Thursday, November 18, 2010

There's a Liberal Bubble, too.




I believe there is a Liberal Bubble. And it's not little.

I believe that a large number of secular humanists rarely, if ever, come into meaningful contact with conservatives or conservative ideas. 

Kick me for bringing up Dennis Prager again, but I think he is dead on with this observation: It is possible for a liberal in America to go through his whole life without encountering conservative thought in any depth or significance (though it will be presented to him in caricatured form).

By contrast, conservatives constantly come into contact with liberals and liberal thought. There is simply no avoiding it, since the major societal institutions -- schools/academia, arts and entertainment, the mainstream media, even the government and courts -- are bastions of modern liberalism and "progressive" activism.

A couple of things I've read recently brought this home for me.

The first was written by a regular reader and commenter, MaiZeke, on her own blog. She told her readers:
One of the reasons I’m following this other blog [Little Catholic Bubble] is to actually hear how conservative minds think (esp religious conservative minds). I just never meet anyone like this in real life...
And then, from Mrs. M, on the question of objective truth:
I have to be honest and say that the idea of 'truth' isn't something I've thought about too much in my life, so I can't guarantee that my position on it will be very clear.
Now, I think it's commendable that MaiZeke comes to this blog to find out how we think. I wish more liberals were as open-minded as she. I hope that she discovers over time that our conservative positions are reasoned and consistent, even if she doesn't ultimately agree with them.

And I appreciate Mrs. M's honesty. If she hasn't thought too much about the idea of "truth," it's because it isn't taught anymore. There has been a huge paradigm shift in education over the past few decades. Truth used to be the end of education. It was the goal. Today, it's entirely possible for an American student to go through the entire education system (kindergarten through graduate school) without having been taught to seek what is true, good and beautiful.

Living in a bubble is not good if it's about purposely insulating oneself from those who live and think differently. My "bubble" (a silly name I call my Catholic community) is a joy and a comfort; however, I venture out often to engage a spectrum of people and ideas. Some liberal readers have taken shots at me for living in a "Little Catholic Bubble" -- and then they've scurried away to bubbles of their own, never to be heard from (or challenged in their thinking) again.

I am grateful that MaiZeke and Mrs. M are not like those hit-and-run liberals. I am grateful that they have chosen to stick around and get to know us better.

103 comments:

  1. I like your comment about liberals scurrying away. I love the exchange of ideas, but I always feel like if I express my thoughts and the logic behind them, they really do "scurry" away. I love your blog and read it almost every day. I love reading thoughts of "the other side", not for argument's sake, but for a wider picture of another point of view!

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  2. Nice post! :)

    I was watching Oprah yesterday on the John of God guy who is a healer. Not really sure his whole story. But as the 3-4 people who went to see him sat on the stage, I actually wondered if that was what an IRL liberal conversation of truth was all about....I actually remember them agreeing that they are more then human, that they have souls, and they were trying to piece together the truth. Maybe I'm saying that wrong...But I thought this is so subjective....ha! In places they were completely deficient in what truth was and in other places they were just on the cusp of grasping that they actually might have a soul...Gosh, it was the craziest thing to watch...

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  3. Dennis Prager rocks!!! I always listened to his "happiness hour" on Fridays when our station had him live. Now he is on starting at 11pm & I am fast asleep by then!

    You know what gets me about people in general? As many disagreements they may have with another person there are many things they would agree with but they can never get past the stuff they don't agree with so hence people stay in their own little comfort zone & stunt their growth as a person. Sad!

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  4. Yeah, interesting post. I'm glad you're educating the masses who haven't had a chance to learn how the other side thinks!

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  6. Paul, I just don't really understand why you think that about the people here, since a great many of them were card carrying liberals before their conversions? I have lived in both the secular world and in the religious world and I don't see your point at all.

    I watch the mainstream news, for example, almost daily. I cannot get over the misrepresentation of conservative positions. My daughter can barely handle the way her university professors misrepresent conservatives and religious people, but she was not surprised at all at the views they hold (and are quite open about).

    Now, maybe you are talking about people in the middle who are "liberal" or "conservative" but really have no idea what even their own ideologies are about?

    Perhaps you could give some concrete examples here in the comments section. First, state a liberal position, and then show where we (educated) conservatives misunderstand it.

    Thanks.

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  8. Paul, I think I need to clarify. First, I definitely understand the liberal position on abortion and homosexuality. It's the politically correct position, so it's well known. It's in every Hollywood movie, on TV, in the schools, on the news, on Oprah (I used to watch her religiously for years), etc.

    When I ask questions, I am asking individual liberals to tell me their thought process. How did they get to the point where abortion (the violent killing of a child in the womb) is okay with them, and then, what might be the logical consequences when they accept that position. I want an actual person to help me understand. I need the whys of it, from one human being to another. Not the standard slogans of "my body, my choice" or "we don't want the woman to suffer", etc. I want to dig deeper into the thought process to see how a person can bring himself to say, in effect: "I don't want a woman to suffer, therefore, the unborn child has no right to live." Connect the dots for me is what I ask of the individual liberal on this blog.

    Does that make sense? Maybe I need to write a whole post explaining myself more clearly.

    In my humble opinion, the average politically involved conservative understands liberal positions much better than the average politically involved liberal. The quotes I used from our friends Mrs. M and Mai above bear that out. But not just that... I just watch MSNBC or CNN or read the NYT and it confirms it for me.

    I beg you to read this post, written by a blogger's husband, about a segment on Rachel Maddow. she was interviewing a professor about conservatives and abortion. Two highly intelligent women who totally misrepresent the whole issue, to the point of contradiction. It's not uncommon on the left. Not at all. Here ya go:

    http://hafsa-thepeaceofchrist.blogspot.com/2010/08/since-were-talking-about-liberals-msnbc.html

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  9. Paul, one more thing. The questions I am asking about liberalism certainly aren't new, you are right. But they are often new to my readers (for example, Monica changed her mind on abortion because of the questions asked of Christa), and many people have never thought to ask or answer them before.

    So, I will keep asking the old questions, because they are good questions. And finally, after starting a blog, I've begun to get individual liberals to answer them.

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  10. Leila- Hafsa's blog is private now, but I'm sure if you email Marc he'd be happy to send you the text for a guest post on your blog. :-)

    I think one of the problems with main-stream liberals is that they don't even understand their own liberal viewpoints. I certainly didn't. Or I should say, I thought I did, until I dug a little deeper than repeating the slogans. So it would be crazy to assume these liberals would also undersatnd conservative ideas, and then be capable of making a well-informed choice between the two camps.

