Continuing my very long series on politics, I’d like to offer suggestions for liberals before I have to branch off on a separate series to cover conservatism.
I have a few suggestions at the moment:
- Be humble
- Trust God
- Implement on a Practical Level
- Balance, Don’t Polarize
- Be Kind, Not Accepting
- Clean The Vocabulary
- Laugh, Don’t Take Much Personally
Humbleness is knowing who you are, and who you are is a human being – a limited (in knowledge, power, and many other ways), finite, short-lived body filled with a spirit and loved by God.
Humbleness is believing you don’t have all the answers. It is believing you really don’t have many answers… or any for that matter. It is accepting the possibility that you could be wrong. As human beings, you and I are limited in knowledge, and that means we may or may not understand the mentality of our opposition, we may not understand why our plans and ideas don’t work, or we simply may not know whether or not something we just read in the magazine is fact or fiction. As humans, we can’t possibly know everything in the universe, and we have trouble remembering exactly the steps we took yesterday even though that was less than 24 hours ago. If we can’t remember simple things, then how can we think we completely understand the ideas and mentalities of others? Let’s others the benefit of the doubt.
I recall reading the comments section of a politically-charged topic. It was a flame fest in which people with good intentions (namely, teaching other people the truth) would struggle to begin a decent dialogue or debate and end up defending their pride by insulting others as the conversation digressed into hopelessness. Both sides had points to make, but neither was humble, and the differences in personalities made everyone’s logic seem totally wild to the other party. It took me a number of years to realize that the political divide was based on personalities – which determines mentality, priorities, logic, focus, areas of concern, etc – and not lack of intelligence or just plain old “spiritual blindness” (as evangelicals are so fond of crediting). It’s not an easy fact to come by. However, to get their, you need to be humble and trust God to teach you.
The mentality of possibilities can be a breeding ground for fear. That happened in my life, and I’ve met others with the same problem. The reality is, the apocalypse is NOT likely coming any time soon even though it is possible. Likewise, it’s not likely anything seriously bad is going to happen if you slip up and make a mistake here or there. However, people have become trapped in a web of fear that is dominating their life and decisions. It needs to go away. But for that, you need to have some firm foundation to rely on when things go sour. I trust God.
God is a firm foundation. He always loves you, and nothing good or bad that ever happens to you hasn’t already been ordained by Him from the beginning. Not to say bad things are hopelessly inevitable, but bad things are inevitable, and the good news is that we don’t have to fear them because God in in control.
God heals wounds. Having spoken with a number of people, there remains that residue of the strife in the 1950s and ’60s that lingers in the mind and reminds people of all the problems in America they feel have never been fully dealt with. Frankly, I would give up trying to convince people of this era that anything has changed or can be better (because “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”), but God can. Just as He has the power to give me insights into the political spectrum to step out of it and analyze it from a non-partisan perspective, He has the power to heal the psychological and patriotic wounds of those people.
Implement on a PRACTICAL Level
Liberals love the concept of open-mindedness, and yet most liberals hold this up as an ideal rather than an actuality. Open-mindedness is listening to and exploring possibilities, NOT accepting any idea that is rejected by the majority. It’s about expanding the mind to learn new things and be inspired by a diverse set of opinions, NOT about treating ideas as equal in value. All ideas regardless of origin should be considered, but NOT all ideas should be embraced as truth.
Liberals love diversity, but diversity has come to be the bond of unity rather than subject of special treatment. Exceptions should be just that: exceptions. For example, in the education system, the recognition of diversity should have drawn attention to the fact that each child learns differently – some learn better by reading, others by listening; some through raw statements, some through poetry. Instead, all children are bunched in a room and forced to learn at the pace of the slowest audible learner. Furthermore, each child has different interests that they might excel at if allowed to focus on those interests rather than “general” curriculum.
Liberals love social inclusiveness. But it’s become one-sided, favoring other liberals and any “abstract” idea of humanity such as immigrants, foreigners, and people of other countries (anyone liberals don’t know personally). Why can’t we still include those we disagree with? Why can’t we embrace the unity of all America, not just those that fit a mold? In short: Why do we put ideological conditions on who we care for? Conditions wouldn’t be very tolerant, would it?
