I decided I needed to take a small break from posting my thoughts about Obama, health care reform, the non-stimulus stimulus package, and a host of other Obama-driven topics. There are plenty of others out there covering those topics far better than I. Instead, I'm going to cover a topic near and dear to my heart, something I have experienced first hand (as I am sure more than a few of you out there have as well).
What am I talking about?
Being a conservative surrounded by those of a liberal bent.
I got to thinking about this when I came across a number of references in the blogosphere to Harry Stein's I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next To A Republican!
On more than one occasion I have found myself to be in a social situation where I am one of the few conservatives (if not the only one) among a group of liberals. It doesn't happen often, but when it does it has always been an uncomfortable situation.
It's not that once they find out I am conservative I end up having to defend my beliefs, or that I am looked upon with something akin to pity, disgust, or a little of both. I can handle that. What I find truly disturbing is that far more often than not they talk about how they feel about a particular issue rather than what they think. After a few minutes of being lectured to about how evil and unfeeling I must be, I find it disturbing to realize far too many of them are parroting the same words and phrases as if the only ones they know were the ones they were programmed to utter. I've come across very few that had come to their political points of view through through debate, careful thought, and actual experience. (I have a profound respect for liberals of that kind even if I disagree with them as they tend not to be knee jerk reactionaries and are able to have a thoughtful non-emotional debate about the issues. But these days they are a rare breed.)
What doesn't surprise me all that much is that by far there are far more conservatives in occupational fields that require a firm understanding of the hard sciences or the technologies derived from them. That could be because people in those fields must learn to think critically in order to be successful in their endeavors. Emotion, political dogma, and political correctness have no place in such fields because they can't be quantified and because no amount of emotion or political rhetoric can change the value of pi. No matter what, the value of pi will be 3.1415926535897932.... There are no surveys or polls or legislation that will change the value of pi no matter how hard we wish or how many signatures are gather on petitions to change it.
The ability to think critically crosses over into our politics, where we can look at the issues with the same eye as we do our work and come to conclusions based upon facts, prior history, and other indicators.
Is this the only reason conservatives are conservatives? No, of course not. The example above was merely one avenue where people come to see the value of conservative political beliefs.
Others come to the 'dark side' as liberals call it, through personal experiences. How many times have we heard this old saw? “Conservatives are liberals mugged by reality.” Maybe the reason we hear it as often as we do is because it's true. Maybe what some of our more vocal and less thinking liberal brothers and sisters need is a dose of reality. It would probably shake many of them to their very core and awaken a part of them that has been subsumed and buried by years of liberal indoctrination. But that's not likely to happen any time soon.
So in the mean time we conservatives will have to keep plugging along, listening to the liberal drivel that passes as profound thought among them, and be prepared to show them at every opportunity that they've confused emotion with actual thinking.