The Myths Conservatives Believe
Conservatives believe a host of mistaken opinions, or Myths, that misguide them and cause them to misapprehend the entire world around them. There are a large number of them, and to address them all would be a prodigious undertaking. So I have chosen seven Major Myths that I judge to be the most pernicious. They are:
1. The Myth of Scarcity: We need to fear running out of resources, and we need to fear other people, who will harm or kill us in order to steal our resources.
2. The Myth of Self-Interest: Everyone acts out of self-interest, but the combination of all these self-interested actions results in the best possible outcome.
3. The Myth of Competition: Competition is necessary for survival.
4. The Myth of Independence: The strong succeed in life on their own.
5. The Myth of Religion: Morality and decency depend on religion.
6. The Myth of Tradition: Tradition is the repository of wisdom gleaned from the past, and the cornerstone of stability in society.
7. The Myth of Capitalism: Free-market capitalism is an unquestionably beneficial and moral economic system.
As you become familiar with the Major Myths, you will at the same time begin to see signs of what needs to be done in order to reverse their hold on people. Indeed, the younger generation has already begun to make corrections, and if they can just be allowed to follow their instincts rather than fall prey to Conservative propaganda, we can all hope to be free of the Myths in the years to come.
The Major Myths are rooted in Fear
From the very first, you will notice that all the Major Myths get their vitality from Fear. Fear is a debilitating passion. It makes you react rather than act. You give power to the thing feared, you allow yourself to be manipulated, and you make poor decisions. The Major Myths blend like the ingredients of an impotence potion. They generate a world view in which people have little power, whereas the scary forces out there have nearly all the power. It is no wonder that Conservatism, immersed in this fearful world view, always has a whiff of terror about it, no matter how much its adherents put on an optimistic air.
So as not to be misunderstood, I must point out that I am not talking here about the kind of fear that warns you of imminent impending danger. I have to say this because young people are all too prone to downplay the dangers of being preyed upon by unscrupulous people. You must learn to listen to that type of fear—the kind that tells you something is very wrong, that singles out someone acting suspiciously, that warns you when it’s time to run. That is the survival instinct speaking, and you owe it your allegiance.
I am talking about a different kind of fear—fear of an unknown, imaginary threat, fear that something bad might happen sometime in the future, fear that someone bad might try to rob you or attack you sometime in the future. This kind of fear can seriously warp your sense of reality. It can make you timid and apprehensive, because you start anticipating dreadful future scenarios instead of simply taking things as they are and either enjoying them or dealing with them. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. You don’t need the reactive and defensive reflex actions that such negativity produces in you, and you don’t need the poor decisions that such reflexes induce. Life can go much more smoothly than that.
Of course I am not counseling against prudence and planning. It’s wise and intelligent to rationally assess risks and devise strategies for hedging them. I’m talking about carrying the fear of future risks throughout your everyday life, so that everything that happens has to be evaluated and judged according to your level of fear. That attitude produces an utterly false interpretation of events, since the vast majority of occurrences have no reference to you whatsoever.
What's coming up in the articles ahead
We will be considering each of the seven Major Myths in order, and we will show that each of them is both wrong and wrong-headed. And that, being wrong, they deceive you if you believe them. And that Conservatives, because they believe them, are extremely deluded about the nature of things.
Until tomorrow, then.
8 November 2012
by Alfred George