Something Both Conservatives and Liberals Agree On: Lies are Much Better than the Truth
With all the fundamental differences between conservatives and liberals and all the nasty fighting between them, they both agree on one very fundamental thing. They both agree that lies are better than the truth. They both agree that societies are better off with "good" ideas (even if false) that make the society better and therefore are to be permitted and encouraged.
The conservatives and liberals differ on what these necessary false ideas are, but they both agree that false ideas are definitely needed. The promoters of the two camps fight like hell to make sure their ideas are the dominant ideas in the society. Politics is basically a fight between different groups for dominance of people like themselves in the society. Fights over ideas are just a reflection of the self-interests of the various groups.
Of course, both sides believe that everything they say is the truth. When we look back on previous times we can see how wrong people were in their thinking about their societies. But at any given time, the people of the different societies believed that they knew the truth as best as it could be had, rather than just passing ideas that would be replaced by others. But at some time in the future, people will look back upon the ideas of early 21st century and see how limited they were.
Much of the natural sciences are politically acceptable to both sides. The conflict between reality and the preference for a nicer reality comes in big time around the biological science. The theory of evolution is now a long accepted idea in the biological sciences (except where it is prevented from being taught in certain conservative areas). But evolution is not acceptable to many conservatives, especially among religious evangelicals. They prefer a nicer view of the beginnings of life in general and human beings in particular. They feel the theory of evolution would undermine the basic society and produce a much worse society.
Most political liberals have made their peace with evolution, except where it applies to the social sciences. Most liberals/sociologists do not believe that evolution has fundamentally affected and continues to affect human behavior and ideas. They don't want to apply the theory to humans. And the basic justification for this is the same as the conservative justification. They believe the theory of evolution would undermine the basic society and produce a much worse society. They believe, for instance, that it would encourage racism because at one time biology was used to justify racism. (Of course, the sociologists completely ignore the fact that today's conservatives use the language of sociology rather than biology to justify racism. Conservatives will always use the dominant thought in a period of time. Since biological justifications for racism brand one as definitely a racist, conservatives use sociological language to justify racism. Black and Hispanics, for instance, are not biologically inferior, but are sociologically inferior because they have more of a sub-culture reflecting their lower socio-economic status and all the problems associated with having limited resources, mainly money.) In explaining human behavior, most liberals think it's terrible that someone would refer to biology, evolution and DNA in the explanation of that behavior. There are so many evolutionary-based explanations that they completely reject. For instance, if you tried to explain criminal behavior in part, and only in part, with evolution and DNA, they get morally upset. They believe it is just morally and politically wrong to promote the role of evolution in explaining human behavior. And they will refuse to consider the natural sciences as applied to human behavior. They think the lie, the false idea, is better for a good society. So do the conservatives.
Backing up their ideas that the lies are better than the truth is the very idea that ideas, mainly social ideas, are more just as important or even more important than the idea that the hard facts that human beings are primarily motivated by the self-interests of their groups, of which ideas are only one part. Many thinkers about sociology believe that man is not mainly a liar using ideas in the struggle for their fair share or more than their fair share of the good things of life. They believe that man is mostly motivated by high ideals. Consider the various explanations of slavery. To this day many conservatives in the USA actually believe that the South did not fight for slavery and its continuance in the future, but for such "noble" ideas as states rights or because the North invaded the South or because they were fighting for their way of life (which, by the way, was based on slavery itself and its justifications). Human beings love to cover their base, self-interested idea in great, "human", lofty terms so that it justifies their behaviors. Many conservatives can't admit that slavery was behind virtually every element of Southern life, including Southern ideas.
We know conservatives have a problem with racism, but so do liberals. The USA is just coming out of its long dominance by reactionary conservatism. This was the brand of conservatism promoted by Ronald Reagan. Reactionary conservatism was the justification for massive white resistance against the civil rights legislation of the 1960s. Instead of facing up to the reality of the extreme racism behind reactionary conservatism, most liberals took up this idea of "cultural pluralism" and fooled themselves into thinking that this was an effective way to fight extreme racism. Looking back we can see just how ineffective "cultural pluralism" was in fighting reactionary conservatism. This nation was bordering on fascism and still liberals would not fundamentally confront that fact. No doubt, most of them were afraid of losing their jobs, if not their lives. According to the liberals, it was safe to call blacks "African-Americans" as if they were now no different than "Irish Americans" in American life and society.
I really think the idea of "cultural pluralism" was an idea, like "separate but equal", that liberals chose to follow because it brought about greater racial and ethnic peace in the society. (The lie was preferable to the truth.) And it did do that! It allowed liberals to "lay low" and not protest against the racism inherent in reactionary conservatism, so they could keep their jobs and their lives. For instance, white sociologists teaching university courses about race relations has become a very rare thing. This whole, extremely important, area of sociology was abandoned to Black Studies Departments. You had to be black to teach about racism, as if whites too were not affected by the racism in this very conservative and racist nation. And the black liberals accepted the modern view of separate but equal just as much as the white liberals. But white professors did escape the suspicion of teaching covert racism. It did bring them greater peace. It's an old thought: Peace, yes, but at what price?
I wrote an article about SOCIOLOGY AS POLITICALLY ACCEPTABLE LIES. Of course, this article could not have been printed by liberals because they prefer their lies to the truth. I insert this article here to show how many ways liberals give preference to false, but politically acceptable, idea. You can read the article for many of the other examples of politically preferable lies. I want to go on to a related topic.
Since both conservatives and liberals prefer the lie to the truth and think they are doing the "right thing" by doing so, one has to say that if this were a court of law their entire belief system (testimony) would be called into question. Their basic integrity is called into question.
I believe that in my writings I am closer to the truth than conservatives or liberals. I do not see a conflict between hard truths and making a better society. Certainly American liberals have not been able to bring about a better society with their ideas. They let us almost fall into fascism as they talked about their "plural but equal" crap. And I submit that my writings are closer to the truth because I don't believe that lying trumps the truth because it is better for society. I believe that the natural sciences are a permanent part of the social sciences and absolutely necessary to explain the behavior of human beings. And, by the way, my political beliefs are not hampered by searching for the truth behind the lies, for I am more liberal than are the so-called liberals. The truth will set you free, but accepting politically acceptable ideas will keep your enslaved (just as our present liberals are).
Patrick Louis Cooney, June 28, 2009
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