Wednesday, December 10, 2003

"Bleeding-heart liberals" and "Compassionless conservatives"

By: UnrepentantNewDealer

This post will serve the purpose of debunking one of the most common misconceptions that characterize the vast majority of discussions about politics, an untruth that has been repeated by those on the Right (and to some extent, on the Left) for so long, that most people have accepted it as fact. The misconception: that the fundamental difference between liberals and conservatives is that the positions of liberals are always based on emotion, rather than reason, and that the positions of conservatives are always based on reason, not emotion. Many intelligent people have fallen prey to this mythThis hypothesis is favored by conservatives, who want to believe that their positions are the only logical ones to take and that the positions of liberals can be dismissed as the illogical rantings of the "bleeding-hearts" and thus irrelevant; those few liberals who actually do base their opinions solely on emotion also favor this hypothesis because it allows them to claim that conservatives don't even have a heart.
Nothing could be further from the truth.

Since the best defense is a good offense, I will first eviscerate the conservatives' claims to basing all their positions on reason. Take the death penalty, for example. Conservatives claim that they support the death penalty because it reduces crime; that is to say that the everpresent possibility of exucution by the state discourages criminals from committing capital offenses. Until 1976, the death penalty was outlawed as unconstitutional; in that year it reversed itself. Logically, if the conservatives are right, it stands to reason that the rate of capital crimes should have decreased since 1976, at least in states with the death penalty. Instead, according to the FBI, in Texas, which executes more than three times as many inmates annually as any other state, the crime rate is nearly five times the national average. The South as a region accounts for 82% of executions since 1976, yet has long had the highest murder rate in the nation. The Northeast, by contrast, makes up less than 1% of the execution total, yet has the lowest murder rate in the country. (All these irrefutable facts and more can be found at; type death penalty into Google and click "I'm feeling lucky) This of course makes a mockery of their only "rational" reason to support the death penalty.

But of course, deterrence isn't their real reason, it's vengeance. Support the death penalty to punish these sick inhuman SOBS and make sure they don't kill again! This is obviously not a logical reason to support the death penalty; it is in fact based on nothing but EMOTION, the same thing they claim liberals' arguments are based on. Those BLEEDING-HEART CONSERVATIVES!!!:)

As a moderate liberal, I oppose the death penalty not just on moral (emotional) grounds but also because it is so inhumane it has been banned by all other true Western democracies, it is irreversible and there is no possibility of restitution (if later evidence would prove your innocense, you can be freed from a jail cell; dead inmates can't be brought back to life, obviously), its unsettling habit of sending minority inmates to death row far out of proportion to the rate of crimes committed by minorites, and the aforementioned fact that it doesn't deter capital crimes. Unlike conservatives, liberals have a position based on fact.

This is a trend that you see whenever you take a "fair and balanced" (Fox News copywrite lawyers: in the words of our Dear Leader, "Bring em on!") look at the positions of liberals and conservatives. Abortion, affirmative action, environmental protection, government regulation of the economy, school prayer, foreign policy, civil rights and civil liberties, social service programs--the list goes on and on; on all of these issues the conservative positions are illogical and fly in face of common sence, reason, and established scientific facts. I don't worry about the hearts of most conservatives, I worry about their heads. It would perhaps be more accurate to say that the fundamental difference between liberals and conservatives is that, on any given issue, conservatives tend to choose the position that makes the least, not the most, sense. Reliance on either logic or emotion alone can lead to tragedy. The great strength of liberalism is that it has both Reason and Emotion on its side on most issues.

See Michael, I told you this would be an inflammatory post!:)

Until next time,

~Michael Smith

...don't even try to resist the urge to comment...