Why I’m a Conservative (I Think)

Dr. Helen asks about Conservative Culture.  Her own answer explains much of my conservatism: I read science fiction and fantasy extensively.  I especially gravitated toward the science fiction end of the spectrum (pun intended), and tended to reject the liberal-leaning SF&F because it tended to be fluff and less realistic.  Good SF&F used the genre merely to posit a society or situation, and then explored.  Good writers explored the society/situation with insight and rigorous interpolation. 

I also went through a few years where I read all sorts of Louis L’amour westerns.  In retrospect, much of it was self-aggrandizing crap, with Mr. L’amour fantasizing about being a western tough-guy (it was often the same character with a different name in every book, and pretty much clear it was modeled on the way L’amour saw himself).

But from those books, I learned quite a bit about self-reliance, making good choices, the selfishness/pettiness/jealousy/evil of some people that comes from the choices they make to achieve what they want.

What I didn’t learn was how much character matters.  Books always gave facile explanations that justified wrong/stupid/selfish choices by the protagonist, and from that I learned to justify my own laziness and mental weakness.

But life has taught me the importance of character, filling in that void that books created.

But, interestingly, there are some liberal-leaning books that I like.  One author in particular is very intriguing to me, because I love her writing and humor, and her protagonist/situation teaches a fairly conservative viewpoint…but I think it is mostly unintentional, because as the series goes on, the author lets slip lots of liberal views towards sex, sex education, feminism, gender, etc.  And the most interesting part of this is that the more she lets it slip, the more her protagonists grow towards thinking it is okay to do harm to any who oppose them, because those who oppose them are impeding Progress!  This author presents Conservatives as two-dimensional reactionaries, and completely fails to explore what they think and why.  Still, the author writes good books that are among my favorites.

Another author, C.J. Cherryh, was portrayed in the novel “Footfall” (by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle) as being an optimist, believing too much in the goodness of aliens.  But I think Larry and Jerry were mad: Ms. Cherryh is more cynical about government intent and the way societal/govt structure and sub-par individual character combine to achieve their goals as any author I’ve ever read.  She is, quite simply, the most realistic portrayer of human and alien thought and language that I’ve ever read.  I didn’t like her much when I was younger.  As I’ve grown, I’ve learned to understand her writing, and it is, quite simply, the best.  She’s my favorite author, bar none.  She should be studied, especially by conservatives for that cynical view of govt and bureaucracy.

It is also quite possible that C.J. Cherryh has done more to prevent me from being a published writer than anyone alive.  Why?  Because I cannot accept writing anything less insightful, less realistic than her work.  And I probably need years of polishing finished work before my writing could ever be that good: chicken/egg paradox.



Filed under Me, Politics, Social Issues

6 responses to “Why I’m a Conservative (I Think)

  1. I will be honest I am not sure I understand the differences completely. Take sex ed, one doesn’t believe in it the other does, but I still get a notice in the mail from the school asking if my kid should participate. So it seems to me that the middle road was taken? or is it that because other kids are getting it, then all the kids will kind of get it, therefore it is more in favor? (In which case I get lost, because if the school didn’t teach it I would. So the same problem comes up.)

    Maybe it is my generation (I am in my early 30’s), but really it just appears to me that both sides have good points, and there should be compromises?

  2. chiefmuser

    I was speaking VERY generally about sex-ed. In the series by the unnamed author, she indicates that she would like to see teens get a contraceptive implant as soon as they reach sexual maturity, and go out and sample/experience whatever they desire.

    I think that sex, as both a topic and an act, has some reinforcing rewards for humans, thus increasing the likelihood that someone will develop an addiction to potentially self-damaging behavior.

    I believe the Conservative principle is that sex education should be taught…but by an involved parent. That way you can tailor the delivery and content to your child, the child you know far better than a government bureaucrat…sex education in schools is often done by a guest speaker, right?

    The Liberal principle seems to be that sexuality should be taught, not merely the facts about the act; and they find it easier to encourage Progressive sexual principles through liberal-leaning government agencies. I don’t think liberals want to allow Conservative parents to pass on their “repressive” views about human sexuality to their kids, to be honest.

    So in my opinion there is a significant difference.

    A compromise could be fine…maybe. The problem is the old camel’s nose dilemma: once you let the camel’s nose in the tent, the entire camel will eventually be inside.

