Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Not All Conservatives Are Bigots.


Somebody queried the right-wing/bigot relationship, and the answer is far too complex to put in a short snappy FB reply.

Let's look at the word bigot and what it means.

One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.

On the face of it, that's just "normal" human preference. Allegiance. In fact even patriotism could fall under that category.

However, let's look at what the word conservative means:

Holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion.

I think it's fairly clear that there is a connection here. "We've always done it that way, and we avoid doing it other ways."

By definition, the conservative mind, which is known as "right-wing" politically, is going to prefer its own group and its own ways. Not that others never do, you understand, just that there is a particular link here.

When that conservative attitude becomes extreme, it very quickly and easily descends into bigotry. QED.

But let's look at the bigger picture here. The first, which cannot be overlooked is that if we are talking about politics, it is a known phenomenon that western governments in general have moved further to the right in recent years.

Full data and explanation of that here:

http://www.politicalcompass.org/

As a result, the left have moved to the centre, the centre have moved to the right, the right has moved to the far right, and the far right, as a friend of mine is always saying, have moved to the mental asylum.

The United States, in particular, has no left wing party in the game. There are left wing attitudes among the American people, certainly, but it has no representation.

There was a time when OPEN bigotry was the exclusive domain of extremists. General cultural racism notwithstanding, full blown displays of bigotry in public were minimal a few decades ago. Now, it appears to be the default position for a large number of mainstream politicians. Perhaps they were just quieter about it, and it was there all along. At least they aren't hiding who they are anymore, I suppose we should be glad of that.

The simple fact is, policy among right-wing parties appears to be just common or garden, standard bigotry. How else do you explain it?

They blame the poor for the economy.
They blame atheists for school shootings.
They blame women for unemployment.
They blame anyone of colour for....well just about anything, really.
They even blame gay people for natural disasters.

This scapegoating is classic bigotry. There's a problem? Find a group who are not like us, and blame them.

It's been done right though history, and you know why? It works. The general public are quick to join in. It's "them". They are the cause of all our woes. This then justifies the bigotry in their minds.

So here's a Venn diagram.

I am absolutely certain this will not go down well. I am also absolutely certain that my less easily enraged conservative friends will simply see themselves in the pink section, and some of them actually are.

I am also quite certain that some reading this will still not understand what bigotry is, or that they are guilty of it. But you know me, I don't give up.

7 comments:

  1. I'm in total agreement. There is no chink in the logic. They can whine, they can "believe" what they want. Fact is fact. "Conservative" for many has come to mean something more like "permanently locked-in to a dogma" without chance for change or mitigation.

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  2. The worrying thing is that when you divide "Us" into "Them" and "Us" it becomes easier to think of "Them" as "Not As Important As Us - so we can do what we want to get rid of them"

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  3. I agree. I am a conservative in some areas, but they are all very unpopular views. I think family should be the main care givers in a child's life. I understand there are situations where that is not possible and its okay. The world doesn't end if it doesn't happen.
    I am also a conservative when it comes to marriage. I think marriage should be for life. I understand things happen and people change or misrepresent themselves and divorce happens. The big issue is that it is not really any of my business if it isn't my relationship.
    The interesting thing is that more than once I have been told that my attitude of it not being any of my business makes me a liberal, but really it just means I am not a bigot?

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  4. Before reading your blog, I saw a post on Facebook alluding to the major changes we are going through. We could just as easily, using the colorful diagram, assign the haves and have-nots to the them-and-us categories--or the blamERs and the blamEES. There are much more of US than them; yet through the oppressive blame that exists, we are kept divided even in this age of virtual interconnection. There is no justification for it...just that the shades of blame and doubt are being lifted. Let the sunshine in. ;) ~ Blessings! :)

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