    There is no unbiased information in existance about the two viewpoints. The closest thing I have seen is the Sowell quote Marc posted int he comments to one of your earlier posts.

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  11. At the risk of getting into the abortion debate (which I am against, remember), let's just take this statement as an example:

    "I want to dig deeper into the thought process to see how a person can bring himself to say, in effect: "I don't want a woman to suffer, therefore, the unborn child has no right to live." Connect the dots for me is what I ask of the individual liberal on this blog."

    In my opinion, you would like liberals to accept your interpretation of what you think the liberal thought process is - which is different than actually accepting the liberal thought process. I KNOW that you think that above statement about abortion is what liberals think, but I do not. I reject that statement. And no amount of explanation by me about how a fertilized egg is not an "unborn child" would convince you. The more I would spin my wheels trying to explain, the more you would come back to it, if the other debates here are any indication.

    More appropriately, that statement about abortion defines YOUR view of it, not mine. Even though you think/say it defines mine.

    Another (real) example is your repeated use of "random" for "non-God generated", as in life. When I explain that random does not mean what you think it means in evolution, you correct me - and basically refuse to even try to understand my explanation, because it does not fit into your current worldview.

    For more examples of this, my repeated explanations that society may define morals without the 'revelations' from a God, and that these morals may change over millenia are never "understood" either. Instead, if I explain that society's morals will change after much thought and consideration (probably upheaval), you are right back with a question about raising my child in an environment where "rules change from day to day."

    Again, "rules changing from day to day" is YOUR interpretation of the liberal thought on morality. Not mine.

    And, frankly, for most of my teen years I defended the Catholic stance on abortion - until I came into situations where I saw how misguided it was, and it was a long process to change my worldview. And, so like many of the people in this group, I also have a conversion story and am very familiar with "the other side".

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  12. Although I have to agree with Paul, that likely I have the same issues as I say you do - that I profess to understand your view on abortion, but really, since I don't subscribe to it, can I really say that I "understand" it?

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  13. Mai,

    1) Let's test it. When you amongst liberal, pro-abortion friends, or when you are watching liberal news shows or even pop culture TV drama shows, what is the position of the liberals as to why a religious conservative would be against abortion?

    2) I think I've explained before that I understand that you see order in the world (who wouldn't? The physical world is highly ordered) -- but the way it came about was not planned or designed by anyone. It came about randomly. No purpose to life's origin, no plan for life on earth -- it just "came" and it just "is". Am I wrong on that? Help me out....

    3) I have said repeatedly: I believe you have a morality. Of course you live your life according to a morality that you have thought about and tested in your own life. But as long as your morality comes from your own thought process or even a society's current beliefs, then there is no "objective truth" and it can and does change (remarkably quickly, in fact...for example, the views on sexual norms which have changed since the 1960s are, in the scheme of centuries, a pretty darn quick societal change!). So, I don't know why you say I am not seeing your side? What did I say that is wrong? You have a morality, I have said time and time again.

    to be continued...

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  14. 4) Mai, you said: Again, "rules changing from day to day" is YOUR interpretation of the liberal thought on morality. Not mine. I am pointing out the consequence of not having an objective, unchanging morality. For example, in the early '90s, the idea of homosexual marriage was absolutely not a part of any mainstream thought. Today, it has become accepted by huge segments of the population. Before 1973, abortion was unthinkable to the vast majority of Americans. Now, it's accepted by huge numbers of Americans. So, while this is not a literal "day to day" societal change, it is close enough when we are talking about overthrowing cultural norms. Show me where I am wrong?

    By the way, if you subscribe to Natural Law (as many atheists and agnostics do, then you do believe in an objective truth outside of yourself and your own formulated opinions -- not necessarily "God-generated").

    Mrs. M did concede that for her "truth" is the same as "opinion". You have never answered the question: What is the difference between truth and opinion?

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  15. 5) You say you are very familiar with the "other side" -- I don't doubt you, but can you tell me what the arguments were that you used to defend the Catholic position and then what facts convinced you otherwise? I am just curious. I haven't heard much about your knowledge of your former faith. As for me, I thought I was very devout growing up, but I actually had no clue about Catholicism (which is true for about 95% of my generation, I'd say. We were very poorly catechized.)

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  16. 6) As far as "convincing" me that an unborn child is not a life (or a person, or both), can you go to this post and then tell me where my points are wrong?

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/07/responding-to-christa.html

    Christa never responded. Maybe you could?

    Here's the problem, maybe, in how we are communicating: When I continue to question you about your beliefs (trying to get to a logical conclusion), you think I don't "understand" you. But I think I'm just challenging you to define your own position. For example: Many "pro-choicers" talk about "personhood" now instead of "life" (which science has been pretty clear about -- that's why they have to go to "personhood"). Now, I have tried to find out at what magical, non-arbitrary nanosecond the "non-person" become a "person" but I cannot get a definite answer. It is always subjective opinion, and quite arbitrary. I also try to ask, "How can one person define the humanity of another?" and I still get no answer. So, I continue to be dissatisfied. Because the questions which are so important are not answered.

    You may see that as me not accepting answers, but I see it as questions which remain unanswered.

    At a certain point, we have reached a point of clarity of sorts, and we just leave it all out there for the readers to decide.

    But if I don't ask that question of you again, I will still ask it of other liberals, because the issues are of utmost importance and ideas must be unpacked and judged according to their merits.

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  17. Monica, darn it!! I forgot that no one can see that exchange anymore!! Paul, if you will send me your email address, I can cut and paste it for you...
    If not, no worries. But it was good! I may need to reprint it, as Monica mentioned.

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  18. So, I'm downstairs frying up some eggs, and I had a few more thoughts.

    First, Mai, I don't mean to offend you when I say that your morality has/could change. In fact, mymorality has changed, too. I have thought one thing during one era of my life, and then changed my mind in another era. But that's the point: Opinion-based morality is malleable. It changes. It has no choice but to change, really. That's why truth has nothing to do with you or me. It exists without us. It has always existed without us and it will exist after we are gone. Sometimes our morality lines up with objective truth, and that is good. Other times, it won't, and that is where problems come. But objective truth does not have anything to do with us. We don't "come up with" objective morality... it's something that is out there, and we seek it, find it, and receive it as true.

    I don't know if that clears it up for you. I am not exempting myself from having a malleable morality. It's a side effect of being human and fallible.

