Thursday, June 15, 2006

What Goes On in "Social Conservatives'" Heads

I've been having an interesting conversation with Half Sigma over the course of a few of his posts about assuming the worst about people. He assumes that liberals act out of guilt rather than caring, for example, while I argue the reverse is more often the case.

I'm often tempted to assume that the people against civil unions and gay marriage are acting out of prejudice, and I'm sure it's true for a lot of them, but not all. With the immigration issue, I'd like to believe that most who oppose any sort of amnesty are acting out of a strongly-held belief in law and order or a legitimate fear that our economy can't absorb so many immigrants.

My instincts are to give people the benefit of the doubt. As I've mentioned before, for example, I've always assumed that Bush is neither racist nor particularly homophobic. It's hard to imagine in these modern times that people -- particularly educated ones -- could still hold such hateful views.

But we must remember that it's not as implausible as you might think.

Here's Nixon on gays:

I don't mind the homosexuality, I understand it . . . Nevertheless, goddamn, I don't think you glorify it on public television, homosexuality, even more than you glorify whores. We all know we have weaknesses. But, goddamn it, what do you think that does to kids? You know what happened to the Greeks! Homosexuality destroyed them. Sure, Aristotle was a homo. We all know that so was Socrates.

...

You know what happened to the Romans? The last six Roman emperors were fags. Neither in a public way. You know what happened to the popes? They (had sex with) the nuns, that's been goin' on for years, centuries. But the Catholic Church went to hell, three or four centuries ago. It was homosexual, and it had to be cleaned out. That's what's happened to Britain, it happened earlier to France.

Let's look at the strong societies. The Russians. Goddamn, they root 'em out. They don't let 'em around at all. I don't know what they do with them. Look at this country. You think the Russians allow dope? Homosexuality, dope, immorality are the enemies of strong societies. That's why the communists and left-wingers are clinging to one another. They're trying to destroy us. I know Moynihan will disagree with this, (Atty. Gen. John) Mitchell will, and Garment will. But, goddamn, we have to stand up to this.


But it's not just the ratty part of town. The upper class in San Francisco is that way. The Bohemian Grove (an elite, secrecy-filled gathering outside San Francisco), which I attend from time to time. It is the most faggy goddamned thing you could ever imagine, with that San Francisco crowd. I can't shake hands with anybody from San Francisco.


This is Richard Nixon, as president, not that long ago, in 1971, talking about "Negroes" and Mexicans:



And let's not forget his anti-semitic rantings:

NIXON: "What about the rich Jews? The IRS is full of Jews, Bob."

HALDEMAN: "What we ought to do is get a zealot who dislikes those people."

NIXON:"Go after them like a son of a bitch."



Washington "is full of Jews," the president asserted. "Most Jews are disloyal." He made exceptions for some of his top aides, such as national security adviser Henry Kissinger, his White House counsel, Leonard Garment, and one of his speechwriters, William Safire, and then added:

"But, Bob, generally speaking, you can't trust the bastards. They turn on you. Am I wrong or right?"

Haldeman agreed wholeheartedly. "Their whole orientation is against you. In this administration, anyway. And they are smart. They have the ability to do what they want to do--which is to hurt us."
(Slate.)


What goes on in today's closed-door meetings? What do current "conservatives" say when nobody's listening? It's impossible to know what goes on in people's minds (unless they're dumb enough to speak their darkest thoughts on tape.) But I think that any African-Americans, Jews, Latinos, homosexuals, or White Christians who aren't racist or homophobic, do a dangerous thing in trusting that social conservatives' motives are pure. Today's Federal Marriage Amendment is yesterday's Anti-Miscegenation Amendment. Today's homophobia is yesterday's racism. And much of the anti-immigrant movement is today's racism.

17 comments:

Classmate-Wearing-Yarmulka said...

It's well known that Nixon was a racist and a bigot. But I'm pretty sure all conservatives weren't sired and raised by him.

Izzy said...

... and many liberals are just as racist/anti-Jewish, etc.

