Far Left, Far Right, and Somewhere in Between

If you're anything like me, you're probably tired of the words liberal and conservative. Do these terms encompass who we are? Not entirely. That's why you'll note on my profile to the right that I don't specifically refer to myself as conservative. It's not that I'm not, it's that the term isn't comprehensive enough. That, and I don't think people know anymore what it means to be conservative or liberal. The world has changed so much, but the terms haven't -- so they don't really apply anymore. That's why Bill O'Reilly uses the terms traditional and progressive when he talks about the culture war. I think this was inspired on his part, as the terms are far more comprehensive in scope. The point he has made over the years is simple, and it cuts to the chase of the divide in this country.

There are two extraordinarily vocal groups in America: the far left and the far right. These folks can be found in one of three places -- Capitol Hill, college campuses, or in the media (which includes publishers, journalists, and movie stars) -- and they have the microphone. You and I, on the other hand, represent the vast majority of Americans who do not define ourselves as either far left or far right. Indeed, we are mainstream America: moderate folks, with a tilt to the left or a tilt to the right.

Since we do not identify with either the far left or the far right, we have little representation. Adding to this lack of represenation is that fact that the far left group outweighs the far right group by such a large margin that it makes everyday Americans think most normal-thinking people are extremely liberal. After all, that's who they see the most of when they turn on their television sets or pick up their local newspaper. Over time this far-left message makes it seem as though the average person shares the far-left philosophy.

Yet we don't. Most Americans are traditional. To paraphrase O'Reilly's definition, most people believe America is "a noble country." They believe in the basic principles of the Founding Fathers: freedom of speech, separation of Church and state, etc. When things go wrong, as they always will, most people don't blame society. Instead, they understand human nature and accept that individuals are capable of doing wrong -- rather than assume the "man" is out to get them, or society has wronged them in some way.

This traditional philosophy most Americans share goes counter to the far-left philsophy, which subscribes to the idea that people are victims. People who share this philosphy believe that when things go wrong, "the man" or "society" is to blame. They also take the idea of freedom of speech and individualism to a new level in thinking that being "free" means everyone should be able to do whatever they want, whenever they want. And any individual who tries to stop him or her from doing so is a bad guy. A conservative.

This new view of the world is so popular that people prefer to think they're liberal, even if they're not. After all, who wants to be a bad guy? But the truth is the majority of people aren't nearly as liberal as they'd like to think.

Only be being honest with themselves -- and tuning out college professors and the mainstream media -- will people learn who they really are and thus live an honest life.

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