Above All Else, the Cause of Most Republican Ignorance Stems From This One Thing

1484983_10152075074702489_930300247_nI’ve had more debates with Republicans than I can even recall.  I’ve talked to sensible Republicans who give me the slightest of hope for the GOP and I’ve talked to such radical, right-wing fanatics that it’s actually terrifying how these people are among us — free to do as they please.

But there’s still a trait I recognize within all of them, and I honestly believe it’s the root of the vast majority of what makes many of them so hopelessly ignorant about the world around them.

Conservatives simply lack the ability to see the world through any vantage point other than their own.

They can’t grasp what it’s like to be someone else.  They don’t get that just because they were raised a certain way, that doesn’t mean everyone should follow that same set of rules.  They don’t understand that just because they are capable of something, doesn’t mean everyone else is.

To conservatives (most of them anyway) they really believe we were “all created equal,” but only in the twisted sense that we should all be forced to worship the same religion, and “pick ourselves up by the bootstraps” with no help whatsoever.  Which completely misses the point of what “equality” is all about.

If you want to look at the root of their racism; sexism; homophobia; Islamaphobia; bigotry and just overall inability to gain an understanding on the world around them, it’s their ethnocentric mindset which is the catalyst for much of their ignorance.

I learned a long time ago that just because was capable of achieving something didn’t mean everyone else was.  The achievements I’ve reached in my life are minuscule to some and extraordinary to others.  It’s ridiculous to judge everyone based upon what I feel I can do because not everyone is like me.  We all face different challenges throughout our lives which some just aren’t able to overcome.  I see children being raised by horrible parents all the time who I know stand little to no chance in life without an extraordinary change for the better or help from somebody else.

I think of it like this: French, Spanish, Russian—they’re all languages.  Sure, you might be able to learn them, but many people struggle at picking up a second language.  It’s the language we were raised to speak which comes easiest to us.  That’s how life is.  I might speak one “language” in life that another person simply cannot understand because they weren’t raised with that “language.”  Sure, some can learn it, but many will forever struggle to adapt based upon how they were raised.

Now I’m not excusing those who can help themselves, but choose not to.  There are plenty of people with the capabilities to overcome their hardships yet simply choose not to do so.  But those people are often the exception, not the rule.  There’s been this false presumption perpetuated by conservatives that abusers of the system are the majority while those who need help are the minority.  This, of course, is complete garbage.

Our compassion toward those we don’t understand or really relate to is a trait that makes Americans great — though it’s a trait within conservatives that seems to be fading into extinction.

And when it’s all said and done, it’s this inability to show compassion, understanding, or embrace the differences of others which is really the catalyst for what makes conservatives so damn regressive.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Dawn Marcy

    Expanding on the language thought. If everyone’s thought process worked the same way then there would only have been one or two languages through out history. Instead we have hundreds of languages that are further diversified by thousands of dialects. Nothing is black or white, it is a thousand shades of grey with a million other tints of colors. Give a person 100 things to agree or disagree on and maybe one out of a thousand will select the exact same points.

    • Finnsmom1

      Unfortunately, Conservatives see everything in Black and White. Good and Bad. Takers and non Takers.

      • stephen

        the bad guys with the guns and the good guys with the guns!!!

    • JamieHaman

      How would that be true? After all people travel through different environments, which would necessitate different words for different things. If you grow up in a swamp, and travel to a desert, you would have to invent new words. You would have to invent new “tech” to deal with different types of problems.
      When/if you went back to the swamp, you would be bringing another language, and adaptable tech with you.

  • Alan Foxman

    Ethnocentric is exactly right. I have a few republican friends and what they all have in common is this belief in the superiority of the European descended societal norms. When I try to discuss with one friend for instance why Columbus day really isnt something to celebrate from a Native American viewpoint, his response is to point out how Native Americans were warlike and enslaving each other before Europeans came here and brought “civilization” to the North American continent. I just shake my head and realize he’ll never get it. The funny thing is…he then goes on to blame our current “liberal” society for the fact that his kids show him no respect and act like lazy entitled self absorbed a-holes.

    • Mel Lewis

      This seems typical of the right, raise your kids and they turn out to be self absorbed a-holes that show no respect, so they blame it on society, when the blame should be on their own shoulders for not instilling morals and ethics on those children. This is his fault.

