Monday, June 13, 2016

Encouraging and Condoning Violence - here is what is wrong with conservatism

It has long been my contention that it is the function of liberals and independents to prevent conservatives, through law, from doing bad things to other people they categorize as different from themselves.  Given the opportunity, they like to punish and even persecute people for not conforming to their conservative beliefs.  That is not just my observation, it is the observation of psychologists who study the Right Wing Authoritarianism, which operates on an "Us vs. Them" premise.  It relies on measurements such as the Rokeach dogmatism scale which measures closed mindedness.

In addition to the massacre, and near-massacre of gay pride events, June 12 was the anniversary of the court decision Loving vs. Virginia,  overturning anti-mixed race marriage laws.  That is a landmark event where the SCOTUS ruled against the sincerely held, religious based, and racist laws of the politically conservative segment of the nation commonly termed the Bible Belt.  In other words, the courts stopped conservatives from hurting people, again.  From Wikipedia
"The Bible Belt is an informal region in the southeastern and south-central United States in which socially conservative evangelical Protestantism plays a strong role in society and politics, and Christian church attendance across the denominations is generally higher than the nation's average. The Bible Belt consists of much of the Southern United States as well as parts of adjacent areas."

Over the weekend, before the news of the massacre in Orlando, I read an analysis that suggested Trump supporters were flocking to the candidate because they liked his anti-political correctness position.  It went on to posit that those conservatives were offended that people called them bigots....... for being bigots. 

For the purposes of this discussion, I use the definition of bigotry that:
1. it denigrates and demeans a group of people (as distinct from criticism or disapproval of an individual), and
2. that the substance of the belief that is bigoted is significantly inaccurate or factually flawed.

Those conservatives in the Trump supporter analysis were described as experiencing a very real mental distress because they adapted to social change more slowly than other people.  It argued that those experiencing such distress should be afforded the same tolerance as those who were the victims of bigotry.

The article actually made the argument that those people should be afforded the consideration argued by Martin Luther King Jr. to judge them on the content of their character.  That was an apparent attempt to assert that being a bigot is not a character flaw; I believe bigotry is in fact a very serious character flaw, one that unlike sexual orientation, is a choice.

I would argue that they are in fact refusing to adapt at all, and that without pressure to do so -- or even WITH social pressure to do so, gentle or otherwise, they won't adapt.  I would further argue that over time, without some influence to the contrary, bigotry tends to intensify, not moderate  Period. Full Stop.

The problem with all this concern for the tender feelings of offended conservatives is that conservatives are actively harming people with their bigotry, and encouraging the harming of those who are the targets of bigotry.  I would further posit that it is essential NOT to be tolerant of racists, and other bigots.  We cannot condone for example, someone refusing to serve a person on the basis of their race, or religion, just  because it hurts the feelings of the bigot, or because the bigot is a 'sincere believer' in their bigotry or a sincere religious belief justification for it.  That sincerity does not mitigate the harm done by the bigotry.

The LA Times noted that the man from Indiana, who surprisingly was apparently openly bi-sexual in orientation, was also a conservative who in his social media sites considered Hillary Clinton to be a modern Hitler.
The site includes political posts, including one in which he compares Hillary Clinton to Adolf Hitler. In another, he repeats conspiracy theories that the government was behind notorious terrorist attacks, including Sept. 11, 2001. That post shares a video claiming that last year’s terror attack on the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was a hoax and attributable to the “New World Order.”
It has been my personal experience that conservatives are also routinely inconsistent in applying their 'rules', often pursuing a do as I say, not as I do lifestyle. We see that frequently in the examples of the anti-gay conservative politicians and organization leaders caught in gay sex situations, or the anti-abortion and family values figures caught with mistresses they coerce into having abortions, or racists who promote 'racial purity' have sexual liaisons with people of other races. So it does not surprise me that a conservative mass-shooter/bomber wannabee is also bi-sexual. What I do find both offensive, and encouraging of bigotry-driven violence however, is the approval shown by other conservative bigots for this kind of violence. Appalling as it is, the Proud Atheist blog provided a far too extensive list of examples of conservatives APPLAUDING and APPROVING of the weekend massacre.

Here are just a few examples (there were MANY more) of violent authoritarian bigotry collected by  Proud Atheist:


I fail to see the value in having too much concern for the sensitivities of bigots; although I will conceded that gay marriage proponents won people over more by a charm offensive than by direct challenge to prejudice.

I don't see how it will in any way improve their characters or ameliorate their beliefs to be less hateful or bigoted. Rather the choice seems to come to this, either concern that bigots are offended at being called out and criticized for their harmful beliefs, or you passively imply acceptance or approval for it, contributing to the harm that bigots do on some levels, sometimes violence, sometimes just encouraging violence.

If that means risking driving them into the arms of Trump, so be it.  Their candidate will lose, in part because of them.  And sadly that will no doubt contribute to the intensification of their bigoted world view and beliefs.......  but maybe not.  The arc of history shows conservatives consistently on the wrong side of progress; but as we have seen in the increasing acceptance of gay marriage on the right, SOME people are still capable of change, so long as there is some influence to encourage it.  Humoring bigotry does nothing to mitigate or reduce it.

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