Punchinello’s Chronicles

October 21, 2009

20% GOP versus 47% Conservatives

Filed under: The Great Adventure! — Punchinello @ 2:08 pm
Tags: , , ,

There’s been a lot of hoop-lah over a recent poll showing that only 20% of Americans identify themselves as GOP Republicans. One way of looking at it is that the Republican party is falling apart. And, of course, that’s the way most of the media talkers are viewing things. They’re using the numbers to show that either the GOP needs to clarify its message, or to demonstrate that many people like what the Democrats are doing.

But only a few weeks ago, another poll showed that 47% of Americans identify themselves as Conservative. That would be “Conservative” with a capital “C” in regard to the ideology of conservatism.

I seem to recall a poll showing that around 33% of the population identifies themselves as Democrat, which makes for an interesting tabulation. Taking the 33 plus 20 and arriving at 53, that would leave…why, it would leave 47!

So perhaps the media pundits might want to think about the difference between Conservatives and the combined population of traditional political parties. Conservatives are NOT the “same thing” as Republicans! The only reason that Conservatives tend to vote Republican is that the GOP “used to” come vaguely close to the core conservative principles.

What’s been changing over the past two decades is that the GOP no longer represents those conservative principles. Yet, for any Conservative who wants to participate in the election process, there isn’t any representative political party. So despite the vacuous candidates being nominated by the GOP, they’re still better than liberal Democrats.

The distinction rests on the concept of values and integrity. “Integrity” means to maintain one’s values in the face of demands for compromise and abandoning those values. It means doing what’s “right” despite being lobbied, bribed, threatened or otherwise told to abandon those values. Integrity is the one major thing that’s almost entirely missing from today’s political environment. It’s also on the decline across the social and cultural spectrum.

When a person fails to maintain their integrity, they become corrupt. Their integrity has been corrupted and broken. Integrity means to act in accordance with one’s morality. Corruption means to abandon one’s morality. As such, we also must decide whether or not morality itself has any value or even any meaningful definition.

Our moral system sets forth the rules by which we make decisions to act. All of us have a morality because all of us require a basis for decisions. We either decide things moment-by-moment or we make decisions based on some form of thinking. But all of us use some kind of platform to make decisions.

Philosophically, a morality is an organized system of rules for making decisions. But even an unorganized chaotic mish-mash of spontaneous thought-farts can still act as the basis for a person’s decisions. Ayn Rand coined the term “system of living” to distinguish that sort of random “living in the moment” process from an actual morality.

All of us make decisions. We use those decisions to perform actions. The way we make decisions can be separated into two broad categories. Either we primarily make decisions based on feelings, or we make decisions based on values.

We can say there are “feelings-based values,” or that there are “values-based feelings.”

Let’s say that it’s important to teach a child to be virtuous. Why? What’s so good about virtue? Who cares if children are virtuous? Should children be taught that lying is wrong? What about the overall concept of right and wrong; is there such a thing? Can we say there’s such a thing as good and bad?

Now let’s say that we “feel” that children, generally, ought to be taught that honesty is the best policy. We “feel” that children shouldn’t be taught to hate other children based on their skin color. We “feel” that learning how to be self-reliant is important. Somehow. Should we make those irrevocable decisions about children based on feelings?

Liberals, progressives, and too many politicians (Democrats and Republicans) claim that values are only important if momentary polling data shows they’re important. Honesty only matters if a consensus agrees. In fact, the entire concept of ethical relativism is based on the idea that ethics and values change according to circumstances. That’s how Mr. Polanski can be defended against statutory rape with the proposition that “times were different, back then.”

Conservatives hold that values are critical to making virtuous decisions. Regardless of how we feel, our values come first. In many situations, specific values dictate a particular decision and we feel pain as a result. But the feelings of pain are secondary to the right decision. We might feel good about spending more than we earn. If we decide to live within our means, that feels painful. It feels wrong. It feels bad. It feels like it’s too hard to do.

Painful feelings aren’t sufficient to cancel virtuous actions. And so, the entire situation comes down to the absolute definition of terms like virtue, values, right and wrong, good and bad. Without a definition and philosophy of virtue, there can’t be any right or wrong way of doing anything.

Conservatives hold that there ARE absolute definitions! Words DO mean specific things! Philosophy rests on the language and words we use, showing us the nature of reality. Our philosophy provides us with our morality, which dictates the rules by which we must live. Integrity means to hold true to our morality, regardless of whether the resulting feelings are painful.

The polling data shows us that the nation is split entirely in half. We’re living in a historic time, where half the population believes that “if it feels good, do it.” The corollary is a deep philosophic abyss: “If it feels bad, it must be wrong.” And that’s the foundation of so-called New-Age philosophy. It’s the root of our social and financial collapse.

The other half of the population holds that we should do the right thing. That group of people is constantly under attack, with modern linguistics telling us that “should” is a bad word. Modern philosophers tell us there’s no such thing as “the right way or wrong way.” Good and bad are all relative. Right and wrong are all subjective. Nothing is objective, and all of reality is only a matter of opinion.

Out of this total split, only one thing will resolve the conflict: reality itself. Politicians (lumping together both Democrats and Republicans) will continue to run the country and the world on the basis that there’s no such thing as objective reality. There are no such things as truth, facts, moral values, good or bad. All of reality is whatever we “feel” good about.

Conservatives, on the other hand, understand that reality is objective. Reality is the environment in which we live. It’s outside of our mental processing, and isn’t much affected by how we feel about things. As such, reality dictates that actions have consequences. No amount of wailing, anguish, or even legal action can change reality. It simply is real.

We’ve now reached a 100% inevitability that the economy as we know it will collapse. Reality dictates that fact. The truth of how money works, the facts of economic forces, and the absolutes of cause and effect can’t be put aside. No amount of feelings energy will overturn the facts of reality. Conservatives know that certain decisions are irrevocable.

Politicians, New-Age ideologues, and people who live by feelings-based values disagree. As such, we all will now have to live with the consequences. The only question is whether or not there’s sufficient energy to form a political party based on conservative principles. Neither the Democrat nor the Republican party bear any resemblance to those principles. The so-called controversial polling data simply shows the facts.

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