No Fear

I don't fear traditional conservatives because I know our core values are similar. Pride in oneself and support for your loved ones are keys to the kingdom, so to speak. Admirable and fulfilling. Sincere and stimulating.

But conservatism in its present form is tainted by equally ignoble motivations: prejudice against people different from you and outright fear of new ideas.

Simply put, progressives and conservatives have a diametrically opposed view of the relationship between change and quality of life. Progressives equate change with improvement while conservatives see it as degradation, loss. Perhaps a very scientific depiction might help.

Of course, this greatly simplifies the definition of change. I - as you might imagine - mean change in the status quo, more specifically wealth and ownership, even more specifically, human power.

But, as is often the case, our terminology is all wrong. Progressives are the true conservatives, while conservatives as we now know them are defenders of the throne. In all domains other than money, it is the progressive who is the biggest opponent of change.

Want to level another forest for one week's worth of loose leaf? Not on our watch. Feel like re-engineering the DNA of my maize? You're going to have to fight me in the market for it. Need to initiate a "regime change" in a sovereign land? We'll be on your steps telling you no.

That said, liberals teeter on falling into the same, narrow trap that has ensnared many a rightist. The danger is including in the discussion only those of similar beliefs. We risk writing off their ideas as illogical and offensive, just as they might ours. If our goal is unity, we will have to open our considerations to those not of the same idealogy. Both sides must acknowledge neither is absolutely right nor absolutely wrong.

It makes only sense that the very wealthy aren't radical socialists. What is confusing is why so many poor, mostly white folks are ardent conservatives. The problem is, the average workadaddy has been convinced that pulling for the existing power structure is conservation (and somehow patriotism at the same time). They truly believe they are saving themselves and their families from peril. They don't see who is extorting money and liberties from them all for the sake of "protection."

Working-class people have been duped into believing that to do well by their own, they have to beat someone else down. They see no relation between the kids on the corner and their own children. This is precisely what the real players want. While we compete to see who gets the nicest house on the block, they look down from their own, private hillsides.

This is allowed to happen because we're sold on the whole notion of the lottery. We support the aristocracy in the (mis)belief we might score a seat at the big table... even though we know the game is slanted, if not completely rigged. Yes, if you work hard enough, be at least mildly cutthroat and lose all sight of what is truly important in life, you too can have a one-in-1,000 chance of becoming quite wealthy.

Is this any reason to subscribe to such a system, to honor the honourable, to contribute to the house?