Compassionate Conservativism, Where Art Thou?

In talking to those on the political right, I wonder why compassion is such a difficult thing for so many of them. Just basic human decency, it’s not complicated.

They give me endless reasons why not to be compassionate. Imagine if they spent all that effort thinking up reasons to be compassionate.

Anyway, why do they need reasons to act morally, to respond with basic human sympathy and care? If they allowed themselves to treat other people as humans as worthy as themselves, what horrible thing do they fear would happen?

4 thoughts on “Compassionate Conservativism, Where Art Thou?

    • I was feeling particularly critical in this post. I should clarify my perspective. When talking along these lines, I almost always am speaking more of predispositions than of ideologies.

      Nonetheless, there is a close connection between predisposition and ideologies, but there are a lot of exceptions to the rule. I’m always complaining about what I often call conservative-minded liberals, those who are relatively more liberal on an ideological level while also being relatively more conservative on a predisposition level.

      My complaint is that I struggle with making sense of a predisposition that, at its extremes, is very foreign to my own predisposition. I simply don’t understand it, not really, not on a visceral level.

  1. You could at one point have made the case that there were “conservatives” with a progressive mindset, the traditional conservatives. Some were environmentalists even and supported anti-trust laws.

    At one point, there were even very religious people with such a mindset. William Jennings Bryan was an example. He may have staunchly opposed evolution in schools, but in his day, he was quite progressive, opposing concentration of power in banks, a pacifist, and generally pro-democratic. Today’s Religious Right has no such redeeming qualities, supporting militarism, Ayn-Rand economics, and promoting xenophobia.

    I guess a better answer may be at one point, there may have been people regarded as conservative that had the best intentions for society at heart. But today, this is not the case and the overwhelming majority are not.

    Compassionate conservationism is today a simple lie, meant for the very gullible.

    • Yep. I’ve thought about how the most left-leaning politician today wouldn’t likely get away with half of the things that Theodore Roosevelt said. An old money plutocrat like TR was no bleeding heart pansy liberal, but he had old school ideals of noblesse oblige. If those on the right think Obama is a fascist-communist, their heads would explode if someone like TR was elected president these days.

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