with your Penultimate point, but I would answer the same as above.

As for (3) I haven’t formed any opinion on why as yet but would concede that may play a role. Even if those are small subgroups.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

Also I meant to add that the view not only needs to be widely held but also must pertain the the group in question. In other words being part of the GLBT agenda doesn’t make it part of the liberal agenda (assuming that’s your point). Just like thinking communists are evil doesn’t make liberals evil unless I take the leap and think all liberals are communists.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

It’s unclear what you mean by a “widely accepted view.” I’ve said many…which comes down to a significant minority, and the louder the group the smaller it need be. But if you look at the numbers from organizations like Gallup, ¾ Republicans are pro-life while the Democrats are ⅔ pro-choice. Now, among Republicans, where they attend church weekly, those who are pro-life outnumber pro-choice individuals 8 to 1. For Democrats who do so…there’s an even split among pro-choice and pro-life. On this issue, we see how closely religion and politics end up having a significant effect on Republicans, but not on Democrats. Republicans are split on whether gay relations should be legal – fairly evenly. For Democrats, it’s 3 to 1. When it comes to it even being morally acceptable, Democrats are still 3 to 1 on it being morally acceptable…but Republicans, not split, are 3 to 1 too…that it’s morally unacceptable. Conservatives apparently, especially when they’re very conservative, think that a politician should stick to their beliefs even when it means absolutely nothing gets done.

Now, recently, CPAC allowed open participation by a gay conservative group. That’s great…after years of exclusion. But major social conservative groups refused to attend. And, after it happened, the CPAC President claimed that even the group GOProud was too aggressive. That’s a HUGE conservative voice. GOProud’s crime? They essentially recognized that they were gay. This was “aggressive” and “pushing the gay agenda too much.”

Then you have a significant minority – if not nearly half – of GOP members who think that Obama is a Muslim. That clearly smacks of them thinking that there is a nefarious religious attempt to overthrow a “Christian” nation. So we see things in places like Oklahoma where there was a bill put forward to ban reference to Sharia law in any court decision. This was a direct legal action attempting to privilege Christianity…for no reason, as anything that’s wrong in Sharia is already illegal. That’s a movement in a whole state’s legislature…that’s not minor.

And, you have the difference in belief in creationism between conservatives and liberals and the push for “alternative theories” in public education. Major differences – a 2005 Harris Poll found that 63 percent of liberals but only 37 percent of conservatives believe that humans and apes have a common ancestry.

All of the above pushes seriously against any claim of conservatives that they want limited government and individual liberty generally, because they are about deprivileging minority groups, establishing state morality and state religions, etc. And often, it is the people who speak loudly on these isssues that are the most heard. If these can’t be conceivably seen as “widely held views” or at least perceived to be “widely held views,” I don’t know what is.

And when you say one can’t say conservatives think something because there’s one example, you know that’s not what’s happening here. Why would I ever say that.

When arguing against gay rights, or claiming that there’s a liberal media or gay agenda, or that abortion should be illegal, or that there’s a Muslim conspiracy of sort (creeping Sharia) the appeals are almost wholly emotional.

On the last point – if you haven’t formed an opinion on why the above might provide reasons for liberal suspicion, these are exactly the reasons why you seem to read a liberal suspicion. When you hear over and over that something you’re doing you think is based on a civil rights motivation, or represents religious freedom, etc., is based on your agenda to discriminate against traditional values…you begin to think that’s what the other side generally believes.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

Well this is exactly why I’ve been steering away from the why. You’ve made an awful lot of value judgements in you short tirade against conservatives. You’ve accused them of wanting discrimination and wanting to set up a Christian Theocracy. Certainly no belief in sinister motives in those comments. I’m torn as to whether to go through your comments one by one or simply let it go. The debate has taken an ugly turn. Hell, we don’t agree on what we think each side believes and now you want to dissect why we believe it.

I’ll be honest some of your points are down right laughable. You point to a poll that says Democrats are much more willing to compromise, when we just went through two years of totally unyielding Democratic rule. Hell, they locked the doors so republicans couldn’t join the debate. Is that really what you consider compromise? Now after two years of complete Democratic domination you want to say ‘Republicans are going to need to compromise’. Things like ‘we wish they shut up and sit down’ or ‘they can come along but they have to sit in the back seat’ are representative a of a compromise position in your book.

I’ve got to stop here as I’m getting myself worked up over the way you’ve manipulated the conservative position. From the start I’ve tried to stay clear of value judgements even though I know I have them. I thought maybe a a reasonable debate on fundamental differences in ideology might explain why we talk at each other instead of to each other, but I can see it’s not possible. Oh well, I gave it a shot.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

(1) Are you stating that Gallup polls are laughable? These aren’t my claims – the claims are from analysis done by Gallup.

(2) I have made not tirade. I have accused “them” of nothing because I was not talking about “this is what they think” but rather “some of them do think this (see proof above)” and therefore “this is how many will appear to think,”

(3) Your whole point in the comparison was to talk about why people think the way they do, and bringing it up was meant to talk about how we can improve conversations between groups, wasn’t it? If not, let me know: why do you make the comparison, and what benefits do you think that comparison would have.

(4) FINALLY, your accusation that I’ve made an accusation about conservatives is utterly bankrupt. I will ask you: what is it that you think my political position is generally? How have you made that assumption (e.g., what beliefs have I expressed that demonstrate being in line with one ideology or another)?

You have not, in any sense, tried to stay clear of value judgments. Your original position was this:

“In general, conservatives believe that the policies pursued by liberals are bad for the country. They believe the liberals are just flat wrong about their policies. Liberals on the other hand also believe that conservatives are wrong but they also believe their is some nefarious purpose behind it. In other words, conservatives are not only wrong but they know their wrong and are pursuing their goals for some evil purpose. That generally takes the debate to a whole new level. Spurring ads like General ‘Be-tray-Us’ or the old lady being pushed off a cliff.

This whole ‘Evil’ thread can be found on most political debates here on Fluther as well as in the liberal press. It brings an emotional response that liberals have used quite effectively.”

Question: How can you reasonably claim that you are not making a value judgment in the above? If you are not, and both sides are equally valid, what is the problem with the suspicion of conservative purpose?

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

It is laughable the way you interpret them. You make a number of leaps that are not logically valid. For instance you say:

“GOP members who think that Obama is a Muslim. That clearly smacks of them thinking that there is a nefarious religious attempt to overthrow a “Christian” nation.”

You may think that’s clear but it sure isn’t to me. You take a guy that has a mixed background. Slice it how ever you like he attended schools at an early that were predominantly Muslim. Then you survey a group of people that don’t like Obama (if you want to argue that conservatives don’t like Obama, I won’t argue that). Then you ask then an inflammatory question about the guy they don’t like and the propensity to answer negatively is huge. That’s just human nature. But you don’t stop there, you use this erroneous conclusion to make a giant leap and say that proves they think Obama is trying to overthrow a christian nation. Hell, the only thing that proves is that liberals distrust conservatives so much that they are willing to use this logic make some fallacious or even malicious point. Your whole post is riddled with this ‘giant leap’ logic. So as to (1), it’s not the polls that are laughable but rather your interpretation of them. Some polls can provide some concrete evidence others are merely interesting to trend.

