Friday, January 07, 2005

Ah, there's no real difference anyways

I've recently come across a group blog called Adeimantus. The folks that post there do a tremendous job. Case in point, the most recent post by Bathus. He recently received a letter from a student asking him what the difference between a liberal and a conservative is. He went pillar to post, wildly tackling the subject matter with a ferociousness I have seldom seen.
Alright, they may be a slight exaggeration, but his post uber-amazing.
Here is a sample of what he wrote in response:

Love is no evil, but universal love for all is within the capacity of only the diety. Neither is human anger evil. Justified righteous anger is a truly noble thing, rousing us to stand our ground in the face of otherwise horrifying evil, rousing the strong to defend the weak when there is no profit to be gained by the battle. And (this is where a liberal mind will be shocked), just as love is not evil, and anger is not evil, neither is hatred evil--so long as you hate what deserves to be hated. I hate injustice. I hate those who knowingly, selfishly, perpetrate injustice. I want them punished. I'm a hater. All good conservatives know how to hate well. (Liberals are afraid to hate, and they all say they despise it, but that does not seem to prevent them from being quite good at it themselves, not if there's a "smirking chimp" from Texas in the White House.)
Yet in a democratic society like ours, the blind love of equality can overturn even our other great political love, which is the love of freedom. Given the choice between freedom and equality, our instinct as citizens of democracy inclines us to choose equality. Whether we are conservative or liberal, we are all (small d) democrats these days, which means that-- whether or not we admit it to ourselves--we all get just a little irked when we see somebody who has more nice stuff than we do. (This is an example of unjustified righteous anger.) When we see somebody with more stuff than we have, we all tend to say to ourselves, "Well he doesn't deserve it because his daddy was rich," or "he just got lucky," or "he got his money in a not-so-nice way." That's because superior wealth offends our love equality, and it's good to have these rationalizations handy when we want to take other people's property away from them because we think they are too rich. But rather than satisfying the love of equality in this way, wouldn't it be better for everybody if we'd all just put more effort into striving to get the particular stuff we want for ourselves and leave other people's property alone? You might think it is trivial, but isn't there something intrinsically enobling when a person can say to himself, "These things I own--this house, this car, even this cell phone--modest they are, but these were got by my own labor!" Don't you yourself feel better about the things you earn through your own effort than about the things that are just handed to you?
(emphasis mine)

Go read the whole thing, it's amazing.