Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the great divide:
— this is the social schism that has been around since the dawn of civilisation, and it ain’t going away any time soon.
People will not get along, never ever, ever. This idea I keep reading that the conservatives will eventually die makes me laugh hysterically and at the same time makes me want to emigrate to Mars. And I just love Earth, you gotta, I mean this whole water thing, breathable air and warm sun are really neat.
But, like, I don’t know how to say this, folks, we’re always gonna be pitted against each other, unless we go on and relapse into full genocidal/eugenics mode … again.
Fundamental values are those concepts that make up reality.
Reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined. Reality includes everything that is and has been, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible. A still broader definition includes everything that has existed, exists, or will exist, says the Wiki
Take for instance, the fundamental values of democratic US politics: fairness, equality, responsibility, freedom, integrity, security. These are values shared between the entire spectrum of politicians.
Why are they shared? Because they are fundamental, that is, they have been around since forever and we can’t imagine a future without them. We used these concepts to base the great human construction we call The World on a strong enough foundation to hold hundreds of civilisations, each new one built on top of the ruins of the previous one.
Now comes the tricky part.
Universal values are those concepts that make up our internal representation of reality.
Reality is the same, but what we make of it, well that is another thing: it is culture.
[Culture] is “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.”, Wikipedia informs.
As you see, when we take reality, everything that ever was, is or will be, all the things that persist beyond presence, and we internalise them, that is we integrate their existence into our existence, reality becomes abstract: art, morals, law, custom etc.
It is here at a cultural level where universal values begin to take shape:
Schwartz’s ten types of universal value are: power, achievement, hedonism, stimulation, self-direction, universalism, benevolence, tradition, conformity, and security, a quote from wikipedia.
“Stop with all those definitions!”, I hear you say. But here is the thing that makes it all fall into place, one more definition:
Belief is the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case, with or without there being empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty. Another way of defining belief sees it as a mental representation of an attitude positively oriented towards the likelihood of something being true, the wiki of course.
Truth, more than that, obvious truth, that is what belief empowers. And belief is the strange attractor our minds revolve around. Take all beliefs and you’ll get suicide.
Liberals, by believing in universal values, think the inner reality is the source of truth. Conservatives, by believing in fundamental values, think the outer reality is the source of truth.
Conservatives are historically right. Man started by imitating nature. Their belief is rooted in the past.
Liberals are probably right. The future has proven constantly uncertain and mankind survived by handling the future, which we do mostly by imagining a “better” nature. Their belief is rooted in human nature.
You cannot reconcile this. When you try you get this:
In the fairy tale kingdom of hope, disillusion is the dragon wreaking havoc
Here is how disillusion begins to breathe fire: conservatives are pro business, but they oppose globalisation. Liberals are pro government, but they support globalisation. There is nothing better for business than globalisation. In my country the socialists won elections by proposing tax cuts. The world is going bananas.
What is the liberal promise? Individuality or Community? It is very hard to not envision the image of the Jehovah’s Witness’ marketing materials:
That is a picture from Watchtower that has been stuck in my mind since childhood. I had one issue of Watchtower around the house and I was, and still am, fascinated by these illustrations.
Social Justice, LGBTQA rights, equality of chances, eco consciousness, everything is in that picture, symbolically.
But as much as they fascinate me, I know: some lions will not accept to not eat the lamb. 100% sure. Will you punish the lion?
Stop it with nature vs nurture. There is no nurture, everything is nature.
The conservative, right, promise is simple and clear: work hard, we’ll stand out of your way and if you bring value and luck finds you, you’ll be rich and famous. If luck doesn’t find you, you’ll have a common routine life which you’ll have to work hard to maintain or you’ll slip in a poverty so deep, only God can save you. And God will save you. We hope.
The liberal, left, promise is complex and blurry: work hard but not too hard, we’ll hold your hand when you slip, luck doesn’t exist, only merit does, and the high in merit will be rich and famous. If merit is not enough, you’ll have a common routine life which we’ll make sure you are locked into so that our elites are not polluted by your ineptitude. Oh and there probably is no God, so …, yeah.
As you see the left has a lot more vagueness: merit, averages, introspection, elitism built in. And its only natural, that is how things are represented inside ourselves: blurry and complex. We get anxious about the coldness of the universe, while the universe doesn’t even acknowledge our beingness.
The liberal part of the planet needs a more practical and less aggressive discourse. You can’t state you’re correct, just because you sound right. Take LGBTQA rights. There are conservatives who, if faced magically and instantly with the full awareness of their bisexuality level on the Kinsey scale, would jump off a bridge. Before you say, “well that’d be great”, remember no man is an island and you cannot have LGBTQA rights without social justice which is a complete justice, across all society.
The belief in fundamental values is blocking. When you ask conservatives why can’t they see gender is a fluid concept, they’ll reply: because look in the mirror. You sound just as insane to a conservative, as they sound fanatic to you.
I am liberal because I believe is is Humanity’s great task to build time resilience to perfection and that is only possible in a liberal society which is a thousand times better fit and a lot less arthritic than a conservative society in facing the immense challenges the future will constantly bring. That is my certainty, which is what limits my awareness and makes me less creative in envisioning the possible reconciliation. All certainties limit awareness.
But, happily, I know: ecosystems are conservative, they initially fight change then once it becomes unavoidable they engulf it in the same ancient structures.
Which brings me to the biggest mental illusion that affects my liberal friends across the planet: their being on the right side of history. Folks,
The “wrong side of history” is apocalyptic talk
This is what I see when I hear “they are on the wrong side of history”:
That is another Jehovah’s Witness Watchtower illustration. These have to be the most elitist assholes ever depicted. Like the Silicon Valley techies whining about the homeless in San Francisco.
What we liberals see as obvious is because our basic building blocks for internally representing the world are made this way, not because we are better beings.
If we leave behind half of the planet to burn, we fail to see they simmer, and the upcoming blowing lid will hit us right in the face. Like it just happened.
We need less vagueness in our discourse, a lower pitch, more grave tone.
Like, you know, solutions to problems. For example, capitalism, our current economic game, will face more and more problems. Problems like the shift of the nature of capital from material to immaterial. Or the fact that, right now, companies in certain work markets have a very hard time to keep workers/employees motivated.
The generational gap in information access, the increased life expectancy, the thousand year long lack of religious miracles, they all contribute to a general dissatisfaction with how the system manages our short life. When the need to be employed becomes essentially a strictly materialist endeavour, we’ll bring back some kind of violence to keep people productive.
A liberal society can transform capitalism. A conservative society will fight life to preserve a system. That is the truth. That is what mr. Trump is doing and that is what his government apparatus looks like it is getting ready to do. It is ours, the liberal folk’s responsibility to provide the alternative framework.
Life changes fast and ends quickly. That is what I know and that makes be believe in universal values. I am not better and I am thankful there are people who know different.
I also know, fundamental values justify violent positions. If we keep telling ourselves the conservatives will die off and that eventually everyone will see the light of the universals, we make the huge mistake of forgetting the diversity of the human experience, which basically is what makes one liberal or conservative, not college or health insurance.
Let’s look outside our heads for a bit, we have four years to become better.