Misunderstood Conservatives

Conservatives, I'm convinced, are the most misunderstood people on the planet. At least today they are. This wasn't the case the past, when conservatism was the more popular worldview. But in a liberal world -- and by that I don't mean most Americans today are liberal (they are not), I mean the culture, via the media, exudes liberalism -- it's inevitable.

The thinking goes something like this: If you're liberal-minded, you're open-minded, tolerant, and basically just a nice person. If you're conservative-minded, you're inflexible, intolerant, righteous, and judgmental. Let's pick apart these ridiculous notions and set the record straight -- b/c I would argue that in fact the opposite is true.

Being open-minded. This is one of my favorites. Generally speaking, liberals don't understand what it means to be open-minded. Being open-minded does not mean accepting anything and everything as is, or welcoming all people and ideas into your world free of judgment. Being open-minded means being open to looking at a particular idea -- studying it, analyzing it, talking about it -- and then deciding what you think about it. The only people who are close-minded are those who refuse to look.

Refusing to look at an idea means you don't want to think about it because it may upset the nature of things. It may upset one's order, the way they want it to be. Certainly there are conservatives who fall into this camp -- but they are rare. The vast majority of Americans are open-minded people. What separates conservatives from liberals is that conservatives are not afraid to take a stand and say, "Hey, wait a minute. This is wrong." You will rarely hear a modern liberal call anyone's behavior wrong -- because in their world the concept of right and wrong is personal. It's not dictated by God, or society, or any universal moral order. It's personal. If they deem something to be wrong, it is wrong. If they deem it to be right, it is right. That conservatives don't believe in moral relativity does not make them close-minded. They're perfectly open; they just disagree. It's only when a liberal doesn't like the conclusion the conservative has come to that he calls him "close-minded."

As far as being righteous goes, here's the deal: Conservatives may sound righteous when they talk -- I can see that -- but nine out of ten times when you actually get to know a conservative, they're incredibly humble. Hard to imagine, I know. But you can't use the Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, or Ann Coulters of the world as a gauge. Forget about the media personalities. Everyday conservatives are very self-deprecating (as a whole) and can laugh at themselves. These are not characteristics of a righteous people. The reason they appear this way sometimes is because they care so much about humanity, so much about the underdog, so much about liberty and fairness for all, they get carried away. Their passion overtakes them, and they don't come across like liberals do: soft and mushy. Add to this the fact that modern culture is so morally corrupt that it makes conservatives appear that much more righteous b/c they have to scream to be heard.

Then there's that "nice" label. Ugh. Makes me nuts. It's so easy to be nice: just smile a lot and nod along in conversation. Anyone can be nice. Being nice isn't what gives a person character. Being nice doesn't single a person out in any way. You don't have to do anything to be nice. It takes speaking out, getting involved, and sharing ideas and opinions to have character. JUST B/C SOMEONE'S NICE doesn't mean he's good.

Finally, the arrogance factor. Being confident about right and wrong doesn't make a person arrogant. Fifty years ago Americans agreed on right and wrong, and no one considered that arrogant. It's only because of the rise of moral relativity that those who don't subscribe to it -- conservatives -- are labeled arrogant.

God has plenty of opinions about right and wrong. Is He arrogant? Obama, our other God, has plenty of opinions about what we should and shouldn't do as a nation. Is he arrogant? The National Organization of Women has a lot of opinions about the right and wrong way to handle things. Are these women arrogant? Just about everyone -- whether they admit it in public or not -- has opinions about right and wrong. It's just that to a liberal, conservatives are the arrogant folks because they won't change their worldview to step in line with the liberal worldview.

That's not arrogance. That's just smart.

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