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  19. Mai, I didn't use the rest of the sentence you wrote when I quoted you in the post above. But I think it's worth putting out there and asking you to elaborate. You said:

    One of the reasons I’m following this other blog is to actually hear how conservative minds think (esp religious conservative minds). I just never meet anyone like this in real life, so I have to admit that when Colbert says things like “If you don’t book your hotel rooms now, ALL YOUR CHILDREN WILL BECOME GAY!” I originally thought he was going over the top, but I don’t think that any more. I’ve seen it. (emphasis mine)

    What have you seen here in the Bubble that would make you say that?
    Do you think what you wrote is a proper understanding or representation of conservative thought on the issue of homosexuality? Thanks.

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  20. Paul and Monica.... I have solved the problem! I have made my own link of Marc's illustrative blog post about Rachel Maddow and the good professor from Princeton, and here it is!! Read all the way through. I found it shocking:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/p/marcs-post-about-rachel-maddow-and.html

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  21. Run Mai, run! This is classic conservative religious behavior: first "extend" an invitation to "debate" topics under the ruse of "wanting to know what the 'other side' thinks." Then, as soon as they respond (in a clear, logical manner), immediately write back that they don't make sense, question them with a sense of incredulity and postulate absurd conclusions about their thought process. Then, spend an inordinate amount in time and space postulating conservative/religious ideas that of course "make sense" and position oneself as morally above liberals. Then, retreat, reiterate no intention to offend, offer links to other conservative sites for backup.

    This is a "learning blog" remember? Leila is helping to clarify Catholic doctrine for others. Maybe it should just be that and not a poor attempt at trying to "understand" liberal thought. Clearly, that's not the real intention anyways.

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  22. Leila- are you always frying eggs? LMBO!

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  23. I think that everyone is inclined to surround themselves with people similar to them. I, personally, do it because I don't like to argue. I prefer to calmly discuss issues, and oftentimes arguments between liberals and conservatives in real life get too heated for me to continue feeling comfortable. You have your Catholic Bubble in real life, and most of my closest friends are liberal. That's not to say that I choose my friends based on their ideologies (I also have close friends who are conservative), I just tend to get along better with people who share my same beliefs. Simple as that. And I don't think it's a problem either.

    I obviously feel, however, that we all have a responsibility to become aware of the other side's ideas (even if we vehemently disagree), because it gives us more perspective. That's exactly why I'm thrilled to have stumbled upon your blog, Leila. I find all of you fascinating (probably just as fascinating as we are to you!). In order to become a more compassionate and educated person, I have to see where everyone is coming from. I love to see what everyone else thinks. In fact, I personally think you can't argue about anything (politics, religion) properly if you don't actually know what the other side thinks beforehand. It's just silly.


    Also, I haven't had a chance to look at your links about Natural Law yet (I'm on a short trip this weekend!), but I'll hopefully get to that sometime soon.

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  24. Sew, I had the exact same thought- eggs again? LOL.

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  25. Sew and Monica, ha ha ha!! Yep, that's the only thing I cook, pretty much! Every morning. Since my teens. YUM!!!!!!

    Mrs M, thank you! You are a sweetheart.

    Miss Gwen, Mai can run if she'd like. We Catholics like freedom and free will. We can let the fence sitters decide for themselves which side makes more cogent arguments.

    Though, if you could get more specific with your criticisms, Miss G, that would be helpful. Meaning, specific examples where I have misrepresented what anyone has said? Or, where I put myself morally above liberals? My standard line to my children when they criticize others is: "That person may very well get to Heaven before you do. You may not judge him. You may only judge ideas." Do you disagree that we should/may judge ideas?

    I think Friendly Anonymous was right that liberals might intertwine ideas with the person so closely that any time someone criticizes their idea, they take it as a personal insult. It's difficult to have a conversation with someone of that disposition, so in that case it may be futile.

    I don't think Mrs. M has taken anything personally, thank goodness. :) I think she "gets" what this is all about. Thank you, Mrs. M!

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  26. Miss G, as an academic, I would love if you could tell me what the goal of an education is? Specifically a liberal arts education? (I am a huge proponent of the liberal arts as it is traditionally known.)

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  29. Miss G... could it possibly, just possibly, be that the "liberal" position is not nearly as clear and logical as you seem to think it is?

    I can understand the liberal position and the liberal thought process -- after all, I used to be liberal. I used to have no problem with divorce/remarriage or gay marriage, and I considered abortion to be a "necessary evil." But as my understandings of these topics changed, so did my thought processes and the logic patterns that I used.

    What I find amusing is the "classic religious/conservative behavior pattern" you laid out is identical to the "classic nonreligious/liberal" pattern -- except that liberals, in my experience, have no desire to understand the conservative viewpoint; rather, they wish to lampoon and mock it, while not realizing that they're completely mischaracterizing, misinterpreting, and flat out misrepresenting those viewpoints. Again, just my experience. For example, most assume they know what and why the Catholic Church teaches when they are extremely off-base (and unfortunately, this viewpoint is often reinforced and perpetuated by liberal/cafeteria Catholics in that sphere). I hang out on an extremely liberal message board and I see it played out that way all the time.

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  30. Paul, here is the link to Marc's post, so you don't need to email me anymore (though you can do so anytime, at allthemillers@cox.net):

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/p/marcs-post-about-rachel-maddow-and.html

    I don't think it's a waste of time to do what I am doing. I think it's helped several people make a decision (one way or the other). I think it makes thought processes quite clear. I think it satisfies my curiosity about the liberal mind and worldview.

    What do you think of the Socratic Method?

    Also, I don't yet have one example from you as to how liberals understand the conservative position? What issues do they understand? I would love an example. I don't have a complicated mind (call me simple-minded if you'd like), so I need concrete examples. Specifics.

    Also, I have told you that many (most?) of the people commenting on this blog have been liberals at one point in their lives. Do you not believe it? Maybe I should ask people to give me their ex-liberal credentials.

    And how come no one has commented on my premise that a liberal can live a whole life without coming into contact with serious conservative thought, but conservatives cannot help but be surrounded by liberal thought whether they like it or not? That was the main point of my post....

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  33. My experience is liberals do not understand conservative religious folks as much as they think. They tend to see conservatives as simple minded, rigid, fear-based, phobic, judgmental individuals without real world experience.

    Because the geography of the soul is beyond the material world...and the capacity for Love also transcends the limits of the material world so to is the journey of the conservative religious person. It is everything BUT rigid.

