Democracy Fails Because Conservatives Suck at Opposing Liberals

Democracy is supposed to work like some sort of capitalistic free market of ideas where the best ones get the most dollars and thus float to the top and become law. Since we have this coupled with a two-party system, you’re voting for which of two candidates sounds like they have the best ideas.

Unfortunately, conservatives tend not to bother with tough intellectual shit like “ideas,” preferring instead to throw rocks at their heads. Voters, being at least a little rational, tend to back away from this in vague horror and default-vote for whoever the other guy is, at least until the other guy realizes the only constraint on him is “don’t throw rocks at head” and starts doing something equally dumb. Eventually you get Congress.

“Gay marriage” is a prime example of how conservatives have completely shirked their duty to contribute anything worthwhile to American discourse in decades.

For the past two decades–maybe longer–conservatives have not managed to muster a single coherent argument against gay marriage, and yet they have dedicated substantial resources to making sure that everyone knows they don’t like it.

Yes, standing up on a podium and yelling, “I hate people for totally irrational reasons and do not understand how the Constitution works,” actually makes people think you’re dumb, hateful, and have no idea how to run the gov’t.

One of the results of this is that young people, near as I can tell, pretty much universally despise conservatives. It’s hard not to, when conservatives keep throwing rocks at their heads.

With a few hours of research and writing, I managed to cobble together a better argument against gay marriage/homosexuality than anything conservatives have come up with in the past two decades, and I wasn’t even trying. I was just reading about California. This stuff is not secret; you don’t need to fund any fancy studies or have any technical background to find a ton of information that would make the average voter much more amenable to the conservative position, but people who are actually paid to do this and claim to actually, deeply believe this have not even bothered.

Instead, we get dumb arguments like, “Homosexuality is immoral,” (what does that even mean?) or “God says it’s a sin.” (Great, your argument depends both on a swiftly diminishing belief in god and a willingness to violate the Establishment Clause?)

If one side can’t do their job and generate at least something close to rational thought, then there is no pressure on the other side to generate rational thought, either. And that means the entire political system goes down the shitter.

And that’s why we can’t have nice things, like winter.

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5 thoughts on “Democracy Fails Because Conservatives Suck at Opposing Liberals

  1. People often have moral intuitions that are not easily articulable. That doesn’t mean those intuitions are wrong. “Homosexuality is immoral”/”God forbids it” is a code for it being anti-social and anti-civilizational. How is “Homosexuality is immoral” any different from “#LoveWins”, “Love is love”, “Hate is not a family value”? The fact is that the left-liberal establishment is far more beholden to deontology than conservatives. Most people find certain things “icky”. Conservatives, by and large, accept that “icky” things are “icky”. (Evolution of course created that visceral sense of ick.) Liberals on the other hand require a pseudo-religious justification for things being declared icky. And visceral disgust doesn’t get a vote.

    Progressivism is nothing if not deontological.

    You are really barking up the wrong tree with this one. The reason democracy sucks is that it is gamable by pseudo-religious moral signalling, in which liberals (always and everywhere) do better than conservatives. Democracy sucks because that is no way to run a country. Full stop.

    Now if votes could be bought and sold, via the free market to which you alluded in the introduction, well then that would probably in fact lead to good (and relatively conservative) governance. But it would not resemble democracy at all.

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    • Democracy-as-advertised requires articulation–otherwise all we’ve got is two tribes voting for whichever tribe gets to victimize the other.

      The problem with an argument based on “it’s icky” is that icky may be in the amygdala of the beholder. I don’t actually have much of a disgust instinct. Things that normal people find “icky” don’t really register to me, except as an afterthought (“Oh, maybe I shouldn’t have brought up dead rats at dinner.”) Until very recently, I really thought that “disgust” was just some fake thing people pretended to feel.

      I suspect that most liberals actually just lack a disgust reflex, so an argument based on ickiness doesn’t make much sense to them. (They do have an overwrought sense of indignation, though.)

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      • Pretty hard to imagine that disgust reflexes evolved significantly in the last 100 or even 50 years. There are perfectly rational reasons that people should be repulsed by male homosex (diseases and a failure to reproduce chief among them). Nature did not of course care too much about the rational reasons, but did care that most humans avoid such activity. Ergo most humans are disgusted by it on a visceral level.

        Your own failure to be disgusted may be an unusual genetic artifact, or the result of social (un)conditioning, or both. But it is neither here nor there with respect to the population as a whole.

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    • “Pretty hard to imagine that disgust reflexes evolved significantly in the last 100 or even 50 years…”

      Libs and cons do differ in neuro-anatomy: http://neuropolitics.org/defaultsep11.asp
      “Interestingly, Inbar identified a positive correlation between “disgust sensitivity” and political conservatism. Further, those with higher ratings of disgust sensitivity were especially prone towards anti-abortionism and anti-gay marriage, both issues involving reproductive output. Amusingly, they were also prone towards a favorable opinion of tax cuts. ”
      Obviously other stuff also going on.

      But liberals really don’t find gay people icky. They don’t even know gay people have higher rates of disease. They just think that gay people (whom they probably think are about 30% of the population) just want to have monogamous marriages and adopt kids.

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