Sunday, February 22, 2009
Looking forwards and backwards, and sideways
I think I've given my contention that conservatives worship a past that never was and liberals worship a future that will never be. One of the consequences of these views is in how we view contemporary events, say race relations or gender equity. The liberal seems to always be saying, "Look how far we have to go," and the conservative seems to be always saying, "Look how far we have come." Liberals come off sounding petulant and conservatives come off sounding smug. A larger problem is that, because the two groups are looking past each other, they have trouble speaking to each other. Each side thinks, "How can those bozos be so mistaken about the nature of things?" Because we tend to concentrate on how other opinions differ from ours, we tend to lose sight of some pertinent facts. For one thing, we lose sight of the fact that conservatives are by and large people of good will. We lose sight of the fact that liberals are by and large people of good will. I think I could cheerfully put up with the fact that I am a foot dragger (conservative) or impatient (liberal) if I knew my compatriots across the spectrum appreciated that I actually want pretty much the same things that they want.