Balance, DON’T POLARIZE
I’m friends with liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats. I get the picture, and I’m actually quite happy God created an equal number (according to election results) of liberal and conservatively minded people… at least in America. In Europe, where there are too many socialists, things are going to hell in a hand-basket. Just ask the Swedish police about the crime.
Balance is good. But it’s not balance to only have directly opposing views to choose from. That’s polarization. When spectrums are polarized, you end up with the worst of both worlds. There should be blending, building on each other’s ideas, and finding measures that suit everyone. Picking from a dichotomy isn’t balance.
Bad Example: Big Government
For example, one of the hot topics is big government. On the liberal side, some consider big government a good thing but government spying on citizens and military spending bad things. On the conservative side, some consider big government a bad thing but spying and military spending a good thing. From this simple perspective, their side makes any sense. Behind the scenes, liberals are concerned with freedom and fearful that a government will take it, but then they had the counter-acting desire from social welfare to think the government should hand out food. On the conservative side, government should be limited in responsibility but they are fearful of enemies both outside and inside the country, and thus see the government as a defender of their safety. Having both liberal and conservatives opposing each other ratchets up the size of the government without increasing any of the benefits the government provides. The government neither provides more safety nor more help. It just gets bigger and has more “oversight committees” – political lingo meaning people who tell others how to live without offering effective solutions. Bipartisan “solutions” don’t work because neither side considers what is effective – only what supports party platform or majority constituency in their state.
Be Kind, Not Accepting
There is only one truth, and if you’re right, you’re right, and if you’re wrong, you’re wrong. Conservatives have this figured out. After all, the Thinker-type personalities (MBTI) dominate their. Liberals have embraced the Feeler-type personality tone, which, while kind and friendly, often lends itself to easily being swayed for the sake of comfort. To feelers and truly liberally (as in “freely”) minded individuals, truth can change from day to day by redefinition based on what’s comfortable. Meaning can be seen anywhere. I would agree that lots of meaning can be found based on whimsical interpretation, but meaning isn’t the standard of reality, and treating it as so is where things go wrong. There is a boundary to the applicability of meaning originating from humans. For example, I can call a red traffic light “green”, but that doesn’t change the color. It’s still what everyone else sees as green even if I call it “red”, and none of my dreaming nor wishful thinking can ever change that. End of story.
Therefore, don’t accept whimsical truth. Don’t accept convenient redefinitions or new, meaningless words. There’s too much of that in the liberal camp, and these crazy redefinitions are what’s changing the mentalities of people because they associate words with certain emotional connotations. For example, which sounds better: pro-gun or anti-life? Anti-war or pro-peace? Baby or fetus? Alien or dreamer? If the emotional connotation of terms affect your political views, you could be manipulated.
Does that mean we have to stomp out our emotions and become strictly rational? No. Slamming others into the dirt isn’t kind. We don’t need to accept what they have to say as truth, nor do we have to treat them rudely and ignore what they have to say.
Balance, my readers. Balance.
Clean the Language
If I were to hold up my middle finger to you with no other fingers raised, you might get a nasty idea. Except that I don’t mean anything by it because to me it’s just a middle finger – a gift God gave me to do work, which I am using to type fanatically on this keyboard. However, for many people, language has become one great big fat innuendo, and that’s rather sickening. One day, it’ll be hard for you to communicate a “normal” non-politically-charged, non-offensive idea because the vocabulary of “plain English” will be tainted with lots of terrible ideas. That’s too bad. I’m fighting that. You should too. You can start by using them in a nonchalant manner instead of an emotionally-charged or politically-oriented situation… and make sure to explain yourself. Admittedly, you might be considered weird but it’s better than being at a loss of words when you really want to say something and everything you think of is suggestive of something negative.
Also, there are a few words and phrases I’d like to ditch out of the liberal vocabulary that are doing more harm than good.
1. “I’m offended.”
The phrase “I’m offended” is in direct relation to oneself. It’s a self-centered statement that expects the offender to intuitively recognize they hurt the offended person’s feelings. However, instead of saying, “You hurt my feelings”, which clearly points the blame at the offender and can be readily denied or argued (by the offender), it focuses on the state of the offended individual who alone possesses the key to fixing their emotional state. (Note: The same thing happens with the word “right”, as I’ve already written.) Supposedly, the offender must work toward appeasing the magical psychological machine of the offended person in order to fix the problem. But that’s a manipulative, selfish scheme on the part of the offended person.
