Once upon a time I coined a term, Compassionless Conservatism.
It was a play on what President Bush used to call Compassionate Conservatism. His concept was something that made fairly good sense to me at the time. The problem is the theory was never put into practice. Sort of like how republicans always talk about cutting taxes and Supply Side economics, yet as soon as they gain the upper hand in power the first thing they want to do is increase spending on the military and find a good war to fight. You can’t cut revenue and then turn around and increase spending on stuff you want, and expect the economy to not go sideways.
Today’s conservatives think compromise is either a dirty word, or it means agree with my way. They have no patience for differing perspectives, and as such they defy the very definition of critical thinker.
Let’s be reminded that the hallmark of the critical thinker is the sincere ability to seek to internalize the perspectives of others, most especially when that perspective is diametrically, or even violently opposed to your own.
Today’s GOP is having none of this critical thinking thing, though they will label what they do as critical thinking, a huge monstrous failing on their part. But then again they have become powerfully adept at liberating words from common sense and rationality.
Once upon a time republicans who embraced conservatism at least tried to maintain a sense of propriety and civility up front. They at least tried to talk around their own propensity to defy their own economic models, and speak from a perspective that at least made some sense. Now, they don’t even hide it. They don’t care. They talk about how 47% of the nation is on the dole, and they don’t backtrack this stuff. They try to rationalize it. They talk about citizens flying planes into buildings and say things like they understand why the person was mad enough to do it.
They say sincerely stupid things like they want the federal government so small you can drown it in the bathtub. This makes absolutely no sense at all when our military alone constitutes big government all by itself. It’s irrational. Clearly one would want a government that can expand when needed, and contract when not. Size should be relative to need, driving towards the utmost in efficiency.
The bad thing about this utter stupidity is that once you shut an institution down and an emergency happens you’re going to go right back to the people again and spend MORE money to restart an institution, because there is a need. We must eliminate what’s truly not needed, but we must be smart about it.
Today’s republicans justify the loss of treasure in conflict and tell people they are exporting freedom. Unfortunately, the people believe all this. They say our blacks are better than your blacks. They joke about putting human beings on buses and shipping them back over the border. They find it amusing to disrespect those they are ideologically opposed to without any due consideration for the facts. They believe compromise is an ugly word. They think true compromise means do it my way or not at all.
The current GOP embraces Compassionless Conservatism that extols a scorched Earth policy. Our nation is so divided around cultural lines that they can foment this nonsense to the delight of the power backers who promote this agenda, gleefully watching poor people from less urban parts of American expound incorrectly on the Constitution, and lament the accursed fascist-communo-stealth Kenyan in the White House. A man who is wholly un-Americana and hell bent on delivering us into the hands of evil, which by the way is Islam.
This is the current state of today’s GOP, and yes they have their minorities. Yes they have their learned supporters. Yes, they have their adherents who still believe in the message, especially the conservative message. Unfortunately, their party has been hijacked, and this binds the hands of those that know better.
This week at CPAC Senator Marco Rubio was lauded as one of the truth-sayers, and the future of the party. However, this Latin Floridian said nothing about immigration reform. And when former Presidential candidate and Texas Governor Rick Perry got up and spoke in support of immigration reform he was booed. He was booed. Senator Rand Paul said their party had changed, and that old staid members of the party were the past. The Senator behaved like the GOP future was so bright he had to wear shades. This mental lapse is what happens when you believe you don’t represent between 40 to 60% of the nation.
I changed the percentage because the GOP is like a bad foundation that is cracked and fissured, a bigger problem than you expected and the damndest thing to correct. There are die-hard tried and true republicans who are tired of this conservative mess fomented by Becks, Malkins, Limbaughs, and Coulters, avatars of rhetoric, vitriol, and hate. They are tired of their fellow republicans worshiping at the altar of right-wing media and they want it to stop.
Mitch McConnell is vowing to repeal Obamacare. Congressman Paul Ryan has introduced the exact same budget he offered before. Messages are coming back around telling lies about how the President is giving away cell phones, and gutting welfare reform so the poor lazy shiftless youknowwhat can get free stuff from their President and not worry about getting a job. You would think the election didn’t even happen, let alone the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare.
It’s just like Mitt Romney running his own poll showing he was going to win the election, and him being so shocked when he lost. Congressional republicans keep talking about how the President is out of touch with America … amazing, just amazing. They don’t see they are actually talking about themselves. This is absolutely ridiculous and you have other GOP members out there who sincerely want this ignorant mess to stop.
The GOP is lambasting the GOP. They are divided within their own party because of a Faustian deal they made in order to secure power. The very definition of Conservatism allows them to come together around economic and social issues. So-called liberals have a much harder time doing this because they are so varied. In my opinion these labels, these ideologies lie at the root of our divide. They are what prevent us from elevating the word compromise.
I was born a liberal because my parents were Democratic liberals. When I was educated I became a conservative. I went through my Ayn Rand phase. As I became more educated my views evolved. Exposure to more people who were just trying to make a daily living despite the challenges of the environment opened my eyes to the truth. Every poor person was not a member of what I call Entitlement Nation. Most of these people are hard-working Americans who just want an opportunity, and by opportunity I mean education, guidance, point the way over the fire and flame and they would walk bare-footed dammit, such was there conviction. These people need our support, and sometimes that support must come from the commons, and through the commons means allocation of revenue to fund what’s needed. That’s not some kind of European socialism. Actually, that’s quite American.
This experience opened my mind and heart to liberalism once again. I proudly wore the labels Fiscal Conservative and Social Liberal. However, I came to see the fallacy of even this perspective, that the truth was my heart and mind gravitated to what was needed dependent on the given situation, what was logical. My sentiment was dictated by the prevailing facts.
I became an aspiring critical thinker, and as such I took that as my political affiliation, eschewing the labels that divide us. It is my most sincere wish that we all come to embrace rationality with the best of our emotions, seeing people for who they are, not for what we believe them to be, or what we want them to be because someone has stoked us into a tumult. I want us to use logic, to consider perspectives, and truly compromise, doing what we think is most assuredly right for others, not from what we believe to be right, but from what they know to be right for them, what we know may best help them achieve their best selves, and what through focused cognition arises out of the crucible of intense dialogue and mental rigor. I hope that we can all learn to embrace our compassion, leave the titles on the floor where they belong, lean into discomfort and reach real and meaningful compromise. It is truly the only way we will be able to move forward together. Please consider it critically.
The Aspiring Critical Thinker,