    As St. Augustine says, ‘We could never judge that one thing is better than another if a basic understanding of the good had not already been instilled in us’

    As Brian Lewis writes in "The Primacy of Conscience,"

    "Our conscience, at its deepest level is the ‘inner core and sanctuary’ of the human person, where one is alone with God, whose voice echoes in one’s depths’, and where ‘in a wonderful manner conscience reveals that law which is fulfilled by the love of God and neighbour’.

    This law, which the person discovers in the depths of conscience, is ‘always summoning us to love and do good and avoid evil.’

    This is the understanding, I believe Conservatives in the bubble are trying to seek from liberal friends. The questions would be best if they could be asked of another person's heart instead of another person's head.

    Again, from Mr. Lewis,

    The primacy of conscience does not mean then that the subject is made the standard over against the claims of truth. Rather ‘conscience signifies the perceptible and demanding presence of the voice of truth in the subject himself. It is the overcoming of mere subjectivity in the encounter of the interiority of man with the truth of God’.[12] It is a ‘co-knowing’ with the truth.

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  34. Paul, I don't know the answers. I told you, I am trying to get to the "whys" of the liberal mind. And I'm using the questions to get past the standard, "Because it is compassionate" or "Because everything should be fair and equal" responses.

    And, I do fancy the Bubble a mini-classroom. Which classrooms do you know of these days which employ the Socratic Method? Mine sure never did.

    Here's some that do:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Vy1wffWeD4

    PUBLIC, secular, charter schools. Thankfully, my children attend a Great Hearts Academy.

    Do you think the American people, or American students, are getting Socratic Method in the classroom? So, can we expand it out to blogs?

    Oh, and I am under no illusion that I will convince Mai or Mrs. M or Gwen. But there are plenty of people on the fence who are watching the conversation. Let them watch. Trust them to see where I am wrong and where the other side is right.

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  35. This is interesting because, of course, the other side says exactly the same thing about you conservatives. Go to theatlantic.com and search “conservative epistemic closure” if you want to see Andrew Sullivan and Marc Ambinder’s thoughts on this topic.

    There’s no way to judge who’s right, but I think conservative ideas are much more pervasive and available in America today. I also think that conservative thinking is America’s default, and because of that liberals try to appear unbiased while conservatives are open and unapologetic about their conservativeness. Think about the recent campaign ads—how many candidates used “liberal” as a smear word against their opponents (“Joe Blow is a typical Washington liberal. Elect Johnny Six-Pack”)? The opposite just doesn’t happen.

    The result of this—or maybe the cause of this—is that explicitly articulated conservative thought is much easier to find in this country. Take radio: when I get in my car I can hear Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt, Michael Savage, and Neal Boortz—not to mention Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, often on two or three stations at a time.

    But the liberals have NPR, right? Well, this morning I turned on NPR and heard Brazilian samba music; this afternoon there was a cute little story about a writer raising geese in Hawaii. About an hour ago, I checked in and there was some sort of radio play about, well, I don’t know, because I flipped it over to Hannity. Sure, NPR’s news reports and programming start with a liberal bias and are built on liberal assumptions. But that’s not the same as an explicit articulation of liberal ideas.

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  36. VOD, you have identified the one arena where conservatives rule: Talk radio. I readily grant you that! Yes, conservative thought is "pervasive" there in the niche of AM radio. Thank goodness. But that's about it, and most children and young adults do not come into regular contact with talk radio the way that they do with movies, public schools, TV, newspapers/magazines, etc.

    I agree that there is still a conservative voice in this nation, and that the liberal base has gone so far to the edge that liberals now shy away from the term. I have no idea why, though. If I were a liberal, I would be proud of it. Nancy Pelosi and her ilk are proud. So, why do people shy away? I really don't know.

    The fact that conservatism still has a strong voice is amazing, and I talk about that fact with my (formerly liberal) husband often. It's a testament to the power of truth, or tradition, or both. But it's not because conservatism thought is being advocated anywhere except on talk radio and a few cable TV shows, which most Americans can completely avoid through their lives (unlike the major institutions which I named in the post).

    Let's keep the discussion here, instead of sending me elsewhere. Show me some evidence of what you say. Show me where your average public school kid in Seattle, let's say, is going to come into contact with meaningful conservative thought throughout his life. I'd love to hear it, because no one yet has actually addressed what I wrote and backed it with any evidence.

    Thanks!

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  38. Paul, you are blessed that you were introduced to the Socratic Method! I am happy to hear it. Most American students don't have a working knowledge of what that might even be. I never did.

    I think it's entirely possible to know what someone "on the other side" believes, and yet still want to probe and challenge as to why they believe it, what their philosophical underpinnings are, and what the consequences of that belief are. That conversation may bore you, or it may, in your mind, prove my ignorance. So be it. I accept that that is your opinion.

    You are most welcome to be here in any capacity you'd like. If you don't want to participate, that is fine. I have enjoyed the exchange, so thank you. Ultimately, my blog is my blog, and I love it. It's a fun hobby which has a side benefit of being a record of my thoughts and beliefs for my children to read. I'll keep plugging along as always, and everyone can make their own judgements about what I write and why. :)

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  40. Anyone who wants to be honest, knows that the point of debate is rarely about succeeding to get someone to change sides. It's about getting someone to understand your point of view but ultimately decide what they think on their own. You can go around in circles trying to get someone to change their mind but it rarely works. The best part about debating with someone on the other side is to see their thought process which is exactly (or so it seems) what this blog is about. What's the point of talking to someone who agrees with you when it will result it "Yeah I know!" Although the debate seems futile, obviously people keep coming back for more so it's either some kind of S&M relationship or you get something out of it =). Although I am Agnostic and consider myself in the middle of this liberal/conservative spectrum, I have learned a lot from "stalking" this blog and I thank you for that ;)
    "Chrissy"

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  41. Ok, so I'm not quite (or shall I say even close!) to being intelligent enough to comment on this discussion. But can I just say to Leila and Paul that I LOVE reading your conversations! You're both so darn smart and understanding and kind. I love it! That's all I have to say. Kudos!

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  42. Chrissy, nice to meet you! Thank you for putting it so succinctly. I totally wish I had said it so well. :) I'm glad you're reading! Welcome!

    SC, your comments are always excellent, so please feel free to jump in! I agree that Paul is darn smart!! I am nowhere near his level of intelligence, but I do like to have things make sense (like I said, I'm simple-minded, truly), so that's why I won't let things go, ha ha ha!!

    I think the contributions of so many smart and diverse thinkers is what makes this blog fun to write and fun to read. :)

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  43. I should have ended by (above) post with:

    "I think conservative religious people are seeking to understand how this "co-knowing" process manifests in the life of a liberal person living according to their currently developed conscience.