  • Finnsmom1

    Conservatives lack the “Empathy Chip”. Plain and simple.

  • Jason Hartwick

    Wait. I agree with what you are saying here, but it leaves me pondering about something: How is it that conservatives are bad because they are incapable of seeing things through others eyes, but you are good for not being able to see things from their perspective? I often wonder this, watching the kooky, weird things that conservatives say and the often kooky, weird responses from their liberal counterparts. I mean, look, it isn’t right for them to say you will go to hell for not being a christian, but in all honesty, if you do not believe in heaven or hell, that really isn’t too much of threat or insult, now is it? However, making the statement that their beliefs are stupid, well, stupid exists, no matter what your belief system, so who is truly being more cruel when the insults start flying back and forth? I am not defending the dingbattery that conservatives so often flaunt, but I am curious how it is that it they are the only people in the spectrum of thought that are not allowed to hold whatever opinions they wish? Yeah, yeah, yeah “they force it on me” – how? by “talking”? isn’t one of the big messages about “the war on christmas” that “why should it matter what words are used”? well, if you are not oppressing them by taking that away from them, how are they oppressing you by using words? but then “words can hurt” is one of the big anti-bullying ideologies, isn’t it? so why do bully’s words hurt, but saying that anyone who exhibits the slightest bit of conservatism or even (like I’m about to get attacked for) sympathy for their rights as human beings is stupid does not? Why is it that it is mind control for them to tell children their belief system, but it isn’t when you tell children they HAVE to be positive, totally tolerant of everyone not religious, scientifically and artistically advanced people or they are stupid, no-good *gasp* conservatives? I just don’t see how your way is any more fair or accepting than theirs…..

    • Barry Jenkins

      You say it is just talking points. Everyone has an opinion, and we all need not to force our beliefs on others. Please tell that to the crazy fox news watchers.

      • Jason Hartwick

        EVERYONE tells that to the crazy fox viewers. They don’t get it, they don’t want to get it, and trying to force your thoughts into their heads doesn’t help, it only makes their stubbornness come to the forefront and they dig in their heels. I am frequently criticized for what people percieve as defending conservatives. I am not defending them, I am trying to make the people who claim to have open minds realize that while conservatives are crazy, they don’t help with fanatical responses to fanaticism. Doesn’t seem to get through to them, either. Maybe it’s nearly time to just give up on humanity as a whole and just teach my kids to have completely open minds and hope they can spread it around.

      • stephen

        I think I know exactly what you are saying. And I have noticed this too. Just because you believe that your world view is correct and superior, and even if it actually is correct and superior, it is still counterproductive to have “fanatical responses to fantaticism.” Simply labeling them as “crazy” or whatever only makes them defensive, plus they use it against “us” all the time, I constantly hear things like, “I thought liberals were tolerant” from conservatives who are getting defensive about some attack, perceived ad hominum insult. It would be much more effective to respond with satire, humor, or a question that makes them think, not feel insulted. Treating others with respect, even if they may not deserve it entirely, is something all humans require to have a reasonable discussion. And you are correct, you would think more “liberal” people would realize this.

      • Jason Hartwick

        Thank-you so much. I was afraid that with all the “crazy”s being flung back and forth between these two groups, I might be the one who was ACTUALLY crazy lol

      • 65snake

        I think liberal people DO realize this, but no person has infinite patience; we all have our snapping points.

        From where I’m sitting, it seems as though more and more liberals have simply hit that point.
        Really, how long do you have to be patiently polite while trying to explain to someone making laws that affect you personally that grass really IS generally green.
        Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but no one is entitled to their own facts.

      • Jack Gossett

        I tried for a long time. the constant lying and belittlement wore me down. now I tell them they are nuts if I think they are.

      • Jack Gossett

        that and getting rid of big money in politics. some wouldn’t go so far down the rabbit hole without the constant propoganda.

