People like to pretend that conservatives and liberals are really different kinds of people. That they want a different kind of world than the one we want. And to some extent that's true. But when you really get behind it all, you'll see that we're really not all that different. Specifically, it's not that they want a different world. It's that they see the world differently; acknowledging different facts. But once you acknowledge those facts, the necessary course of action is not as much in dispute.
So the difference between liberals and conservatives isn't that we disagree with how things should be, but that we disagree with how things are.
And that's screwed up because there is only one set of facts in life: reality. And it requires objective observations in order to determine what reality is. But that set isn't good enough for them, so they have to invent their own. We all know this is true, but we often fail to understand what it means. We know that they shun their own observations and objective findings, but we refuse to take the next step and do what is necessary to save them. Too often, we use it as a reason to attack them and punish them; but we all know what we really need to do: pity them.
And this is important because, if the conservative's facts were correct, they'd be perfectly right in doing what they do. If almost all Muslims really are trying to destroy us and they cannot be persuaded not to, and if military force is the only means to stop them, then we'd be right in attacking them. It's simple self-defense, and anything short of that is self-denial. If this was the case, liberals really would be traitors for not attacking all Muslims. We'd be wrong for not wiping them out, or nuking them deeper into the stone age. That is simply undeniable.
But we don't believe that to be true. The facts are clearly against it. We see that Muslims are like other people and that they should be dealt with using non-military means. While some Muslims, like bin Laden, want to destroy us; most Muslims do not. Not yet, anyway.
And most of the Muslims who do want to destroy us, want that because they themselves have fallen victim to a bad set of beliefs; a wrong set of facts. And that the bad Muslims who are perpetrating this fraud on the other Muslims do so, not out of religious fervor, but from political scheming and power plays. For them, religion is merely the tool to gain power, with Islam giving them an established group with which to work with. They claim they work for Allah, so that they can persuade the religious to work for them. Kind of like another group that we deal with daily.
Moreover, we believe that military means will only make things worse. Irreparably worse. That direct military assaults on Muslim countries only encourages more Muslims to accept bin Laden's false facts; thus playing directly into his hands. And eventually we really will be in a religious war that can only be solved using military means.
Fixing the Middle-East
But if we could somehow get conservatives to drop their flawed set of facts, and acknowledge our set of facts (otherwise known as Reality), they would quickly give up their Muslim-nuking schemes and adopt our policies. And we could then get around to finding real solutions to our problems, much of which involve empowering disenfranchised Muslims and drawing them into western culture. And bin Laden knows that. He doesn't fear our weapons; he fears our culture. He wants war. We need to give them Seinfeld and baseball.
Most of all, they need to be convinced that we are not their enemy; and bombing them is really not the best way of doing that. And we need to help reform the middle-east so that they can establish a healthy middle-class which will serve to drain the anger of the disenfranchised poor and enfeeble the tyrannical rich. Which will eventually bring about the democracy that the conservatives wrongly believe they can create at gunpoint. That is the only solution.
And that's our problem. It's not that we see the same facts, but disagree as to the solution. It's that we see two different set of facts which have their corresponding solutions. But it's the facts that are different, not the answers. And empiricists know that there can't be two sets of facts; so something's got to give.
And this applies to everything. If Welfare and Social Security programs make people lazy and undermine our society, doing more damage than they fix; then they should be stopped. If taxing the rich at a higher rate damages the economy and loses more money than it gains, then we should have to cut their taxes. If there's a god and he opposes abortion and will hold all Americans responsible for the genocide of the unborn, then we'd be fools for being pro-choice.
The list goes on and on and applies to every single issue. But the converse is true with each of these. If the facts are against these ideas, then it's obviously the conservatives who are wrong, the religious who are wrong. And we'd be fools for supporting any of these items.
And that's why empiricism is so important. Because our opinions and beliefs cannot be trusted. Because people can believe anything, and our "heart of hearts" will always feel confident in it's trustworthiness and will lie to us about anything. Beliefs are like assholes and they keep fucking you up.
And that's the problem with belief. Because belief requires a leap free from the binds of logic and facts. That's why they call it belief. But without logic and facts tying us down, we can float off to anywhere and accept anything as true. Miracles, divine intervention, ghosts, Bush's inner-strength, you name it. Without the restraints of reality, we are doomed to float endlessly to wherever our imagination takes us. Trapped, floating down the river of life without a paddle and unable to see where we're going next.
And that's where these people are. They think they need their faith to guide them through life; but it only serves to trap them and blind them. They need to shed their faith before they can begin to guide themselves.
And so what we have to address is why they believe these things, and to find out what we can do to persuade them to question those facts. Not to call them names, or assume that they're bad people or stupid. But to address the basic facts which are causing them to draw the wrong conclusions. And I'm not saying we need to get them to accept our facts necessarily, but to at least try to question their own. So that they can begin to shed these false facts and begin an honest search for the truth. They'll never look for answers that they think they already have. And that can't be achieved through direct assaults, but only through friendly inquiries.
Why Be Conservative
Conservatives are not bad people. They're just weak, and overly prone to accept only those set of facts which make them feel better. That's why they choose to be conservatives, because it feels better. Liberals concern themselves with helping other people and believe that the world can be a better place...even if they have to shout and throw paint on people to get it. And conservatives think that's foolish and that everything's great and that they have no other responsibility but to themselves.
They're not really like that, but that's what they like to believe. Conservatives are likely to be as helpful individually as anyone else, but they don't accept that as policy. Overall, they chose the ideology that makes them feel better about themselves, and that's why they're conservatives. Their motto: If it feels good, believe it.
But it's not evilness; it's an affliction. We shouldn't deal with them as if they're the enemy. We need to deal with them as if they are mental patients suffering from delusions and overwhelmed by their fantasies and paranoia. Because that's what they are.
If someone believes they are Teddy Roosevelt or that space aliens require them to be homeless and drunk, you wouldn't directly attack those claims. You'd feel pity towards them. You wouldn't denounce them and call them delusional. It's so obviously true that it would be a horrible thing to say, and would only force them deeper into their madness. You'd befriend them and try to find out why they believe these things, and try to figure out what you need to do to save them.
And it's different with each person, so you need to listen to that person and figure out where they fell off the path and show them the way to get back on it. And listening is the key. You must listen, and refuse to be baited by their cheap smears and offensive tactics. Those are just defense mechanisms intended to upset you, so you'll leave them alone. And that's what they want: to be left alone to stew in their own juices; unencumbered by the intrusion reality and unpleasant facts. Mental illness is quite proficient at protecting itself.
And so what I'm telling you is that you need to befriend a Republican. Yes, yes, I know. It'd be easier to breastfeed a grizzly bear with gasoline. But it's essential. Not only for our country and the future of mankind, but for their own sake. It is your duty to rope these people back in and bind them to the world of empiricism and logic. Not as a liberal persuading a conservative; but as a human helping a fellow human. It's the compassionate thing to do. It's the liberal thing to do.