I had an epiphany the other day… That liberals and conservatives differ sharply in terms of whom they fundamental trust to have their best interests in mind. My observation was that conservatives generally trust the business world more than they trust the government, and that for liberals it’s the opposite. Libs would rather put their faith in the government than in business. Conservatives tend to trust the military more than liberals do. Liberals have much greater faith in human nature than conservatives do. Trust in God is all over the map, as is trust in self – probably not breaking down along liberal-vs-conservative philosophical lines. It seems to me that these fundamental “trust vectors” play a critical role in understanding where liberals and conservatives are coming from on a number of issues, including some of the hot spots we’ve discussed recently: universal (socialized) health care, social security, the culture war, closing the wealth gap in America, etc.
My first question… Do you agree with the above statements? My second is “why are these statements true?”
For instance, why do conservatives seem to ignore the concern that if a company is focused “only on making a profit”, then they could very easily be willing to step on the little guy, the environment, the law, etc in the proces? We see this happen all the time, and it’s getting worse. CEO’s are taking salaries 10x what they used to be, in comparison to their workers, for example.
Why do liberals seem to ignore the historical reality that when you trust the government with too much (socialism / communism) and undermine capitalistic forces like the free market, competition, etc then you end up with totalitarianism that oppresses just about everyone? (Well, everyone except the guy at the top taking everything for himself — through the governmental structure we were supposed to be able to trust.) They say they don’t want that, but they openly admit that they trust the government with their money more than business, use the word “profit” like a swear word (and in order to do away with it, you have to do away with competition), etc.
Why do conservatives feel that human nature is fundamentally corrupt, and constantly want to compensate for that? Can’t they have a little faith in people!?
Why do liberals (far more than conservatives) mistrust the military? The Iraq conflict has been an extremely clear indicator of this – when liberals over and over again assumed the military was guilty 5 minutes after suspicion of guilt was raised. From Abu Grab Prison to Guantanamo Bay to a dozen times when our troops were assumed to have shot innocent people in cold blood before a second of investigation had occurred. Some have even called the terrorists “freedom fighters” while calling our troops “oppressors”. Why is that?
So, my question to you… Are these stereotypes real? And if so, why?
I submit that one reason is a left-brained / right-brained thing. Typically, right-brained people are more emotional and heart-based. They’re creative, artistic, etc. These people have a tendency to be more liberal, because the decide by feeling. Typically, left-brained people are more rational and brain-based. They’re analytical, math and engineering types, etc. These people have a tendency to be more conservative, because they decide by analysis. This isn’t to say that left-brain people are smarter or more sane (not that definition of “rational”) than right-brain people, it’s just different … and a difference that seems to be important. Also, keep in mind that stereotypes are about the majority – not every single person. There are always exceptions.
An example… the trusting business vs. trusting government thing. I think much of the reason liberals don’t trust business and conservatives do, is that most conservatives understand business better. The average liberal, not very familiar with business, fears it and makes their decisions based solely on the fact that they’re seeing the little guy get screwed by the big guy … and that’s just not fair. They’re right, that is happening, and it’s not fair, but macro economic questions such as universal health care are about way more than that reality. However, I don’t think many liberals see it that way. They are “choosing sides” over a knee-jerk emotional reaction, not over a thorough understanding of the economic implications of their choice. They choose government, because it’s the opposing force to choose. Their choice isn’t so much “pro-government”, it’s “anti-business”.
Distrust of the military is another example. Guns are bad; they hurt people. I’m a pacifist; I believe we should not hurt people. We have no right to run around on other nations’ soil and shoot people. Etc. These are all very legitimate ways to feel, but they don’t make good governmental policy. This kind of thinking gets people killed. So, the military is chalk-full of hard-core-rational-analysis people who know what needs to be done to secure the nation, win the war, defeat the enemy, etc. Those who have the same perspective on the outside are their supporters, and those who think some of the bad-guns, pacifism, stay-out-of-their-business thoughts I described above not only don’t join the all-volunteer military, but are its detractors from the outside.
Okay, enough of my bloviating. Other opinions? Analysis of my comments?