Who ordered the scrambled brains?

"More misunderstood musings of a moron" —Tara

Stupid… liberals?

Man, it’s been so long since I’ve really written. Basically, I’m barely holding down my list of To-Do’s. Although I can say I’m gaining some ground in the fiscal stability battle. I really must recount all the various activities I’ve been up to sometime soon. (Note to self: Mike, when I say “really”, I mean it!)

Anyway, I found this article so interesting I just had to post it (in PDF form since L.A. Times has a tendancy of removing access to articles after a while). It’s an opinion piece that criticizes what the author sees as moral confusion liberals have regarding religious extremism. I’m still digesting it, as it’s take on globalization, religion and tolerance is new to me. Off the bat, the article seeems to have some flaws (the conspiracy argument) and perhaps takes his point a little too far. However, he still appears to make a very strong argument. He argues that the idea that economic despair is what breeds Muslim terrorism is not supported by reality, though liberal ideology continues to promote it. The cause of this disparity can be seen as the tendancy of liberal ideology to view “Western power as utterly malevolent, while the powerless people of the Earth can be counted on to embrace reason and tolerance if only given sufficient economic opportunities.”

I feel that his superlative diction exaggerates this core idea of his argument, but also that the idea is so potent that it doesn’t really matter. To him, it boils down to liberals extending so much tolerance to other cultural morals, that they undermine and distort their own morals. Conservatives don’t have that problem because their morals are prescribed by Western religion. Liberals, I feel, must not only clarify and assert morality, but must reinforce that by criticizing immoral beliefs, even if that bubbles up to criticism of a particular religion or culture (Islamic extremism), or even of religion in general (blind faith).

I strongly encourage ya’ll to check it out.

Update (20 minutes later): Bah, the more that I think about it, the more I feel that he is talking about a small population of extreme liberals. First of all, his sample for making his argument are those people that feel strongly enough to write a letter to voice their opinion. Second, these people were responding to his book, which was a general criticism of religion, as far as I know. Third, I know many liberals who do have a sense of morality, which acts as a foil against obsessive cultural tolerance. The sort of people he seems to criticize are those that perhaps use tolerance as an object of blind-faith, which shields them from the reality of immorality that falls under a cultural or religious banner. It’s still an interesting article.

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Commenting options at bottom.
Vicente Valencia III said:

What’s a Liberal? What’s a Conservative? The characteristics which describe each have changed so much during the years that now different people have different ideas of what constitutes each. Then there is always the differential between a conservative economically, religiously, etc. For instance, is an Economic Liberal one who believes in 100% free trade market, which would therefore mean legalizing drugs, prostitution, no tariffs, no subsidies etc? Or is an Economic Liberal one who believes heavier taxes on the wealthy and more social welfare programs? And what would conservatives believe in? Well go back 300 years ago and they would be mercantalist hoarding up as much gold as they could, and reducing imports as much as possible. Now they are considered pro free international trade. So why do they give heavy subsidies to domestic farmers?

Either way, can one be only either a conservative or a liberal? Are there only two ways you can swing? Is one side’s win another side’s loss, and politics is a never ending epic battle between the two sides for control of Middle Earth?

Ahhhhhhh whatever, let’s just unite the two parties and kill all the Arabs, starve all the Africans, buy everything in Latin America using Latinos for slaves, then party with the Asians getting Chinesse massages in Southeast Asia.

Vicente Valencia III said:

So now that I’ve read the article I see what the author percieves as a Liberal, but that’s just one person’s opinion. His idea of a Liberal supports economic free trade when it means legalizing drugs, but opposes true free trade in that it increases income taxes. I guess being a Liberal or a Conservative doesn’t relate to having an economic strategy since both sides hold a double standard on the matter.

Anyways, for the most part it seems as though the low standard of living contributes a major factor to the adoption of extreme fundamentalism in the Middle East. I mean even though the 9-11 terrorists were well educated in math and science doesn’t mean that they were well educated in other subjects such as history, religion, economics, etc., especially those subjects from a more objective point of view. Therefore, can we really say that they were truly educated? Furthermore, their education was funded by terroist networks. They were probably raised in poverty and violence, which could have help to cloud any rationality that their new “education” would have strived to provide.

On the other hand, there are terroist supporters who are being raised in an otherwise prosperious environments. I saw an interview on the History International channel about the growing seperation between European and American mentalities. In it, there were 2 female, Muslim high school students being interviewed who lived in France and openingly supported all of Osama Bin Ladens ideals and actions. One girl even showed her face, and added that many of her Muslim collegues at school agreed with her. So that just goes to show that even in areas of economic prosperity, there can still be some huge dumb asses, ha ha ha !!!!!!!!!!

Mike McG said:

Haha, thanks for the responses, Vince. You get the award for longest two-in-a-row comments.

As far as what constitutes liberal and conservatives ideologies, traditionally I would say the liberal ideology priotizes the protection of social liberty and holds that a society has an obligation to protect the socially weak (e.g. minorities [politically weak], or poverty-stricken [economically weak]). This implies economic regulation and progressive social policy. On the other hand, conservativism prioritizes the protection of economic liberty (free-market) as the best way to advance society, and deals with social progress in a very cautious, skeptical manner (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it). These ideologies traditionally end up meaning more taxes and bigger government for liberals, and smaller govnernment with less taxes for conservatives.

But I think you are totally right with regard to breaking up political ideologies into multiple dimensions, as you did in your first comment (”economically, religiously, etc”). There are probably many relevant, independent dimensions (perhaps foreign policy, individual liberty, environment) but I think the two simplest dimensions that correlate highly with the vast majority of people’s interests are the broad dimensions of social policy and economics. That’s how most political groups define themselves in Europe and the UK. So you can have groups that are socially conservative but economically liberal (fascism, hehe), or socially liberal and economically conservative, which is a party I would like to see in the U.S.

I’d also like a party with an open bar policy. Haaa!

Vicente Valencia III said:

Well . . . you see, conservatives haven’t always been less government, more free trade. In fact 300 years ago they were the extreme opposite. Conservatives were those who supported an absolute monarchy and had mercantilist policies which limited their subject’s freedom to import products from other monarchys.

However, it seems that for the most part, conservatives have tended to be the wealthier classes, where liberals have seemed to be the middle to lower classes.

And yes with an open bar at least until 11, even if it’s only for whatever kind of vodka they’re trying to promote.

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Mike McG said:

Damnit, Vince, that’s why I love you. You know your damn history. And you drink!

Natalie said:

So what I think Vince is trying to say is this:

He bats for both teams and he wouldn’t mind a party that participated in the same.

That’s all.


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