Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Why conservatives run the world
Published on September 25, 2004 By Draginol In Politics

In the real world, I don't care much about politics.  Sure, I'll debate it with someone if they'd like but I'm not particularly motivated politically. On-line, I'll talk trash about politics taking a much stronger stance on positions than I would normally give since the point is to get energetic discussion going.

People who know me would describe me as a political "moderate" on most issues. But in reality, I'm all over the place. A left wing position here, a right wing position there. I cherry pick my ideology.  I'm very conservative on business/tax issues and somewhat liberal on social issues. But like I said, in the real world, I'm not motivated very much by politics. I deal with the world as it is. And in that sense, I am a conservative.

It's been my experience that people who are conservative tend to be more effective in getting things done. Things that actually do something. It's the liberals who do things that are described as "trying to make a statement".  Candle light vigils and showings of solidarity and other warm fuzzy activities make for good PR but ultimately are pointless. These activities are the hallmark of the left.

Go to a business conference of entrepreneurs and you won't find too many liberals there. In fact, the more successful someone is in the private sector, the more likely they are to be conservative. Outside entertainment and academia, you won't find that many wealthy successful liberals.

So why is that?  I think it's because conservatives deal with the world as it is rather than how they wish it was.  They are much more end result oriented. Liberals, by contrast, tend to be much more "wish really really hard that things were different".

Conservatives also tend to look at cause and effect. They have to because they end up being the ones who actually make decisions that deal with change in the real world.

Take the minimum wage or living wage advocates. They're the same people who also are against outsourcing of jobs. Well which is it?  They aren't willing to accept the reality that if you increase low skill labor costs that you are increasing the incentive to move the business out of the country. Conservatives don't have that luxury. They're the ones running those businesses. Raise their costs and they have to make some tough choices -- ones they'll be demonized for by the very people who advocated the policies that caused the problem.

And reality is a messy thing. There are no perfect solutions. There are no perfectly elegant solutions either. Most solutions require substantial trade offs.  Worse, those trade offs tend to get exponentially nasty as you near a "perfect" solution. 

Want 100% health coverage instead of 90%? Fine, expect massive trade offs in exchange in the form of waiting periods, a slowing in innovation, and decrease in quality of care.

Want to reduce CO2 emissions substantially today? Fine, increase the required gas mileage on cars to 35MPH. But that will mean the end of SUVs, mini-vans, and the subsequent loss of millions of jobs. Which some guy like Michael Moore would then promptly blame on "greedy fat cat businesses".

Want to "save" a few hundred acres of tundra in the ANWR? Fine, but expect our dependence on foreign oil to increase at a faster rate which helps fuel the problems in the middle east.

Conservatives, by their nature, tend to be much more pragmatic. They look for solutions. Real solutions. A protest march isn't a solution.  It's a hobby.  This tends to make conservatives seem like the bad guys because they end up having to make the tough real world decisions that have negative consequences for some even as they try to benefit the many.

Where the liberal would go all out to save a single person in the village, even if that meant potentially sacrificing the entire village, the conservative would be more likely to take the "cruel" but pragmatic route of letting the individual villager suffer for the good of the entire village. That's not because they like to see people suffer but because they have to weigh the larger issues.

It's sad that millions of children live in poverty. A liberal would argue persuasively that a nation as wealthy as the United States should ensure that no child lives in poverty.  A conservative would agree that it's a shame but that as a practical matter, unless you're willing to sacrifice the rest of the society for it, you're not likely to solve that problem. Virtually all children (statistically) that live in poverty do so because their parents made very bad and irresponsible choices. Every practical solution to solve this will end up seeming cruel (take the child away from the irresponsible parent looks cruel and adds more expense for instance).

Liberals are also the ones who push for more help for Africa.  A land where the populations are simply far too high to be supported by the land they are on (with some notable exceptions where corrupt government is the cause).  Do you send over food aid, artificially masking the underlying problem and creating generations of dependents living in misery? The liberal won't worry about that. They just want to show how much they care. The "cruel" conservative is more likely to look at the big picture. Consistent food aid creates extensive long term damage and can prop up corrupt and brutal regimes.

By the same token, liberals tend to be the ones who argue for AIDS treatments to be sent to Africa at low cost. Thus increasing the healthy life span of the millions of Africans who are HIV positive. Sounds wonderful doesn't it? Except that it also increases the length of time that the disease spreaders will be able to effectively spread the disease. 

Then again, liberal groups also got DDT banned for export which was the world's most effective way of killing mosquitoes. Malaria now kills millions of Africans because there is no substitute for DDT that is remotely as cheap and effective. But some birds are safe. Well, maybe.

