Yeah, yeah, big surprise. Niceguy Eddie's going to bash conservatives. Blah... Blah...
OK I got that out of the way! :) LOL.
There's something I've noticed about conservatives lately. I think it's always been there, but either it's gotten worse since 1/20/2008, or maybe 9/11/2001, or maybe it's always been this way, and I'm just becoming more aware of it lately. But there's something really wrong with the way Conservatives THINK. It's all backwards! And I don't mean that there's something wrong with WHAT they think. That a self-avowed liberal and a typical conservative would have different beliefs or opinions or conclusions is nothing profound. But more and more I'm noticing a very disturbing pattern the WAY that conservatives reach those conclusions... in HOW they think.
And before I go on, let me say that I do not personally speak for ALL liberals (I'm sure many want nothing to do with me! LOL.) So when I say "liberals" I'm speaking for myself and the few liberals I know well, or watch on TV. And obviously, I'm generalizing about conservatives, based on my observations of Fox, AM Radio, etc... and my interactions with conservative posters online (most of whom know I'm liberal) and my friends (who mostly trend conservative) and family (half & half,) none of whom really realize the extent to which I am liberal. (They seem to always assume that I'm somewhere between dead center and moderately conservative. I guess I USED to be, and I just don't go out of my my to present my self otherwise.) But that's what I'm basing this on. So if you're conservative and this doesn't sound like YOU, then either:
1) You're really a moderate liberal and just don't know it. (a few of you)
2) You don't realize that you are in fact thinking this way. (most of you)
3) Despite your misguided political tendencies, you are a very intelligent person and can articulate a good argument, and should really post online more often, because the conservatives who DO post there are embarrassing you. (so far I've only met ONE.)
So here's the way I see it.
When a "liberal" decides on his position, he tends to first look at the available evidence, decide what is credible and factual based on it's objectivity and scientific and academic merit, and construct a position that is supported by this evidence. The resulting ideology is then defined as "liberal," usually by those who disagree with the conclusions.
A "conservative," on the other hand, starts out with a set ideology. He then evaluates the merit of evidence based upon whether or not it fits his ideology. If it doesn't support what he already believe he dismisses it, or its source, as "liberal" and that is enough to satisfy him.
The examples of this are all over the place, but let look at a specific example:
Now liberals believe that man's activity is causing a long-term warming trend that is independent of the numerous solar, oceanic, and other warming and cooling cycles that are on-going, well known and accounted for in all of the climate models that support this conclusion. (You see: our position was constructed to be supported by scientific evidence.) This being the case, we consequently believe that we should change our habits to stop or reverse this long term trend.
Now... conservatives DO NOT believe that man's activity is causing a long-term warming trend that is independent of the numerous solar, oceanic, and other warming and cooling cycles, etc... What is their evidence? Mainly studies done that have been funded by the energy industries and conservative think tanks.
WHOA! Hang on a sec... Did I just commit the same crime?! Did I just violate my FIRST PRINCIPLE?! No. And I'll explain why.
First of all, our judgement of the organizations is different. The Heritage Foundation (and other conservative think-tanks) proudly admit to being JUST THAT. They don't deny it. This means that anything they put out is going to be biased. Period. That's their stated purpose.That pretty much destroys any scientific or academic merit or objectivity the evidence may have had. As far as industry science goes... well, I'll admit: SOMETIMES industry is right. There are plenty of examples of say... LAWYERS, and the MEDIA, blaming some problem on some corporation and, in the end, the corporation tunrs out to have been blameless. Dow Corning and their Silcone Breast Implants comes to mind. But in THOSE case the corporate science is under assault by LAWYERS using JUNK SCIENCE to win over JURIES, not SCIENTISTS doing RESEARCH and publishing PEER-REVIEWED papers in ACADEMIC JOURNALS. Independent scientific research does trump corporate science on most days, because they're being paid to do research, not support conclusions.
The fact is that most scientific organizations stand little to gain for going on way of the other. The IPCC and other organizations have little to gain by going against industry. If they were interested in money, there's far more to be made by SUPPORTING industry. (If there was more money in GREEN ENERGY, we'd already be doing it! The big bucks right now are in FOSSIL FUELS, so there's no reason, except the scientific evidence, to have an agenda tha goes against this!) But because they reached a different conclusion, conservatives accuse them of being part of a LIBERAL AGENDA, and thus there data is no good. (In reality, and with most things liberal, the data drives the agenda, not the otehr way around.)