I know very little about GOProud. Apparently you know enough to clearly define the CPAC position about them. I can’t help but wonder whether you bias has any impact on that definition.

I’ve already addressed your assumption about compromise but let me give you another example. I want you to give me $10. You don’t want to. I ask if you’re willing to compromise because I am willing to accept $5 as a compromise position. You tell me to go screw myself (or something to that effect). Does that not prove that I am much more willing to compromise than you. Does that not prove that I am more willing to get things done. Can I take the leap and say it is proof that I’m more willing advance relations while you seem to be stuck in some ideological and inflexible position.

As for (4) I’ll leave that for last. I have in fact tried to steer away from value judgements. I never implied that liberals thinking that conservatives had some nefarious purpose, made them bad in any way. Hell, I haven’t even implied they were wrong about it. I made it as an observation. You however have continuously tried to steer the conversation into the realm of why. And have done so while arguing that I was wrong and dangerous (maybe a little ignorant). If you don’t recognise the pattern, ‘Why’ becomes irrelevant.

As for your ideology, you are liberal. I know you try to hide it and do a fairly reasonable job of disguising it. You will occasionally call out liberals when they make a noticeably erroneous argument and do similarly with conservatives. Your not rabidly liberal and can logic through things more so than the rabid liberals will. Nonetheless liberal comes through on most things you say. You use of “christian” nation. and the clear implication that they want a “christian” theocracy. It shows that you really don’t quite get it. Right or wrong we are a christian nation we are predominantly christian. Using statements like making sharia law illegal is an attempt to privilege Christians. I understand the “thou shalt not kill” is in the bible. But honestly with or with out the bible, laws against murder seem appropriate. I have trouble seeing that as way to advance Christianity.

And finally here’s a pretty clear example:

“All of the above pushes seriously against any claim of conservatives that they want limited government and individual liberty generally, because they are about deprivileging minority groups, establishing state morality and state religions, etc.”

So tell me exactly how thinking that everybody should be covered by the same laws, limits anyone’s liberty. Hell I’d think that makes it even and fair. If you beat me up it is the same crime as when I beat you up. That doesn’t take away anyone’s liberty, Unless your a liberal. Then somehow it does. I must have missed the debate about establishing a state or federal religion. Which religion were they looking for, Baptist, catholic, Jewish, you’ve peaked my interest. I’m equally void in the state morality laws. Which states, are they arguing this between the debates on things like whether to Honor Micheal Jackson Because as you’ve said above, if they take the time to debate in congress that proves it’s important.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

Perhaps the reason why you find my statements here “laughable” is that you insist on reading what I write as making claims about “what conservatives believe.” I don’t know whether you’re not reading the whole posts or if you only notice the parts that seem to reinforce your insistence that I’m arguing “about conservatives” in some general way…but there’s an interesting example of literal editing above that completely undermines the actual meaning and purpose of what I wrote in your post above. You quote me to provide a “pretty clear example.” But you quote about half of what I wrote on the point. This is the entire relevant passage:

All of the above pushes seriously against any claim of conservatives that they want limited government and individual liberty generally, because they are about deprivileging minority groups, establishing state morality and state religions, etc. And often, it is the people who speak loudly on these isssues [sic] that are the most heard. If these can’t be conceivably seen as “widely held views” or at least perceived to be “widely held views,” I don’t know what is.

I don’t know how much more clear I can make my position, or my argument. I do not state “this is true about conservatives.” I state “there are plenty of conservatives that act in a manner that makes a belief by liberals that they have an agenda other than what they state understandable.” Note: I do not say valid, I say understandable. The above was stated in relation to an aggregation of claims or evidence about conservatives that, in the aggregate, could lead to distrust in someone about whether conservatives really believed in “individual liberty” or “freedom of religion” unless it was their liberty or their religion.

So, if you are interested in actually determining the causes of the liberal bias you claim exists based on your experience, and finding a way around it, you do yourself a disservice by discounting the above as “laughable.”

In fact, the leaps you claim I make above are much much smaller than the ones that you make based on the evidence you’ve presented about liberals, which is all anecdotal. Making a generalization based on anecdotal evidence is the height of fallacy.

Now, to respond to your question about “everybody should be covered by the same laws,” I think that you seem to be going down the wrong road, perhaps because you’re not looking at the actual legislation…or understand the problem with it. The problem with the anti-Sharia legislation was that everyone was already covered by the same laws. Therefore, the legislation was unnecessary. What it did was allow the legislative and executive branch to undermine personal contractual agreements and judicial decisions if they were based at all in Sharia. Personal agreements often incorporate religious mandates that, as long as not illegal, are fine from a legal standpoint. This singles out only those related to Islam. That’s the problem. Because one can still base an agreement on ecclesiastical Christian law and be fine. So, there is both a religious freedom as well as a separation of powers question.

That does take away someone’s liberty. Whether you’re a conservative or a liberal. If you disagree…why? If you don’t see how specifically singling out one religion as legally less privileged is not practically an issue of establishing state religion, what are your arguments that it is not? And were you for some reason talking about hate crime legislation…because if so, that must be fleshed out.

PS – I know you like to think that because someone might be more liberal than you on certain points means they are a liberal…but that’s not the case.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

Whether these conclusions are your or not, you have stated them. Whether they are accurate or not, you have advanced them as such. You can’t now say, that’s not what I believe but just that some might believe that. Some might think you’re being hypocritical. Not me, but some might.

From the very start, I tried to exclude the crazies on both extremes. An attempt to get down to the actual ideology. You would have none of that. Apparently so that you could paint conservatives with this broad brush and use this argument that the loudest draw the most attention. Unfortunately the loudest doesn’t necessarily represent the ideology.

“The problem with the anti-Sharia legislation was that everyone was already covered by the same laws.”

That’s just not true. If fact, I would argue that is what conservatives are arguing for. That everyone be covered by the same laws. No more protected classes. No more rulings that favor one group over another. Now more specifically to Sharia law. There is precedent that other laws might be considered valid even as high as the Supreme Court in deciding cases of our own constitution. The idea that courts might consider Sharia Law in deciding cases is not that far off base. In Europe there is a minor/major shift in how the courts consider some of these laws. Depending on your perspective, it becomes minor or major. The problem with any consideration given to Sharia Law is that it is incredibly oppressive to women, not exactly lenient on gays, and overall very intolerant of any other position. In our headlong pursuit proving we are not against Muslims, we are beginning to elevate their religion above others. Back to the protected class argument.

Now if you want to argue that the legislation was a clumsy attempt to address this problem, you may have a case. But to argue that it is an attempt to elevate Christianity above all others is complete misread and smacks of general liberal talking points.