    As Catholics, the Community of the Faithful is important to us. It is not just about our "individual salvation."

    The Christian ethic commands us to Love Thy Neighborhood as Thyself.

    In order to love it helps to understand...

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  44. “Show me where your average public school kid in Seattle, let's say, is going to come into contact with meaningful conservative thought throughout his life.”

    Why Seattle? Why not Owasso, Oklahoma? Or Mount Pleasant, South Carolina?

    Either way, the key word is “meaningful,” right? An equally reasonable question would be where do you think the kid—even in Seattle—is coming into contact with meaningful liberal thought? That was my point. I mean, sure, the cable news announcer may smirk when he mentions the Tea Party, and that’s liberal bias. But it’s not an articulation of liberal ideas. The kid’s hippie art teacher may ask him to meditate on a peace sign before painting an anti-war mural, but that’s not exactly meaningful liberal thought either, is it?

    That’s why you can’t just dismiss talk radio as an exception that proves the rule. The format is so different—so much more idea-centric—than any of the left-leaning cultural bastions you mentioned. Talk radio hosts spend three hours every day elaborating on conservative ideas, explicitly, without pretending to be unbiased or to give equal time to the liberal point of view. And half of them have TV shows where they do the same thing. Sure, a kid can ignore them, but they’re there, and they’re easy to find, and they’re free and entertaining. And a smart kid, liberal or conservative, is going to seek out discussions of ideas.

    Outside of a few TV shows, there’s no liberal equivalent*. So the kid can get the impression that there are no liberal ideas, just liberal attitudes, or that liberal ideas are as shallow as his hippie teacher’s reflexive pacifism or the bland multiculturalism of his textbooks. And it’s easy for the kid to see liberals as these caricatures, especially since these caricatures are reinforced over and over by conservative elements of popular culture.

    *Until the kid goes to college.

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  45. VOD, you've made some good points. Thank you!

    First, why did I say Seattle and not small town Oklahoma or South Carolina? Because my original premise was: It is possible for a liberal in America to go through his whole life without encountering conservative thought in any depth or significance (though it will be presented to him in caricatured form).

    It is much more likely that a liberal child in small-town Oklahoma will encounter meaningful conservative thought than a liberal child in the big coastal cities (assuming that the local Oklahoma public school has somehow bucked the agenda of the NEA).

    My point stands: It is possible for a liberal in America (and liberals live primarily in the big coastal cities) to go his whole life without encountering conservative thought in any depth or significance.

    More soon... I am out the door....

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  46. Two posts - I'm long winded

    Before I try to respond to a few of the six (or seven? eight?) questions that Leila asked me, I'd like to reply to the original post. I fear that the first comment in my list was more in reply to the comment thread rather than the original post.

    While Leila is praising me for coming out of my "liberal bubble", I don't think of that statement that she quoted in that particular way. I certainly associate with plenty of Christians, Catholics, Jews, and people that would put themselves on the conservative side of the spectrum. I make a lot of effort to get myself out of my comfort zone, and this is not the first time that I have done so.

    This group is different in my mind from other groups or individuals - I'm trying to put my finger on it - the thought that your way is the only way is high up there. Also the idea that Leila and I are currently debating: my contention that she takes a perfectly normal, rational liberal viewpoint and expands it out and restates it so that it would be untenable by anyone (morals change over time -> rules change from day to day). Yeah, I don't want to live where rules change from day to day either. But I never said that.

    I am still very good friends with my best friend from kindergarten. She is a youth pastor for a fundamentalist denomination, and when she was working in California a few years ago, I went to visit her for a week. I attended church with her, met her "kids", hung around the house/church for a few days, and then we went off to see the sights. During the trip we had a lot of interesting conversations, none of which made me want to abandon talking to her altogether, ever. She had a student in her youth group who was homosexual but had turned back straight, and she was helping with that transition back. I asked a lot of questions about this - did she think he was cured? And more importantly, what does she think of my multiple friends that she knows who are gay? She actually has a number of gay friends, too, and her stand is that since they are not professing to live Christian values, she has no concern about this. Of course, if they profess to be Christian, and come to her for advice, certainly she would advise to somehow suppress or change these homosexual urges.

    I have Catholic friends, but of course you would call them all "Cafeteria Catholics". I've been to multiple Call to Action meetings with them (gasp! THAT'S not Catholic!) One of their nun friends was threatened with excommunication for various reasons that you can probably guess. You would say, and I would agree, they are liberal Catholics.

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  47. Part 2

    I work with a company that is based in Jerusalem, and I am friends with Jewish people on the broad spectrum. I've been to their houses for Shabbat dinner and regular dinner, sometimes with their extended families.

    I lived for two years in rural Zimbabwe with no running water or electricity, I was the only white person for miles. The people there generally did not like Americans, or if they did it was only to get some of that plentiful American money that we all have (ha!). One of the stated goals of Peace Corps is to demonstrate to other cultures that Americans are people, just like them, and we are not all like the people they see on American television shows.

    I'm not saying this to put notches on my belt, but I am saying that I make a lot of effort to get out of my zone, and still I haven't encountered a group such as this. Not only am I trying to learn about how you think, but I think I'm trying to show you that I'm a person just like you who wants to raise her children in the best society possible - and one who doesn't actually think that her view of the best society possible (secular humanism) will lead to another holocaust, or bring about a place where rules change from day to day.

    As to why I haven't really interacted with such a group as this, I think that is an interesting question. I'm mostly thinking right now of trying to find another extremely orthodox Christian group (fundamentalist?) and seeing how they react to my opinions. And there are a few Mormons at my work, I might try to interact with them more. I think I'll stick around here for a while, though, until you absolutely kick me out.

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  48. Mai, I would never, ever kick you out! I love that you are here. You have been a great partner in dialogue.

    I am happy that you have had so many great experiences and interactions with diverse groups. I think it makes all of us better people when we do that. I think you would find the same kind of exposure and interaction amongst the Catholics here, as well.

    Maybe what you are reacting to is the impersonal nature of a blog. It's not the same as if we were chatting with each other, pushing our kids in strollers as we walk through the zoo as friends. This is a forum for the dissection of ideas. I challenge you, you challenge me, we ask the other to take her philosophy and push it to its end. It's a worthy endeavor, this exchange. At least I think it is. Not everyone does it, not everyone wants to. I happen to enjoy breaking things down and finding the bare truth of it. It's who I am and I do it here on the blog, since it is not really convenient to do it when you are chatting with someone face to face in a social situation.