And you see there's also two major problems with their conclusions, independent of the agenda that fuels their research. First of all, the conservatives cannot produce a single Climatologist, doing active research, who supports their position. NOT ONE! (30,000+ Names of "Scientists" on a petition, and NOT ONE active climatologist!) What's more, when politics has been involved not a SINGLE scientist has ever accused the UN or some other Government Body of OVERSTATING the conclusions of their research. Whenever politics gets involved, it is invariably to DIMINISH the perceived threat. But unless they diminish it to the point where it's nonexistant, they're just accused of liberal bias or of havign a liberal agenda and dismissed! Again, the liberal agenda is driven by the evidence, not the other way around!
And besides... If it were not supported by SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE, why on earth would liberals, or anyone else for that matter, what to believe this anyway?! The conservatives will tell you it's because we HATE CORPORATIONS. Well, that's mostly bullshit. To the extent that any of us judge corporations harshly, it is because they have ACTED IRRESPONSIBLY, and we KNOW THIS because we have EVIDENCE!
...Which the conservative will simply dismiss as 'liberal'. (See how frustrating these people are?!)
See how that works? He can't convince us, because we don't share his [delusion] preconceived world view, and we can't convince him because he will not accept any evidence that doesn't support his [delusion] preconceived world view. But WHO'S RIGHT? (Personally I'd say the one that supported by the more objective, independant scientific evidence, but then I'm a liberal; so what do I know?)
Why would they think that Academics, Scientists, etc... are inherently liberal anyway? Simple: They comes to conclusions and repeatedy find evidence that doesn't support the conservative agenda or philosphy... So therefore they MUST be liberal! And so they conclude that the evidence must be wrong (or biased) rather then their philosophy or preconceived notions. The best of them may even realize how utterly intellectually dishonestly THEIR SIDE operates, but they still make the mistake of thinking we work the same way. So they HAVE to accuse universities, scientists, academics etc... of having some liberal agenda, because that's the only way they can refute the evidence.
And go figure: as a species we DON'T ALREADY KNOW EVERYTHING. So pretty much anything we learn will refute something we thought we knew. All scientific progress is based on this self-evident truth, and all conservative philosophy is built around resisting it!
And when we judge "evidence" from the Heritage Foundation, or some huge corporation to be garbage, it is not because we think they're conservative. We already KNOW they're conservative - they come right out and SAY IT. We treat it like garbage because we have BETTER EVIDENCE. Our side (talking about independent scientists now) evaluates their evidence and either incorporates it into their models or outright refutes it. In the case of global warming, for example, every competing hypothesis to explain the OBSERVED and MEASURED 100+ year warming trend has been accounted for and/or debunked! But the conservative groups will never TELL YOU THAT! They'll just keep bringing up the same old crap, that's been debunked or accounted for a hundred times over. Like when they point out that their hasn't been any warming for the past ten years... WHICH IS PREDICTED AND EXPLAINED BY THE VERY MODELS THEY'RE TRYING TO REFUTE!!!
Liberals ideology on this issue is driven by these models. Conservatives opinions of these models is driven by their ideology.
And if they were to ask us, what we would do if we were confronted with true, actual, objective, scientific evidence to the contrary? Well what do you think we would do? WE WOULD CHANGE. That's what Liberals DO after all: CHANGE. And the world is CONSTANTLY CHANGING. Liberals realize this, and change with it. Conservatives don't and try to resist change. This has ALWAYS been the case. But then again, they don't realize this, because they constantly make the mistake of thinking that we're just like them.
Again: It's not WHAT they think that's the problem. It's HOW they think. And at best, the conservatives of ANY generation are only just them coming to accept what the liberals of two generations ago already discovered, but were mocked for by the conservtaives of the day. The world doesn't change becasue liberals want it to. We jsut want to make sure that our philosphy keeps up with it. And likewise, the world will not STOP CHANGING just because conservatives want it to. But not being one, I have no ideas why they'd want to cling to outdated knowledge, or philosphies that no longer work.