The Patronizing Conservative

Someone recently accused me of sounding patronizing for suggesting that liberals should learn a bit about Federalism.  In hindsight I was patronizing – I admit it.  To be clear, Webster defines patronizing like this:

Treating somebody as if he or she is less intelligent or knowledgeable than yourself.

I actually regret sounding this way because I think that the substance of the conservative argument is so powerful, we don’t need anything but facts.

But it is the very potency of our philosophy that serves as the catalyst for the patronizing quip.  Conservative principles are so spot on, it is hard to believe that there are people who have a diametrically opposed view.  Let’s take three quick examples of this…

1) Conservatives believe that taxes are too high – for everyone.

When a business pays higher taxes, they pass this cost on to consumers.  When a wealthy person pays higher taxes, they have less money to invest.  When a wealthy business owner pays higher taxes, they may do both: increase their prices, or invest less in growth.  These things are not disputable.

But liberals think that the rich need to pay more in taxes.  Why?  Because to a liberal, a business or an individual who acheives success has done so unfairly and perhaps by exploiting some disempowered group.  This makes no sense.

So when conservatives want to cut taxes for businesses and wealthier individuals – a move that would help the business itself, the workers who are employed there, and the economy at large, liberals do nothing but complain that this is somehow exploiting poor people.

In this case, how can we not sound patronizing?  It is so patently obvious that tax cuts – across the board – are good for everyone, that it is hard not to be patronizing when an idealogical oppoenent refuses to see the clear truth.

2) Conservatives believe in smaller governmnt.

Government does nothing well, except perhaps fight wars.  Even at the smallest levels, government is laughably inefficient and bad at most everything.  Examples abound…  Between Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, the government is staring at $53 Trillion in unfunded debt.  The war on poverty, the war on drugs, and the war on whatever the panic du jour is, have cost the taxpayers trillions of dollars over the years with nothing – zero – to show for it.  Waste, fraud and abuse are rampant.  One only needs to head down to the DMV to get a new drivers license to see the inefficiency at work: take a number and sit down while the eight unmotivated tellers walk citizens through myriad bureaucratic forms and procedures.

Yet the liberal wants more.

Medicare and Medicaid are complete and utter failures.  The money the government spends on just these two programs is far more than we can afford to pay – mostly because of waste, fraud, abuse and complete inefficiency.  Yet liberals stand there and crow for the government to expand the programs to even more people, when together these programs are already an abject failure.

Faced with a massive government bureaucracy that has failed and with liberals clamouring to expand these programs dramatically, how are we supposed to react if not patronizing?

3) Conservatives believe in personal freedom.

People must be allowed to live their lives free from government intrusion.  Yet at every turn, the government is taking away our freedom.  Who ever would have thought that the government would be telling us how far our toilet must be from our sink?  Where does the government get the authority to decide a business is “too big to fail?”  From the mundane to the supremely ridiculous the government has overstepped its boundary (the Constitution).

Liberals think that the Constitution should mold itself to the times.  In that case, we have no rule of law at all – it is determined on the fly by the whims of career bureaucrats and power-hungry politicians.

So when faced with a question of policy, conservatives always err on the side of personal freedom.  Liberals want the government to control all that we do.  And it is always cloaked in helping the children, helping the environment, or helping some minority group who, they say, can’t possibly do for themselves.

Conservatives reject this.  When people are free to make their own decisions, we thrive as a society.  It is when people are prevented from making their own decisions that society crumbles (see: USSR, pre-WWII Germany, Cuba, etc.)

History is clear, so when a liberal makes another grab for governmental power over the individual, another grab to confiscate more of our hard earned paycheck, or another move to further increase the size and scope of government, of course we sound patronizing.  Can you blame us?


  1. Scott Lawrence says:

    I personally believe it takes more patience than Job not to seem condescending to liberals.
    The liberal mentality is easier to adopt because it’s simpler to understand in a 30 second spot, which is what politics has been reduced to. Marketing to the masses means getting your point across quickly, which is far easier for a bill Despite the energetic push by some Republican congressmen to reinvent the townhall debate, many voters base their decisions on whatever opinion is derived from Entertainment Tonight or wannabe pundits who write a movie critic column.
    The hook/line/sinker of the liberal mantra enables the average Joe to make a decision and feel like he’s filled his role in the social contract. Bill titles are coated with sugar to help the democratic congress get approval from the public in swallowing it. From “stimulus” to “clean energy” to “undocumented workers” the public fails to see the leash that so gingerly helps them be guided. It takes a more critical eye, and subsequently more thought, to fully understand the issues.
    This brings us back to the original point. Should we as critical thinkers feel bad for coming across as condescending to those who have taken less time to think the issues through? I suppose it’s only natural to feel a tinge of guilt for criticizing a liberal’s failed logic, but then we’d be playing in to the very fallacy that enables liberals to believe as they do. If someone is going to form an opinion, let that person back it up. Let them be condescending if they can. In my opinion, only through this type of healthy debate can people really come to see the truth.

  2. Your point relating the liberal message to marketing is spot on. In fact, I believe that the only problem conservatives have is a marketing problem: Most people don’t know what it means to be conservative.

    Somehow, the left has succeeded in creating this caricature of conservatives as angry, stupid, white men, who want to make laws banning profane album lyrics and porn. Paradoxically, it is the left who actually seeks to take individual freedom away.

    We need to elect some leaders who understand the marketing piece – it will be central to the success of the GOP in 2010 and beyond…

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