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Wednesday, October 08, 2003

In my con. history class today, we were talking about the change from a state where men were typically the only ones who dealt with the government (and consequently, men with their slaves/servants/womenfolk) to one of a more liberal state where everyone was both accountable to the state, as well as garnering the benefits therein, and a conversation came up which, if you've read this site for any length of time, you know I am interested in - specifically, marriage as a contract. Don't worry, I'm not going to talk about gay marriage - but in the course of the discussion, someone said something I found just mindblowing. She said, "People who are for programs like affirmative action are living in an ideological world rather than paying attention to the real world."

Even more of a mindfuck was the fact that I had heard this sentiment expressed on any number of occasions, and always taken it to be someone complimentary - a group I happen to belong to being the airy, self-righteous, justified type as opposed to constantly resorting to the cold, steely pragmatics of "them." The underlying assumption of the statement is generally meant, of course, to mean that the "liberals" are crazy and live in a fantasy land with candycane trees and pixies made of welfare benefits. But is that really the case?

It strikes me that, in general, so-called conservative policies are the ones which like to pretend we live in a world of equal opportunity, where the color of your skin or your gender doesn't matter to anyone, and only your ability is what counts. They like to believe that everyone can be responsable for themselves, and the police function perfectly - that government leaders always know what's best, and everyone gets exactly what they deserve in life. Is this realistic? Is this the impartial, factual approach to life conservatives are so famed for espousing? The magical invisible hand which goes about giving to those who deserve it and bitchslapping people who are too lazy to make any use of their life, while interesting, is still less ludicrous than the "liberal" conception of Robin Hood.

This isn't a fair world, it's not a place where everyone gets only what they've worked for and no more. I am living proof of that. In a fair world, I would be the one starving to death in Africa, while some kid worked his ass off in college to get where he wanted to go in life. If you're rich, I can see the appeal of believing that you've gotten your just reward for a virtuous life, but I cannot see how one can actively delude themselves into believing it. For all the conservatives talk about liberal crackpots, it's those crazies who go around dealing with the inequalities which exist, trying to build the ideal world which conservatives have generally tricked themselves into believing is already around them.

cranked out at 1:05 PM | |

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