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(Originally posted January 2017)
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Democrat vs. Republican
Liberal vs. Conservative
Progress vs. Liberty
The ongoing battle between 2 sides that have consistently grown increasingly polarized over the last 8 years under former President Barack Obama rages on, and is likely to continue to get worse under Donald Trump’s watch.
Have you ever stopped to think about WHY the political polarization in America has only continued to get worse? Have you stopped to consider WHY conservatives and progressives struggle so much to understand one another, to the point that we are now dehumanizing the other side and refusing to even consider their opinions and why they have them?
The first part is relatively easy to explain: We as humans love to feel as if we have the “moral high ground“. In other words, if we think we are morally and ethically right, our default assumption is that anyone that opposes us is wrong. Media organizations like FOX, MSNBC, CNN, The Huffington Post, The Blaze, etc have realized that they can make money… PILES of money… by aligning themselves on a particular political spectrum, and then focus their efforts on producing content that makes the “other side” look morally insane for opposing their own “side’s” viewpoint.
As internet access has become nearly impossible to completely avoid in America since 9/11, producing this type of polarizing media, not to mention the ability to spread it to as many eyes as possible, has continued to get easier. In 1997, we had news organizations that reported the news. In 2017, we have news organizations that explain why your opinion about the news is wrong or right. Objective journalism has all but vanished in American society. That is one of the main reasons why those of us that subscribe to one of the 2 main political ideologies are currently so demarcated.
Now, for the more interesting part. Why do conservatives and progressives have such a hard time understanding one another?
Let’s start with progressives: Progressives want equality for every demographic in existence. Every race, every gender, every nationality. Progressives want economic equality. They want poor people to not be poor. They want rich people to share their wealth and help those that aren’t as fortunate. They want everyone to have access to cheaper health care, be able to afford nice things, and to be nice to each other. They want women to be paid the same as men, and to have easy access to healthcare clinics.
Conservatives want….. the exact same thing. Sit on that for a second. Conservatives want PRECISELY the same things as progressives do. Conservatives want unequivocal equality across every demographic.
- Conservatives want to lift ever poor person in America out of that income bracket.
- Conservatives want everyone to have access to cheaper healthcare.
- Conservatives want everyone to be kind to each other.
- Conservatives want women to be paid the same as men.
- Conservatives want women to have easy access to healthcare clinics.
Equality is the drumbeat of the left.
Equality is the drumbeat of the right.
How the 2 sides go about bringing about said equality is what is so different. Do not make the mistake of thinking that one “side” is inherently evil. Both “sides” want the EXACT same things.
The other aspect of this is that progressives think very differently than conservatives. Progressives tend to think more about the “what“, whereas conservatives tend to think more about the “why/how“. In other words, progressives see a problem and immediately proclaim that “the system” is flawed, and needs to be fixed. Notice the word that was used in that sentence. “The system is flawed and NEEDS to be fixed.” For example, if we assume that women’s access to healthcare is being threatened, a progressive’s solution to that would be to use the arm of the federal government to increase funding for organizations like Planned Parenthood. The progressive feels a compelling need to solve a problem, no matter what. As long as there is any evil or injustice in the world, they believe it is fixable. This is why people that identify as liberal are typically more unhappy than those that identify as conservative. It is impossible to solve every single problem in existence with a 100% success rate.
Conservatives, on the other hand, see a problem and immediately ask “Why does this problem exist?” They tend to focus on the deeper, underlying causes of issues rather than what is visible on the surface. A classic example of this is the debate about birth control. Rather than seeing it as an issue of “Too many “unplanned” pregnancies are happening, therefore people don’t understand what birth control is. People need to have easier access to birth control. The best way to do that is to use taxpayer money to hand out hand out condoms in high schools.”, conservatives tend to see it as more of a cultural issue.
Rather than seeing the solution as something tangible (using taxpayer money to hand out condoms and pregnancy tests in high schools across the country), conservatives, who tend to place high value on Christian values, say something more like “Having sex before you’re married is dangerous to your health, and is morally wrong. It is also disrespectful to your future spouse. How can we fix this?”
Again, notice the language that was used above. “How can WE fix this?” Conservatives, like America’s founding fathers, understand that government is rarely the solution to any problem. Everything the federal government does is funded by every taxpayer in America. Therefore, by default, the allocation of taxpayer money by the government, or “macro level”, will be astronomically inefficient when compared with that same allocation done at an individual, or “micro” level. (This is the baseline logic conservatives use to argue for low tax rates.)
This is why conservatives are constantly baffled by the progressive’s obsession with finding a government solution to everything. Meanwhile, the progressive is constantly baffled by the conservative’s obsession with “protecting traditional values”. This difference in values is what the media exploits, and turns into this asinine hatred for each side.