It may sound condescending to say I feel sorry for conservatives but I do.
Conservatives live in constant fear. Fear of government regulations, fear of taxation, fear of social evolution, fear of “the other”, and the overriding fear that drives it all – the fear that they may have to share.
They throw the phrase “nanny state” around whenever health and safety regulations are discussed and spit the “socialist” epithet at anyone who suggests we should help the disadvantaged. They will stridently resist any attempt to get them to contribute to the social contract, employing bevies of financial and legal teams to beat the system.
They are inordinately afraid of women, gays and foreigners – unless they are very wealthy in which case we can overlook their non-membership of the Christian heterosexual white male club. They’ll never be really accepted but sufficient wealth and connections can buy associate membership.
Conservatives want to protect their stash and watch it grow. Anyone who doesn’t have an asset base is just not trying hard enough. No excuses tolerated. No empathy in sight. No role for government in job creation or wealth redistribution. No recognition of how much easier it is to make money when you are given some to start off.
Not all conservatives are wealthy of course. Some of them cling to the failed hope that, by making the rich richer, some of that will trickle down to them. Others just like having someone to blame for their circumstances.
Some ultra-conservatives deny the theory of evolution. All of them resist social evolution.
Conservative governments have fought tooth and nail against the introduction of Medicare, the superannuation guarantee, paid parental leave, women’s reproductive rights, equal rights for defacto couples, and a myriad of other benefits that make this one of the best places to live.
Conservative women say they are not feminists. They say it is important for women to retain their femininity which apparently means spending a lot of money on designer clothes and beauty products and not being aggressive or “casting yourself as a victim”.
To conservatives, men should be the bread winners and women the unpaid domestic help. Traditional families, where the man can pass on his accumulated possessions to his bloodline borne from his monogamous wife, are the only acceptable relationship.
They insist our society is based on Christian values, denying that the vast majority of religions hold similar values. Even within our Christianity, the various sects jealously guard their differences. Kids from the Catholic schools were/are taught to look down on kids from the public schools.
Conservatives think that allowing others to share their privilege will somehow demean it, kind of like letting the wrong sort join the country club. We see that in their opposition to marriage equality and to refugees and immigration in general.
Conservatives cannot accept criticism, cannot ever concede they were wrong, and will never say sorry. If they make any backflips or change their mind, it was never their fault – blame it on Labor, or the Senate, or global headwinds, or better still, Muslims and people on welfare.
They are suspicious of critical advice and usually just reject facts they don’t like. The examples are endless – Howard’s rejection of the Stolen Generation report, Abbott’s attacks on Gillian Trigg’s report into children in detention, the rejection of warnings from climate scientists, the basically universal agreement amongst economists that our property tax concessions are skewing investment away from more productive enterprises, and the endless attacks on the ABC.
As they cling doggedly to the past, they resist the promise of the future. They do not view spending on education, foreign aid, preventive health and crime measures, research and action on climate change, as an investment. They know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. They live for the quick profit that can be made today with no thought of the consequences.
So yes, I feel sorry for conservatives who will never understand the joy of helping others, the pride in knowing that you have acted with integrity, and the enormous potential that our very diverse multiracial society has if we all work together.
We, not me. Us, not them. Stop admiring yourself in the mirror and take some responsibility for your fellow human beings as if they, too, are part of your family.