And just for the record, someone could be well left of me and still be right wing. It is those that consider Obama to be in the center that have their heads screwed on backwards.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

(1) You can’t now say, that’s not what I believe but just that some might believe that. Some might think you’re being hypocritical. Not me, but some might.

Again, if you actually read my posts, you would see that I am not “now” saying that. I have been saying it the entire time. What is hypocritical in the end is the fact that you seem to think that your generalizations are valid without providing any general evidence about how you came to them, but only anecdotal, but claim that contrary examples of general or common ideas (which I have – note that I am not including “crazies” when I talk about CPAC, Ann Coulter, etc. – these are accepted conservative voices) aren’t valid reasons for the contrary side to make generalizations about conservatives.

That’s why, from the beginning, I have claimed that your claim about the difference as a generalization was bullshit. If you are still unprepared to provide general information on that difference, than you must accept that there is general evidence on both sides for both (1) strategic appeal to emotions not facts, and (2) suspicion of the ideology of the other side.

(2) You don’t understand what a “protected class” is. Religion is a protected class – not Islam. Therefore, the majority is part of the protected class. Race is a protected class – not black. Therefore, white people are part of a protected class. These are direct outgrowths of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Historically courts have always looked to the laws of other lands where there is an international element to the case. Those are basic jurisdictional and forum issues, for the most part.

The inconsistency in your argument is that you want the law to apply to everyone equally but also want certain considerations for laws that you think come out unfairly. Unfortunately, equal treatment under the law doesn’t equate to fairness. A contract signed in a foreign country with Sharia provisions must be enforced under its terms unless those terms are clearly illegal in the U.S. and the court is being asked to enforce them.

There has not been one single case where Islam has been privileged above other religions in the U.S. Sharia law contrary to U.S. law has never been enforced. Ever.

And the fact that you don’t think that a law that attempts to outlaw something already outlawed because it is part of a religion that people are concerned about is not the same as privileging one religion over the other is naive. True, it may be that people do so because they are “concerned” about Islam…but the implication, stated or not, is that the same concerns do not apply to Christianity. That Islam requires “special regulation” that Christianity does not.

When you resort to WND to support your claim that we are “elevating their religion” and it’s more anecdotal evidence is both unfortunate and desperate. I’m not using an ad hominem here, as:

(1) WND is notoriously a biased source.

(2) The very article/issue you cite has been recycled in the anti-Muslim universe in much the same way that anti-gay groups recycle 30 year old debunked “research” over and over again.

(3) The article is four years old.

(4) If you look at the ACLU cases regarding religious freedom, the group brings claims for protection of Christians over all other religious groups at a rate of about 3 to 1. When you break it down to individual religous groups, the ratio increases more in favor of Christians. How are we “elevating” Islam?

If you’re going to claim that you don’t include religion in your considerations, the above citation sort of reveals the very problem you’re contesting. You’ve bought the (generally) conservative arguments about Muslims and the problem with them in the U.S., which are based on assumptions and bias that is clear when you step back. These arguments are part of the reason liberals might not trust conservatives, but are also evidence of where conservatives don’t trust liberals.

It also is the EXACT argument that SHOWS the special concern for Muslims that many have that pushes legislation that is meant to “specially regulate” it. If you really want the equal application of the law…WHY would you think it’s a good idea to make special laws to deal with Islam?

You seem to want to contain the argument in a way that excludes evidence that shows your entire assumption is very likely flawed.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

I need to keep this short since My aggravation level is high. I just left a tax audit.

Basically we seem to be arguing that liberals don’t trust conservatives. I agree with that. As for the rest of your points, I’m how significant it is when ¾ of the nation is Christian and the ACLU defends Christians ⅓ of the time. You’ve managed to drive the conversation to religion and now want label me with all your anti-religion slogans. Typical liberal response dismiss the argument and call the opposition anti-gay or anti-muslim. Hell I can’t wait for the racist and bigot comments. they always follow. Nonetheless, I think we’ve proven my point about liberals, so what’s next.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

I’m how significant it is when ¾ of the nation is Christian and the ACLU defends Christians ⅓ of the time.

Please carefully read my comments before responding from now on. If you take something out of context again, or clearly misinterpret due to what I hope is simply careless reading, you’ll just keep missing my point…

They defend Christians at a rate 3 times that of other religions. So, in fact, ¾ of the cases are about defending the religious freedoms of Christians. I can’t really tell what you’re saying beyond that, because there seems to be an accidental deletion or grammar issue in the above.

You’ve managed to drive the conversation to religion and now want label me with all your anti-religion slogans.

Nope. I talked about several issues above. Religion was one of them. Religion is a part of politics.

And I have not attempted to label you with any anti-religion slogans. I stated nothing that can be perceived as anti-religion. I do not have slogans.

Please, again, tell me which side it is that is suspicious of the other?

Typical liberal response dismiss the argument and call the opposition anti-gay or anti-muslim.

Please point out where I called you anti-gay or anti-muslim. Please point out where I called conservatives anti-gay or anti-muslim. Read carefully.

If you’re reading that I’m calling you or conservatives anti-gay or anti-Muslim, that’s about your baggage. Your assumptions about the “typical liberal” argument, and what you hear when someone you think is liberal is making certain points. It’s no wonder, therefore, that you believe liberals distrust conservatives – you see accusations in what they say whatever it is.

I assure you, if I wanted to call you a homophobe, or anti-Muslim, I would not refrain from doing so clearly and directly. As I started off by calling your argument bullshit, I think it’s clear that I don’t feel the need to mince words with you.

But somehow, you seem to read the accusations into what I’m saying. I ask again: which side is suspicious of the other?

Hell I can’t wait for the racist and bigot comments. they always follow.

Now you’re expecting the worst from me because of what you think liberals think, it seems. You have moved from not actually listening to what I’m saying and hearing what you want, to not even needing me to speak or write to hear what you want.

I ask again: which side is suspicious of the other?

Nonetheless, I think we’ve proven my point about liberals, so what’s next.

That we’ve also proven, apparently, the same point about conservatives.

jerv's avatar

Holy dog-fuck! What is the word count here up to now?

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

“Please carefully read my comments”. I’ll certainly try. But it will be a struggle, I am after all conservative so how smart could I be.

You quote a statistic about the ACLU. I have no idea whether it is true or false nor what it may be measuring. I’m not questioning simply because I don’t see the relevance. The ACLU does whatever it wants based on it’s own sense of justice which often as not, has no relevance to mine. So unless you’re trying to make some connection between liberals and the ACLU and using that connection to show how fair and balanced liberals are, I don’t see how it pertains.

“Religion is a part of politics.” I don’t agree with that assessment any more than saying, being a women, or race is a part of politics. Yes those things can influence you politics but they are distinctly separate issues. There was a liberal pundit on TV last night that used an old adage: “God is love, love is blind, and Ray Charles is blind. Therefore it can be argued that Ray Charles is God.” That’s kind of how we got to your conclusion above. Linking one point to another and and drawing conclusions based on those links.

