Late last year, the Linux Project decided to adopt a “Code of Conduct” document that has been highly controversial from the get-go. I wanted to write about it then, but I think I’m in a better frame of mind to write about the more general issue now – something more applicable to my readers than a simple rant. 🙂
The source of the issue is quite deeply embedded in people’s minds and thus remains hidden or unaccounted for. Most of the time, people are arguing about the surface: security vs privacy, socialism vs capitalism, “green” vs economic, “tolerance” vs intolerance. And while these issues have become sensitive, they are only sensitive in the fact that people have come to believe strongly in these opinions and see them as an identity. However, I would contest these things are not identities at all but are instead masking the underlying perspectives that have and are shaping these identities.
The truth is, there is no true “conservative” nor “liberal”, but a diverse set of opinions that have become globed into two categories. Neither category fully represents their constituency, but the “liberal” side is hurting its members the most.
In a series of articles, I’d like to break that down. Let’s start with the basics.
(Clever heading, no?)
Most people start falling into one side or another even when it doesn’t represent them. The Republican mantra is “We are the majority, and majority should rule!” and the Democratic mantra is “We are minorities, so let’s bond together!” These make both parties relatively strong in subscriber base, which is a necessity thanks to the two-party system of the United States (and other nations); people tend to support the candidate who at least somewhat favors their cause yet has the best chance of winning.
In effort to be unified, people often find themselves working with people with whom they disagree. They can either take the route of intolerant uniformity – as in the “conservative” or Republican side – or conformity to “tolerance” – as in the “liberal” or Democratic side. Picking either has its consequences. For the Republicans, it meant having multiple candidates in the Presidential election. The Republican Party maximized their chances of winning the election by identifying the candidate that represented the majority (even though the leaders clearly wanted a different guy). On the Democrat side, it meant that the most manipulative – the party leaders – picked a candidate that everyone else was supposed to vote for. But the underlying goals of the constituency divided the party into multiple hidden parties, and consequently, half of them voted for the other party’s candidate.
Now let’s go below the surface and look at what the waves are made off.
For the next header, I decided to adds some points to cleverness and doc them from clarity.
In the Republican party, people are rather frank but are able to do so because they usually agree with each other. (If you deviate too much in opinion, you are automatically considered “liberal” or “have liberal-leaning tendencies”.) This stems from the fact that most people in the Republican party are, in terms of MBTI, predominantly ISTJ, ESTJ, ESTP, ENTP, and ENTJ personalities. They prefer doing things with their own hands such as hunting their own food (thus pro-gun), training their own children (thus homeschooled), and enjoying the fruit of their labor (thus capitalist). Notice that they are T-types (each containing a “T” in their personality). This represents “Thinker” as opposed to “Feeler”, meaning that they tend to rationalize their decisions by practical or utilitarian value rather than go with whatever feels right. That’s an important point, so remember that for later.
The aforementioned personalities tend to belong to males and thus these ideals are considered the defining traits of being “masculine” in the traditional sense: being tough, bold, physically fit, defender of the home, being the leader (of work, family, army, etc), being the warrior, pioneer, survivor, soldier. Naturally then, the Republican party mirrors this.
America was founded by such pioneers, and thus the sins of America are best attributed to the ugly, selfish side of these people: property hording (cowboys vs indians), exploitation (slave owners), manipulation (Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, the oil barons), imperialism (Theodore Roosevelt). Have a look at the prototypical figures in these areas (the cowboy, the slave owner, the business president) and you’ll see the aforementioned personality traits.
Such people represent (or at least consider themselves as representing) the cultural “establishment”, and by (illogical) extension, everything else with that label (including religion). Consequently, “liberalism” was born as and defines itself as being in opposition to this original establishment. In truth, it is opposed to the ideals of the aforementioned personalities, and I wish more people would realize this.