    • regressive rightwing trash

      because regressive white trash republican scum tries to include JEEEESUS into the verbal/social fray and its THEIR JEEEESUS: not the princip0les taught by that great man. PLUS: when they get nailed with facts they either get louder or TRY2 change the topic

      • Jason Hartwick

        Thank-you for demonstrating what I’m talking about. You just have to go on about how horrible it is that they might want to talk about their religion, or base their values and morals on their religion. How is that any better than them telling you how horrible you are for not being a believer? How is “scum” not a bullying word? or “trash”? How would you respond if someone said that because you are incapable of seeing how reasonable Intelligent Design is, you are a moron, and a useless piece of meat? I am sure you would automatically change your way of thinking to theirs and not be upset at all with them.

      • JamieHaman

        Basing morals and values on religious beliefs would be fine if it stopped there. When a Southern Baptist (yes, direct experience) tells me that if I don’t believe in the Literal Word of the Bible, furthermore not believing that the world is only 5000 odd years old, well, I’m just going to burn in hell, it’s a little difficult to behave without laughing.
        When Catholic extremist Rick Santorum says that children of rape are some kind of broken gift from God, that as a woman you and your family must accept this as good.well, difficult again.
        I for one looked into intelligent design to see what was going on there. Some interesting things, but ultimately not more convincing that aliens brought us here. Which is not convincing at all, imho.
        Religious hard core conservative will not even look. That is the problem with them.
        No sane person expects any one to agree with everything they say or do. Hard core religious conservatives do, and will will call you the crazy one for not believing the things they believe.
        Religious hard core conservatives won’t even consider a different point of view for a minute, much less actually learn something about it.
        That makes it a real problem.
        They refuse to learn, adapt, consider or change by self direction. When they get reality smacked, as their much loved child comes out of the closet, then they see a little more clearly.

      • Jason Hartwick

        Here is the problem with what you are saying: You are saying the exact same thing that you say they are saying that is bad.
        The general idea behind what you are saying is: “Conservative thinkers are horrible because their way f thinking is rigid and they expect everyone to change their own way of thinking to match the conservative way of thinking. It is horrible that they think that way because that means they are not thinking like liberal people, which is the way everyone should change their thinking to right now.” … How can you not see the similarities? How can you not feel horribly guilty for saying that? How can you ever call any conservative on THEIR hypocrisy when you cannot acknowledge your own? THIS is what I am trying to make you see. Not that I disagree with your thinking, or that I agree with conservative thinking, but that the way you talk about conservatives and the way you treat conservatives is no different from the way they treat you, so you really have no right to call them on it. Until you change YOUR ways, you should never be telling others to change THEIRS. That is called tyranny, regardless of the goals.

      • regressive rightwing trash

        nope—- I would wink at them; recognize (AGAIN) that GOD is NOT to be defined by scumbags such as thee who “think” they are big enough TO define GOD and then simply go play basketball or go surfing. If U “think” anyone who has lived and breathed on this planet is “GOD” U are indeed a person I enjoy mocking. GOD cannot be defined by a finite being such as MAN——– and then to bring THEIR brand of superstition /voodoo into POLITICAL diatribe is truly deserving of the rhetorical beating I would administer. Fortunately ( for THEM) they are as capable of altering their “testarudo” thinking as my pet TEGU is capable of playing ROSSINI upon a harp

    • 65snake

      They are absolutely entitled to their beliefs. They are also entitled to say whatever they want. However, it goes far beyond words. Legislating their views onto others is not having and opinion, nor is it oppression to oppose such. If all they did was talk, your points would have much more weight.
      As far as calling them stupid; well, what about when what they are saying or doing IS stupid – and damaging to society as a whole? In that situation, calling out their stupidity is nothing more than self defense. If someone believes that they are napoleon, they are advised to seek professional help, not elected to office. No one says, well, they are entitled to their beliefs, we have to be tolerant. Much of what republicans spout falls squarely in the same category as believing you are napoleon.

      Your example of the war on xmas; This is really not as simple as it appears on the surface. This has its roots in store trends for employees to wish their customers happy holidays instead of merry christmas. This was how the store acknowledged that not all of their customers celebrate christmas, and to acknowledge the holiday season without alienating the ones who don’t actually celebrate that particular holiday. As one of those people, i found it extremely refreshing when bombarded with xmas stuff from all sides every time I left the house. It also ties in with freedom of religion, and many moderates and liberals understand that by marginalizing non christians, it gives even more power to those who yearn for a country run by *their* biblical values. For goodness sake, you have an entire political party vying to “out-christian” each other. That is bad for society, and that is not just an opinion or belief, it is backed up by ample evidence.

