Sunday, January 18, 2009
[“Politics” by Korn]
The presidential inauguration which will take place in a few days will mean probably the most drastic change in Americans politics in many years. Mr. Obama, whom I voted for incidentally, campaigned with a slogan of “change”. It is hard to imagine an American leader much more different than his predecessor, President Bush.
This has caused me to think a little bit about some common political ideas.
Politicians are usually described as “liberal” or “conservative”. The Republican Party is conservative while the Democratic Party is liberal. What does that really mean?
Liberalism seems to mean one simple thing: Always favor the weak. A liberal believes in helping the poor, the oppressed, the blacks, the gays, the homeless, the handicapped, women, Hurricane Katrina survivors, Palestinians, a criminal on death row, endangered species, people in Africa, people with AIDS, basically anyone who can claim to be a victim. This seems to be based on a residual Judeo-Christian belief in the virtue of helping the poor. My impression is that most liberals are actually very cruel in their personal lives, cheating on spouses, dumping lovers, abandoning children and aborting fetuses and in order to soothe their guilty consciences, they will go to a demonstration to save the life of a prisoner awaiting execution or to save the whales. Liberals tend to be young, urban and secular although not necessarily. Communism was a liberal movement because it championed the poor. Liberals in the 1960’s favored Israel, because Israel was portrayed as being weak while the Arabs were strong. Today, liberals favor the Palestinians, who are portrayed as being weak compared to the Israelis.
Conservatism is little more complex. Conservatives support the strong, such as the wealthy, management instead of labor, the established church and monarchy, if there is one in their country. Conservatives also support tradition and prefer to see things done the way they always have been. Conservatives tend to be older, rural and more religiously observant. The Nazi party was conservative in the sense that it promoted obedience to authority and respect for strength. Darwinian evolution, which teaches that the dominance and survival of the strong and the destruction of the weak causes life to advance, can be used to support a deeply conservative political philosophy.
Political beliefs are similar to religious beliefs. Generally they are based on the opinions of teachers, parents and friends, on personal priorities and on emotions. They are usually not based on logic and facts. For many people, their political beliefs almost are a religion. Therefore political discussions often become angry and irrational.
Orthodox Jews cannot really be defined as necessarily conservative or liberal. Orthodox Jews in America will generally support liberal candidates because those candidates will usually support social programs for the poor which many Orthodox Jews benefit from. I think in presidential elections, Orthodox Jews will more often vote conservative because they want to see a foreign policy supportive of Israel.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 6:19 PM