I tried to make a point in my penultimate response and used references to a Supreme Court judge, a couple of cases in Europe and the article from WND. You criticized WND and dismissed everything based on that. You inferred that the WND article had been debunked (without actually saying so) and dismissed everything. Did I misinterpret that?

“I ask again: which side is suspicious of the other?” You’ve been trying to lead me down this winding path to prove your point. Whether your intent is evil or virtuous is a separate discussion. Regardless, the path has been windy (both definitions apply).

iamthemob's avatar

(1) You stated that there was a movement to “elevate [Islam] above [other religions].” The ACLU is often accused of being the group who rabidly defends Islam rather than Christianity. You mentioned two of the examples where there were religious accommodations provided for Muslims.

Therefore, reference to the overwhelming defense of Christians by the ACLU was presented as evidence undermining an assertion that there was privileging of Islam in any manner as (a) providing a religious accommodation has been requested, and granted, hundreds of times by Christians, and (b) most of the ACLU’s time on religious freedom cases, even though it is often claimed as the group shouldering much of the responsibility for privileging Islam, is spent defending Christians. That’s the importance – the group many call a liberal, anti-Christian and pro-Muslim bastion spends most of its time defending or prosecuating religious freedom issues in specific cases where it defends the rights of Christians.

(2) An overwhelming majority of the public continues to say that it is important to them that a president have strong religious beliefs. More than seven-in-ten Americans express this opinion, and attitudes on this issue have not changed in recent years.

(3) I dismissed nothing based on the WND article. It does call into question your subjectivity, however, as I believe you know the more extreme leanings of WND, and further your willingness to believe anecdotal evidence of one or two accommodations for Muslims over the hundreds of examples of Christian accommodations sought with the assistance of the ACLU.

Please answer my questions about where I stated you were anti-gay, anti-Muslim, or otherwise…and you’re sorry

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

A couple of points here. When I use a reference generally I’m looking for numbers or quotes rather than opinions. The opinions I use are my own. In this case the article had pictures and presented the response from that Airport for counter balance. Both of which add credibility to the issue. I don’t keep a hit list of publications to use or dismiss. There are only a couple of sites that I have a knee jerk reaction to and even those I typically respond to the issue even If I don’t like the publication.

As for the ACLU, you’ve yet to cite any reference for your statistic. I have no idea what your measuring or how you’re measuring it. When the ACLU brings a case it is not to privilege someone but rather to defend what they believe to be civil rights. So even if your number was valid, it would indicate to me that Christians are discriminated against more than any other group. By a ratio of 3–1 (and given thier anti Christian bias, probably much higher). So I question your conclusion, your statistic, and the relevance.

I question the relevance of your poll since I don’t know what point you’re trying to make. And by the way, this is 3 years old. Since one of your stated objections to the WND article was that it was 4 years old, can I assume that is your dividing line on what is acceptable (3 years is valid, 4 years is too old)?

You say you’ve dismissed nothing yet you haven’t addressed the point. Choosing instead to rail against WND. “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Friday that as a justice she considers foreign laws – not just U.S. laws and its Constitution – in forming her legal opinions.” This goes directly to the heart of the Sharia law debate. A position where I vehemently disagree. You have totally ignored this point, choosing instead to rail against WND. I cited a couple of European cases where apparently Sharia law was instrumental in the outcome. Again you have chosen to ignore the point and rail against WND. Even the WND article itself has a point which you have not addressed but instead choose to rail against the source. I believe it is quite apparent that you bias has affected your objectivity. A claim you throw at me to hide your guilt.

Now for your request that I apologize for you calling me names. Let me think for just a second…..No. You said: “The very article/issue you cite has been recycled in the anti-Muslim universe ”. I posted it, I recycled it, it’s hard to see how I would not be included in that group. Hell, the linkage is so obvious that even a dim-witted conservative would see the implication. Then you went on to group together the anti-Muslim and the anti-Gay. By combining those groups I become a part of both. So, no I won’t apologize for your mischaracterization of my point or position.

And finally, it is clear that you continually try to steer the debate away from Sharia law and make it a religious debate. It is not. When we outlawed bigamy was that an attempt to discriminate against Mormons? Many Muslims don’t like Sharia law either. They are more than happy to leave it behind. Some however continue to embrace it. Regardless, it is a very barbaric set of laws that discriminate against women and gays create very barbaric punishments for children and infidelity and repress society at large. I don’t think it should be used to mitigate punishments, let alone condone the actions. As I said before, the bills to legislate against it may have been clumsy in their implementation but to categorize them as anti-Muslim is a complete misread of the point. You attempt to continuously misrepresent this is more evidence of your bias. Of course this is just my opinion.

iamthemob's avatar

Just check out the ACLU’s page on religious liberty. As a point of interest, this page works nicely as well. You’ll see over the past four years, for instance, claims involving the protection of Christian rights constitute ⅔ of the cases listed, whereas those involving Muslims particularly are only about ¼. You have a ratio that favors Christians to Muslims (the next most significant percentage of claims) at a rate of about 3 to 1 (2.7 to 1).

The WND article involves the installation of footbaths which it is claimed is for the convenience of Muslims prior to prayer. It seems as if this is a religious accommodation if anything…which is what many of the cases covered by the ACLU are about.

On a more general level, the EEOC statistics show that 25% of the cases of religious discrimination filed are based on discrimination against Muslims, and 14% of those filed in the DoJ as well, despite the fact that they only constitute 1% of the population, approximately. The majority of claims are still Christian.

The above indicates, potentially, two things: (1) that Christians continue to exercise First Amendment free expression and bring claims where discrimination is perceived at a rate that is equivalent to it’s percentage of the population, and (2) there is a disproportionate amount of perceived discrimination against the Muslim community.

There could be several reasons behind all of this – but the reason why I raise them is that selecting a single, perceived moment of “special treatment” for the Muslim population is not clearly about “elevating” Muslims but is part of the general defense or free exercise of religions generally. The success of any one, generally, does not act to elevate one religion over another unless it infringes on the exercise of other religions.

So I ask: what is the issue that the WND article raises, that you see here?

(PS – May 2007 was four years ago.)

Now, the Ginsburg issue that you raise, from a 2005 address to ASIL, was given at a time where there was a huge hullabaloo over reference to foreign law…in order to gain perspective on complicated questions that deal with fundamental rights:

Ginsburg said criticisms of relying too heavily on world opinion “should not lead us to abandon the effort to learn what we can from the experience and good thinking foreign sources may convey.” “The notion that it is improper to look beyond the borders of the United States in grappling with hard questions has a certain kinship to the view that the U.S. Constitution is a document essentially frozen in time as of the date of its ratification.”

