Monday, July 24, 2006

Conservatives and Me

It's odd but true that, since I moved to the US South, most of my best friends, and in recent years, greatest supporters, are self-labeled "conservatives."

I find many of the people who position themselves on the "left" to be either rabid or incoherent. Indeed for a British Democratic Socialist, modern US progressives are hard to deal with: we often share political positions, but a "left" without the working class is very odd.

The problem is, as was shown when I made an overly emotional post on gay marriage, is that in a real way there are some basic issues where it's hard for me to comprehend how someone can be friendly with me, but still see me as some kind of inferior being, and where the only kind of relationships I could form that would bring happiness, are seen as evil.

On the other hand, I suppose that with those conservatives who befriend me (suddenly I sound like a wet puppy), homosexuality is not a primary issue. They are pissed off at what they see as a nanny state, and, in economic terms, focus on the virtues of self-reliance and oppose a dependency culture. (I have met very few people, of any group, who think the War on Drugs makes any sense. Even as they [and I] acknowledge what ruin drugs can bring on individuals.)

I suppose that this will remain a conundrum.


Spencer T. said...

Is there a true working class in America anymore Dr H? I see republicans lie to blue collar workers about how all of their financial problems are rooted in socialist agendas set up by the democrats. The workers do not seem to be able to see through the smokescreen that republicans are keeping minimum wage legislation from progressing. There are no great strikes or union issues at hand. (Oh sure, the writers for America's Next Top Model are going on strike, but lets cut the bullshit.) If I were religious I would pray everyday that the workers for Wal-Mart would barricade themselves among the $5.99 non-stickware and demand the right to unionize. It never happens. Does the working class even care that they are being treated poorly? Is there a working class at all? It seems like the two political parties in our country have turned everything into a social issue rather than one of economic stability, where the workers and their families are treated well so that the next generation can continue the process. I dont know, I am tired.

Paul Halsall said...

Spencer, I think class certainly exists in the US. What you don't see much of apart from unionized areas is any real sense of class consciouness as a focus for political loyalty.

I should make an exception here. Financial elites do seem to have organized themselves into a politically effective class, and they are most effectivein the way they divert those who are much less well off into focusing on other issues - for example race, immigration or gay marriage.

William Milsten said...


as one of your conservative friends I find myself agreeing with your analysis. Homosexuality just doesn't really enter withing my range of what I worry about from day to day. Besides, as much as we argue, we seem to agree on quite a bit.