This country has been successful not only because of the innate decency, creativity, and independence of the American people, but because of Christianity, capitalism, and conservatism. Unfortunately, all too often these days, conservatives spend the majority of our time correcting myths, misinformation, and misrepresentations about the movement instead of explaining our principles to people.
That’s no coincidence.
Because conservatism is so effective, its opponents have to create a false vision of conservatism to oppose because the real thing is so genuinely appealing to people. That’s not to say that there aren’t bad conservatives or that conservatism is flawless — that’s certainly not the case. But in the real world, you’re not going to find a political ideology that produces better people or better results than American conservatism.
Of course, if you’re not conservative, you may find that hard to believe because you’ve been told…
Conservatives are racist: How is it that people who explicitly reject the idea of discrimination by race are called bigots by people who believe in judging Americans by the color of their skin? For every supposed racist incident drummed up by the media, you can find a hundred instances of conservatives proving that they don’t care about skin color. If people are so bound and determined to call conservatives racist that they’ll ignore mountains of evidence to the contrary while desperately looking for mole hills that support their beliefs, there’s nothing the Right can do about it. However, if you take an honest look at it, what you’ll find is that the single least racist group of people in America are conservatives.
Conservatives hate science: One of the great ironies of this charge is that in scientific debates, conservatives almost inevitably use science-based arguments and the other side typically responds with nasty smears, doomsday stories, and sad stories about polar bears. Then bizarrely, it’s conservatives, not their opponents, who are accused of being “anti-science.” Pay attention the next time you see a conservative and a liberal debating a scientific issue and see who’s actually using science-based arguments and who’s calling names and trying to scare you.
Conservatives want a religious dictatorship: It’s true that conservatives do tend to be more serious about their Christianity than the population at large, but Christians who believe in morality, decency, and the rule of law would never support a theocracy. As a matter of fact, I’ve never even heard a conservative privately express any desire to live in a theocracy. If no one wants to do it publicly or privately, isn’t that a pretty good indication that this charge is a red herring?
Conservatives are in the pocket of the rich and big business: Conservatives believe that if you engage in class warfare and punish success, then you will dramatically reduce the number of people who are successful. On the other hand, if people are rewarded for their success, then they will work harder, help grow the economy, and produce more jobs. If you’re interested in a potent economy and a strong job market, conservatives believe the latter course is the best way to ensure America’s prosperity.
Conservatives are greedy and hardhearted: It’s true that conservatives are believers in the free market and capitalism. Additionally, it’s true that we tend to take a dim view of welfare programs because we agree with Ben Franklin:
I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.
However, what’s also true is that studies have consistently shown that conservatives are more generous than liberals. If you’re in dire straits and desperately need someone to give you $5 out of his own wallet, you’ll do better asking a conservative for help than anyone else.
Conservatives are angry: Sure, conservatives are angry — sometimes. That’s part of being human. But, the continually angry conservative stereotype has very little in common with reality. To the contrary, study after study has found that conservatives are happier than liberals. Here’s one very typical example,
Regardless of marital status, income or church attendance, right-wing individuals reported greater life satisfaction and well-being than left-wingers, the new study found. Conservatives also scored highest on measures of rationalization, which gauge a person’s tendency to justify, or explain away, inequalities.
…The results support and further explain a Pew Research Center survey from 2006, in which 47 percent of conservative Republicans in the U.S. described themselves as “very happy,” while only 28 percent of liberal Democrats indicated such cheer.
You want to be a happy person? Become a conservative.
Conservatives believe women should be poor, quiet, barefoot, and in the kitchen: This is an especially weird claim in light of Sarah Palin’s meteoric rise and the incredible popularity of fiery conservative women like Michele Bachmann, Michele Malkin, and Ann Coulter. Now, it is true that conservatives consider “homemaker” to be just as respectable a position as “business executive” for a woman, but if you think about it, isn’t that a view that expands the options of women? Giving women who take care of their families their proper due is much more respectful than looking down at women who’ve chosen to be homemakers.
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