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Personal Experience

Reader comment on item: Conservatism's Hidden History

Submitted by Dennis Middlebrooks (United States), Jul 31, 2018 at 12:49

Interesting article on conservatism and liberalism. Coming from a working class background in Brooklyn, I have found that the low brow elements I grew up with among friends, family, neighbors, and classmates could be said to have largely embraced conservative principles, especially on race and attitudes towards the non-religious and the LGBT community, and those that are still alive adore Trump and vote Republican, whereas the better educated element turned out to be almost universally liberal, tolerant towards "outsiders" and support the Democrats. Conservatism today is anti-science, rejecting evolution, modern cosmology and AGW, and tends to harbor clearly racist and populist sentiments. I am pretty sure that the near half of the nation that thinks the Universe is about 6,000 years old when God created it and that baby dinosaurs were on Noah's Ark is largely conservative, while most scientists, especially the leading ones, are overwhelmingly liberal and secular.

You are correct about the greater religiosity of conservatives and the secular perspective of liberals. I would say that David Barton and other evangelicals are good examples of how many American conservatives often openly distort U.S. history by ignoring the dominant influence of the Enlightenment in the creation of our nation and falsely claim that the USA was founded on Judeo-Christian biblical principles, although certainly that claim would be accurate if applied to Europe from the time of the late Roman Empire to the 18th century. Hereditary monarchies and aristocracy, slavery and theocratic societies are very Judeo-Christian indeed, while pogroms and bloody religious wars were very Christian.

I would say that among the accomplishments of liberalism in this country are the 13th and 19th Amendments, Child Labor Laws, Anti-Trust Acts, Social Security, the Minimum Wage, the Civil Rights Acts and Medicare, to cite some of the more prominent ones. All were opposed to varying degrees by conservatives of the time. Public education, the bulwark of our secular democracy, is under fierce attack from conservatives today, who malign the entire system as "corrupt government schools." Well, I personally am glad I attended public schools, from Kindergarten through my senior year at Brooklyn College many years ago.

Submitting....

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Daniel Pipes replies:

Your experience goes far to explain why the less educated tend to be conservatives and the more educated tend to be liberals; the former are less likely to think themselves competent to think issues through on their own.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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