  3. I see… I would love to agree with sex ed at home, I see problems when it comes to it as many parents sadly don’t spend the time with their children, and for many parents it is just a very uncomfortable topic.

    I am not sure where I fall then. I taught my daughter about it. (Delighted in the fact she thought it was funny and gross, rather than fun and “sexy”), but my very “liberal” mother that I listened to for the first 14 years of my life did make lots of points in this area, about her sex education (which resulted in me) in the back seat of a car (not literally I think, but figuratively).

    When you talk of sexuality are you talking about hormones per say, or more along the lines of how fun it is? I ask because with my daughter (14), the problem I have is the majority of her friends (and their parents would “die” if they knew) are sexually active, and I have to be quite open with my daughter to negate the impressions they give her. (The saddest one is I see a bunch of normal teenage girls that are not sure of themselves, thinking they can and will find a lasting relationship using sex. Thinking they are in love, and having sex will either make the guy feel the same way, or that sex will show how much love is there. I don’t have any experience with the male side of it so I can’t speak on that side.)

  4. chiefmuser

    Yeah, that’s one thing Conservative principles never address: What *do* you do if no one at home teaches them?

    I consider sexuality reinforcing because it seems so basic to humanity: I believe that everyone wants to be accepted and be safe. Even if sex is unenjoyable for a young female teen, it is a powerful weapon in the War For Getting What You Want Out of Life, or a powerful commodity for Trading For What You Want In Life, depending on what paradigm you wish to adopt.

    You touch upon one of the problems Conservatives have with Liberal principles of sex education. Most liberals would be abhorred if anyone with official standing attempted to tell kids you shouldn’t do it, because it isn’t as much fun as Hollywood makes it seem, and youth are vulnerable to harm and/or manipulation when they try to emulate behavior of those older (in some cases, by decades).

    In my opinion, Conservatives believe in a much more, well, conservative schedule of age-appropriate education, and believe that since sex is so powerful (even if not necessarily “so much fun”…rape will quite possibly damage a 14-year-old far worse than a 40-year-old), it should only be taught in the context of values. Liberals seem to reject Conservative values, and are always trying to push sex education without values to even lower ages.

    I don’t have an answer, to be honest.

    The cynic in my, however, believes that liberals have an agenda in what and how they push sex education. In most cases, it is an attempt to either reconcile guilt/grief from their behavior, or trying to avoid being a hypocrite in their own eyes from their own teen years.

    To be honest, I don’t have answer. I think the Conservative principle of sex education is best for those situations that a parent or adult cares enough to make sex education a part of family values to be taught and cherished. But that abandons the rest to hurting themselves through ignorance.

    My problem with liberal principles of sex education is that
    1) I don’t think liberal sex education really solves any problems for those not taught by their parents
    2) I absolutely disagree with liberals’ insistence that the existence of those not taught allows them to arrogate all sex education to liberal-leaning government bureaucrats (by that, I refer to most teachers, social workers, and school administrators).

  5. I see where my “lack” of problem comes from. (Kind of.) I live in Wyoming, can you say totally conservative? Anyway, perhaps the problems that are seen aren’t as apparent here as sex ed is taught, but I don’t think it is in a liberal fashion. (If I am understanding correctly.) It is the basics (add condoms.)

    I had to have this talk with my daughter much earlier than I would have liked, my daughters biological father married a young nurse, who took it upon herself to teach my daughter what a condom was when she was 9 years old.

    I guess in theory I agree with you, as really the lifestyle of the parent really does say what kind of education needs to be taught. (A mother with loose morals is going to have a hard time getting her children to believe in abstain only – and a mother that is very modest is going to have a hard time talking to her children about contraception.) Perhaps instead of having it one way, it would be best to have two classes? (ROFL, I know that wouldn’t work, but it would be nice if it could.)

  6. chiefmuser

    One thing that would help is if I typed more carefully, proofread what I wrote, and used less parenthetical statements.

    One thing that could possibly work okay is if schools worked harder to keep parents informed about content and timing of sex education at school, and then allowed parents to opt their kids out if they stated they did/would teach their kids about sex/STD prevention/contraception.

    I was raised in Montana, so it is likely I don’t understand the problems in urban area schools, either.

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