I saw this posted elsewhere earlier today, and found it interesting. It was posted by a hard core right winger; someone who thinks the Tea Party is just swell, that Obama is a Marxist Kenyan Muslim and that Bill Clinton and his wife are pretty much Satanic. This list is representative of just how ideological most right wingers are, and how they think of those of us on the left. Not only are they wrong about what makes a “good liberal,” they also cannot think beyond the prism of their own ideology. They are completely enslaved by it.
I’m posting it in its entirety, and responding to each one, because this can be a learning tool. Ultimately, what you should learn is, there is no point in trying to convince these people you’re right. There is no point in arguing incessantly with people like this. Instead, speak to reasonable people; people who can learn that not everything they’re told is true.
In order to be a Liberal ….
1. You have to be against capital punishment, but support abortion on demand.
First of all, not all liberals are against capital punishment. I obviously can't speak for all liberals, but the reason why I think capital punishment is wrong has to do with a simple, basic problem; it’s not just. The justice system is incapable of determining guilt or innocence with an absolute certainty, so an absolute penalty is just inappropriate. In our system, there are just too many mistakes; an irreversible penalty is just plain wrong. On the other hand, our prisons are mostly impenetrable, and it is possible to keep people in prison for life without a problem. What purpose is served by killing them?
How telling is it that right wingers actually seem to equate capital punishment and abortion? Is that a brainwash or what? The fact is, for all of their posturing about abortion, we liberals actually do more to prevent abortion than the right ever has.
Yes, we’re in favor of not allowing the government to co-opt a woman’s right to decide whether or not she wishes to be pregnant and carry her fetus to term. But if you look more closely, the far right does more to increase the number of abortions than we do. They’re against comprehensive sex education before a child is old enough to procreate (especially if they're taught sex by English teachers, apparently). They’re against most efforts to make birth control available to everyone, claiming that it “encourages sex.” They’re constantly trying to gut welfare programs, thus making it more likely that poor women will abort, rather than struggle to raise another kid.
Most liberals are against capital punishment on principle, because it’s applied in an unjust manner. And we don’t think the government should have the power to force women to stay pregnant against their will. But the above is just too simplistic.
2. You have to believe that corporations create oppression and governments create prosperity. (This one is really important)
Again with the simplicity. (And it's really not all that important.)
While some self-described progressives do seem to have an irrational aversion to corporations in the abstract, corporations really aren’t the problem. In fact, there has been a problem throughout history with unregulated capitalists oppressing people to make money. Slavery comes to mind immediately. The government didn’t own those slaves. On the other hand, when the people finally tired of slavery, and the moral imperative was there to end it, they used the government to end it.
And governments CAN create prosperity. In fact, contrary to right wing belief, the PURPOSE of government is to create prosperity. Besides defense against other countries, why the hell else would you create one?
A democratically elected government is a great tool for creating prosperity. Through the government, we created a mechanism that keeps markets open and honest and protects us from crooked elements that would take advantage of us, or even harm us for quick monetary gain.
What’s puzzling when you read something like this, which is supposed to be a criticism of liberals, is why anyone would simply trust people who want to take your money, and mistrust the one mechanism available to keep them honest.
3. You have to believe that guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens are more of a threat than nuclear weapons technology in the hands of Chinese and North Korean communists or Islamic fundamentalists.
And of course, there is your first non sequitur. Right wingers can’t use actual facts, so they make up these sorts of false equivalencies.
But now that I think about it, 30,000 Americans are killed with handguns every year, whereas no American has ever been killed by any nuclear weapon from China, North Korea or any "Islamic fundamentalist." That does not mean we think they’re related problems, however. I don’t want to take chances with nuclear powers, which is why I’m all for treaties that limit and even eliminate them. But I also want all guns registered and all owners licensed. Not because I'm afraid of nuclear weapons.
4. You have to believe that there was no art before government funding.
No one has ever “believed” that. On the other hand, we think art is a necessary element of any society, and the scant funds we spend to promote it are worth every penny. I would also note that “the arts” is one of our most lucrative exports, so it’s also good for the economy.
5. You have to believe that global temperatures are less affected by cyclical documented changes in the earth's climate and more affected by soccer moms driving SUV's.