I believe (I have no proof) that neither liberalism nor conservatism are inherently bigoted. I also believe (again, I have no proof) that there are bigots in every political movement and political party.

We cannot know their hearts, but we can go by their past actions and their past statements. I see the conservatives generally supporting Israel, supporting morals, supporting a secure USA, etc. I see the liberals supporting anti-Israel groups, flaunting immorality, blaming America first, etc.

(note: these are generalities, and I am being hyperbolic)

But, pointing to the bogeyman of "What do 'they' say when we aren't looking?" is lazy and counter-productive.

Let's look at what they say and do now.

Jewish Atheist said...

Izzy and CWY:

The point is that what they say and do now are things that can just as easily be attributed to bigotry as to any other reason. In fact, for those against gay rights, bigotry is the most plausible explanation. I can see the immigration debate going either way, but I can't believe all that bigotry and racism have disappeared in a single generation. Sure, Nixon is not representative of all social conservatives or all Republicans, but only a generation ago, the Civil Rights Act was highly contested.

I believe that a lot of people are still racist, homophobic, and bigoted. They've simply learned that it's unacceptable to say so in public. By no means do I mean to say that all social conservatives are bigots, but most bigots are social conservatives.

There are of course some on the left (Farakkan, et al) who are anti-semitic and/or otherwise bigoted, but nobody on the left is pushing for legislation which would hurt various minorities, regardless of motives.

Shlomo said...

Farakhan is a social conservative and the majority of his positions on social issues mimic that of the Christian Right. To place him on the Left of anything is absurd.

Social conservatism is the notion that personal likes and dislikes, or preferences in love and marriage should be dictated by the state. It is another form of control-freakism. Somehow, the conservative is afraid of someone else making a different choice than his, not because he is necessarily afraid that choice will effect him per se, but that his children will grow up with ideas that he did not and he fears they won't turn out exactly like himself.

It's sheer egotism and narcissism projected onto others. Gay people getting married threatens their self-preservation. Go figure.

Half Sigma said...

I don't know how I got labeled a "social conservative."

Jewish Atheist said...

SLA:

Farakhan is a social conservative and the majority of his positions on social issues mimic that of the Christian Right. To place him on the Left of anything is absurd.

Good point!


half sigma:

Who called you that?

dbackdad said...

Using the fact that most conservatives support Israel to demonstrate they are not racist is a bit misleading. A startling number of conservatives support Israel because they believe in the Rapture. They could care less about Jewish culture.

asher said...

JA,

I'd like you to point out the Latino, Black and Cross Gendered people who appear as hosts on Air America. What? Hey, they aren't bigoted - they just hired people who were white and/or jewish.

Farahkan has come up with some great ideas like the mother ship hovering overhead and the fact that the word is "jewlery" because Jews invented it. The amazing part is that he is never denounced by the left for being a weirdo or dangerous.

If the Christian Right were only interested converting Jews, anyone can see how they have totally failed at it. If anything, more christians have converted to judaism in the past 30 years than the other way around. (The reasons would be pretty interesting) The Christian Right, (as opposed to the Secular Left) is very Zionist and more Christian groups have visited Israel in the past few years than Jewish groups. They believe Jews are the chosen people and have a right to a land of their own. And this is a problem because?

I'm await the next Democrat President to select a black sec of state (at least one),and a Latino attorney general just as George has done. If that doesn't happen we can conclude that racism exits on the democrat side as well.

Jewish Atheist said...

I'd like you to point out the Latino, Black and Cross Gendered people who appear as hosts on Air America. What? Hey, they aren't bigoted - they just hired people who were white and/or jewish.

Looking at their website, it looks like 1 of their 10 hosts/cohosts is Black. About the same proportion as in the U.S. Not that this is remotely relevant to the point at hand.

Farahkan has come up with some great ideas like the mother ship hovering overhead and the fact that the word is "jewlery" because Jews invented it. The amazing part is that he is never denounced by the left for being a weirdo or dangerous.

