Confessions of an Ex-Liberal
Bill Whittle has nailed it.
He has spoken the truth about how liberals view conservatives (skip to the 1:55 mark for this part):
Liberals think that conservatives are:
d) Some of the above
e) All of the above
When I was a liberal, this was exactly the way I saw conservatives.
Let's start with Evil.
I would have a knee jerk reaction to any conservative assuming - knowing - they were rich, greedy, uncaring, selfish, and arrogant. Oh, and they liked to go to war just for the hell of it. In a word: Evil. I would not listen to conservatives talk on any issue because of my rock solid belief that they were horrible human beings who cared not a whit for others.
In this way, a feedback loop was created such that when a conservative would speak, I knew they were evil and felt no desire to listen. (Why get aggravated, right?) Or, if for some reason I was compelled to listen for a few minutes, every word that came out of their mouth was tainted with the awful truth that I knew. Yes, they were evil.
Next up: Stupid.
Like my conviction that conservatives were evil, so too was my firm belief that they were also, for the most part, stupid. (If a conservative somehow managed to squeak past my stupid label, it didn't matter because they were at the very least, evil.) There were all sorts of ways stupid played out. For sure, if they were from the south, they were dumb. If they were from the mid-west, well I just knew they couldn't be that bright. I mean, the great plains? How could anyone from there be smart? Any other geographic pockets of conservatives were also stupid because of the obvious fact that they were stupid. (Yeah, I know. Really pathetic.) In my view, only people from major cities could be smart. And then, only the highly educated. The intelligentsia.
As a student, I expected my professors and fellow students to be super liberal. If I got a whiff of anyone who seemed like they may not be toeing the party line to the fullest, I was disgusted. I also looked down on those who viewed college as a place to get job training. College was about study. It had nothing to do with anything concrete related to functioning as an independent adult in the real world.
And lastly: Old
Old was often part of a larger category that was about blandness and sameness. Conservatives were old, but also male, and also white. This fueled my feedback loop because all of these things were, well, you guessed it. Evil.
I would scratch my head in wonder about how any black person could be conservative. I thought
J. C. Watts was insane. I simply could not fathom how any black person could be a Republican. I felt bad for him. It seemed as if he was bamboozled. Yup. He was an Uncle Tom without a doubt.
Needless to say I did not appreciate the hypocrisy of my views. I was liberal. I was about freedom and opportunity for all. Yet here I was holding a view of a black man that dictated he must think a certain way.
I also had an incredible sense of entitlement regarding the media. If a conservative was interviewed, I was outraged. How dare they give that person air time! And if a conservative was interviewed on NPR, well that was just way over the line.
Seriously. This was my thinking.
All the while, I felt an extraordinary sense of self-righteousness. America was about liberalism. There was no room - no room! - for conservative ideas.
Needless to say (again), I did not appreciate my own hypocrisy. Here I was walking around, taking full advantage of living in a free and open society, while having a view of our society that was not free and open at all.
But of course I didn't see that. I didn't see any of it.
I've traveled a long journey since then and I would like to express my gratitude to American Thinker for being such an important place that helped me along the way.
Sometimes I wonder, and perhaps some of you do as well: Are we just preaching to the converted on these blogs? Then I remind myself that I was a non-conservative who visited AT, peered in, and stayed a little while, reading articles and comments. And I returned. And bit by bit ideas began to percolate. And questions arose. Perspectives began to shift. I started to seek out information and views contrary to what was familiar to me. And step by step I strayed far away from a lifetime of liberal "thinking."
Bill Whittle has it right about how liberals view conservatives. But change can, and does, occur.
Don't underestimate the power of your comments on these threads. You never know who may read a comment, follow a train of thought, become curious, and maybe, just maybe, begin a journey.