This is a topic that has interested me as of late: the idea that liberalism is an emotional ideology whereas conservatism is, at its root, rational.
I’ve detailed previously that my earlier attachment to liberalism was based upon emotions, most particularly that of envy, and that my turn to conservatism was based upon a careful process of research and rational thought. In my opinion any intellectual examination of the world and society can do nothing but lead the reasonable person to accept conservatism. I’ve also noticed this emotional attachment in liberals in my opposition to a recent poster on this forum who has in the last two days attempted to stir up trouble (you know who you are Mason-Dixon troll!).
Follow with me.Anytime I hear or read a liberal argument for a particular topic it is always based upon emotion. Think about taxes. The liberal will say that lower taxes are unfair and benefits the wealthy more than the middle-class or poor, while the conservative will say that lower taxes stimulates the economy and actually aids the middle-class and poor because it helps lower prices and create new jobs. Notice the difference? Which one is based upon emotion and which is rational?
Consider abortion. The liberal says that it is unfair to subject a woman to a child she does not want and is a form of sexist oppression, while the conservatives states that we as a nation must defend the sanctity of life because a nation that does not do this is a nation that will invite any type of immorality in society. Again, notice the difference? Which one is emotional and which is rational?
Liberals are typically driven by envy and anger. They are envious of the “haves” and their ideology is based upon the anger they feel at being “left out.” They do not think rationally about how best to create the economics of opportunity, rather they go with their gut and attempt to make everything fair and balanced. They do not seek to create opportunity, but driven by envy and anger they seek to impose equality. That is why liberals are typically so persuasive when it comes to economics. They use the politics of fear and class envy as defenses of their economic precepts, whereas the common-sensical and rational defenses of the conservative method of economics is lost in the maelstrom.
We can even look at their beliefs concerning foreign policy. They use emotional images of collateral damage and poverty worldwide to justify their positions, whereas the conservative speaks of the spread of democracy and the safeguarding of national security. Again, as of late, this has also been lost in the maelstrom of exploitive emotional images.
It is in no coincidence that liberals also tend to be extremely idealistic and their naked, blind idealism is a major aspect of the foundations of their ideology. Their idealism informs their foreign policy, from believing that if we left the rest of the world alone and just talked to monstrous dictators that their hearts can be changed, to their economics, if we just make the economy more fair that economic equality can be achieved and everyone can enjoy the benefits of the materialistic society. William Buckley said it best, “Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive.”
Reality is anathema to modern liberals, much as rational thought is as well. Conservatives understand the reality of the world and society. Conservatives realize that attempts to achieve economic equality are impossible and attempts to impose this equality would be disastrous to the economy. Conservatives also realize that dictators and terrorists are driven by their own emotions and self-interest and no degree of isolationism or dialogue will ever change their hearts. The prohibitive costs of idealism can be seen in World War II, the fall of the Shah, and the horror of 9/11.
Benjamin Disrael in 1848 stated, “My objection to Liberalism is this—that it is the introduction into the practical business of life of the highest kind—namely, politics—of philosophical ideas instead of political principles.” Ideas. Emotions. Idealism. Not principles. Not reason. Not reality. Liberals also deal in the abstract and conservatives in the concrete. Conservatives recognize common sense principles that are based upon experience, tradition, and reason as the bedrocks of economic and foreign policy. That is why they believe in lower taxes, less government intervention, and a strong military and national defense. They recognize the reality of the world and their principles are based upon a reasonable examination of this reality. Liberals are the complete opposite. There is no reasonable defense of liberalism, and any honest individual who examines this ideology can reach no other conclusion. Their beliefs are based upon abstract philosophical ideas because there are no practical applications of liberalism. Ask a liberal how best to impose economic equality? Ask a liberal how best to achieve a liberal foreign policy? They will not speak of practical applications, but will rather explain in emotional, empty platitudes.
David Horowitz once said that it was a revelation to him when he realized that to apply economic redistribution of wealth was to impose the equality of poverty, that socialism for all its emotional idealism had no concept of how to create wealth, but only of how to distribute that wealth. Liberals seek to redistribute the wealth in order to achieve a fair society, but it is in practical applications of conservative economics that achieves that wealth. At some point reason must prevail!
To reiterate: liberalism is based upon emotions, ideas, and idealism; and conservativism is based upon reason, principles, and reality. Any reasonable person can see this, it is just too bad that liberals are not reasonable individuals.