In the Democratic party, the ideologies of the constituents are a mixed assortment of the sane and insane – anything that got rejected by the other party and has since come to be considered as a minority. That can’t be said outright because the one uniting factor that everyone agrees upon: the world needs to be more tolerant, tolerant of “difference”, “change”, “progress”, however ambiguous these things are.
The personalities that blend in most tend to be the most accommodating. In MBTI, this would be most “F”-types (“Feelers”) – ESFP, INFP, INFJ, and ISFP – and INTP. All but the last one are predominantly feminine, and thus the traits of these types tend to be considered “feminine”: acceptance, empathy, nurturing, cooperation, open-mindedness etc. These are thus ideals of the liberal camp.
The truth is, neither of these sets of personality traits nor ideals belongs exclusively to men or women, to conservative or liberal. Likewise, the personality types (ESFJ, ESTP, etc) aren’t exclusive to any one particular party, though they do tend to naturally pick a particular side. The party of choice can be heavily influenced by family and school. Sadly, these days it is also influenced by which group rejects you more than which group accepts you.
Friends are people you should be able to have a “friendly discussion” with, right? But what happens when you speak on a “different wavelength” as the person with whom you are speaking? What if your priorities are entirely different than theirs? It may seem like the friendly thing to try to tiptoe their line, but that’s only possible if there is a line to tiptoe along.
For conservatives, the line is fairly obvious, but for liberals, there is – as the name “liberal” suggests – no “line”, or at least nothing definitive. The boundaries can be redefined as one likes. There is only agreement, “tolerance”, and letting those “oppressed” (by the implied majority / in the nation’s past / etc) speak out.
Consequently, it’s very difficult for T-types (“Thinker types”) to fit in with the liberal mentality. T-types tend to think of the long-term, logical way to get what is desired. But they appear utilitarian even when the intended goals are emotionally beneficial. That’s because they aren’t acting empathetic in the immediate. They seem callous when in fact they are simply wired to think in terms of unemotional responses more than emotional ones.
Simple scenario. Three people are in a room. One is a T-type and the other two are F-types. One F-type says they lost their friend. The T-type, hoping to solve the problem and offer a solution to amend the friendship (long term emotional benefit), tries to gather details one at a time by asking what the F-type said. The F-types both are insulted because the T-type didn’t act empathetic at the moment, so they criticize the T-type for being callous. The T-type tries to explain, but they are already on the emotional bad side, so their words now go unheard as the two F-types try to console each other. Notably, there is no gender involved here. It’s irrelevant. After awhile, the T-type starts playing the game, and the story repeats without any solution for the broken-hearted friend. Such is the consequences of Feeler rule, and by inheritance, the liberal party rule.
(Technical note: many young people, especially men between ages 20 and 30, undergo physiological changes that make them more emotional and thus more likely to be liberal.)
Anyone attempting to be rationally-minded in the liberal camp is told they are “bigoted”, “intolerant”, “hateful”, “spiteful”, “sexist”, “discriminatory”, and a host of other emotional words. These words are “black spots”, intended to be used on Republicans, conservatives, and those “offensive” people. The only reason these words have any impact is because people want to maintain the ideals of being caring, i.e. they are trying to be emotionally-driven.
(As a technical note, it’s not actually a bad thing to be discriminatory/intolerant/etc, but people often use it to imply association with the actions associated with certain kinds of discrimination, which are known only through connotation (emotion) and not definition. For example, “discrimination” is short for “discriminating between white and blacks” which is associated with preferring fair skin people over brown skin people, which is associated with the derogatory perspective of slaves instead of (more accurately) personal familiarity.)
Tiptoeing the line is a necessity and makes manipulation of other people quite easy. It seems sheep trying to play the game haven’t yet realized that the only rule is “When you don’t like a person’s behavior, be offended by it“. That is the one and only rule of liberal politics. Period. End of story. It’s an incredibly effective rule.
The rule itself comes out of the response of people being hurt. Ironically, that’s exactly what it does now: hurt people.
To understand more, we first must understand the unity of liberalism. For that, see part 2.