      • Jason Hartwick

        Actually, if you have studied the christian faith at all, they are not trying to “out-christian” each other. If they tried that, the u.s. would be a socialist country without the oppression and tyranny of communism, with no gaps between rich and poor, no middle class, just everyone helping everyone and not ever judging one another for ANYTHING.
        So, the xmas thing: so what you are saying is that an appropriate response to christians trying to marginalize non-christians is to marginalize EVERY religion, so that only the atheists are represented, in truth?
        The problem is not saying what they are doing is stupid. The problem is things like referring to “their magical sky people” and generally referring to the RELIGION as stupid, or as only being believed in by stupid people. If you have not seen this, read the internet more often.
        You are correct that legislation should not be based on religious beliefs, but at the same time, again, none of the things being put forth follow the christian faith, really, but are the beliefs of the people that were voted in based on what they said they believed, so shouldn’t they be taking action based on that, since they WERE voted in to do so?
        I am sorry I answered backwards, I read “up” while I was typing, since the response to the bottom was on the top of my head when I started lol

      • 65snake

        Well, I was raised christian, so, I am quite familiar with it. And I’ve studied further, after I left the church.
        They declare themselves christian, they wave the bible in our faces, and I have yet to see much outrage from official christian churches against them…rather the opposite, in fact. You are effectively employing the “no true scotsman” logical fallacy.
        I’m really not sure how you conclude that including every holiday is marginalizing anyone.
        I understand that some of the comments referring to religion as stupid, and only being believed by stupid people can be offensive to some. So what? I reiterate my Napoleon example. Why does religion get a pass from this? What separates this belief from any other irrational belief? Why is religion exempt from ridicule and derision? I reject this special treatment.
        As to the legislation issue, again, no true scotsman.
        Further, the FACT that they got voted in is the underlying problem. When you have elected someone who has vowed to support your interests by violating the constitution and the oath of office they took, then we have a problem, indeed.

      • Brenda

        I grew up in the midwest. When people said Happy Holidays 40 years ago it was simply a shorthand for “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year”.

    • Jo Clark

      “How is it that conservatives are bad because they are incapable of seeing things through others eyes, but you are good for not being able to see things from their perspective?”

      Couple of things here. First, we DO see things through their eyes, and we recognize that they’re wrong, rigid, and did I mention wrong?

      Second, they’re not “bad” for thinking what they think. We couldn’t care less what they think. The problem is in them going balls to the walls insisting that only their ideology matters. They don’t believe in majority rules. They don’t believe in freedom of choice unless, of course, you happen to choose what they want you to choose. They don’t believe in freedom of religion. Only their religion is “correct”. All others are spawns of Satan. They completely cannot comprehend diversity of thought, religion, practice, lifestyle, sexuality, etc. Totally foreign to them.

      Seriously, I don’t think there’s a liberal out there that gives one gnat’s arse for what these people believe. They can choose their nutty religions, whacked out thoughts, etc. We really do not care. We just won’t stand for them shoving them down our throats and trying to control us into acting according to *their* ideology.

      Hope that answers your questions!

      • Jason Hartwick

        See, again, the adverbs … you can’t leave it at “They can choose their religions, their thoughts”. No. You HAVE TO add “nutty” and “whacked out”. What happens when they say that to you? Makes you want to dig in and fight back harder, no? So how, exactly, do you think THEY feel? E.M.P.A.T.H.Y. Thank-you for the illustration. I appreciate that.

      • stephen

        Again, I think I know what you are saying. If we really, truly believe in our philosophy of kindness, compassion, empathy, openmindedness, tolerance, etc then we have to bite the bullet and be the “better” person, practice what we preach. We do it by example and illustration, not insult. If a conservative falls down, breaks a leg, stumbles on misfortune, we bend down and lend a hand, or get them some government assistance and say see? Or demonstrate some other aspect that shows we are right and they were wrong. That is how to change minds.

      • Jason Hartwick

        That is exactly what I am saying. Instead of fighting them with their own tactics, teach them with yours. by treating them with respect, you would be exhibiting the traits you expect from them. Yes, it is hard in the face of fanaticism, but the only way to prove you mean what you say about the way you want people to act is to act that way ALL the time, not just when it is easy and/or convenient.

