Is Violence A Conservative Value?
Good question: Is Violence A Conservative Value?
Curt Day asks and answers this question in a very interesting way. More interesting is that a Liberal Jesus and a LIberal or Progressive Christian infusion into conservative thinking would probably lessen global violence.....
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Is Violence a COnservative Value? by Curt Day
I stood flabbergasted. My conservative Christian friend had just said the unimaginable. His solution for Iran, if they do not cooperate, was to nuke them. Not only would such an attack stop Iran dead in its tracks, it could serve as an warning for the rest of the world. In another conversation, another conservative friend of mine said that Israel's use of force on the Palestinians is an efficient model for us. Israel's use of force includes killing 6 Palestinian children to every one Israeli child killed by terrorists. Another conservative friend of mine said that she didn’t mind war because good could come out of it.
Do Christian Conservatives have a monopoly on violence? Unfortunately, misery loves company. A right-wing Knesset candidate, Baruch Marzel, has called on the IDF to assassinate leftist activist Uri Avnery. Who is responsible for this call to violence? According to Marzel, it is the leftists who are bringing this on themselves.
Where have we heard this shift in responsibility before? We heard it when reading conservative accounts of the death of Rachel Corrie. Dennis Pragger's, in a March 2003 Townhall article claims that Palestinian terrorism was responsible. This explanation does not account for the Israeli bulldozer driver and spotter and that Rachel made herself visibe. Steven Plaut, writing for the IntellectualConservative website, claimed that Rachel committed suicide. Hans Zieger, writing an article for the RenewAmerica website blamed Rachel's college. To support those using violence while blaming someone else for the result is simply an attempt to have your cake and eat it too.
Do we find a different result when we visit Islam? No. Violent reactions to cartoons and the desire to carry out death penalties on the converts to other religions are the rage for some. Do we need to mention the desire by some Muslims to attack Israel or behead people?
What does everyone advocating violence mentioned above have in common? The answer is that they are all conservatives. Conservatives!
Do all conservatives love violence? Certainly not! Are only conservatives violent? Certainly not! But should we ignore the possibility that more conservatives than liberals favor the use of violence? Certainly not! What is needed is to understand the dynamics that could explain why today's conservatives would be more likely to favor the use of force.
Why would conservatives resort to fighting? Having grown up in a home that was both religiously and politically conservative, I would propose the following possibilities: the conservative world view, the emphasis on authority, and thinking patterns,
Conservatives, by definition, support traditional views. Traditional religious views see the world in a battle between good and evil. Thus when there is a conflict, one is dealing with an opponent who is completely the opposite. The only way to win such a conflict is to annihilate the enemy. To survive, one must use more force first before the evil enemy inevitably does the same. There can be neither time nor room for understanding their opponents' circumstances when confronting objectionable behavior. Ironically, conservatives exercise more charity when viewing their own questionable actions. Hypocrisy is a problem here.
Because Conservatives support tradition, they find themselves relying on authority more often than not. In essence, authority is a conservative's vicar for violence. With Islam, the individual is ordered(is given permission) to use violence to defend God's honor. Meanwhile, Israeli and Christian conservatives tend to use proxies--the government. Therefore, while most conservative Christians and Israelis look down on their Muslim counterparts for committing individual acts of brutality, the same Christians and Israelis urge their government to kill and destroy.
Finally, the more conservative one is, the more likely that person engages in all or nothing thinking. The same can be said of being liberal but most liberals shun violence. This all or nothing thinking contributes to the conservative practice of looking at their enemy as just being evil. To determine whether you are good or bad, you focus solely on your good traits; this enables you to overlook your bad traits.
If violence is more of a conservative thing than not, then we might come to a new and interesting world view. We could see our current wars as intramural battles between competing conservative teams. The solution to our problems would be to introduce liberalism into each conservative sphere. We must point out how odd it is that the opposite of conservative is not their military enemy. And yet it is the enemy that conservatives fear the most.
Curt Day is a religious flaming fundamentalist and a political extreme moderate. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.