mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

There really are people who see the world differently, you know....

A few days ago, I was filling in at the helpdesk at the college I work for. In the background on our 42" LG LCD was CNN, covering the announcement of Palin as McCain's running mate. A professor walked in and one of our tech was working on his laptop. The prof looked up at the screen and started making a few comments about the election, including a comment that he didn't think McCain would win, but then again he only thought Bush would get 20% of the vote in the last election.

I'm used to assuming that most people I encounter have different political views than I do. I'm generally conservative, especially on fiscal and defense issues. I work at a college, supporting faculty members, a group that tends to be liberal by a wide margin. I work in Baltimore City, which tends to vote Democrat by a 90/10 margin. Baltimore is in Maryland, a state that tends to vote Democrat by probably about 10 or 20 percent. Because of this, I generally try to avoid bringing up politics with coworkers, unless I know the person well enough that I know they either have similar views as me or at least would be tolerant of my views.

I notice a lot of people on the left - people I don't know - have no problem bringing up their politics, and I'm usually not sure how to respond. I usually just kind of nod and ignore it, because I don't want to get into a political debate with someone who is basically a customer, who could probably call my boss and get me fired if they don't like my views.

I'm not sure if the blindness to the existence of conservatism is a trademark of liberals everywhere, or just in places everywhere. But while people in a heavily-conservative state in the Midwest might bring up politics with people around them with an assumption that they share their conservative views, it's hard to imagine any of them saying that they though Kerry would only get 20% of the vote in the last election. I suspect that because the media tends to lean left - not just the news but movies and TV and musicians - that conservatives are much more aware that there are people who don't share their views than liberals are.

I understand where people with more liberal political views than I do are coming from. I'd love to live in the world they live in, where countries never need to use violence to protect their citizens or their interest, where the lives of the poor and disadvantaged can be made better by the government with minimal sacrifice by the rest of the population. But I don't believe that such a world exists. Sometimes war is the answer, and government is much worse at solving problems and distributing things than private citizens - and both government officials and private citizens will act in their own interest, not in the interest of the whole, and the best government can do is channel those private actions to good. Often liberals tend to paint conservatives as evil or dumb, but that's not why conservatives believe what they do - we just look at the world differently, but we want the same thing - peace and prosperity. We just have different views about the best way of achieving that.


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