      • stephen

        Exactly. It is easy to get angry in the face of fanaticism, one can forgive oneself for getting defensive. I tell people all the time, I am more christian than most christians because I believe in being christ-like and yet I’m not a christian. And the entire “us” vs “them” attitude on both sides is counterproductive when in reality conservatism and liberalism are traits found in all humans on a spectrum of ideology just like sexuality. I find people all the time that surprize me because they are stubbornly conservative on one issue and totally liberal on another. It is NEVER good or effective to place people in boxes or categories, (all conservatives are scum bags who only think about themselves) it is always better to allow people to grow and think outside of the box. Give people a reason to contemplate why they might be wrong.

      • Jack Gossett

        yeah. so many, including me have just given up on them tho.

    • Skip Patterson

      “but you are good for not being able to see things from their perspective?”

      We do see things from their perspective and it scares the hell out of us.

    • The problem is they’re trying to pass LAWS based on their sociopathic ideology–cutting food stamps (which Dems agreed to also, unfortunately, but not near as much), refusing to renew unemployment insurance, passing Paul Ryan’s budget, passing ever-tightening abortion restrictions, et cetera. They’re not just using words, and you know it.

    • Jack Gossett

      interesting. I do believe that my facts are the correct facts tho. for example I believe that action on global warming would be compassionate towards future generations. An honest conservative could admit he doesn’t care. But instead choses to deny the facts instead.

  • Susan Perry

    That’s why conservatives never take a compassionate point of view unless the issue affects them directly! Bob Dole takes up the issue of prostate cancer after he gets prostate cancer. Nancy Reagan takes up the issue of Alzheimers research after her husband gets Alzheimers. Dick Cheney comes out in support of gay marriage after his daughter comes out as gay, etc, etc, etc. Pathetic!

    • Jo Clark

      Let me add one, a juicy one.

      A conservative embraces Obamacare after they or a loved one gets deathly sick.

      Amazing how that works, isn’t it?

      • regressive rightwing trash

        or their state is ravaged by a hurricane or series of tornados

      • Jack Gossett

        bail out my state but not your state

      • Jack Gossett

        unless it’s just those people that need the medicaid expansion in their state. hey look, I replied to myself!

    • Don Gugliuzza

      In my opinion, Dick Cheney getting a heart transplant was a waste of a good heart.

  • Angel Rivera

    It is also false pride.

    They also don’t remember that their families were not in this position when they got into this country. They act as if the hard work of their ancestors has earned them the right to claim that they are special. They also ignore the fact there were a lot of people who gave the “dumb” immigrant a job when no one else would hire them. How many times their families back then needed charity to just get a meal or clothing. I cant ignore immigrants because my grandparents were immigrants that worked hard for my parents get the opportunities that they have had.

  • Jasterisk

    Actually, I know many Republicans that get help. They dont pick themselves up by the bootstraps. They however, feel theya re entitled to the help while everyone else is lazy and doesnt. They are bigger douches than you think.

    • Jo Clark

      Oh, I’m surrounded by them in rural Texas. There’s a mindset they have too, of “Yes, I get food stamps, but that guy over there getting food stamps doesn’t deserve them, but I do.” It’s as if they’re always one up on the next guy. They cannot possibly accept membership to *that* party. The *other guy* is the moocher, but not me! It’s very pervasive.

      • Mrs_oatmeal

        I’ve seen this behavior in my own family and when I have asked if their thought process involved the ” I got mine,but screw you” mindset, I have been left off of family “invites”. LOL

      • Amy

        The same thing in my family. Social safety nets are ‘bad’, but they were okay when I was on food stamps because Aetna denied my short term disability or when you even talk about taking social security away. My 64 year old father earned it, but he doesn’t seem too concerned about the fact that it won’t be there at the current level for me when I retire. I’m probably looking at only getting back 70% of what I will put in my working life while current retirees will get back way more than they put in.

      • Amy

        Not that I’m against social security, but I think it’s funny when you talk about taking something away from the baby boomers, they get all offended.

  • Jo Clark

    “Conservatives simply lack the ability to see the world through any vantage point other than their own.” Pretty much nails it, for whatever reason that happens. But it happens.

