Sunday, April 30, 2023

The cultural conservative

There are a number of studies pointing to the tendency of some people to hold conservative views versus progressive ones. Here I refer to cultural issues as opposed to fiscal because it is clearly possible to be a frugal liberal and not have it be an oxymoron.

After observing society over the years, the overwhelming conclusion one reaches is that fear is a major driving factor. People who tend to be fearful of change are more prone to hold conservative views and when that is paired with lack of intellectual curiosity and education, we can see how difficult it is to dissuade them from their deeply held but often erroneous conclusions.

Human history is replete with resistance to cultural progress and yet at each flash point these same people do not recognize themselves within it. The civil rights battles to defeat segregation used much the same argumentation against black people as is now used against LGBTQ people. Before that it was resistance to women voting and so on. 

Misinformation and paranoia are allowed to spread uncontrollably until the fire is put out and society adjusts. Thus we can draw the conclusion that the masses are well stocked with simpletons who can be manipulated and no better example of this than the Trump era and its erascible and unflinching base as proof that there is no shortage of dullards.

The remedy of course is critical thinking and education both of which are perenially in short supply. So we will wait this latest moral panic out until the next one rears its ugly head.


  1. It seems to me that many right wing activists are actively making use of this fear cycle. The world is a dangerous place, so you need a gun til defend yourself. And, having a gun, you are more likely to kill someone, creating even more fear. The fear makes people seek refuge in "the good old days", a period where squares were squares and circles were circles, and no one had to wonder about their place in the world (regardless of how bleak it might be). When they do manage to establish their simplistic utopia they have to expel everyone who does not live up to their categories, creating more fear, a fear that causes everyone but the most strong willed to submit. They are basically creating the perfect hell on earth.

    1. Sorry Jack was not keeping up with comments! You are absolutely right in that they don't realize the chaos they are creating. It becomes a fear loop from where there is no exit


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