Opinion: The Realities Separating Conservatives and Liberals in the United States
The divide that seems to ideologically separate the two attitudes of conservatism and liberalism in the United States may not just result from objective truth. How new-age liberals and conservatives view social issues is, in part, constructed from their day-to-day struggles living as citizens in the United States. They undergo different threats, have different goals for the future of their nation, and can't unite on a common enemy. But, what if these two groups- liberals and conservatives-lived in two distinct realities despite living next door to each other?
For example, suppose we were to take the controversial issue of "toxic masculinity" that liberals have coined and marketed so effectively; conservatives could make it a point to state that the men that liberals surround themselves with are, indeed, toxic individuals. However, the men that conservatives steadfastly praise are the ones who tend to support more traditionally masculine ideals that most who lean left would demonize. Now, this provides us with a reason as to why conservative women tend to be happier in their relationships and why liberal women call the men they're fixated on "toxic." The reality is that to pursue a nontoxic perception of men, one must not associate with them, which conservative women have been doing a better job at executing. If toxic masculinity were to be taken seriously by conservatives, it would be under the notion that the toxicity stems from the men on the left. Then again, many traditional conservatives would refuse to call them "men" at all.
The very concept of America being "great" is another idea that is enough to make thousands of anti-Americans take to the internet and discuss why their own country is, in reality, "terrible." These are the Americans who don't like to address themselves as Americans, but rather as some traits they identify intersectionally, such as their ethnicity or gender. However, the America they love to hate is the same country that conservative patriots love to love. Is this perception of love for one's country a reality that can be chosen? Do we have to believe our country is great to defend its values? Do we have to hate our country to seek reform? Of course, no one believes that the U.S. is perfect. However, the reality is that conservatives, who are more likely to experience national pride, also tend to be happier than the average liberal. Liberals might argue that the happiness that comes with the rejection of identity politics, belief in the nuclear family, and pride in one's country is all "manufactured." After all, how can people still be happy when there is so much hate, inequality, and ignorance in this world? Perhaps, this is the liberal reality- where naturally occurring feelings, disparities, and naiveté are all too much to manage, and it's the government's role to combat them.
Common sentiments of negativity that manifest primarily within the socio-political left always garner an adverse response from conservatives. Not only have liberal extremists taken on the positions of hating masculinity and their national identities, but they have also resorted to hating themselves. The ideological party that believes conservatives should follow their worldview also tends to experience more self-loathing and suffer from mental illnesses. That being said, conservatives wouldn't have any interest in accepting the left's concept of reality when they know it would make them miserable. If the model for an ideal society entails an increasing number of mental health professionals that would dominate our schools and televisions, conservatives would feel further excluded, cosseted, or feel that their resources were being wasted. This is not to say that conservatives don't experience issues with mental health, but that they might have different ways of tackling them in a way that leaves them happier and healthier than their liberal counterparts.
There is an approach to this question of simultaneous realities that conservatives like to counteract as the subjective "my truth." Objective truth is under threat as the spread of subjective morality continues to spread in the west. Many would agree that the reality that people claim to experience is just them placing themselves in the shoes of the victim groups they see from the media. It seems that for many political movements in the U.S. now, provocateurs and "drifters" like to take to protests and the internet to express the collective identity that would attach individual people's realities to their own. Naturally, people who prefer to take on the plight of the individual are less likely to take on the troubles of external entities.
One cannot explain some things in such short sections regarding the reality of two different schools of thought. The popular question stands- How can we compromise with a worldview that defines itself by its very opposition to our own? The threat of climate change consumes some people's realities. Others fear that the rise in secularism will result in the death of the west. Brian Tracy wrote- "Your life is a reflection of your thoughts. If you can change your thinking, you can change your life." When you ignore the motivational aspects of that quote, it's easy to understand how people's realities are almost entirely formed on their various doctrines and not just their day-to-day observations, be them characterized by subjective or objective truth. Perhaps, America is becoming more conservative over time because they don't like the reality that liberals have been pushing. Thus, it might be their reality, but we certainly don't want any part of it, and frankly, many people leaving the political left behind are recognizing that it's not the reality that they wish to have either.
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About the Author:
Bean Dashnea is currently a student of foreign language and political science. She has lived between the U.S. and Europe for nearly 14 years but considers Texas home. After Bean changed her party registration from Democrat to Republican circa 2018, she immediately recognized the public discourse shift. She knew she was caught in the war on culture and information. Bean currently works with local Republican chapters and primarily advocates for smaller government and geopolitical awareness.