    I must agree with your assessment of Call To Action. There is a good book written about their activities which is called "Call to Apostasy". :) They would be fine as a Protestant group. The problem is, they want to be Catholic and not be Catholic at the same time. I always say to those who want the "gilt without the guilt", there is always the Episcopalians. Why not join? As the slogan goes: "The Episcopal Church welcomes you!"

    For me, it's a matter of cafeteria Catholics' integrity. But that's a post for another day....

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  49. By the way, does anyone else misunderstand my point when I said the "day to day" thing to Mai? Maybe I am not being clear? Here's how I think it went down (relying on my bad memory, admittedly):

    Mai said that morality is not fixed or objective, but changes over time. I asked her what would happen if she raised her kids like that, with changing rules... would they feel happy and secure? Would they want to know that the rules could change from day to day?

    Now, obviously, I was making a point. If society cannot change its morality "day to day" (as a parent could change rules for a child), it surely can change very rapidly in the scheme of things (look at the generational change on the use and meaning of human sexuality, which was a pretty seismic shift!). That was my point. Did anyone else misunderstand that?

    Again, I am just trying to be as clear as possible on this blog, and if I am bungling that, please, please let me know.

    I just thought that was a good, quick analogy (in microcosm). I could be wrong.

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  50. I think we have a difference in definition going on here. A first step in any debate is getting to the same definition of the vocabulary being used. Once you agree on what the terms mean, then you can discuss with less confusion and vagueness.

    That said, I'm seeing this in English ... others may be seeing this in other languages. All languages contain a variety of words for the same thoughts. The connotations vary but the basic meaning is the same. Connotations are like shades of meaning to a concept.

    Without the ability to get in someone's head, with their past experiences only informing our thoughts, we can never truly be sure our message is being understood as we intended it to be received.

    Language is one of the distractions in message transmission and reception. But, we don't have anything better yet, so we make do with it.

    Just my two cents here...

    As for applying this to the thread going on above, there's the liberal position and the conservative position. Both positions have their own view of themselves and each other. But, there's also the two positions as they are, which neither position can fully see, even of their own position. And, that's just assuming that each position is unified. As some have shared, not all liberals believe in abortion, not all conservatives believe in fiscal responsibility.

    Anyways, that's all folks.

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  51. I'm still waiting with bated breath for the "What is the difference between truth and opinion?" question to be answered. Mai, would you take a stab at it? We've wanted to hear your response to that question for a long long time, starting what feels like several posts ago.

    Leila-I know I'm on the conservative side, so perhaps it means little, but I understand your phrasing of morality changing "day to day" and I appreciate the parent/child analogy you set up. Your example of how the use and meaning of sex has changed seems sound to me. In the grand scheme of history, it happened very quickly.

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  52. I think everyone needs to understand the difference between politics (conservative vs. liberal)is separate from the difference in religious faith (Fundamentalist vs. Atheist).

    Are we talking fiscally conservative? Religiously conservative? Simply opposed to change conservative? Because I know Republicans and Libertarians who are not religious at all.

    As for faith, what faith? What lack thereof? There are so many levels and layers to religious and spiritual faith. Catholicism isn't the be all end all of religions for anyone else but those who think like you. What do you think of devout Christians who aren't Catholic? I know what some of them think about the Catholics.

    To truly "understand" things Leila, you have to know that people are three dimensional. They are not these silly caricatures a la Sean Penn or Rush Limbaugh.

    I agree with Seeker (above). You have to get out of this mentality that Liberal=Atheist=Green=Gay=etc. Politics and Religion are not one and the same.

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  53. CL, thank you!

    Anonymous: I can't help but see your comments as somewhat condescending. I have eight children of my own, so I understand that people are three dimensional. I'm raising many different personalities. I also live in the actual world, full of people. I am pretty sure that anyone with half a brain (even me) understands that there are no neat, robotic categories of people, with static beliefs.

    So, at any given moment (and any given post) we are talking about whatever specific issue we are talking about. Sometimes I speak more broadly, sometimes I am incredibly specific. When did I say that Liberal=Atheist=Green=Gay?

    Sometimes I generalize positions as being left or right, and sometimes I generalize between liberals and conservatives. Go here to understand why:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/09/generalizing-is-not-bad-thing.html

    If we have to clarify every exception and nuance of belief, then we cannot speak at all.

    Sorry if I seem cranky, but I thought all that was obvious.

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  56. Well, Paul, this deserves a post of its own. I'm off to mass, but then I'll be back, after I've prayed a bit about this.

    Can you give me your definition of "liberal"? I have said that I actually prefer the word "leftist" since "liberal" doesn't mean what it used to. Obviously, some people are liberal on some issues and not on others. That's like a "duh!" common sense point. Does that need to be said? Like I said, I'll address it in my next post....

    Warning, again, I am cranky.

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  59. While I appreciate your definitions of truth and opinion, Paul, I'd really love to hear from Mai. She's been asked this so very many times and I don't ever remember reading an answer. If I missed it, could someone link to it? It is a question that has been evaded for a long time and it has touched on several issues that have come up in these threads.

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  60. CL, you are correct that she never answered that question. Mrs. M did, and she said that "opinion" and "truth" were the same, for her. But Mai hasn't yet answered.

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  61. Paul, the reason I am a good writer is because I am clear. Clarity is the hallmark of a good writer, in my opinion. Clarity is also why I will not put caveats and footnotes to every statement I make. Academics like to do that (and fancy themselves very intelligent), and that is why no one can understand them. Average people think they are just so smart, but in actuality, they are speaking gibberish.

    I am also a tad less cranky now, as I just came from celebrating the Feast of Christ the King. :)

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  62. Paul,

    Your posts seem to have become progressively more condescending, and annoying.

    I disagree with Mai probably 100% of the time, but at least she seems in earnest and has some "skin in the game" so to speak. You, on the other hand seem to sort of stand on the sidelines of being either a skeptic or a believer, a liberal or a conservative, etc. You have your symbolic logic professor on the one hand and your physics professor on the other. That's all well and good for you, but it makes discussion with you not really worth it for me at least. I don't have Leila's patience for this type of debate.

    It's hard to understand what you are doing here when you make comments like:

    'Anonymous, the lack of distinction is another good example of why it's not worth answering "questions for liberals" on this blog.'

