I believe that if one is to truly be able to hold onto a belief, or lack thereof, he or she should have some kind of "escape clause" which, if triggered, would invite that person to shift beliefs. For example, I do not believe that aliens have ever or will ever cause crop circles. But if hard, irrefutable evidence were shown to me to the contrary, I would instantly be willing to change my mind. To me, this does not weaken my view that aliens don't cause crop circles. It strengthens it. To the UFO lovers, I say, hey sure, I'm more than willing to believe you guys, as soon as I see clear evidence that your views are right. Until then, I'm not biting.
We should give conservatism, in all its facets, the same treatment. We should be able to look them in the eye and say, hey, if you'll make a clear, BS-free case for why your views are actually right and my liberal views aren't, I'll seriously consider jumping ship. But, see, there's one big problem with that: It assumes that the opposing party is willing to engage in rational discussion. That right there eliminates at least 90% of all conservative voices right away. So conservatives, before I even entertain such a conversation, must fulfill three additional conditions through their actions. These conditions are not negotiable. Violating any part of one condition will void any chance I have of listening to their arguments. Fulfill all of them, in their entirety, and I will talk.
(One important note before we get started: These are my views, and my views alone. I do not claim to represent anyone other than myself with these stipulations. Many of you will sense that they are greatly lacking. To that, I remind you: These are just the starting points. This is like when one nation says to the other, before we can even sit down at the negotiation table, you must do X, Y, and Z. Keep that in mind as you read the following.)
1. Stop the all-give-and-no-take.
"Not surprisingly, the very conservatives who love to hurl invective against the ranks of their enemies prove to have the thinnest of skins when the same is done to them." --John Dean, Conservatives Without ConscienceConservatives have made a national pasttime of trashing anything that does not support white, heterosexual, rich, male, conservative Christian superiority. And free speech gives them the right to do that. Yet for some reason, they angrily try to shut down any conversation that opposes these views. You know what the dictionary calls people like that? Cowards. A person who wants to dish it out but can't take it in return is a coward. Also, this is how liars talk when they have been caught. So who in their right mind wants to listen to someone who comes across as a coward and a liar?
Conservatives, enough of this. Feel free to use your First-Amendment rights to fling your hate and fear, but stop getting offended when we return fire with logic and common sense. You're not making it look like you have something to offer--you're making it look like you have something to hide.
2. Stop being allergic to facts.
Anyone who cannot accept all of the following:
-Evolution is a fact (AND a theory);
-The climate is rapidly changing, and humans are by far the number one cause;
-Sexual orientation is innate, lifelong, and unchangeable;
-Vaccinating children is almost always good for them;
-Barack Obama is a Christian;
-Barack Obama was born on US soil;
is automatically disqualified from this discussion and does not deserve to be listened to. If someone demonstrates that they cannot get basic facts of reality correct, then their views are not worth entertaining. You cannot convince me that 2+2=5, no matter how hard you try, no matter how much you belittle me. In base-10 numbers (the standard mathematical system), 2+2 will always and forevermore be equal to four. Evolution will always be a scientific fact. Etc., etc., etc.
(And fellow liberals, please remember that these are necessary, NOT sufficient, conditions. I'm sure most of you would have much to add to this list. Remember that I picked a starting sample just to weed out the obvious insanity.)
3. Cease the hypocrisy.
In case you can't tell, I'm cynical about this list. I'm guessing that at least 99% of conservatives wouldn't be able to make it this far, simply because cowardice, lying, and denial of facts is fundamental to conservatism itself. But for the rare soul who somehow survives the first two tests, and really can be called a conservative...
Stop the hypocrisy. We have no patience for it. If you truly are anti-abortion, then you should be pro-education, pro-birth-control, pro-welfare, and pro-comprehensive-sex-ed. Because these are the kinds of measures that will reduce the numbers of abortions, not demonizing women and their personal decisions, or raping them with ultrasonic probes (yes, raping them), or considering whether they should be imprisoned for their acts. And what are the abortion rates of lesbian women compared to straight women?
Stop picking and choosing which Bible verses to enforce. You guys are getting a little better about this, but you still have a long way to go. Why do so many of you still hate on homosexuality, yet when it comes to divorce, suddenly you grow quiet? Jesus clearly said, do not divorce, and the ONLY exception granted is if your spouse cheats on you. Oh, and he didn't stop there. Jesus said that if a divorced person remarries, then it's akin to adultery (Matthew 19:9). How come we don't hear that in sermons?
inciting violence beating the "Obama is going to take away our liberty" drum when you have absolutely no clue what it means for a government to take away your liberty. Having to stand in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles? That is a hassle, not a denial of liberty. Paying taxes? That is your duty as a citizen, not an attack on your liberty. Potentially no longer being able to legally purchase guns that belong nowhere other than the front lines of a war, if they even belong anywhere? That's common sense, not destruction of liberty. You wanna see where liberty is actually being taken, right here in America? Go take a drive through a neighborhood inhabited mostly by poor people of color. They know what having liberty taken away from them means. You don't. So stop pretending you do.
Notice, i haven't even gotten to most positions yet. I've barely scratched the surface on climate change, gay marriage, women's rights, progressive taxation, the military-industrial complex, and racial inequality. But the way I see it, anyone that can't make it through the basic, sensible, rational filters listed above is in no position to dictate to me that their morality is somehow superior to mine. Again, these conditions are not sufficient, but they are necessary. No doubt most of you would add many more.
If you are indeed a conservative, and you somehow made it through this entire post, and you somehow passed all three tests, let's talk. We need more people like you.