Liberals and Conservatives, In Brief

Over the past 50 years, powerful new medical, agricultural, industrial, and weapons technologies have literally changed our world. Over the past 50 years, science has given us new understandings of who and where we are as human beings on this planet in this space and at this time. These new technologies and new perspectives have altered our understandings of our relative position and importance in the universe and affect how we relate to each other and other species. They have changed the environments – whether social and physical or religious and philosophical — in which we must survive.

Those of us in the liberal camp acknowledge the change in our world and are striving to adapt to this change by developing new ways of relating to each other at a personal, national, international – and species — level. We know that we are entering liminal space which is always scary and where mistakes will be made. But the reality is that the changes in our social and physical and intellectual environments mean that we have no choice but to go forward, carving out a new worldview as we go along.

Conservatives on the other hand are in denial that anything has changed – including the climate. They want to stick to the tried and true. They want to live in a well-ordered society where America is as innocent as the dawn, God’s in his heaven and all’s right with the world. They want to believe that we live in a world where Daddy’s at work, Mom’s at home looking after the kids, and corporations are run by honest, simple, straight-talking CEO’s and managers. They want to live in a world where women make babies and men make the rules, for this is the world they know and understand and can manipulate to their advantage.

Well, we have been to the heavens and God isn’t there, and since no one is minding the store, Dad, who apparently was God’s representative in the family isn’t there either. He took off a long time ago leaving Mom and the kids. Mom is trying desperately to find a job, but most companies don’t want women with family responsibilities, so she is having a hard time making ends meet, much less finding time to stay home and bake cookies. And, as to the CEO, he, too, seems to have flown the coop — with everyone’s retirement fund.

Conservatives are desperately trying to hold on to an untenable worldview, and conservative leaders will lie, cheat and steal to conserve what has become a make-believe reality – but a version of reality in which they have thrived. Liberals are brave enough to face the fact that our world has changed dramatically and know that there is no going back; liberals understand that the cultural and patriarchal values arising from that trouble-maker Yahweh/God/Allah no longer represent the True and the Good.

Unlike conservatives whose survival skills are attuned to a world which no longer exists, liberals are willing to acknowledge and confront the exigencies of the world as it is today and develop the new skills necessary to survive. This polarization is rightly termed a culture war; its outcome will influence the future of human survival. I am rooting for the liberals.

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