Conservatives, Not Liberals, Are The Ones Not Interested in Other Viewpoints

Conservatives, Not Liberals, Are The Ones Not Interested in Other Viewpoints


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Conservatives seem to like to complain that liberals and progressives don’t consider other views and think that they are always right.

Here’s the thing: we do consider viewpoints other than our own. Embracing pluralism is one of the big tenets of any liberal or progressive movement — you aim to be inclusive, as much as possible.

Problem is, when you’re dealing with the conservative side of things, it’s less about embracing differences and more about having those differences restricted for you. It’s one of the ironies of the right that we’re told that you’re all for personal freedom and less government interference in the lives of the citizenry.

Unless you want to have an abortion (or at least want the right to have one).

Unless you’re part of the LGBTQ community.

Unless you’re an immigrant, legal or otherwise.

Honestly, I’m willing to consider any viewpoint you wish to offer — but at least make sure it’s a reasonable one. Respecting your viewpoint doesn’t mean I need to honour it, or adopt it, or force others around me to adopt it. That’s not how it works.

You have to be clear on that point: we’ll listen to what you have to say, but if you think that means we must change our actions, beliefs or policies, you’re clearly indicating that you think you’re right, and what we think doesn’t matter.

If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one. If you don’t like gay marriage, fair enough, but don’t aim to stop those who do. That’s where you find the middle ground, honestly: it’s like the left and gun rights, yes? Nobody wants to take away all your guns — that’s a mischaracterisation of the left’s position. You believe in gun ownership, and while we don’t like guns being so easily accessible, we can still respect your right to own them. All we ask are that sensible precautions be taken to ensure public safety — that’s where your compromise comes in.

The only time either side has to put their foot down is when something is stated as being unequivocal. My way or the highway — but, oddly enough, it’s very rare that those positions are taken in people’s personal sense of politics. About 99.9 percent of the time, the absolutes exist only as mischaracterisations of more complex political positions. It’s easier to say, “Democrats want open borders!” than to say, “Democrats recognise that immigrant labour is vital to the US economy, but wish to create stringent security measures designed to keep out elements that may be harmful to the United States, while not penalising those who have come in search of a better life, which we believe is the foundation of what the US stands for.”

See the difference? One’s a policy position, the other’s a slanderous soundbite.

The way you come together is by embracing the complexities of each other’s political positions, and working to find a suitable middle ground. The moment either side stands on an absolute…there’s no way to compromise.

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