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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 12/29/20

Why Conservatives Are Always Wrong On Important Issues

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Renowned 19th century British philosopher John Stuart Mill once said, "Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives."

He went on to say that being stupid was not a bad thing in politics. In fact, he maintained, "There is so much dense, solid force in sheer stupidity, that any body of able men with that force pressing behind them may ensure victory in many a struggle."

Thus explains the success of Donald Trump and his minions. Simple enough. But is it fair to say that conservatives are always wrong on the important issues because they're stupid, i.e., lacking in intelligence and common sense, especially in our contemporary culture of political correctness? Shouldn't we say they're ignorant of the facts, or ideologically rigid, or even brainwashed? Or is it a moot point what euphemism we use when the outcome is the same?

Well, let's examine the record and see where it leads. According to a common dictionary definition, a conservative is a person "who is averse to change or innovation and holds traditional values" whereas a liberal is a person "who respects or accepts behavior or opinions different from one's own and is open to new ideas."

Using these two definitions as a baseline, let's go back in time in the United States and examine several important key issues. Beginning in colonial times, who was in favor of breaking away from England and starting a revolution? Certainly not the conservative colonists called loyalists, who comprised about 15 to 20% of the general population, and did not want to break away from England.

The Founding Fathers, on the other hand, were not just open to new ideas about democracy, but were willing to put their lives on the line for it. So I would classify them as radical liberals, i.e., revolutionaries. And judging from the reverence most Americans today place on the Founding Fathers, I think they would regard the conservative loyalists as wrong on this issue and side with the revolutionaries.

Let's move on to the antebellum South. Although Abraham Lincoln was a Republican, for his time he definitely fit the definition of a liberal and so did his followers who were against the institution of slavery, whereas Jefferson Davis and his followers were averse to change, i.e., conservative, and wanted to keep slavery as an institution. With the exception of the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists, most Americans today would agree slavery is wrong and side with the liberals.

This thinking would carry through to the Civil Rights era. Liberals, of course, were in favor of Martin Luther King Jr's agenda of freedom and equality for all people regardless of skin color or race whereas conservatives were against it. Case in point: William F. Buckley Jr., an icon of the post-World War II conservative movement, wrote an essay in 1957 titled "Why the South Must Prevail." In this essay, he declared the white race the more "advanced" race. Not a very bright thing to say from such a well-educated, articulate guy. Even Buckley himself realized he was wrong and changed his mind in the next decade, thereby siding with liberals.

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John F. Miglio is a freelance writer and the author of Sunshine Assassins, a dystopian political thriller. His articles have been published in a variety of periodicals, including Los Angeles Magazine and LA Weekly. His most recent articles (more...)

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