Friday, July 29, 2011

A blast from the past: Obama on the debt ceiling

“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.” - Sen. Barack Obama, 2006

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Now I know: Pelosi is insane

After declaring that not one Democrat will vote for Boehner's budget plan, she is reported to have said:
"What we're trying to do is save the world from the Republican budget. We're trying to save life on this planet as we know it today."
This is the same person that, as Speaker, said that Congress had to approve the Health Care Bill in order to see what was in it. No wonder we are in such trouble. After five years of Democrat control, we're almost there...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Liberals and conservatives: Are we really that different?

A few years ago, I received an e-mail from a fellow in southern Oklahoma who was starting an e-mail newsletter called The Texoman, which signifies an area on each side of the Red River in Texas and Oklahoma called Texoma. I happen to live just south of that border in Texas.

His purpose, he said, was to provide a forum for honest debate on the issues. But after reading several issues – and responding to one – I decided that his newsletter was so left-leaning in content I didn’t need to receive any more issues. There didn’t seem to be any debate at all. Besides bashing conservatives in general, most of the newsletter was just repeats from left-wing websites.

So I e-mailed the editor and asked that I be taken off the distribution list because I didn’t find any serious discourse in the content. What I received back shocked me, because in no way did I attempt to denigrate his publication or his right to send it out; I just didn’t want it anymore.

According to this gentleman, because I was a conservative – a term I had never used to describe myself – I was filled with hate and anger. “You and your buddy Rush are going to destroy this country,” he stated. Of course, he had no way of knowing if I ever listened to Rush Limbaugh, let alone that we were friends.

It got me to wondering – once again – what causes this type of reaction from our liberal friends. You know them: instead of really wanting to debate the issues, they attack you personally. While not all liberals are like this, it's been my experience that most are.

The question is what are the differences between conservatives and liberals, besides the supposedly differing political philosophies of more government vs. less government? So I dug into some of the literature, read a couple of books, and while I do have a degree in psychology, I don’t claim to be an expert. But what I found opened my eyes a bit. In general, liberals just have a different world-view, based more on emotion than logic.

According to a book by Peter Schweizer, about 71 percent of conservatives say they have an obligation to care for a seriously injured spouse or parent, compared with 46 percent for liberals. Asked if they would endure all things for the one they love, 55 percent of conservatives say yes, compared with 26 percent of liberals.

Equally revealing, liberals are far more likely to say they are depressed and to view the world bleakly. Schweizer attributes that to an attitude that they and those around them are victims and helpless unless the government intervenes.

In answer to a question from Newsmax, Schweizer says that may help explain why liberal politicians and reporters tend to see everything with pessimism, from the economy to the war on terror and the war in Iraq.

Schweizer says the media and liberal professors have successfully obscured these differences by painting a picture of conservatives as mean-spirited. He quotes one professor as saying that conservatives embrace the “unimpeded pursuit of self-interest” to get what they want and that as children, they were insecure and whiny.

In a NYU study, researchers have found evidence that supports a 2006 PEW Research Center survey. The survey showed that 47 percent of conservative Republicans describe themselves as "very happy" while only 28 percent of liberal Democrats describe themselves similarly.

Conservatives put a much higher value on the role of force and accord a lower priority to multilateralism. In The Hill's polling, 68 percent of conservatives but only 28 percent of liberals identified with the need to take unilateral action for our security regardless of what other countries might think. Pew found one of the most important determinants of Republicanism (and I would wager conservatism) was agreement with the view that military strength is the best way to ensure peace.

Although liberal families' incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227), according to an article by George Will in Real Clear Politics.

Pollsters asked “Everyone has to decide for themselves what’s right and wrong in particular situations” or “There are absolute standards of right and wrong that apply to everyone in almost every situation.” As befits a country almost evenly divided on cultural issues, 50 percent adopted a position of moral absolutism and 46 percent identified themselves as moral relativists. But only about a third of conservatives embraced relativism, while more than 60 percent believe in moral absolutism.

In response to the exit pollsters’ question, only 28 percent of conservatives wanted the government to do more to solve problems, compared with 69 percent of liberals. In practice, of course, conservatives favor a large number of government programs — from education to health care to aid to the poor. But at the broader level of principle, conservatives are deeply suspicious of government’s ability to solve problems.

So it seems that the differences go beyond mere politics, to encompass a person's worldview.

I could sum it up this way: Liberals view the world through an emotional lens and allow their emotions to rule their thinking, while conservatives view the world less emotionally, and generally don't allow emotions to overrule rational thinking.

Which one is better is still up for debate, but considering the long-term affect of liberal policies over my lifetime, I'll lean conservative.