And so, having reviewed Mr. Kirk's Principles or Conservatism, we've found that there's not a tremendous amount of difference between at least this progressive and conservative principles. Further, I'd posit that many conservatives may not have problems with actual progressive principles.
That is, I don't think many are actually opposed to peace, as a notion. Conservatives do think steps ought to be taken before engaging in war. They are concerned about the poor and the environment.
I came from conservative roots and know too many traditional-minded people to think them monsters.
Nonetheless, I worry about the state of politics in our country. The state of reasoning and debate. I'll give an example from a recent series of dialogs I've had at a conservative blog on the issue of the Iraq Invasion.
I tried to point out at this blog that the reasoning for the invasion is the same as the reasoning for the terrorist attacks. The similarities, as I suggested:
The terrorist says: "The Americans are evil/a threat and must be stopped. They must be killed, even if we must kill innocent people to do so."
Those who believe that the Iraq Invasion is Right say: "The terrorists are evil/a threat and must be stopped. They must be killed, even if we accidentally kill innocent people to do so."
Upon saying this, I was accused of calling a young blogger a terrorist. The commenters said, among other things:
“Please don't compare me to terrorists.”
“So let any NEW liberals who post here be warned: any more people calling people here Terrorists, or even comparing them to Terrorists gets the boot! “
I pointed out that I did NOT call anyone a terrorist, simply pointed out the reasoning was the same.
“Dan refused to apologize. I even explained to him why I wouldn't let the comment stand where he implied we have the same agenda as terrorists...”
I pointed out that I did not imply they have the same agenda as the terrorists, that I said they had the same reasoning. At first, they never responded to my actual comment, only got angry at my supposed comments or implications.
When they finally got around to responding to my actual assertion, they said:
No, that isn't what the terrorists say. They say: "The Americans are evil and must be killed. All of them. Muslims must be in control of the world. Anyone who isn't a Muslim is evil." That's the difference Dan. Why don't you get it?
Of course, in so saying, this blogger was simply repeating what I had said, that the terrorists think we're evil/a threat and must be killed. They added the part about “Muslims must be in control of the world. And anyone who isn't a Muslim is evil,” but that is merely an explanation of why they think we're evil and doesn't change the meat of the comment.
Not only that, but there was the vehemence with which they took objection to my comments. Let me point out that at this blog (and most others I go to) I was calm, polite and reasonable. I called people “brother,” “sister,” “Mr.,” “Miss,” and by their given names. Yes, I occasionally gave a sarcastic response, but even those were mild and good-natured.
For example, when one blogger accused me of being a shill, paid to visit blogs and cause trouble, he cited as a reason that my answers were “Professional, thought out...prose”. To which I responded by thanking this person, calling them a sweetheart. Sarcastic? Yes, but hardly a devastating criticism.
On the other hand, I was called a shill, a fool, a traitor and told I was on the side of evil. My Christianity was questioned and mocked, and I was told to “shut the f*** up” and to keep my vomitus to myself.
One of the host's final remarks was, “The reason why I think so is because they [me and another blogger] were extremely insulting.”
Not that I care at all about the insults, sticks and stones you know, but I'm just trying to honestly represent the tone of the blog (to be fair, the conservative host was trying to be reasonable and kind with me for a while, but eventually came to believe all of the above, it seems).
I bring this up because it concerns me that there seems to be a lack of an ability to logically debate based on what people have said in clear print. I was never rude, but they heard me being rude (again, to be fair, there was another liberal commenter whose points were more explosive than mine – perhaps they were confusing who said what).
I never called anyone a terrorist, nor implied that anyone was a terrorist or had the same agenda and tried multiple times to correct the misperception, but they heard me calling them terrorists or having terroristic agendas.
This is not the only occasion where I've had these sorts of conversations. I could go on and on, believe me. I've even had similar lack of understanding clear words with a conservative friend in a face to face conversation. Have we lost the ability to honestly debate and reason or are these merely isolated cases of a few poor debaters?
One final thought: These conservatives that I've talked to have been, in the main, religious conservatives, ones who are glad to invoke religion when the debate is on gays or abortion. I was just noticing that they had made several comments about me along the lines of, "I am tired of being preached to by Dan..." because I quote Jesus.
It seems oftentimes that they are fine with using religion in the political battlefield until you start actually quoting Jesus or other biblical verses which undermine their points. It's sort of amusing seeing the "Holier than thou..." crowd being annoyed by someone acting "holier than they."