A Tale of Two Philosophies June 15, 2014Posted by geoff in News.
As I’ve mentioned before on these very pages, I believe that conservative and liberal attitudes are informed by different positions on the Maslow hierarchy of needs chart. That’s the chart that shows that as societies/individuals progress, they move from one set of needs up to the next, gradually working toward self-actualization:
This chart is one I’ve used before, and I am lazy, so I didn’t change the “DNC” label to something more relevant. But suffice to say that I think that conservatives live in Tiers 2 – 4, with special emphasis on the Safety Tier* (Tier 2). Liberals, on the other hand, occupy Tiers 3 – 5, with their emphasis on Tiers 4 & 5 (Esteem and Self-Actualization).
The fact that we occupy different tiers isn’t a problem until the priorities start to conflict. When, say, the emphasis on Self-Actualization or Esteem compromises Safety. Or when concerns over Safety inhibit people’s progression up the ladder. But if I had to choose, I’d say that protecting the lower tiers certainly takes precedence over the higher tiers.
So the question is: are conservatives’ fears that their safety/security/stability is in peril justified? Or are they creating Monsters from the Id?
Well let’s see. The conservative worldview says that evil exists in the world, and that other countries are pretty much out to get what they want, regardless of the consequences to others. The liberal viewpoint is that what we perceive as evil is really just misunderstanding caused by lack of insight and communication, and that everybody being pretty much the same, we ought to be able to resolve our differences through discussion and empathy.
Which world do we live in? I don’t think you have to look any farther than the Islamic rebels in Iraq to decide that. Or Syria. Or Russia. Or China. Or Iran. Or North Korea. All of whom are pursuing aggressive policies designed to force people and/or countries to live as they mandate.
Obama’s “diplomacy first” policy is a prime example of how somebody operating in the upper tiers of Maslow’s hierarchy can compromise the lower tiers. Without a security-minded emphasis in our foreign policy, the lid came off the box, and now the safety and security of millions of people are directly at risk. His naivety is rapidly bringing the security of the US itself into danger.
All of these events were predicted by the conservative worldview. Every single one. But they caught the President completely by surprise.
Our Kumbaya foreign policy is a disaster. We need to take it down a couple of notches, and get back to the basics.
*I think there’s one item missing from Tier 2: that would be freedom. One could argue that freedom isn’t actually required to ascend Maslow’s ladder, that you could climb the entire ladder under some sort of benevolent dictatorship. But from the conservative viewpoint, the Tier 1 and 2 concerns aren’t really fully addressed until you’ve ensured that they can’t be taken away. And that requires a life free of coercion by others and by the State.