    People like you distinguish things to death, and it makes debate almost impossible. You will always be able to hide in the distinctions while the rest of us battle it out. Leila makes distinctions, but she is interested in actually getting somewhere, rather than after asking a question spending the rest of the entire discussion messing around with the distinctions.

    I'm sorry if I seem so bitter. It's because I thought that we would really get somewhere disussing these issues with you, Paul, but really Mai, has done a much better job.

    Obviously, I have not just returned from Mass.

    Marc

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  63. Marc, I think you might like my most recent post.

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  64. In my experience, liberals do not have a good understanding of the conservative position. So whose experience is more valid -- mine or Paul's?

    I have personally read and heard craploads (yes, that's the technical term) of comments from those left of me that think we conservatives are scared, unwilling to change, racist, and did I mention racist? Seriously, it gets tired and old.

    It seems to me that many liberals want to change just to say they did something even if they don't even know what it is (like not reading legislation before passing it so they can say they passed something "historical").

    I seriously believe that many of us at opposite ends of the spectrum have more in common than we realize, but because emotions run high and media bias is so prevalent, that stereotypes rule the day. I think if we could suspend our disbelief in one another for a second and really ponder what the other is after, there may be some common ground.

    ~ V.

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  66. "First, why did I say Seattle and not small town Oklahoma or South Carolina? Because my original premise was: It is possible for a liberal in America to go through his whole life without encountering conservative thought in any depth or significance (though it will be presented to him in caricatured form)."

    Fair enough. And you're right. But the opposite is also true: I know conservatives who have never encountered meaningful liberal thought, but think they have because they've been "subjected" to the mainstream media and public schools.

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  67. Paul, I couldn't agree more with your assessment of the dialogue going on here. That's why I've chosen to stay away.

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  69. I have personally read and heard craploads (yes, that's the technical term) of comments from those left of me that think we conservatives are scared, unwilling to change, racist, and did I mention racist? Seriously, it gets tired and old.

    V, ditto.

    Paul and Miss G, there have been so many exchanges now that I have forgotten: Of what, exactly, am I ignorant? Which idea do I fail to understand? If you could give a specific example, I'd appreciate it.

    VOD, I know I still owe you the rest of my answer.

    Off to the funeral of my dear friend's husband, the agnostic Jewish Reagan Conservative who kept FoxNews on in his waiting room (talk about nuance!). God rest his soul.

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  71. Paul, I am fine that you want to stop here, but I will tell you that your answer is inadequate. I say, "Tell me where I am misunderstanding or where I am ignorant" and you say, "You are dumbing things down." I consider that a non-answer.

    But, I accept that we cannot go further with this discussion.

    I will continue with my "dumbing down" of the important, high-brow issues of the day. Maybe the unwashed masses will be able to appreciate it. ;)

    (PS: My husband has worked for and with and around politicians and politics for over twenty years, both in liberal circles and conservative, both in local, state and national forums. It's what he does. I can tell you, politics ain't all that complicated.)

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  72. Miss G and Paul, you certainly don't have to chime in, but it has been eye-opening to have this discussion. I will be doing further posts on this, so thank you. You find that I have "dumbed-down" the discussion of something which is (in your view) quite lofty and hard to grasp, and clearly above the heads of conservatives. But you refuse to give specifics. I think this is disingenuous. We will let the readers be the judge.

    However, I hope people like Mrs. M and Chrissy and Mai will stick around and continue the dialogue. It's very interesting all the way around!

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  74. So the opposite of "dumbed-down" is "messy" or "dirty"? I've never heard that before. Are you sure you are not just trying to back out of an insult? ;)

    And I will continue to contend, as I did in the next post, that ideas are not complex. Emotions are complex, life experiences and integration of one's ideology are complex, but not ideas.

    This is not a psychology blog, thank goodness. :) :)

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  76. Paul, have you worked in politics or with politicians? I'm curious about that.

    Political ideas are not complicated. But most people don't even have grasp of the basics (maybe because they've been taught that it is complex?). The mechanisms of politics are only complicated because people have made them so. (Like the law.) But principles are not complicated. Ideas are not complicated.

    (Now, I am not talking about science here.... thank goodness this is not a science blog, because I would be out of luck!)

    Anyway, what you miss in all the "nuance and subtlety" is the fact that the core left and the core right in this nation are in a culture war. You may be in the middle somewhere and not know it, but that just makes you naive. Because, believe me, the people on the core left and the core right are very aware that this "battle of ideas" is being waged, and ultimately it's a battle for the culture. The core of each side of the cultural divide are the ones making the rules and setting the policy and seating the judges. Just because you are caught up in the "complexities" and can't see it, doesn't mean it's not happening.

    In my mind, it's best to lay out the terms, debate the ideas, make sure people understand both sides, and let the chips fall where they may.

    And, I do tell people when I am simplifying. I call it generalizing. If we can't generalize, and if we have to lay out every exception (many of which are obvious), then I say again, we cannot even have a conversation, and we should all remain silent.

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  79. Paul, maybe I can clear this all up with one statement:

    Solving the political problems in America is a complex, even nightmarish proposition. We have gotten so out of whack and so bogged down in nonsense and legalese and babble that we can't even "common sense" our way out at this point.

    So, in that case, we agree!!

    But I am talking about principles and ideas. Very simple, not complicated at all. The most profound political ideas in the world are found in some very slender, pithy documents! (The Declaration of Independence, The U.S. Constitution, for example.)

    Ideas are not complex. But the implementation of those ideas and the machinations of politics today? Yes, they are complex. And that's not a good thing. That's a result of bloated, arrogant, overreaching government that is far removed from the people and from reality. That is not something I am interested in hashing out on my blog. I don't want to go there. I am not a policy person. That's more of what my husband does.

    So, perhaps that helps you understand? We have been talking past each other.

    BTW, what each party will be in 50 years is of no matter to me. Party names are just names, and they can switch at any point. But what the parties are now is important. The Democratic base today is made up of hard-core leftists. The Republicans? They are a big, wimpy, confused mess.

    Political parties come and go. Ideologies stay the same. Social liberals want "freedom" on sexual issues (homosexuality, marriage, abortion, fornication, etc.). Social conservatives do not.

    Log Cabin Republicans tend to be liberal on social issues and conservative on fiscal issues. But so what? They are not the conservative base. They are not on the core right. Nor are they on the core left. They are somewhere in the middle. If I were debating on of them, we would agree on many issues, and disagree on others.

    Of course there are going to be nuances from here to eternity, and that was the point of the next post I wrote.

    Again, if we cannot generalize about things, then we cannot speak. And with that, I think I have said all I can say, at least for today. :)

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  81. VOD:

    "Until the kid goes to college."

