No, Liberals Aren’t Misanthropes August 29, 2013Posted by geoff in News.
Ron Ross of the American Spectator tells us that liberals are misanthropes, and as such are singularly unsuited to offer guidance on human endeavors:
On the surface liberal policies and positions don’t seem to make sense. However, they do make sense if you keep one thing in mind — liberals do not like humans or humanity. An unfair accusation? Consider the evidence.
Liberal policies make sense if their objective is to punish rather than benefit humanity. Furthermore, without recognizing this aspect of liberalism you will never make sense of it. Their policies are consistent with their basic values. Liberals can’t like humanity. It would be contrary to everything else they believe.
Sounds kind of plausible, but he’s wrong.
I hate to be the one defending the liberal mindset, but I have spent a number of hours trying to figure out why intelligent, well-intentioned people can consistently come to such different positions on policy. What makes the conservative conservative and the liberal liberal?
Here’s what I think:
- Conservatives believe that mankind, as an intelligent and God-sponsored species (if the latter is the way you roll), enjoys a special place. They further believe that as Americans, they are privileged to live in a time where the strength and wisdom of the Constitution and the merits of capitalism and the Protestant work ethic have combined to create the greatest, most prosperous, freest country in the history of mankind.
In short, they believe that mankind, and especially Americans, are special.
- Liberals, on the other hand, believe that mankind is only equal – that its position in the cosmos is no higher than that of any other creature. And, because mankind is intelligent and thus has a greater responsibility for its offensive actions, we’re actually a little lower than the innocent critters around us. As for America, it will be morally deficient so long as inequalities among its people and among the world’s countries persist.
In short, they believe that mankind/Americans are not special, so their success compared to other species/countries is immoral.
Which means liberals don’t “hate” mankind – they just treat mankind a little worse than other species due to our greater responsibility and culpability for our actions.
This special/non-special difference is why liberals emphasize empathy and social/environmental justice (as described by extremely liberal Prof. George Lakoff in Moral Politics), while conservatives consider empathy and justice important, but not an end in itself. Conservatives don’t believe that the main purpose of our lives is to promote justice – it’s to promote mankind, America, and family. Justice is a sideline while we’re making things happen.
Liberals believe that justice is paramount, and progress can be suspended while justice is being enforced. This is why our President is spending time on health care, GLBT rights (I think I may have missed one letter, but whatever), minimum wage, and wealth distribution, when he’s got an economy in the toilet. It’s why he has no compunctions about bowing to foreign potentates. And it’s why he’s perfectly willing to cede rights of Americans to international bodies.
Conservatives believe there will always be injustices (it’s inherent to the human condition), but as long as the tide keeps rising, everybody’s boat is going to get a lift.
Unfortunately, with liberals firmly in charge, nobody’s boat is going anywhere.