I have to give them half-credit on this, because a lot of liberals seem obsessed with declaring that we humans are the main cause of global warming, when there is no way to know for sure. But you know what? It doesn’t matter why it’s happening. It’s happening. We're getting warmer, and we have to deal with it. And there is a POSSIBILITY that we’re a major cause. Therefore, as rational humans, we should err on the side of caution and take steps to limit emissions. What’s the downside? Cleaner air and a new industry to make money with? Less dependence on fossil fuels, thus lessening our dependence on war to protect our energy supply? How horrible!
6. You have to believe that gender roles are artificial but being homosexual is natural.
In other words, you have to believe what’s true. Gender roles are a learned behavior, while sexual preference is genetic.
What’s astounding is that some people don’t just understand this. Education is your friend.
7. You have to believe that the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of government funding.
AIDS was spread by a lack of information and education. When people became aware of how it spreads, it spread less. And government funds have been key to research that has turned HIV into more of a disease and less of an automatic death sentence.
We are a democratic society. The purpose of our government is to act as a mechanism to solve societal problems. How warped do you have to be to see government solving problems as a major problem in and of itself? When the government funds research, problems get solved.
By the way, this week marks the 20th anniversary of Magic Johnson’s announcement that he had HIV. He’s still alive and kicking and I am glad of that. It’s called hope. Liberals have it (we’re supposed to, anyway), right wingers don’t. This is right wing politics in a nutshell, folks. Liberals are supposed to believe in the possibilities and the value of things, the far right only looks at the dollar costs and how difficult things are to do.
8. You have to believe that the same teacher who can't teach 4th-graders how to read is somehow qualified to teach those same kids about sex.
What is this, the non-sequitur express? I don’t care if English teachers teach sex. We can train sex teachers for that. But kids should be learning about sex long before they’re old enough to do it and catch diseases and get pregnant. And if the parents won't do it, then the schools should, because the rest of us still have to live with these people (and their spawn) when they become adults.
Of course, this is also an attempted dig at public schools and teachers in general. The fact is, 97-98% of all Americans can read, according to statistics. But right wingers don't care about facts. They only care about what they believe.
9. You have to believe that outdoorsmen don't care about nature, but loony activists who have never been outside of San Francisco do.
As you can see, ideological extremists have very few facts to deal with, so they resort to silly stereotypes. When they talk about “outdoorsmen,” (forget the obvious sexism in the use of that term), they’re only talking about those who hunt and fish. Those of us into hiking, or running, or river rafting, or skiing, or snowboarding, or any of a number of activities are not “outdoorsmen” to people like this.
That said, we should be working more with hunters and fishermen on environmental matters, and stop acting as if we’re at odds. They really do want to preserve the environment. The differences aren’t really that great. But we all have a stake in the environment, whether you live in Bugtussle or Manhattan. Eventually, whatever we spew into the air goes worldwide. if you don't believe that, check out the trash that starts floating onto west coast beaches this month from the earthquakes and tsunami in Japan. We all have to care. Not scream. Care.
10. You have to believe that self-esteem is more important than actually doing something to earn it.
Self-esteem is important in getting people to the point where they can do things tey need to do to be successful. Do we go a little overboard with it at times? Oh, hell yes. It really is okay to let kids mess up and to tell them when they do, as long as you also tell them how to correct it. But self-esteem is essential. People who are encouraged are far more productive and useful to society than those who are discouraged and feel hopeless. It’s just a fact.
11. You have to believe that Mel Gibson spent $25 million of his own money to make The Passion Of The Christ for financial gain only.
I can’t speak for all liberals, but I don’t give a rat’s ass why he made it. I don’t even care who’s seen it or why. It’s a disgusting, anti-Semitic religious snuff film, and those who felt “spiritually fulfilled” seeing it give credence to the faction that suggests that religion is little more than mass psychosis. But that's their problem. I don’t care about it.
12. You have to believe the NRA is bad because it supports certain parts of the Constitution, while the ACLU is good because it supports certain parts of the Constitution.
The NRA is bad because it actually undermines gun rights. They have taken an absolutist stance on part of the Second Amendment, but ignore the rest of the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right of the people to bear arms in the context of militia service. They also ignore the parts of the Constitution, that grant the government the power to regulate the militia and the arms they carry. There's a reason your neighbor can't keep a grenade launcher in his garage. There is a balance between the individual's right to keep and bear arms, and the government's police power, to protect the public safety.
The NRA has devolved from a group concerned with protecting the rights of its membership into a purely ideological political organization concerned more with political power than the rights of its members. Most gun owners are concerned with the prevalence of gun homicides, and would have little problem with a program of registration and licensing; the NRA doesn’t care what most gun owners think.
