Dennis Prager on why leftists are often so ignorant of conservativism:
Why don’t liberals read us or listen to us or debate us?
Because the left has convinced itself that the right is unworthy of such attention.
They are certain that conservatives are sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic Islamophobic, racist and bigoted, not to mention anti-intellectual and anti-science.
The left has a mutually reinforcing dynamic at work here. Because liberals believe conservatives are all these terrible things, they do not bother acquainting themselves with conservative arguments. And because they do not acquaint themselves with conservative arguments, they are able to go on believing conservatives are all these terrible things.
A couple of points:
1. At university at least, the tendency is to provide your own explanation for why conservatives act and think as they do rather than take them on their own terms. Of course the disciples of otherness should be aware that the reasons for why someone acts differently than you do might not be what you expect. I think this blindness is at least partially because a lot of university folks were to at least some extent raised with some connection to the traditions that conservatives defend, so it is easy to think that you know it already. You’re probably more likely to do your homework if you’re going to debate religion with a practitioner of Shintoism than you are with, say, Rick Santorum. But the whole point of a tradition is that it is something bigger than us, and hence the chances that we already have found out its Archimedean point are rather slim. This is similar to what G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis liked to say regarding Christianity: because it is a part of our cultural consciousness, we think we understand it more than we really do.
2. A lot of leftist doctrines tend to view the individual as ciphers for larger forces. So regardless of the nobility of your intentions, you’re only a pawn in the larger scheme of things. But, again, even if there is some sort of Hegelian geist operating on us, how can we be sure that we’re understanding it properly?
And now back to that paper I keep putting off…