I am on the left. I think he's both a weirdo and dangerous. Besides, as SLA pointed out, Farakhan is surely a social conservative. He just happens to be Black, therefore his race of choice happens to be Black and he finds his bogeymen elsewhere.

If the Christian Right were only interested converting Jews, anyone can see how they have totally failed at it.

WTF? Who said anything about Christians converting Jews?

I'm await the next Democrat President to select a black sec of state (at least one),and a Latino attorney general just as George has done. If that doesn't happen we can conclude that racism exits on the democrat side as well.

"Democratic."

Your whole post is misdirection and silly rhetoric. I've said several times including in this post that I don't think George is racist. The Democrats have long been friends of the African-American community as well as basically every other minority group (not to mention White people, including Christians. The Republicans are only for the richest of the rich.)

Besides, we aren't talking Republican vs. Democrat here, we're talking social conservative vs. social liberal. Clinton was a social moderate. (For example, he signed DOMA and enacted "Don't ask, don't tell." No true social liberal would do that. He also drastically reformed welfare, something I support but is hardly liberal.)

Ezzie said...

Actually, a recent study measuring how people felt people who survived Katrina should be treated came out to be very slightly racist. People were willing to give whites $1000 for 12 months, but blacks $900 for 11 months. Honestly, that's a very small difference, but what was most interesting was the makeup of the people asked: 80+% identified themselves as liberal.

I honestly feel [based on my own experiences, which is limited] that conservatives are generally not bigoted. They have strong feelings about gays, but that's a religious issue and is completely separate from racial ones. *Because* they don't see things in black and white, they are against affirmative action. They are against treating races differently. Everyone should earn their keep, period.

Liberals, in contrast, tend to be the reverse. They want to keep the races separate to some extent. They are very much in favor of ethnic groups retaining their identity - and therefore, they won't want to mingle with the (white) liberals. Notice that it is in the most liberal areas of the country where sections of cities are "black" or "white" or "Hispanic". That simply isn't as defined in the 'red' areas.

Race is only an issue when people make it an issue. When bigots won't work with people who aren't their type, that's making it an issue. But implementing policies to force social change when it's usually not necessary generally causes the problems and stereotyping it's meant to solve.

Shlomo said...

Re: "Race is only an issue when people make it an issue."

Yeah right. As long as we don't talk about it, it's not a problem I guess. Let's see what other societal problems 'not talking about it' can solve.

"___________ is only an issue when people make it an issue." (Fill in the blank.)

If you can't think of any, here are a few examples of 'issues' that wouldn't exist were it not for our discussing them:

1) Anti-Semitism
2) War on Terror
3) Gay Marraige
4) Global Warming
5) Mercury Poisoning
6) WMDs
7) Bill Clinton's Blow Job
8) Terry Schiavo
9) New Orleans
10) Dead US soldiers
11) Trade Imbalance
12) National Debt
13) Social Security
14) Abortion
15) Gas Prices
16) Burning Flags
17) Outsourcing
18) Illegal Immigration
19) Iran's Nuclear Development
(And the list goes on!)

Thank you, Ezzie. I can now sleep soundly and safely knowing that all problems vanish when you simply ignore them. I just squint really, really hard (kind of like Pat Robertson does), click my Birkenstocks together and say "There's no place like home. There's no place like home" and all is well.

Now the only problem left is this euphoric sense of well-being with which your conservatism has infused me! THE RAPTURE IS HERE! I AM SAVED!

/sarcasm off

asher said...

JA,

It's good to know that Air America which bills iteself as a progressive liberal station has the same number of black broadcasters and everyone else. They always go the distance.

The Black Caucus in Congress has embraced Farakhan. I doubt there's a republican among them.

Bill Clinton claimed he was a "new type of democrat". I imagine that means he blows with the wind and has no convictions. In recent interviews Clinton claimed the two things he was most proud of during his presidency was the reform of welfare and the balanced budget. Both things were forced on him by the Republican congress and both things appear to be conservative agendas.