    I think also, when you add the extreme religion factor, you’ve added another thick layer to the problem. When they filter everything, and I do mean everything, through religion/faith, then facts and science don’t matter. If it doesn’t fit their rigid narrow world view, then it’s wrong and there’s no discussion and there’s no changing their minds. EVER.

    • 65snake

      Regardless of reality. Because it has a “liberal bias”.

      • Amy

        Because progress is such a bad idea, right? How many conservatives do you know still own a 13″ black and white TV with rabbit ears?

    • sfwmson

      while not all conservatives are extreme religious nuts, enough are that they stigmatize the rest. we should be careful not to lump them all into one nut bag.

      • Jack Gossett

        and many very religious people are liberals. Including Jesus, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

  • stephen

    I agree with the premise, but it would be more effective to say something like “The conservative mindset” or “conservatism” instead of “Conservatives simply lack the ability to see the world through any vantage point other than their own.” One of the stubborn traits of a conservative mindset is to always think in terms of black and white, either or, right or wrong. This statement sounds black and white. All those conservatives, every single one of them standing over there behind that barrior, they have no empathy, none whatsoever. But the entire “us” vs “them” attitude on both sides is counterproductive when in reality conservatism and liberalism are traits found in all humans on a spectrum of ideology just like sexuality. I find people all the time that surprize me because they are stubbornly conservative on one issue and totally liberal on another. It is NEVER good or effective to place people in boxes or categories, (all conservatives are scum bags who only think about themselves) it is always better to allow people to grow and think outside of that box. Give people a reason to contemplate why they might be wrong.

    • Tracy Lund

      Actually, in most cases, it matters not at all to conservatives whether or not you address their ideology with or without reasonable, sound, clear, non judgmental conversation. They will still believe they are being attacked in the worst way.

      THIS is what has led many a liberal or moderate person to just give up and call the loonies out for being loonies. I know, I spent the past few years banging my head against wall after wall of unceasing Teaparty conservative nonsense.

      What can a person do with someone who is proud of their ignorance? I’m not kidding, I have been ridiculed by many a Tea Party conservative just for using scientific process. That IS insane!

      • Jack Gossett

        there is a psychological trait involved there. depending on how you are wired you will reexamine your convictions when they are challenged, or double down on them.

    • careyt1

      You should read the book “Wrapped In The Flag” by Claire Conner, who was the daughter of two of the most staunch, strict, far right, conservative, fundamentalist Catholic, brainwashed, paranoid, John Birch Society founders, believers, leaders… I would never be able to dream up people like them until the author described her life with them. Even raised in her extremist household from childhood, and unbelievably able to come out of that strict lifestyle and become a democrat, progressive liberal, her parents NEVER changed, never gave in, SCOLDED her for having any sort of COMPASSION!! What kind of monsters think like that? These are what the Tea Party membership are made of. You cannot change the likes of them, I’m afraid to say. They have no empathy for anyone else but themselves.

      • emeraldeyes24

        Claire Connor is on You Tube and her story is FASCINATING! Not only were her parents among the Birch Society founders, their cohort financiers and close friends were the very wealthy parents of the contemporary Koch Brothers. The sole purpose of this group is to undermine and overthrow the government with a view to literal enslavement of the masses and a distinct class system of the rich vs the poor, no regulation, no control and utter chaos. Knowing this, it became alarming to me when Harry Reid was so slow off the mark in implementing the ”Nuclear Option” – it appears that the government structure and its leadership just does not have within it’s sphere of comprehension, a coup d’état by a sub group in their very midst as demonstrated when Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin and Louie Gohmert appeared outside the White House with a rebel group tearing down barricades set up to protect Federal property during the Shutdown. The psychopathy behind the Birch Society members and their utter lack of ”empathy” is disturbing and it continues to this day among Conservative extremists who would post racist comments about a Black president and threats against his leadership – both real and rhetorical. They should never be underestimated in their threat to the stasis of the nation. Nor should the Ted Cruz’s, the Louis Gohmert’s or any number of other lawmakers on the extremist political Right be given free rein. They are a real and present danger and it is because they are deeply disturbed, and bright enough to have made it into the upper echelons of the halls of justice and lawmaking.

      • careyt1

        Absolutely spot on my friend. I hope you don’t mind my sharing your astute observation, making my point so much clearer! Thank you!!

