"Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative."
- John Stuart Mill -
"The dread of evil is a much more forcible principle of human actions than the prospect of good."
- John Locke -
Last week I gave my economic views on why I can't be a Republican. This week I will cover other areas, such as the Republicans' inherent fear, rigid adherence to ideology, contradictory behavior, and faulty logic.
Republicans, especially those of the conservative persuasion, are a fearful, cynical, and suspicious lot. They are determined to keep things as they are (or return them to what they once were, in what they perceive were simpler, and therefore better, times). They generally support strong authority and control (EXCEPT in the area of economics, where they want absolute, unquestioned freedom to make money however they see fit). As such, in areas of economic pecking order, social mores, and the legal system, they usually always support the status quo. They are suspicious of all but the tried and true. In my view, a consistent viewpoint of that type breeds ignorance, complacency, and even regression. Republicans often cynically attack new ideas and perpetrators of such with sinister-sounding names in an attempt to convince others that these purveyors of change are bad and undesirable, and so are their ideas. Indeed, the old adage "only ants and savages kill strangers" could easily be amended to say "only ants, savages, and Republicans kill strangers." This is why they once called the aristocratic FDR "a traitor to his class" for launching innovative and badly needed New Deal reforms during the Great Depression in the 1930s. It is why they are calling Barack Obama a "socialist" today. For Republicans often prefer to do nothing, or take small, limited action when the times and situations demand bold moves. In doing so, they often fight that which is fair and just, illogically defying progress.
Ronald Reagan once advised Republicans that, "the 11th Commandment is, thou shalt not criticize fellow Republicans." John F. Kennedy once likened the party to a herd of compliant circus elephants, each perfectly content to follow the other by the tail in a circle under the circus tent. Both men illustrated a serious flaw in Republican mindset. Their rigidity and hostility to progressive chasnge has not served them well. In the 1930s, for example, they were horrified to see the federal government enact measures like Unemployment Compensation, Social Security, and permitting labor unions to come into being. They opposed ANY effort by government to aid individuals rather than institutions. In a time of great need, with the public desperately clamoring for any kind of help, the Republicans were dead wrong in clinging to the old, failed ways by opposing the new. In the 1960s, they were so glued to the idea of states' rights that it led them to oppose long overdue federal implementation of fair, just, and much-needed civil rights legislation. Their short-sighted stubborness caused them to place adherence to an abstract principle before the combatting of abuses on blacks and other minorities, or ensuring their rights as citizens! Stupid is as stupid does, I guess. In the 1990s, the Republicans fought the Clintons' desire for a fair and universal national health care plan. Even today, with fully 1 in 7 of us not insured, or severely underinsured, these same Republicans and conservatives will fight Obama's universal health care plan tooth and nail. They will place as a priority instead the need for pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, and the medical establishment to continue making exorbitant profits before the need of individuals to receive equally good health care. The United States is the ONLY major industrialized country in the world without universal health care. Even poor CUBA has such a system! So once again, the Republicans are dead wrong on this issue and I cannot support their folly.
Republican and conservative paranoia has repeatedly led to violations of guaranteed citizen rights all through our history. Today's wiretapping, secret surveillance of private bank records, and illegal forced imprisonment of those suspected of "terrorism" without charge or trial are horrible overreactions to 9/11 and far exceed the similar witch hunts of the anti-Communist 1950s McCarthy period. Again, give a paranoid Republican an inch and he will always take a mile. Today's batch of conservative fools has surely confused patriotism with repression, and there is no place for this kind of mindset or actions like these anywhere in America, now or ever!
The Republicans love to consider themselves the party of morality. Time after time, this pompous attitude has led them, in fact, to IMMORAL actions of hate, bigotry, oppression, and fostering greed. They have, in their own twisted application of the book of Genesis, recreated God in THEIR own image and likeness. The Rev. Jim Wallis, publisher of Sojourners magazine, accurately and eloquently points out that "God is NOT pro-rich, pro-war, and pro-Republican." The problem is, today's conservative Republicans are ignorant of all of those truisms. They actually believe it was right for us to attack and invade Iraq without provocation, murdering millions of innocent Iraqi citizens as a result. They actually believe it was right for us to impose democracy on the Iraqis at gunpoint. In my view, aggression is aggression, and murder is murder, so this is where I definitely part company with the Republicans. Their insane economic policy of rewarding the rich and effectively penalizing the poor and everyone else runs directly counter to the Bible's repeated exhortations to look out for and care for the poor. Many conservatives' and Republicans' hatred and mistrust of Muslims, gays, liberals, various minorities, and women having abortions also runs counter to biblical teachings. The Republican inaction on abortion is a huge example of hypocrisy. From 2001-2007, Republicans and conservatives controlled most statehouses, the Congress, the Presidency, and had a working majority on the Supreme Court. Yet they passed NO laws and made NO legal pronouncements banning abortion, even though they repeatedly publicly proclaimed that is what they stood for. They didn't even TRY to outlaw abortion. Instead, they cynically USED abortion as a political tool and a weapon against social liberals and Democrats in order to gain office and maintain political power. They fired up and used well-intentioned religious people all across the country to do their bidding and cement their power. Yet their shameful opportunism led to nothing. Absolutely reprehensible!
These are more solidly good reasons why I can't be a Republican. I will lay out even more next week.