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Immoral conservatism
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saxifrage00
It's become a truism that (small-c) conservative political parties are the home of some of the worst hypocrisy and immorality despite their typical stand for high moral values and their usual alignment with a religion* that touts morality above all else. Until today I'd pretty much accepted that truism from the abundance of observational evidence to support it.

Still, it's weird, isn't it? Why are groups of people who are hell-bent on preserving public moral fibre so willing to do the most despicable things for those ends? There are theories, but I don't think they really explain it. Maybe conservative values are too convenient a front for the greedy and they've invaded the conservative ranks and taken over. Maybe it's an overweening belief that the ends justify (and absolve) the means. Those just don't really seem to explain the whole of it to me, though.

It occurred to me that, if I look at what conservatism is honestly about, that might be the key. It's a political phenomenon peopled by those who believe that social change should be very slow, or is even inherently bad. I think that might be all it takes to explain it. Consider the follow train of thoughts, facts, and implications:

1) Change is usually bad
2) Change is inevitable
3) Denial is the first human psychological response to things going wrong
4) Denial gives a person the comfortable belief that change isn't happening
5) Meanwhile, the change keeps on happening
6) Eventually the change is so great that it can no longer be dismissed or denied
7) The person is suddenly confronted by what appears to them a sudden avalanche of change
8) They panic
9) Someone in a state of panic will do seriously crazy and unpredictable shit

The summed-up version is that conservative thinking makes people procrastinate coping with a changing world, and they inevitably get overwhelmed by the combination of accumulated change and their own unpreparedness.

Does conservatism really lead to moral panic? I don't know that my theory is sound (I just thought it up sitting here), but it's undeniable that moral panic is a disease endemic to the politically right parts of society. It would make sense if something like this theory connected the two.

* This also might explain why so many religions go through a cycle of revolutionary establishment-influence consolidation-dogmatic stagnation-moral disgrace.

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I'm sorry I missed your email about J, but it wouldn't have worked as she had the flu! We were all in bed.

I got an extension! If you're all feeling better, would this weekend, Monday, or Tuesday work at all?

J is in your hood with her dad this weekend- 604-876-1136. That might work well!

I didn't end up being able to get a hold of them. Would tomorrow or Tuesday work?

He was sick sick sick. J has school, but sometime after 3:30 should work either day.

That certainly does help to explain a very probable psychological pattern about the whole conservative mode of thinking; thanks for putting it so succinctly, it really gives someone a good way to think on it.

I think that pretty much everything surrounding conservatism is touched by fear. Whether it's implied by religion (fear of eternal damnation or divine retribution), or because "change is bad" (and "change is scary"), or because media is so quick to invent fear on an already paranoid society (killar beeeess!!1!), or that they already feel like the world is out to get them (threat of terrorism, the evil "liberal media", etc.), or what. But people can do some despicable things when they're scared, and they're very good at justifying it as being right at the time. And it's very easy to take advantage of people who are already afraid without your help to make them so.

Well, yes. Generally, a conservative likes things the way they are and prefers to hold on to that idea as long as possible. Thus, when confronted with the reality that the world is in constant flux, they have trouble dealing with it. I wonder if humans had a longer lifespan, some six generations or so, whether they would still have conservatism, because then we would have perspective from front to back of our lives that things always change.

Why are groups of people who are hell-bent on preserving public moral fibre so willing to do the most despicable things for those ends?

Yes, but to those people what they're doing is not despicable. To them their actions are moral while what they're opposing are immoral and therefore the act of eliminating what is considered immoral is a moral act even if this moral action takes the form of violence (i.e. stoning, witch burnings, public executions, etc...). This isn't a "ends justify means" argument. Since probably to them, the means itself is a moral action and therefore needs no justification.

After all, morality is a social construct dependent upon the current social values of the group of people in question. So they'd probably argue that the preservation of their values will always be a moral act.

Which also goes with change. Maybe it's not that conservatives don't like change, perhaps it's just that they define change differently... or rather that change has it's limits. Since many (is it safe to say most?) conservatives get their morality from some form of "holy" teaching (Varied but I'll use the bible as an example), they probably think that biblical morality is a constant. Everything else can change, as long as it doesn't go against the teachings of the bible (or whatever). I know, it's more complicated than that... different kinds of bibles... then there's biblical literalism... etc... but that's really long...

Morality is too fickle a thing I think to have been defined correctly... so I'm thinking that no one group (political or otherwise) or person really has the monopoly for the definition of morality...

Maybe conservative values are too convenient a front for the greedy and they've invaded the conservative ranks and taken over.

But aren't "values" innately greedy as they stem from a society's (or person's - whichever you prefer) ideals of moral worth, essentially a form of moral judgement? That is to say that certain lifestyles are viewed as being of higher quality or desirability than others. Like having a certain kind of car, or certain kind of family, or certain kind of spouse, or certain kind of house. In other words "greed (personified here) serves to bring as many things that the greedy person considers valuables to that person, making him the center of his efforts, the one he aims to please, converting him into his own god, and creating pride with great concentration on the ego." (- taken from Wiki)
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But yeah... I think there's a certain logic to what you said... or maybe I'm still disillusioned from watching that Neo-Nazi execution video from Russia and my mind is still desperately trying to find a logical reason to why people do what they do (or rather what they've done).

So maybe this "moral panic" thing is actually endemic to all parties in the political spectrum... cause it seems that people (and political parties) are just fucked up and hypocritical in general...?

I don't know really... not even sure if I'm making any sense. Very interesting post though...

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