      • Pam Burch Simpson

        Absolutely the best synopsis I have read up to this point.

      • Jack Gossett

        Cruz may be bright but warped. Gohmert is just a moron elected because of gerrymandering.

      • Jack Gossett

        Rachel maddow is talking about sedition right now. not sure where she is headed.

    • Jack Gossett

      I don’t know any that don’t believe what they are told to believe actually.

  • ithinktoomuch

    This opinion piece is spot-on. There was a discussion about this on Bill Maher last Friday, noting how conservatives generally don’t change their tune about policies which help “other” people until it happens to them. Dan Savage said, “Nancy Reagan is for stem cell research because Ronald Reagan had Alzheimer’s Disease. Rush Limbaugh is for drug treatment as opposed to incarceration because he got his ass addicted to drugs. Megyn Kelly on Fox News is for maternity leave after she pushes out a brat. But, not before. Once it happens to Republicans, there’s the empathy gap; they can’t imagine someone else’s circumstances.”

    • SAHusker

      Well said!

    • Eddie Krebbs

      In general agree, but have to nitpick on one item: Even after it happens to them, many repubs still don’t change their tune. Think of the prominent repubs calling for an end to the social safety net despite the fact that they have depended on the same at some point in the past.

      • Amy

        Or Sarah Palin on pre-marital sex after her daughter pops out a brat.

      • lindylou

        Or accusing the liberals of “pulling the race card” which then then counter with the “denial card”. Or the “victim card”.

  • war_blur

    The one thing that unites all stripes of conservatives is racism.

    • miketothad

      SO true…

  • Shannon Looper

    Take the time to study Spiral Dynamics Integral and this will make a lot more sense.

  • Skip Patterson

    “And when it’s all said and done, it’s this inability to show compassion”

    Which is another way of saying that they’re pathological.

    • sfwmson

      I don’t think they are 100% this way. If the disaster is big enough they get it, they can’t help but see it and react accordingly, but day to day, personal disasters that affect only one person or a small family, they somehow can’t see those people also need help. Are their people who constantly rely on that help? sure and we should not allow that either, but the difference is we seek to help those people NOT do it. Conservatives just cut funding with no help.

  • Betty Caron

    And isn’t it Psychopaths who show no compassion or empathy with other people.

    • Andy Kinnard


  • joethepleb

    Empathy is next level…

  • M Kercher

    There is an explanation for their thinking, behavior and unbelievable intransigence, even in the face of incontrovertible truth. It is the very same phenomenon that affects addicts and alcoholics, and their complete inability, for so very long usually, to see their drug or alcohol problems for what it really is. It has to do with the phenomenon of desire and right brain dominance, of course in addition to their own influences in their lives, and ego. All human beings suffer from it to one degree or another, and in numerous ways. The more powerful the desire to see reality in the way we want to see it, the more our brain will twist, distort, manipulate, pervert, or outright block out whatever reality gets in the way of seeing it that way. Selfish desire is self justifying. After saying that though, I realize it to would take far to long to explain it here on this blog. It is more understandable though than we might think.

  • Pogonip

    In the picture with this article is a sign – two signs, but one of them says “You are not entitled to what I have earned.” When you look at the stats, you’ll see that the “blue” states pay more in taxes than they get back, and the “red” states get more than they paid in. In other words, the “red” states get what the people in the “blue” states earned. I don’t think they realize that. The “reds” that we hear from don’t have any idea that they are the takers, the “moochers” — the 47%.

    • sfwmson

      they realize it but that won’t admit it. and the takers in those red state continue to vote republican. I have a hard time wrapping my head around that. I think that is where the racism comes in.

      • Jack Gossett

        religion is big on that one. I think only about half are racist.

  • redbeardtravels

    ‘Only the closed mind is certain.’

  • Kelli Hernandez

    I think you missed the boat slightly on this one. Their ignorance isn’t really ignorance, it’s pathological. They have no empathy. They have no remorse and they have no regret….

    Having come from a background of wealth, I can tell you that the wealthy have a very difficult time empathizing with anyone, let alone anyone that isn’t of their perceived economic advantage. Those in their small groups, look down upon those who are not wealthy..

