The right-wing of American politics has become pathological. It’s characterized by irrational hate of any who differ in their political and social views. Today’s conservative worldview is animated by hate. Conservatives hate “liberals”, the “main stream media” and anyone or anything that challenges their cloistered worldview.
As M. Scott Peck taught us intellectual growth is a journey out of microcosm into an even greater macrocosm. This is a journey that “faith-based” ideology cannot make because intellectual growth is a never ending journey of knowledge over faith.
In order to make the journey, one that inevitably leads to an expansive worldview, a “liberal” worldview in today’s parlance if you will, one must constantly challenge what we think we know through a process of rigorous intellectual questioning. Today’s conservative disdains intellectualism precisely because to engage in a process intellectual enquiry one must be constantly challenging one’s worldview. To the conservative the train has already pulled into the station. The liberal views the process as a journey where the train never reaches the station because liberals understand that the journey is a never ending process.
The conservative worldview leads to an irrationally inflated view of oneself. The conservative always views the world in terms of absolutes. This rigidity in ones thought processes causes a lack of empathy for others because to be empathetic to another’s views means that one must challenge their own. This is ground that the conservative mind simply cannot tolerate ceding. To cede that ground assaults the very bedrock of that which holds their world together.
Liberals begin by distrusting what they already believe. Liberals actively seek the threatening, the expansive and the unfamiliar. Liberals deliberately challenge the validity of what has been previously thought. Liberals question everything. To maintain the conservative mindset conservatives cannot afford to question anything. Conservatives cannot tolerate being on unfamiliar ground.
Liberals begin with science, be it physical or political. Liberals begin by replacing the dogma of what was with an inquiry of what is and what can be. Liberals rebel against and reject the view of what was and embrace personal experience and knowledge garnered from the contribution of an additional generation of history.
There is no such thing as a good hand me down ideology. To be vital, to be the best of which a body politic is capable our worldview must be wholly our own. It must be the result of an evolving personal and shared experience. It is one that must be developed through a rigorous process of questioning.
Much is made by conservatives of the ratings of conservative talk-shows. Conservatives love to point out that Fox News’s ratings are twice that of MSNBC’s. The love to tell us that Rush Limbaugh has millions of listeners (about 13.5 million they say). The fact is that this is a symptom of conservatism and nothing to be celebrated. It is so because conservatives congregate with one another specifically because they cannot tolerate challenges to their worldview while liberals are inquisitive and seek out a much more diverse range of opinion and knowledge.