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?