    Capitalism attracts psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists like moths to a flame. It’s about power and control. They are addicted to it. Perhaps a few of the minion are ‘ignorant’ but only to the degree that they may not be aware of their pathological hatred for any particular group, but the rest in power know exactly what they’re doing. Their lack of empathy makes it impossible to see beyond their noses. They have a sense of entitlement that is pathological too and their ‘illness’ is a mental disorder.

    We need full psychiatric evaluations done on potential candidates for office. I’m serious about that, because psychopathy and narcissism is very dangerous and we have a Congress and nation full of them.

  • Bonnie Harris

    Good editorial. I would add that there is an underlying hypocrisy in their world pov as well. Even when they do get help (from a myriad of sources – family, friends, govt, etc.), they pretend that they still accomplished whatever on their own. The “joke” of “govt hands off my medicare” is not just an amusing sideline, it’s really an example of how they feel entitled to take whatever they can take, but no one else should be able to. But also, that help becomes “invisible” to them…they just don’t see it as assistance. It really is a mental sickness…

  • ExRadioGuy15

    It’s more than one thing, actually….fear, ignorance, cognitive dissonance, Fascism, Oligarchy and Theocracy….so, that’s six things 🙁

  • kim dyer

    People like the Kochs, Waltons, Norquist, Romney etc. have never WORKED a day in their lives. They were born into extreme wealth, and they know nothing else. They think people who are not born into extreme wealth have themselves to blame for, in essence, not picking the right parents.

  • Bud

    I find the differrence to be that many Republicans also receive, or have received some sort of assistance, yet do not want to see anyone else receive any assistance whatsoever. That is the main difference. If a disaster hits their neighborhood, it won’t be a problem accepting money from FEMA. If they have money problems it won’t be a problem filing for bankruptcy. Yet if the government forces insurance companies to cover pre existing conditions, it’s socialism… as long as they don’t have a pre existing condition that is.

  • Mikey Solominow

    My way of putting it is that we have the most antisocial society in the world…

  • Quacker

    As I said in a FB post on this, Obi-Won said it best when speaking to Anakin in Episode-III “Only the Sith deal in absolutes”. The “you are either with us or against us” statement, which the #GOP LOVES, sure sounds like the Sith Empire from Star Wars…..

  • Casey Stein

    I completely agree with this. I know many “its my way or the highway” conservatives and this article really clarifies that.

  • Don Gugliuzza

    I think they have a rogue gene in their DNA and can’t help that they’re dumber than a box of rocks. No offense all of you boxes of rocks, it’s just an expression.

  • AL

    I’ve also wondered this same question, except as it pertains to other aspects of their behavior. For example: there’s a great amount of blind faith required to swallow what the GOP and Faux Noise tell their sheep … just like the blind faith required to follow Christianity that they so espouse. I don’t think it’s a random occurrence that the two go hand-in-hand, part and parcel.

    • Jack Gossett

      propoganda is effective. There are many liberal christians.

  • artisanr

    I think this is a big factor. I know absolutely destitute white people on Federal aid, people with government jobs, people who are non-Christian and technically have NOTHIGN in common with the GOP idealogically, or at least they should have nothing in common with them.

    The only thing that unifies them is “THOSE brown/poor/moocher people”.

    “THOSE people”.

    I live around people that will *egregiously* vote AGAINST THEMSELVES and everything in their own self interest to “get” “those people”. Sigh.

  • ExRadioGuy15

    In case I haven’t posted this before: in 2002, the late John Kenneth Galbraith, the economist who counseled FDR and the Democratic Party on how to get this country out of the GOP-caused Great Depression, launched the perfect quote about (political) Conservatism:
    “The modern Conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for the superior moral justification for selfishness”.
    Galbraith’s quote pretty much mirrors Mr. Clifton’s arguments in the article; if you only think of yourself, you can’t see anything through anyone else’s eyes. Remember also that PoliConism and Authoritarian-type governments like Fascist regimes are inexorably linked; always have been and always will be. Until the people in this country who are too stupid to realize it stop voting Republican and those Republicans who stay home from the ballot box in “protest” of those PoliCons start going to the polls and voting against them, PoliCons will always be the problem with politics in this country.
    Now that it appears Orange Mussolini (Trump) will become President on 20 January, PoliConism, once again, will take center stage with lots of infighting between members of the Fascist Party, the GOP.