As far as Nixon is concerned, yes he called Kissinger his little jew-boy and kept him on anyway. In the October 1973 Yom Kippur war, Nixon personally ordered the military airlift to save Israel. Despite opposition by all of his staff, including Kissinger, he insisted it be done and would hear no objections. That's ancient history too.

Finally, (whew) I understand the Ann Coulter's new book has debued as #1 on the NY Times best seller list. Among other things she talks about is the religion of liberals and their insistence on having the higher moral ground. Apparently she has whole chapters on the required teaching of evolution.
Is it worth buying?

Jewish Atheist said...

It's good to know that Air America which bills iteself as a progressive liberal station has the same number of black broadcasters and everyone else. They always go the distance.

I still don't see how this is relevant to anything. Do you really believe that they only have one Black broadcaster because they're racist? How many political Black broadcasters are there in the U.S.?

The Black Caucus in Congress has embraced Farakhan. I doubt there's a republican among them.

Politics. Strange bedfellows. McCain just spoke at Falwell's school.

Bill Clinton claimed he was a "new type of democrat". I imagine that means he blows with the wind and has no convictions.

He certainly had a bit of... flexibility.

In recent interviews Clinton claimed the two things he was most proud of during his presidency was the reform of welfare and the balanced budget. Both things were forced on him by the Republican congress and both things appear to be conservative agendas.

I disagree that they were forced on him, but Clinton was clearly a fiscal conservative and a social moderate/conservative.

As far as Nixon is concerned, yes he called Kissinger his little jew-boy and kept him on anyway.

You mean he was able to overlook his anti-semitism in order to use somebody? Impressive.

In the October 1973 Yom Kippur war, Nixon personally ordered the military airlift to save Israel.

*yawn*. Because Nixon preferred Israel to the Arab states doesn't make him not an anti-semite.

Finally, (whew) I understand the Ann Coulter's new book has debued as #1 on the NY Times best seller list. Among other things she talks about is the religion of liberals and their insistence on having the higher moral ground. Apparently she has whole chapters on the required teaching of evolution.
Is it worth buying?


You're asking me?! :-) I think she's a terrible, hateful, ignorant person. Supposedly, her arguments against evolution are silly even by creationist/ID standards. But, by all means, check it out yourself.

Ezzie said...

Actually, SL, you proved my point. Let's take your list one-by-one, shall we?

1) People commit anti-Semitic acts and make anti-Semitic statements. There's an actual threat there, with real action [see the swastikas in my 50% Jewish apt. building]. I don't see how a few KKK guys are of a real threat to anyone. There simply are so few acts of racism nowadays that it's almost a non-issue.

2) There are terrorist acts all around the world. This one is obvious.

3) You're right, if gays didn't care about marriage this would be a non-issue.

4) Not my field. But if there's a real threat there, it's an issue.

5) People do get killed from it, don't they?

6) Only an issue when there's serious concern someone will use them.

7) Wasn't an issue until he got caught. Then lied under oath.

8) Not as big of an issue as it was made out to be, though a fascinating legal debate.

9) There was a hurricane, wasn't there? How is that a non-issue?

10) How would that NOT be an issue?

11) That is a non-issue. How good are you at economics? Trade imbalances are only problems if they are causing the economy to sink. They don't here.

12) Check my post at JAJC. :)

13) Huge issue. Check the numbers.

14) Big issue which involves people's moral standards.

15) Would become a non-issue if people would stop using it. But they won't, so it's an issue.

16) I'll concede this one, slightly.

17) Not an issue at all, actually. What's wrong with outsourcing?

18) Big-time issue. How could 10% of the people in this country be allowed the same benefits as people who follow the law?

19) See #6.

asher said...

JA,

Was it true that when Darwin posited his arguement way back in the 19th century the people who thought he was a nut were paleontologists? Even they realized the idea of species changing on their own, through sheer chance was a bit of a stretch.

Thank God, we all think it's science today.

Shlomo said...

Narcissism cannot allow satire to be fully understood as such and thus, the point is once again completely missed.

Sigh.

asher said...

Sl,

Well, I tried.