Friday, June 3, 2011

Stubborn Ideology

Why Evidence Doesn't Work With Liberals
 by Tom King (c) 2011
Paul Gleiser points out in his "You Tell Me" blog this week, that Texas is a living breathing example of conservative principles like smaller, unintrusive government, low taxes and minimal union influence. There is clear evidence that these principles have given Texas a healthier state economy that has held strong despite a massive national recession. Gleiser ends by asking why liberals find it so hard to understand something so simple.

I think the reason so many on the left are so obtuse is that ideology is such a powerful thing. People get awfully attached to their belief systems, particularly if they believe that that ideology makes them somehow superior to others. Ideologies have always held great power and those who subscribe to them find it hard to change opinions, especially if the evidence flies in the face of the tenants of their belief system.


Ideology was the reason it was so hard for the South to let go of racism. The racist ideology says I am innately better than someone else because of the color of my skin. The Southern racists clung to the idea of white supremacy for more than a hundred years after the Civil War, despite abundant evidence that black people could perform every bit as well as whites given the proper education and opportunity. To acknowledge the evidence, meant giving up their "natural" rights to power and supremacy in their communities and to acknowledge that there was no longer anyone they could safely look down on.


The ideology of blood superiority goes back to ancient times in which "noble blood" entitled you to rule. The nobility clung to the idea of their genetic superiority despite the ravages of in-breeding, hemophilia and insanity among the noble classes. To give it up, meant to give up their power, despite the fact that it could be a bloody dangerous business to hold onto that power. To give up the belief in the divine right of kings was to become merely ordinary. You think the nobles were going to willingly give up their hereditary place on top of society simply because the evidence showed they really weren't all that superior after all?


The liberal/progressive ideology accepts as fact that liberals are smarter than conservatives. If you accept this as true, it makes the liberal/progressive the new nobility and entitles them to a secure position as the ruling class by right of their high levels of (supposedly inherited) intelligence. For the intelligentsia, Darwin was a Godsend. Darwin's theories were enlisted to support the idea that smartness is innate and passed from generation to generation. And just in time too! It followed, then, that these hereditary smart people should be the ones to rule in place of the old fading aristocracy.   Liberal Progressives have the same problem as racists and the nobility with altering their ideology.  In the face of evidence that their ideology doesn't work, they simply reject the evidence.  It's not in their social or financial interest to accept that conservative ideas work. It would cost them their perceived right to power if they accepted the evidence of their eyes.

That's why evidence is so slow in convincing idealogues of anything. Despite the hope and change rhetoric, liberals actually are hoping nothing changes. If it does, they might find themselves out of the halls of power and back home trying to find consulting jobs in the defense industry.

I'm just sayin'

Tom King - Tyler, TX

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