I can’t really see where you see the error here. It might help if you knew that most of the debate was surrounding the interpretation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, and the international law in question was addressed in order to determine whether the execution of children could be considered “cruel and unusual.” It was also in response to a movement to legislate away the judiciary’s ability to look to foreign law in any sense, or else face sanctions.

This doesn’t implicate Sharia in any sense, as the things that are concerning about Sharia are already illegal.

As to the European cases, there are profound differences in both the legal systems and approaches to diversity. Therefore, reference to European cases is only relevant should the outcome be possible under U.S. law.

In terms of my objectivity, what is the bias that you think is affecting it?

Finally, as to the anti-gay, anti-Muslim thing…because I criticized the source, you think that I was talking about you? No. I’m actually surprised that you cited to it, because I had no assumptions of you having an anti-Muslim stance, and so much of what WND is about and the whole “footbath” thing is meant to do is is to use scare tactics rather than look at issues or occurrences with real implications. In the end, though, you didn’t point out any place where I called you, yourself, anti-gay or anti-Muslim.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

Admittedly I haven’t gone through the entire lists you posted. But I have read through quite a few. My impression is the the point you make comes up short. I’m not trying to belittle the statistics but in looking at the cases in general for Christians they are not about defending Christians or their religion but rather they just happen to be Christians that are claiming Conscientious Objector status or the right to feed the poor, things like that. That’s not to say all but a good portion are not about religion but they just happen to be Christian (more civil rights rather than religious freedom). On the Muslim side they seem to be a bit more religious in nature. The prison makes me wear a jumpsuit when I want wear a religious garment. Or they made me uncover my head so they could see who I was. (more religious freedom, rather than civil rights. Anyway, that’s my take on it, we probably disagree. Nonetheless, I can see why the ACLU would want to use this measurement.

The nut of the argument here is not really about the ACLU, but rather about equal treatment under the law. I would like nothing better than to eliminate all special circumstances based on the identity or belief system of either the perpetrator or the victim. Unfortunately that’s not what we have done. We have a long and somewhat checkered past of manipulating our laws based on either local or national prejudices. We spent a century after the Civil War, manipulating local laws and twisting national ones to accommodate our local belief systems. Disadvantaging one group or elevating another. When we finally tried to correct this we pushed the other way, creating protected classes and modifying existing laws to make crimes more or less severe based on the group or ideology of either the perpetrator or the victim. These crimes, mind you, are already illegal, we just make them more or less illegal based on these groupings. I understand your argument that in theory, protected classes include everyone but we both know in reality they don’t.

I would be more than happy to shit-can the law about Sharia (hell I never really liked it anyway), if you would discard all the other special laws as well. Even swap.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

The problem with your analysis is that you seem to ignore that in each case the behavior was based on a religious belief, or was combined with some form of religious expression or evangelizing.

For instance, the UCC was not just housing the homeless:

”“Providing temporary, emergency shelter for people in need of a warm, safe place to sleep is one of the ways Shenkel United Church of Christ has sought to be faithful to Jesus’ commandment that we love our neighbors,” said Rev. Bonnie Moore, the church’s pastor. “We are filing this lawsuit only as a last resort as we seek to be the church we believe God is calling us to be – a church that is faithful to the Biblical mandates of justice and love.”’

Neither was the First Baptist Church doing so:

”“We take seriously the biblical command that Christians feed the hungry and clothe the poor,” said the Rev. Catherine Feldpausch, pastor of First Baptist Church of Ferndale.

“Using our church to help underprivileged citizens is an essential part of our religious mission.””

The point is all are based on religious expression as it relates to the beliefs of the parties represented. That you didn’t see one group to be, and the other to be religious, is not the issue.

Further, part of the problem with dealing with religious diversity is recognizing when one is discriminating against an actually-held belief when encountering a new religion, particularly one more and more vocal about its rights.

The problem with your “swap” agreement, also, is that you claim that getting rid of a law that on its face discriminates against certain religious beliefs would implicate getting rid of other neutral laws protecting all citizens equally.

And, of course, the laws protecting these groups are not mere laws, but expressions of constitutional liberties. For instance, religion is the class at issue being protected. If we do away with protections for religious behavior, we’re violating both the First and Fourteenth Amendments. We’re also undermining the core purpose of a constitutional republic, which is to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority.

The law protects all members of each group in a class equally. You seem to claim in practice this is not the case. Do you think that this is true because the law creates a special privilege that minority groups take advantage of, or is it because it is historically recognized the minority groups are often most likely the ones who are discriminated against?

In the end, this is not at all the issue, however. I was not talking about the ACLU to talk about the ACLU…it was a response to your reference to the WND article about the footbaths.

The point here is that you are pulling anecdotal evidence regarding the problems you see. When I present more general data, you attempt to re-qualify one side as different from the other. Presented with significant examples in mainstream conservative public discourse of conservatives appealing to emotions, and distrusting liberal agendas, etc., you seem to want to explain them, or categorize them as “not part of what you consider”...but you want your anecdotal examples to be considered.

This started with your assertion that liberals were different from conservatives in that they suspected a nefarious motivation in conservative policy, whereas conservatives just dislike liberal policy.

“In general, conservatives believe that the policies pursued by liberals are bad for the country. They believe the liberals are just flat wrong about their policies. Liberals on the other hand also believe that conservatives are wrong but they also believe their is some nefarious purpose behind it. In other words, conservatives are not only wrong but they know their wrong and are pursuing their goals for some evil purpose. That generally takes the debate to a whole new level. Spurring ads like General ‘Be-tray-Us’ or the old lady being pushed off a cliff.

But in the above conversation, you seem to think that so much of what I say is trying to “back you into a corner” or accuse you of being a bigot, etc., when I’ve done nothing of the sort.

My point is, given the above, both sides seem to do plenty to foster distrust of themselves on the other side.

That you try to explain why the conservative side may not be saying what it appears to be saying, or that the speaker isn’t really representative, or that it’s unfair to generalize based on these particular issues or these particular comments, still leaves me with the original question: how is it that liberals do get to be generalized?

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

Here is how and why I draw that distinction.

“The ACLU of Connecticut (2011) filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Naval officer who sought recognition as a conscientious objector because of his Christian convictions against war.”

When Muhammad Ali claimed Conscientious Objector status back in ‘67, his case would be considered defense of Muslims. But in actuality it is the same case. The religion is anecdotal rather than pertinent. It is the conscientious Objector status that is at issue not his religion.

On the other hand: “ACLU of Georgia (2010) sued the City of Douglasville on behalf of a devout Muslim woman who was restrained, arrested, and jailed for several hours after refusing to remove her religious head covering”. This is very specific to her religion. I guarantee If I refused to remove a full face covering (mask) and got jailed, the ACLU would not be defending me. Only a Muslim. It is very religion specific. Bear in mind that I’m not making any judgement as to whether it is right or wrong, only the difference in the way they are categorized. We probably disagree on this but that is my reasoning. Either way, the one thing I know for sure is that the ACLU will never come to my defense :)

As for the rest of the argument, I find myself right back at the beginning. I see religious beliefs as a separate standalone set of beliefs and political ideology as distinctly separate as well. You can be religious and liberal or religious and conservative. You can be secular and liberal or secular and conservative. I don’t dispute that you can find linkage to show more religious people on the conservative side and/or more secular people on the liberal. That doesn’t mean they are inexorably linked. And a religious argument does not make it a conservative argument.