I could go on and on but I think the point is made. It's not that liberals are bad. They're not. They're just ineffectual in the real world. They are too busy trying to do emotionally satisfying deeds rather than deeds of practicality.  Where they do have an impact is in stifling the ability of conservatives for doing what has to be done by constantly demonizing them.

Liberals decried the sanctions on Iraq that had allegedly killed 500,000 children. If you lift the sanctions, Saddam would have gone forward with his nuclear program (that, btw, is something that they did find ample evidence of in Iraq -- he was just waiting out the sancations).  The other option is to remove Saddam and put someone in that isn't going to try to create nasty weapons, invade their neighbors, and aid terrorists.  Those are your 3 choices and no matter which choice is made, the liberals will demonize the result.

Conservatives who try to put forth practical realistic solutions get demonized as being "hateful", "bigoted" and be called (of course) "Nazis" or "fascists" (even though Nazis and fascists were socialists and technically left wing -- Hitler was many things but the vegetarian artist from Austria was definitely not a conservative).  It's demonization that liberals have any general real world impact and that's only because they're impacting the people who actually do things in the real world - conservatives.

I don't expect to change any minds here. You'll have the liberals who have excessive free time trying to nit-pick my examples with exceptions to a generalization as if that somehow disproves the generalization ("Hey Bush is trying to send AIDS help to Africa too!") but none of that changes the bottom line: That the people who run the companies, who actually create the "stuff" we use, are almost always conservative in nature because to accomplish things in the real world means dealing with the world as it actually is rather than as we wish it was.


Comments (Page 1)
on Sep 25, 2004
I disagree with some of your issues, though I agree with many. There are tradeoffs to every "ideal".

Decreasing CO2 emmisions- Mandate higher gas miliage, but give automakers 5 years to do it. Within five years, if all cars are hybrid, 35 mpg would be very realistic even for the biggest suvs. The automakers, if forced to increase miliage, will come up with some way to keep the SUV. They know that that is the key to their profits (at least the US makers).

Reducing dependence on foreign oil- There are ways to do this w/o opening the ANWR to drilling- such as increasing MPG requirments, and investing in alt. energy sources. This will eventually happen as the price of oil increases, which it has already begun to do. To speed up the process, however, the government should give large incentives to companies investing or developing alt. energy technologies.

Outsourcing- First of all, I don't believe that the minimum wage should be raised. Second, I also don't agree with people that say that outsourcing is bad.

Fascists were not at all left wing... just for your information. Nazis were left wing economically, but not socially. It would be perfect if the good economic ideas from the right could be combined with the moral ideas from the left.

on Sep 25, 2004
You mean, libertarianism Sandy?

Draginol: The conservative answer to the candle-light vigil: The news-worthy boycott
on Sep 25, 2004
Well, I mean't more along the lines of a main stream candidate that represented those ideas. If the choice becomes economic vs. moral, moral is more important.
on Sep 25, 2004
Way off. You start off by pointing out your own complexity, then lump all liberals together. My parents are Republicans, but I would never lump them together with extremists on the right. And the accusation of living in a fool's paradise has been aimed at both liberals AND conservatives. Some liberals are out there in touchy-feelyville, some conservatives are living in Ozzie and Harriet Land - denial is available to all.
on Sep 25, 2004
Moral doesn't put food on the table, sandy. That's the problem with it. When looking at tradeoffs between morality and economy, if morality trumps economy, you die. If you can afford morality, great. But too many times, too many people try to push morality beyond the point at which it is sustainable. Draginol has given a couple of examples here. I would add:

- over-irrigation in the american west. Sure, it keeps food prices down, and keep farms in the area working. It also drains the aquifers all over the area.

- pre-reform american welfare. Encouraged people to stay on welfare.
on Sep 25, 2004
Well obviously you have to have a balance of the two. I meant in a politician, if it comes down to do I agree more with their economic policies or their social/moral policies, then I will go with the candidate with the better moral policies (I think you understand what I am trying to say.)
on Sep 25, 2004

I agree, although it is good to have liberals to experiment in ways to improve things. It's when they insist on pushing something that doesn't improve things (i.e. higher minimum wage) that it gets a bit crazy.


Reality sucks, but it'll suck even more if people rely on ideal yet impractical solutions. It is sad that some people will fall through the cracks into Hell, but there has to be a compromise. Like with crime: rape and murder will always exist, and there comes a point when trying to minimize it further will cost much more (in freedom) for less benefit (not as much improvement, if any, in decrease of crime rate).


