Opinion

Conservatives, Remember Who You Are

By Jedediah Bila

Among the things conservatives most often complain about with respect to the Left is their intolerance of differing opinions.

I have to be honest and say that I don’t like generalizations. Individuals are individuals for a reason. We are all different, with different backgrounds, different likes and dislikes, and different aptitudes for different things. However, experience–growing up in liberal New York City, attending liberal Columbia University, dating liberals to the left of Barack Obama (I know, I’m a masochist), and years of teaching in liberal institutions–has taught me that the vast majority of liberals I have encountered have a problem with dissent. They are uncomfortable with debate that doesn’t yield unanimous agreement and are threatened by bold, conflicting opinions. They tend to respond with character assassinations, not policy distinctions. They somehow feel betrayed by your opposing view and in turn belittle and berate. They aim to censor. Not all liberals, but like I said–the vast majority of those I have encountered.

Conservatives are right to detest that tendency. True conservatives should welcome individuality and the independent thoughts that come with it. They should invite spirited debate, feel positively challenged by diverse opinions, and never forget that the freedom to hold those differing views is at the core of what we are fighting for.

This week on Fox News, Sarah Palin endorsed Orrin Hatch in the Utah primary. She articulated her reasons why, detailing them in written form on her website. Mark Levin backed up her decision, issuing commentary on his radio show. Michelle Malkin disagreed, conveying her sentiments on her blog. I went about doing what I always do–digging into candidates’ records.

But I’m not going to talk about Hatch. Or Liljenquist. Or the Utah primary. I’m going to talk about the backlash I witnessed on twitter and via email that made me feel like I had been transplanted into the belly of the Left.

Some Palin supporters trashed Malkin as a Palin-hater. Some tea party folks trashed Palin as a traitor. It got ugly. It wasn’t the healthy policy debate we conservatives know and love; it was the character assassinations we hold the Left accountable for every day.

It troubles me. Because this isn’t the first time it has happened. And I fear it won’t be the last.

So I’m asking you to think about that. Because it doesn’t make sense to rail against the Left and then mimic their behavior. You can’t hold someone else accountable for wrongdoing and excuse yourself. Well, I guess you can–but what does that say about you?

And if conservatism is on course to mimic liberalism, we are in big trouble.

Healthy debate is a good thing. Backing up endorsements with policy reasons and passionately defending your candidate is what we are all about. Hearty policy discussions are good for the movement. They keep us strong, sharp, and challenge us to think about what we say, who we support, and why. And guess what? We all won’t always agree.

To those who object to Palin’s endorsement, Malkin’s endorsement, or the endorsements of others down the road–myself included–speak your minds. Tell me why you disagree with me. Arm yourself with facts. Challenge me. I welcome it.

But the unnecessary name-calling and character attacks–can’t we just leave that nonsense to the Left?

Read more articles by Jedediah Bila

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53 Comments on "Conservatives, Remember Who You Are"

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No more RINOs and their training organization, the RNC.

Term Limits NOW!

… and no life-long retirement benefits following your single term in office.

Do you know how ludicrous $167,000+ annually for life is after just a two-year term in the US House?

In but a few elections, the power will return to the people… not the Republican Party or the Democrat Party.

OK, you have some good answers from both sides.But let me now tell you the siitlariimes :They are both Americans, and want to do the best for their country.Regards.Edit: Oops 2 thumbs down, coz I’m trying to unite and not divide. Way to go guys.

Totally correct Jedediah! I’m a conservative to the nTH degree. My wife pointed out my flaw some time ago but I have a difficult time remembering…so I try to watch myself.

Correction on my previous post about the looting of the Social Security Fund. The correct amount is $2.5 TRILLION dollars instead of Billion. TRILLION not Billion.

I believe the biggest injustice done to the American people has been the deliberate theft of over $2.5 BILLION dollars from the Social Security Fund. The thieves in Congress helped themselves to OUR money to fund their ridiculous worthless programs and lavish lifestyle. Now, Obama and others in Congress are telling us Senior Citizens the fund is about out of money and WE will may run out of our benefits and we should prepare for the worst. We shouldn’t have to prepare for anything. Congress needs to do whatever is necessary to put that money back in the fund in a lockbox to never be stolen by our elected officials again. You need to write, call and email your representatives on this matter. We need to hold their feet to the fire and not let them slip this under the rug. This is a $2.5 BILLION dollar rug. It’s our… Read more »

I agree with the article completely. It worries me that some conservatives claim other conservatives are not conservatives because they disagree on 5% or less on policy issues. Rather than debate the position they try to destroy the other side. It is in the long run destructive to conservatives. None of us agree on 100% of all issues. The question is what principles do we believe in and where our opinions may be wrong or disagree let us reason and debate based on the information that is available. The danger I see is that many “conservatives” will sit at home and let liberals win close elections rather than get 90% to 95% of what they believe in. Is there any question why the country is where it is, when good men and women don’t vote because the candidates are not “perfect” conservatives.