So when you attempt to show that conservatives act a certain way based on religious beliefs, I disagree. If you want to generalize about conservatives, I have no problem with that. But if you generalize about religious beliefs and then apply that generalization to conservatives, I think you’ve gone too far and the linkage is too remote. It would be no different than if I said atheists are godless heathens therefore liberals are godless heathens. And it would not substantiate my case to show that more atheists are liberal.

So, conservatives can be generalized, liberals can be generalized, Christians can be generalized and atheists can be generalized. You just can’t mix and match those generalizations based on very tenuous links. Again just my opinion.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

Again, the problem is that your reasoning isn’t based on information, but on assumptions about what the case is about, in the first place. Where did you, for instance, get that there was a “full face covering”? The link right below the brief summary shows that this was the garment in question.

But further, the issue would be the same if it were a devout Christian woman or a Jew entering the court. Again, religious garments are incidental to the beliefs of the individuals, so they are not about it being “Only a Muslim.”

There were many, many other problems with the case:

In December 2008, Lisa Valentine attempted to accompany her nephew to his traffic hearing before the Douglasville Municipal Court, but was told it was against court policy to wear headgear in court. After protesting and while attempting to leave, officers restrained and arrested her, forced her to remove her head covering and jailed her for several hours.

“By locking up Ms. Valentine and forcing her to remove her head covering in public, officers not only showed extreme indifference to her fundamental right to practice her faith, but also humiliated her and caused her unnecessary emotional suffering,” said Azadeh Shahshahani, an attorney with the ACLU of Georgia.

After being informed by an officer that she would have to remove her head covering, Valentine attempted to leave the courthouse and expressed her frustration with the policy to the officer. She was prevented from leaving, handcuffed and taken before the judge who sentenced her to 10 days in jail for contempt of court. Valentine was then taken to the booking area, where she was made to remove her head covering. She was detained first at the temporary holding facility at the courthouse and then in jail for several hours without her head covering before police determined that Valentine did not fight with officers and that her “actions were primarily verbal and her resistance passive.” She was released that evening.

I don’t know why you’re talking about liberals and conservatives both being religious, as that was something I stated myself from the beginning. What is important is how the religion is perceived to be expressed on either side, and how religion and politics inform each other.

Repeatedly, I attempted to make clear that I wasn’t stating that conservatives acted a certain way due to religious beliefs, but rather there is a distinct “religious right’ voice in the conservative camp different from the liberal one. And because often members of that voice are loud, they tend to drown out more moderate voices around if you don’t put in the work to listen past the extremely vocal/stalwart members of the ideology you disagree with.

So, it’s not a mixing and matching: we’re talking about distinct groups within the conservative camp.

Considering how from the beginning I made it clear I wasn’t talking about Christians generally, or conservatives generally, or how they related to each other generally as my personal argument, and have attempted to repeat again and again that I am discussing sections of the conservative Christian community that often spar with those on the liberal side, or conservative pundits, or conservative “traditionalists, but that these groups all aggregate when you’re looking from the outside to make it seem that in one way or another there’s an underlying agenda, and I’ve repeated and clarified this over and over again, this is again the issue.

The issue being that you refuse to recognize the factors and populations and perceptions put forth in your group that contribute to creating the problems you see in others, but have spent all this time trying to explain why the survey information and anecdotal evidence (both) that I’m giving on these issues is invalid in some way, and still don’t see the incredible irony that you are demanding proof that you don’t accept to show the problems with generalizing your side in various ways – but generalize the other side in the same ways you were just defending against, and have not in any way shown how your opinion is based in reason.

Is it not fair, for instance, for me to be extremely suspicious of your assessment of what you see in liberal behavior when you have asserted a claim above about the Muslim headcovering case that you describe as “reasoning” that contains false information that you assumed into the issue?

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

I’m not sure where the picture comes from. When I click on the link it takes me to the article rather than the picture. Nonetheless I have no problem believing the picture is accurate. It provides detail but doesn’t change the argument much. I have to admit, a non-Muslim would never be treated in such an abusive and humiliating manner. And there is no question that she would not have been asked to remove her headgear in a Sharia Court, so I can understand her resistance. A non-Muslim would not feel the same sense of entitlement that would allow her to ignore the rules or laws that conflict with her belief. I have to admit I would never argue with the clerk, in front of the judge, about the rules in his courtroom. Of course I don’t feel entitled to ignore the laws and rules based on customs or other countries laws. It is the whole idea that we should bend or ignore our rules or laws, that form the basis for this whole Sharia Law debate.

“The issue being that you refuse to recognize the factors and populations and perceptions put forth in your group that contribute to creating the problems you see in others”

It may be time for you to go back and carefully read my posts. I’m not arguing whether the perception that conservatives have ‘evil’ intent is justified or not, only that it exists.

“Is it not fair, for instance, for me to be extremely suspicious of your assessment of what you see in liberal behavior when you have asserted a claim above about the Muslim head covering case that you describe as “reasoning” that contains false information that you assumed into the issue?”

Of course, if that’s what you’re looking for. I did make a false assumption. It doesn’t change the issue or point at all but it does give you the opportunity to discard everything. Which you’ve done. Very much like your response to the Justice Ginsberg comment. You feel by associating it with a different issue the statement can be ignored. Unfortunately if you can consider foriegn laws on some cases, you can consider them on others. The statement was too broad to be confined as you have done.

But, I have to acknowledge that you caught me on a detail. For that I sincerely apologize. Weeks of debate and I don’t know how many pages of response, all discarded in the flick of the wrist. Too bad, I can only blame myself. You win the argument. I am as deceitful as you are. Which I think was your orginal point.

iamthemob's avatar

A non-Muslim would not feel the same sense of entitlement that would allow her to ignore the rules or laws that conflict with her belief.

So you don’t believe the same situation wouldn’t arise with a Hassidic Jew? Or a nun in her habit?

I’m not arguing whether the perception that conservatives have ‘evil’ intent is justified or not, only that it exists.

No: you are stating that the same perception is not as prevalent in the conservative community. There are plenty examples that it does. And, each instance reinforces the perception held by the opposing side.

That’s why we should talk about these perceptions – I agree with you that talking about them is important. But you don’t want to talk about them holistically it seems. If we just want to accuse the other side and end it there, we’re not being productive.

It doesn’t change the issue or point at all but it does give you the opportunity to discard everything. Which you’ve done. Very much like your response to the Justice Ginsberg comment. You feel by associating it with a different issue the statement can be ignored. Unfortunately if you can consider foriegn laws on some cases, you can consider them on others. The statement was too broad to be confined as you have done.