Liberals are also the ones who push for more help for Africa. A land where the populations are simply far too high to be supported by the land they are on (with some notable exceptions where corrupt government is the cause). Do you send over food aid, artificially masking the underlying problem and creating generations of dependents living in misery? The liberal won't worry about that. They just want to show how much they care. The "cruel" conservative is more likely to look at the big picture. Consistent food aid creates extensive long term damage and can prop up corrupt and brutal regimes.


I don't know how accurate my economics teacher was, but he was talking about how when the U.S. government would purchase surpluses and ship them to other countries freely, those other countries would have many people upset that their businesses are being destroyed since nobody's going to pay for their stuff if they could get it for free. Makes sense, and is a great example of kindness hurting others.


Draginol: The conservative answer to the candle-light vigil: The news-worthy boycott


Boycotts, if done by people who actually purchase the product, aren't nearly as trivial. Of course, if a group calls a boycott on a product they've never even purchased, then it's pointless (an example I remember is some Open Source advocacy group calling on the boycott of SCO products, even though they never even purchased them).

on Sep 25, 2004
Probably the best article I've ever read on the political spectrum of the US.
on Sep 25, 2004
I'm really tried of people actually thinking that someone can live on $5.15 per hour. If one were to work full time (without overtime, bonus, supplement fee reductions) you are looking at around $824 per month. This is at least half of a liveable wage. The real solution to this problem may be to have a complete free market approach in those who can not afford to pay a living wage do not deserve to run a business and would be removed from the market. Of course this would never work, and with a total free market would come utter corruption and maybe even the return of slavery. If true capitalism without any social construct could exist, which it can't.

That being said the solution can not be to raise the wage to $5.75 (or whatever) and then $6.50 (I think). You here are looking at a net worth of $1024 per month. Here again, clearly not enough, maybe double this for a none single parent family.

If not increase the wage then maybe institute total price control. All business should then be regulated on how much they can charge for a service or good. This is equally unprotective. There are no easy answers to any problem, representative governments generally are not easy, fair, and speedy in resolution. Neither party is right on this issue, neither is looking out for business or public welfare; they are both interested in keeping the status que. There is also no party in contention at the third party level; some are scarey (socialist) and some are not organized.

on Sep 25, 2004
You can live on minimum wage.  I did so and my mom did so as well. People think they are entitled to live in their own apartment. $5 an hour is fine if you have roommates and don't have children.
on Sep 25, 2004
Just to inject a hopefully both humorous and on-point summary of the attitudes Draginol painted, I'd report them as:

Conservatives focus on changing their portion of the world.
Liberals focus on changing conservatives.
on Sep 25, 2004
... because to accomplish things in the real world means dealing with the world as it actually is rather than as we wish it was.


That's really the heart of the matter, isn't it?

Ideally, a balance between the two would be the desired objective. Obtain as much of the 'way you would like it to be' without taking away from the way things are, or put another way, without decreasing the level we are at. Unfortunately, mainstream liberalism wants to decrease the level we are at to achieve those ideals. Case in point, taxing the rich more ... which really means taking away from them; reducing their gain.

on Sep 25, 2004
So why is that? I think it's because conservatives deal with the world as it is rather than how they wish it was. They are much more end result oriented. Liberals, by contrast, tend to be much more "wish really really hard that things were different".


Maybe another way of putting it is conservatives are concerned mainly with the physical while liberals are concerned mainly with the spiritual. A conservative might believe that the death of an individual for the sake of a village is necessary, but a liberal might believe that if we no longer care for the life of that individual then we are damned anyway.

Continued existence is of no value, perhaps, if we fail to live as moral beings.

That might explain why most of those most obsessed with creating works of beauty are liberals and most of those who feed and clothe the aesthetes are conservatives. LIberals need conservatives to survive and conservatives need liberals to truly live.
on Sep 25, 2004
cactoblasta: I love what you just wrote. I gave you an insightful for that.
on Sep 25, 2004
but a liberal might believe that if we no longer care for the life of that individual then we are damned anyway.


I don't know about most people, but speaking from a conservative perspective, I know that if I had to die to save a group of people, or just one person, I would do it. Saying that because a conservative might believe the death of an individual to save a villiage is necessary doesn't mean that the conservative doesn't believe that that individual's life is important.

Every death is a loss. Each person that dies is important. But remember too, that each life is important. That each person that lives is a new hope.

Continued existence is of no value when none can remember what morality is.

Peace,

Beebes
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