The ACLU is good because they defend average Americans from government intrusion on their Constitutional rights, regardless of ideology. Ask Rush Limbaugh and Oliver North where they’d be without the ACLU.
13. You have to believe that taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too high.
Another non-sequitur; imagine that. Taxes are at historic lows, and we’re running record deficits. Of course, taxes are too low. I almost never pay an ATM fee. If he means the debit card fee that Bank of America was considering, well, the bank already makes money on every transaction; why should I pay them for the privilege of accessing my money. I don’t pay to write checks; why should I pay to use a debit card?
14. You have to believe that Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem are more important to American history than Thomas Jefferson, Gen. Robert E. Lee, and Thomas Edison.
While I admire a lot of what (most of) the people listed people listed above stand for, I tend not to rate individuals based on their historical importance, especially when they represent completely different spheres. I don’t know that very many liberals would try to compare the relative importance of Gloria Steinem and Thomas Jefferson. But the fact that this clown puts Robert E. Lee on that list is quite telling. The commander of the Army for a segment of the country that wanted to break up the United States because they wanted to preserve slavery forever is there why, exactly? WTF does he have in common with any of the others?
15. You have to believe that standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas and set-asides are not.
Standardized tests are asinine, because we don’t have standardized children. They undermine the education system and make teachers’ jobs more difficult. Not sure what they have to do with race. Frankly, inner city black kids and rural white kids have roughly the same sorts of problems. But it’s because there are no “standardized children.”
Racial quotas are illegal, and have been for 33 years now. Set-asides are rare, and only apply to those organizations that demonstrated discrimination in the past. It’s a correction of discrimination. I’m not sure how you fix discrimination without applying discrimination in the reverse on some level.
16. You have to believe that Hillary Clinton is normal and is a very nice person.
Don’t you love how much the right wing hates her? I’m not sure what “normal” is, frankly. But I know it’s not “normal” to hate someone you have never even met.
That said, I know a LOT of liberals who can’t stand Hillary Clinton. So, they can’t even get that right.
17. You have to believe that the only reason socialism hasn't worked anywhere it's been tried is because the right people haven't been in charge.
This one’s just stupid. Socialism does work, and it’s proven to work daily, all over the world. Right wingers simply can’t conceive of socialism except in terms of an entire political system. And it doesn’t work everywhere with everything. But we’re the only industrialized country in the world without a socialized health care system, and we’re the only one in which someone can lose everything they worked for their entire life by contracting an illness from an unknown stranger. Ours is the only one in which people DIE because they can’t afford to pay a private company to pay their bills for them. Socialized health care works.
Can an entire socialist system work? Probably not, because there will always be someone who tries to circumvent it. But all insurance is socialist by design, regardless of whether it’s administered by a private company or not, and right wingers seem to LOVE insurance.
But I don’t know very many rational liberals who think socialism is viable as a social or economic system.
18. You have to believe conservatives telling the truth belong in jail, but a liar and a sex offender belonged in the White House.
Right wingers are not conservatives, so that's quite the ironic lie.
Right wingers who tell the truth are invariably praised by many liberals. Look how many liberals drool over the psycho Ron Paul. I kind of understand the fascination, though; sighting an honest right winger would be very much like catching sight of a dodo bird, or at least seeing a California Condor soaring over New York skies.
No sex offender has ever occupied the White House, that I know of. Although at least one past president was a drunk with an untreated coke addiction and a DUI conviction.
As for liars, well… they’re politicians. Give me a break. They have to lie; voters demand it.
19. You have to believe that homosexual parades displaying drag, transvestites, and bestiality should be constitutionally protected, and manger scenes at Christmas should be illegal.
Gay Pride parades are legal and protected by the First Amendment. Manger scenes are also protected. They’re only illegal if they appear on government property, because the government is prohibited from favoring some religions over others by that same First Amendment.
I guess the problem is, these folks don’t care much for the Bill of Rights. Oh, except for their bastardized version of the Second Amendment, that is. They LOVE that.
20. You have to believe that illegal Democratic Party funding by the Chinese Government is somehow in the best interest to the United States.
Who the hell thinks that?
By the way, aren’t we the ones who have been screaming the loudest to REFORM the campaign finance system over the years? And aren’t they the ones who think people with money should have the right to more free speech than the rest of us? Just asking.
21. You have to believe that this message is a part of a vast, right wing conspiracy.
No, it’s more a part of the dumbing down of America.