    But by that point, if the kid went to a typical public school (for example, my nephew had three different teachers play Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" in his middle school classes!), the foundation has been laid (lain?).

    It is a good thing that perhaps a small percentage of those kids will eventually find talk radio, or a meaningful conservative commentator. But the vast majority are not going to be interested in politics, civics and the types of ideas that we bandy about here. Most kids will take what they learn in their schools, and on MTV, and all the other P.C. stuff, and stay right there in it, through their young adulthood and further.

    I do have a glimmer of hope that Obama and his agenda have finally motivated people to educate themselves, though. That is a very good thing.

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  82. Oh goodness me, I had a very busy weekend, and didn't read any of this after my last post. I have been thinking about the truth and opinion question, I think it belongs on my own blog and I'll link to it.

    I for one wish Miss G and Paul would stick around, by the way. It seems that when I get most upset, Paul can stay calm, and perhaps vice versa.

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  83. Thanks, Mai. If you could post the definitions here, too, that would be great. Just pretend you are writing definitions for a dictionary if you are worried about space.

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  84. Monica put this comment on the "Cranky Leila" post, but I think it deserves a wide reading:

    As said Mr. Chesterton (Suicide of Thought): "Then there is the opposite attack on thought: That urged by Mr. H.G. Wells when he insists that every separate thing is "unique," and there are no categories at all. This also is merely destructive. Thinking means connecting things, and stops if they cannot be connected. It need hardly be said that this skepticism forbidding thought necessarily forbids speech: a man cannot open his mouth without contradicting it. Thus when Mr. Wells says (as he did somewhere), "All chairs are quite different," he utters not merely a misstatement, but a contradiction in terms. If all chairs were quite different, you could not call them "all chairs". "

    Good luck Leila. When I read the comments sometimes, I feel like banging my head into a wall. lol.

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  85. Thanks Mai! I look forward to reading it on your blog (and here if you copy it over).

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone!

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  86. I still think you're underestimating the conservatism that fills the air in America, even in public schools and, to an extent, the media. Maybe there's a bit of confirmation bias at work. You remember the hippie art teacher in tie-dye, but you forget about the crew-cutted football coach teaching History or Economics--that's just normal. You remember your nephew being made to watch An Inconvenient Truth, but you forget about all of the students that are asked to read Anthem or Animal Farm.

    (Not that Animal Farm is a conservative book, but it's usually taught as an anti-communist parable. Which brings up another point: it doesn't matter that An Inconvenient Truth is shown in class--what matters is how it's taught. If it's analyzed as a piece of persuasive rhetoric, then I'm all for it.)

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  87. VOD, I certainly hope there are some good conservative teachers out there neutralizing the NEA's agenda. Still not sure if those that kid in Seattle or in the L.A. public schools is getting a good balance of both sides (and I'm pretty sure you know in your heart that they are not).

    I am thrilled to hear that economics is still taught. The history... well, that really would depend on what text is used, as even the crew-cutted football coach may be forced to work from a biased text.


    it doesn't matter that An Inconvenient Truth is shown in class--what matters is how it's taught. If it's analyzed as a piece of persuasive rhetoric, then I'm all for it.

    Do you really think that's how it's been taught? Really? Really?

    I stand by my original premise.

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  89. Paul, about the textbooks, that reminded me of the whole debate that went on in Texas recently, about what emphasis needed to be in the schools there. The textbook companies do what the school boards in Texas want, because they sell so many books there. And other states end up buying what Texas approves. So, this cycle, the Texas conservatives won out over the liberals and were able to put some sanity (in my opinion) back into the texts.

    So, you are right about the publishing companies not being in any bubbles!

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  90. Leila, honestly, I have no idea what public schools in LA or Seattle are like. I know that where I live (a blue city in a red state) they're as conservative as they are liberal.

    "Do you really think that's how it's been taught? Really? Really?"

    I don't teach rhetoric anymore, but if I did I'd use An Inconvenient Truth that way. It would be an awesome text. And, since I know lots of conservative teachers (I bet you do, too) and fair-minded liberal ones, I don't think it's far-fetched that other teachers might do the same. If your nephew was expected to accept it in reverent silence, I'll take your word for it.

    "I stand by my original premise."

    I agree with this part of your original premise:"It is possible for a liberal in America to go through his whole life without encountering conservative thought in any depth or significance."

    But not this: "By contrast, conservatives constantly come into contact with liberals and liberal thought." At least not if we're still talking about meaningful thought.

    Have a good night!

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  91. Thanks, VOD.

    One last thought from me: Even if a school kid does not encounter what you would call "meaningful" liberal thought, they certainly won't encounter any negative portrayal of liberal thought. Liberal, "progressive" thought is politically correct, and public schools are nothing if not PC.

    (If you want to give me some examples of "meaningful" liberal thought that kids and young adults in America are not exposed to, it will help me evaluate whether or not what you are saying is valid.)

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  93. Paul, give me the quick version of Rawls, if you wouldn't mind.

    In the meantime, public school kids may not hear Rawls' "why" of special rights for minorities, but they are taught to believe in it anyway, whether they know "why" or not. The 'race, class and gender paradigm' (victim politics) has swallowed up any other paradigm. And so I think, for liberals, they are happy not to even have to teach Rawls or anything else. It's already a lock for them, from K through grad school.

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  96. Interesting. But it kind of freaks me out, trying to imagine making rules that way. I prefer making decisions based on what is true, good and beautiful.

    Sort of unrelated, but I just loved this article. I thought he was DEAD ON. But you might not agree:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/253768/why-unhappy-people-are-liberals-dennis-prager

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  99. Yes, that is an interesting implication for abortion ethics. I like that. I also think that the paradigm of true, good and beautiful would work nicely, too.

    As for Prager, I don't believe he was talking about you specifically. I think he was talking about liberals in general. :)

    And I think his facts and arguments are sound.

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  101. You don't know Prager, then. He is very happy, and has written and spoken on happiness often.

    He would be the first to tell you how joyful the children of the Third World are compared to American children. I've heard him say it, and he's travelled to every culture.

    But that is not the point. He is talking about liberals and conservatives who live in America. Why would he start talking about India? That's not the point of his article.

    Anyway, I believe he's dead on. His points make perfect sense to me (fuzzy thinker that I am....).

    But did I open a new can of worms? Do I have the self-control to stay out of it if you or others continue to comment on it? Ack, what have I done! Leila, you need to learn some self-control.

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