You’re again assuming an “evil” or “nefarious” intent. Nope. If I wanted to start discounting arguments you made about liberals, I would. Have I? No. I’m talking about the problems with your understanding of what conservatives do.

As to Ginsberg, I was in law school studying specifically international law, the death penalty, and constitutional jurisprudence as well as jurisdicational standards EXACTLY at this time. I am a member of the organization where the speech was given. I’m stating the contemporary and specific context of the statement.

No, here’s the issue: the U.S. has always used, referenced, and deferred to foreign law. Always. HOWEVER, there are well-established standards, generally called “choice of law,” for determining such things. NY choice of law standards are tested on the bar exam, for example.

So, let me ask you: what do you see as the problem with Ginsberg’s position, specifically, knowing that her statement specifically did not state anything but the fact that the judiciary must be free to reference international and foreign law along with the multiple other legal and academic informational resources it has to look to?

But, I have to acknowledge that you caught me on a detail. For that I sincerely apologize. Weeks of debate and I don’t know how many pages of response, all discarded in the flick of the wrist. Too bad, I can only blame myself. You win the argument. I am as deceitful as you are. Which I think was your orginal point.

Love it. Accuse me of discarding everything you’ve said without waiting for a response. Saying that you sincerely apologize in a manner that I can’t help but read as insincere. Stating that I’m deceitful.

If you think that I’ve won, fine. I don’t think I know what you suspect I wanted to win out of this. But it certainly wasn’t a response akin to a child being forced to apologize to their neighbor for lying about the fact that it was his baseball that broke the neighbor’s window.

If you want to just fold your arms and curtly state “Fine, you win. I’m leaving” that’s on you. I more wanted you to perhaps, for a second, respectfully engage as if you thought that there might be something that you could learn from me. I insisted on engaging you on this point because I’ve usually thought that I can learn something from you.

I don’t know at this point, though. If we’re going to actually engage, you should probably ask me some questions on my positions about some of the things we discussed, because I think you’ve made a lot of wildly inappropriate assumptions about me.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

Let me start by saying that by any interpretation, I was being petulant. Something that I do not apologize for.

“Is it not fair, for instance, for me to be extremely suspicious of your assessment of what you see in liberal behavior when you have asserted a claim above about the Muslim headcovering case that you describe as “reasoning” that contains false information that you assumed into the issue?”

What I see in that statement is a way for you to discount my entire argument based on that event. Maybe I’m overeading that but that is the message I see. Now let’s look at the event. You posted hundreds of cases in your link to the ACLU. I associated one of them with another case also defended by the ACLU, also about headgear, and also pertinent to the issue. I suspect you knew which case I was referring to and I have subsequently posted it. It was neither false information nor assumed into the issue. It was merely linked to the wrong case. You could have noted the discrepancy and moved on or play ‘gotcha’ and discredit everything based on it. Whether intentional or unintentional, it is pretty clear which way it went. I feel like I’ve been maneuvered into a courtroom drama where each is trying to out lawyer the other. I’m not interested in trying to out lawyer anyone but I am interested in the issues at hand. So let’s look at some of the issues.

“No: you are stating that the same perception is not as prevalent in the conservative community. There are plenty examples that it does. And, each instance reinforces the perception held by the opposing side.”

My point here is that many of the examples you use are not indicative of conservatives thinking the liberals have evil intent. They may very well be read that way by liberals but my assertion is, that is not the case. Let’s look at the Ginsberg statement in regard to your argument. I see no evil intent in her statement. What I see is a broad statement with broad implications. It brings in the law of untended consequences. Every court ruling changes the way laws are interpreted and consequently changes the law. Precedents are built upon precedents until the original intent can become unrecognizable. I’m not fighting the judiciary and in fact believe most of their decision to be good ones (with some notable exception). Hell even Roe v Wade, I think was a travesty in the way it was decided but quite good in what was decided. It’s not just the decision itself that affects law but the process used to get there. Arguments that are used to determine the outcome will affect what arguments can be used to affect other cases. The interstate commerce Clause is probably the most obvious example of decisions and arguments that have gone far afield from it’s original intent. Even though each decision was probably made with the best of intentions.

When we consider foriegn law in our decisions on matters of the constitution, I don’t complain because I think someone is trying to pull a fast one, it is because I think that road is too dangerous. It will lead to precedents that are well intentioned but almost impossible to undo. I see it as a dangerous precedent not necessarily an evil one. That’s why I keep arguing with you on this point. You seem to say that when I argue against Ginsberg’s statement it shows I think she has evil intent. When in reality, it is only a precedent I would rather not set because I think it could have very detrimental results.

Just a point on how I operate (or at least how I think I operate). I will use any source I find credible without regard to their leanings if I think the data is pertinent, whether it be the WND or Andrew Breitbart. In response I will address issues even if they are sourced through the Daily KOS or Huffington Post. I may mention the bias but I’ll still address the issue. If I’m held to a standard that I can only use liberal publications for my reference, You will have effectively disarmed me. I use this site the same way I use MSNBC and CNN, to see what the other side is saying. I can’t get that from Sean Hannity (hell I can’t get what conservatives are saying from him).

I think where we stand right now (correct me if I’m wrong) is that we both agree that liberals have a general mistrust of conservatives. I don’t believe that conservatives have a similar distrust of liberals while you think they do. I’m not sure we’re even defining the issue the same way. I may say that the Democrats are dangerous. That doesn’t mean they are evil. It’s like a kid running with a knife in his hand. That’s dangerous but it doesn’t mean that he has any intention of hurting himself or others just that just it creates a situation where bad things can occur. Hell, he may be trying help by bring the knife to you but it’s still dangerous.

I consider my self to be a typical conservative. Not as smart as some and smarter than others. Generally I agree in principle with all the conservatives I know even if we may disagree on a detail here and there. Consequently, I use myself as a sounding board for what conservatives believe. And I believe that liberals are trying to change the country into what they believe will be a better place. I think it will make the country worse and I’m happy to argue the merits of that belief. What I don’t believe is that the liberals are trying to make the country worse. They just don’t see danger in what they’re doing. (a little philosophy at the end here)

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

(1) As to your first statement, it contains again your repeated accusation that I’m trying to discard your entire argument (which really you haven’t presented – you’ve only stated an opinion and not an argument) at each turn. You construct an odd little scenario where you presented a link to a case about the ACLU and defense of a Muslim woman wearing a veil in a photo-ID picture that didn’t clearly indicate that it was on the list that I posted, and figure I should assume that was the case you were originally citing to .

No…if you want me to understand that, rather than thinking you’re citing to a wholly different example, you should point me to the original citation, or state that you accidentally cited to a different case, or that this was the actual case that you meant. You, however, included no language or explanation that there was a connection. I’m sorry if I failed to make one, but that doesn’t indicate any route I chose to take in my assumptions about your argument – there are plenty of cases where Muslims make claims based on religious freedom where the court decides against them and for good reason. Same with every religion.