The truth is, emotions are the offended person’s problem and only they can control them. A person is responsible for intentionally going out of their way to say something they know would degrade someone else’s dignity as a human being (because that legitimately attacks them as a human), but it’s not their problem if they aren’t doing that and yet someone is still offended at what they have said. So someone is offended. So what? I’ve felt that way, overcome it, and grown as an individual from those experiences. What are you going to do to improve your emotional stability so that “harsh” comments won’t hurt you?
I’m not being cold here. I’m being reasonable. The fact is, you don’t have the power to control someone else’s emotions. Don’t try. Just speak the truth without intentionally trying to tick someone off. No one knows for sure what is “offensive”, but we all know when someone is intentionally being mean.
“Tolerance” is a big word in liberalism. It’s a meaningless, abused term that should be used exclusively by engineers and physicists for their work, not politicians and “social justice workers”.
Tolerance comes from an open-minded mentality working in tandem with (emotion) empathy. However, there is something sinister about the name. Tolerance is simply putting up with people even if you dislike them. However, there are a number of downsides. First, it supports the mentality of apathy, and when apathetic, people rarely learn and grow except by gentle osmosis, in which case they start accepting crap without thinking about it (and that’s a bad thing). Second, tolerance be translated as “no walls”, which means no standard, which in turn means no truth (because truth is constant). If we want truth, we can’t be apathetic. Scientists aren’t tolerant of crappy research. If they are, they can very easily end up accepting lies, which defeats the point of science.
Tolerance is very contradictory. It’s been used too broadly, and this is where the contradiction comes in. Liberals say be intolerant only of intolerance. But can you tolerate lies? Tolerance is impractical. Can you tolerate doctrines that teach people to kill you? Can you tolerate ideologies that say you are wrong? Can you tolerate the intolerance of the phrase “be intolerant only of intolerance”? This is all a messy word game and needs to go.
Once upon a time, “discriminate” meant “favoring fair skin people over dark skin people” or “white before black”. Unfortunately, the stating the word on its own (without the predicate) has led to ambiguity that makes its emotionally negative connotation readily hijacked and exploited by people in the liberal camp. When people question the ethics or legitimacy of their actions and stances, these liberals use the term to say that questioning of their actions or stances is just as bad as putting dark skinned people at the back of a bus due to prejudice. Their claims aren’t the least bit founded in fact, but the emotionally-driven liberals aren’t going to argue because they don’t want to be excluded.
4. Other Words
I’m sure I could think of more, but moving on…
Laugh, Don’t Take Much Personally
It’s said that laughter is the best medicine. I remember growing up it was hard to laugh at myself. Once I got over being overtly serious and could stand back and recognize my own propensity to do silly (or stupid) things, it was easier to just laugh at it. I make mistakes. I’m NOT laughing at my dignity as a human but at my propensity to make mistakes. It would be evil to degrade someone’s dignity as a precious human being, and it wouldn’t be hard to do so by teasing or intentionally mislabeled “innocent fun”. However, it’s perfectly acceptable to laugh at the mistakes of one’s human character, and for this reason, men like Bob Hope were hilarious – frequently making fun of their own human failures – and lived to be around 100 years old.
If you take everything too seriously, you start fights rather than enjoying the moment. The crushing of the sense of humor of liberals by liberal politics can be easily seen in the deterioration of the humor of Steven Colbert – a man who started as a stitch and turned into a knife. With as ridiculous an idea as building a border wall would seem, there should be more jokes coming from liberals revolving about the ineffectiveness of such a plan than the boisterous complaining they make now.
Most things have something funny about them. That’s why conservatives can laugh at what liberals label “racist” jokes while liberals show their lower lip in contempt. I’ve heard good and bad jokes to various degrees, and I’ll readily admit the conservatives cross the line a number of times (in part due to apathy and disdain for the strictness of liberal “political correctness”). However, the conservatives can laugh at themselves, and they’re enjoying life. Liberals are not.
Just kidding. I’m done talking about liberalism. I’ll probably have more to say in the future, but I’ve tried to write as much as I could about the underlying mentality such that I’ll be able to reference these articles in the future.
Of course, to truly understand why liberalism is what it is today, it helps to understand conservatism. And since I’d like to also cover that topic, that’s where we’re headed next.
Sorry, you just can’t get this guy to stop talking. 😀