Pick Wayne's Brain

December 21, 2013

What’s Your Comfort Level?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , , , , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 11:39 AM

After an interview in GQ magazine with Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson was published, in which Mr. Robertson had some harsh and completely inaccurate things to say about both gay people and what life was like for black people in the pre-civil rights days, a lot of conservative mouthpieces took to their various publications to support him. Stepping up to present his own hyperbolic testimonial was Red State founder and former CNN contributor, Erick Erickson.

Really, Erick? This idea gives you comfort? You like the idea that those who don’t love and obey your god will be doomed to an eternity of suffering. This pleases you, does it? Does it actually make you physically comfortable? Or is it just that the thought soothes or consoles you? Or maybe you feel so much grief over the idea of LGBT equality that merely thinking about people burning in Hell can cheer you. It really boggles my mind the way conservatives can find pleasure in the suffering of others. Why should we even listen to people like that when asking what’s the best way to serve the interests of all humanity?

There are definitely differences in the way the brains of liberals and conservatives work. But whether these differences are what leads to one’s political orientation, or is the constant thinking along those political lines what leads to one’s brain developing in a certain way, is not entirely clear. Fear plays a critical role in political thinking. We hear a lot of Conservatives denounce the president’s policies because of the “uncertainty” that would result. This is disingenuous primarily because it’s conservative Republicans who are constantly threatening to shut down the government because the American people don’t want what they want. Liberals can handle uncertainty better than Conservatives, who have a tendency to be afraid of more things than Liberals. And while we all react similarly to positive stimuli, conservatives have even stronger reactions to negative incentives. Now throw in a study finding that Liberalism is focused on advancing positive outcomes, Conservatism is focused on avoiding negative outcomes, and it begins to become clear why someone would enjoy the idea of political opponents suffering in Hell. Finally, add in the study showing that Conservatives learn better from negative stimuli and one can understand why Conservatives say some of the stupid, insensitive, ignorant things they do. They’re afraid. They’re afraid and they want people who don’t think like them to be punished. And they want them to be punished because that’s how they learned things.

Is this really the best group of people to have leading a nation forward? Do you really think a nation progresses by using negative stimulation out of fear of trying new things? Does the thought of people like this running your country, at any level, comfort you?


  1. Given that Liberals rarely seem to care about the costs of their supposedly positive outcomes and that those outcomes are largely sought after without any consideration for the worth of the individual receiving them, YES! I’ll take the Conservative any and every day of the week. They may be flawed but there a whole world better than the Liberals.

    Comment by jonolan — December 21, 2013 @ 2:59 PM

  2. So, jonolan, from your comment, what I’m gathering is that you believe money is more important than human lives, and that you think some people are naturally more deserving than others. I will agree with one thing you said – Conservatives are certainly flawed. And I would rather my government be in the hands of caring Liberals than uncaring Conservatives any day.

    Thank you for visiting my blog.

    Comment by Wayne A. Schneider — December 21, 2013 @ 5:25 PM

  3. The right to one’s own property is certainly as important or more important than people’s lives when the lives in question can be sustained only by stripping property from others.

    As for some people being naturally more deserving than others – No. I can’t see where, with the fewest of exceptions, anyone is naturally more deserving than another. Some people, however, are more or less deserving due to their choices, both in actions and desires.

    As for a caring or uncaring government – I’ll take a small government that is largely uncaring of personal results, largely because the government has been historically incapable of being effective at “caring” and produces more woe than weal for the bulk of society when they try to help.

    Comment by jonolan — December 22, 2013 @ 8:55 AM

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