Your counter doesn’t show anything about support for Muslims v. Christians. I’d argue that the ACLU fights vigorously against any assault on religious freedom, and in doing that it takes a strict, hard-line approach to that freedom that means it over-defends. That’s a good thing, in my opinion, as it makes them an insanely vigilant watchdog.

In the case you cited, however, the decision was against the ACLU and the Muslim woman. That was correct, because religious freedom is not unlimited, and this was an instance where there was a highly valid state reason that was based on secular reasoning and that related to a fundamental concern for the state to demand that a person be identifiable in these photos.

All of this is off topic and not the reason why I raised the example of the ACLU, however, as I have already stated. The issue is not whether the ACLU defends Muslims. They do. I brought in the ACLU because you claimed that there was, in some way, different treatment of Muslims such that we were allowing them more religious freedom of more accommodations than other religions.

I brought up the ACLU defense statistics to show that no, we are still defending a majority of Christian cases. I believe what you’re seeing is simply more accommodations and demands for recognition of religious freedom from Muslims. That doesn’t mean that, automatically, we are privileging them by making some accommodations that they demand. It may very well mean, in fact, that we are starting to recognize their presence and respect their beliefs in a way that is more on the level of what we should have always been doing if we really claim we’re a land of religious freedom.

Accusations often come from conservatives that use the concept that you did, that in some ways we’re “elevating” their religion…but make it more scary, and part of the “creeping Sharia” issue. And liberals are often implicating in wanting to help. If you look a the list of articles underneath the WND one, you’ll see how focused it is on creating concern about this dangerous, nefarious presence. So much so that footbaths…FOOTBATHS…indicate a step in a takeover.

(2) On the Ginsburg argument – you’re again missing my point. I never, ever stated that you thought that she had a nefarious intent in her statement. I stated that you thought that I DID. That, in contextualizing the comment, in asking you to consider the whole thing, you assumed that I was trying to destroy your whole argument, or discard everything that you were saying. This was the exchange:

It doesn’t change the issue or point at all but it does give you the opportunity to discard everything. Which you’ve done. Very much like your response to the Justice Ginsberg comment. You feel by associating it with a different issue the statement can be ignored. Unfortunately if you can consider foriegn laws on some cases, you can consider them on others. The statement was too broad to be confined as you have done.

You’re [me, iamthemob responding here] again assuming an “evil” or “nefarious” intent. Nope. If I wanted to start discounting arguments you made about liberals, I would. Have I? No. I’m talking about the problems with your understanding of what conservatives do.”

And the next paragraph begins “As to the Ginsburg issue…” I am clearly, CLEARLY referencing your first sentence with the nefarious bit, and relating it to your belief that, for some reason, I’m trying to trap you, to back you up in some dark little corner, and get you to say one thing that allows me to laugh wickedly and say “FOOL! I now have you, and everything you say has been DESTROYED…MWAH HA HA HA HA…”

I mean, really…really…I’ve tried to alleviate that concern several times, but ya keep coming back to it. It’s the most paranoid reaction I’ve seen in a while. Get off assuming my intent and maybe we’ll have a discussion.

At this point, I’m really just talking to you as an exercise in patience, because you continue to apparently not really read anything I’m writing, as you continue to return to issues that I’ve already attempted to resolve clearly multiple times (whether I am trying to discard whatever you say, whether I think there is suspicion among many liberals of conservative motivations, etc. etc.).

Let me tell you this: it’s okay to be wrong on something. You can admit it. Really, you can. But you’re holding firm to this whole idea that there’s not a significant level of suspicion in the conservative camp of the motivations of liberals, or that it’s somehow not suspicion of their motives but just a belief that they’re wrong, that it appears you’ve gotten to the point that you feel like admitting any single thing that you say is wrong is going to just dissolve your entire argument.

Here’s maybe why that is: you have not, in any way, made an argument to support your assertion about there being a suspicion in the liberal camp, but not really in the conservative one. All you have stated is an opinion on the subject, and anecdotal evidence about what liberals say. That’s it.

You have no argument about that. None. If you did, you’d have made it.

Here’s what I want you to do. If you refuse, fine. But it’s really the only way you’re going to have an argument:

Just show me that there’s a substantive difference.

Show me that there are way more people like Ann Coulter writing books entitled things like “Demonic” about the motivations of liberals in the liberal camp. Show me that there are more people making arguments like the ones from conservative Christians that liberals are trying to “destroy the marriage and family” by gunning for gay marriage, but that the arguments come from conservatives (p.s. ... the argument is not that “gay marriage” will undermine the family – but that the liberals actually want it to). Show me how there are people in the liberal camp that are complaining that conservatives are actually trying to destroy religious freedom in the U.S. in a noticeably greater number than those who are in the conservative camp making those arguments about liberals who are defending Muslim practices or trying to keep prayer out of school (again…the argument from these people isn’t that religious freedom will be destroyed for Christians…but that this is what the secular liberals want and do it under the guise of the first amendment).

Just show me. Really. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. But if you can’t, then please don’t try to make your opinion sound reasonable. It’s just more finger pointing, which is everything that’s wrong in the country when you come down to it.

“Yeah I did it…but you totally do it more!”

“Oh yeah? You did it all these times!”

“But you did it first!

Ad infinitum. Ad…infinitum.

If you like those conversations where everyone keeps on tossing anecdotal evidence at each other and tries to explain away the problems with their side, and won’t admit that they don’t have a basis for an assertion about why the other side is worse or does something differently, but still insist that they get to state that opinion as if it was something of value…have fun.

All I see, for me, is that resulting in a whole bunch of people on different soapboxes telling different constituencies who’s to blame and why we should be afraid of that person or group.

It seems to me that they’ve actually gotten you to believe in the enemy. They’ve gotten you to believe that the other side not only thinks you’re wrong, but that they hate you.

They’ve gotten you to believe that I’m a liberal based on what you think are liberal arguments, and based on no real attempt to get to know me regarding my political position. And apparently because I’m a liberal (says you) I am attempting to trap you…to prove you wrong…to destroy your argument…to discount everything you say if I can get you to admit one flaw.

I don’t know that you’re wrong about a difference. But I haven’t seen you show me anything that demonstrates anything more than bias towards hearing things that are critical of conservative thought as coming from a place of suspicion, but those that are critical of liberal thought not having that.

If you keep defending or discounting what the conservatives say that sounds like a belief that the other side is wrong AND has a dangerous agenda meant to cause harm to conservatives…well, let’s just say that admitting the family members we are embarrassed about are related to us doesn’t mean that we’re saying we are like them, or like them.

I won’t think your suspicious of liberal intentions because there are conservatives who are. I do think that you are because you’re paranoid about my intentions, and trying to defend conservatives who are paranoid about the gays, the secularists, the atheists, etc.

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