Monday, December 13, 2010
An educational night
Both Paul and Joe enjoyed the last educational night I put on for them (See 27 Sept.) so I arranged another one. This time I discussed the basics of politics, starting out with "What is a conservative?" I pointed out that defining conservatism as "preference for the status quo" was propaganda of the shallowest kind since all governments -- Left or Right -- busily legislate away to change various things. NEITHER side of politics is happy with the status quo and even BIG changes (e.g. the Reagan/Thatcher changes) can emanate from political conservatives.
But if a wish for change does not differentiate Left and Right, what does? Left and Right want DIFFERENT changes so what drives those different wishes? I said that we have to go down to the psychological level to understand that. I pointed out that Leftists are basically angry people, angry with "the system" -- i.e. with very basic things in the world about them. Conservatives on the other hand are merely dissatisfied with some aspects of it and, although they may get emotional about some specific things on occasions (e.g. abortion) they are not pervasively angry with the world about them. They are basically happy people.
And the greater emotionality of the Left explains their almost invariably destructive policies. Anger is not a good frame of mind in which to make well-balanced policy decisions. And I went on to trace how the anger leads to a belief in big government and how conservatives advocate individual liberties in order to limit the damage that big government does.
I also pointed out that Leftist leaders are sometimes psychopathic rather than angry (e.g. Barack Obama) so are simply driven by a yen for power. They will say anything that sounds good and the large and unrealistic promises that Leftists commonly make do tend to sound good at the time. And psychopaths live in the present with no thought for the adverse reactions of people when the promises are not delivered -- as Americans reacted in the November 2010 mid-term Congressional elections.
So the discussion was an attempt to provide a foundation to an understanding of all politics. I have of course expanded greatly on the very brief outline above here.
To get the evening underway we got curries from my usual Indian restaurant and discussed family matters etc while we were eating. It was only after the dishes had been cleared away that we got on to politics. As usual, I was pretty hoarse after a couple of hours so at that point we went on to desserts. Both Anne and Sue brought along some good stuff so that ended the evening well.
The photo above was taken by Paul's Sue so she is not in it.