I think that people in this country are brainwashed about minorities, etc. I am of German, English, and American Indian, and Irish. I never thought anybody ever owed me anything. You get what you earn and work for, be whatever the hardships. That has what has made this a great country. I think term limits, and after serving your country as a congressman or senator, you should get no less than the honest working men and women in this country, regular social security and health benefits, that hard working people, in business and otherwise, recieve in this country, which is the greatest country in the world! Why should they be any different? Doesn’t make sence to me. It use to be an honor to serve in the congress and senate (you noticed I didn’t capitalise the congress & senate). They have become a plague on and in our lives. If… Read more »

Mike Miller Posted on As someone who works in conthilg retail I can safely say it’s rare to even find cool comic related shirts at all. Let’s hope the trend catches and you can get you phoenix shirt and maybe I can get my hands on a Blue Lantern shirt

I think our main problem is that we don’t seem to acknowledge that there is a big difference between being ‘conservative’ and being ‘Republican’! A lot of folks think they are the same thing. I believe strongly in conservative values because history has shown that nothing else has worked anywhere. I do not buy into everything said by Republican’s and I have my own opinions like you do. I do feel a conservative government is all that can save the blessings of this country but more and more I see two different routes to our destruction. We can take one route and end up with a country that will be ruled by about 1% of far left flaky intellectual loonitics where they want to control your life or we can take the other route where we will be ruled by about 1% of far right privileged loonitics where they will… Read more »

The link to Mark Levin’s rebroadcast of is important; a learning experience for me. I agree that playing the divisive, hateful, shameful games of the radical left only minimize our message to those undecided votrs who will determine the fate of our nation.

I couldn’t disagree more. The problem with politics is this incessant phony civility. Scream it from the rooftops. We are bombarded daily with the upcoming demise of our nation because of the morons we continue to send to washington.On a daily basis they are stealing our money, destroying our childrens future and finishing up their work on their version of the death camps , and being intolerant is the problem? The problem is their determination to destroy us far exceeds our reslove to return to our founding principles. Anger, civil disobedience, and outright refusal to comply should be the order of the day.

You sir, are right on the money – however, our American Society is so filled with distractions, e.g., NFL,NBA,MLB, Facebook, Twitter, etc.,etc., nobody is watching (or in reality should be fighting) to protect the henhouse – so the fox just keeps on going there – WAKE UP America, the problems WILL NOT FIX THEMSELVES!!

A point well taken. There has to be a difference between us conservatives and the intolerant liberals.

I was glad to see Lugar from Indiana defeated and I will be pulling against Hatch. Either you are a conservative or you’re not. Hatch campaigned years ago against the incumbent stating that his opponent had been in office too long. How long has Hatch been there? Too long. He’s been crossing the aisle with people like Ted Kennedy for years.

We have become a polity of incessant litmus tests. You are either (fill in the blank) or you are not. Diversity is fast becoming a vice.

The type of diversity practiced in these United States is a vice or a curse, you decide. Diversity seems to only apply to ethnicity or color of the individual, diversity of opinion is a no no.

I hate when I read a really good editorial, then see comments from “conservatives” which label the Obamas with vile names. I loathe seeing the word “monkeys” used to describe them. I don’t know if this is truly a racist term (seems like everything is these days), but it certainly reaches a low I would prefer to leave to the liberals. Hooray to Jedidiah for her commentary, and for her sweet spirit on panels with liberals who are getting red and yelling, and there she sits, as cool as can be, laying out the facts. Love you, girl.

I tend to think that it is not conservatives who say what you accuse them of. They are likely “trolls” attempting to give us a bad name, and unfortunately they seem to succeed.

Amen Jedediah.

In my opinion (note it is an opinion and therefore subject to criticism
by anyone from anywhere) there is no such thing as a right or wrong opinion,
only inaccurate or misinterpretation of fact. Opinion is the verbalization
of belief, personal belief, and I, for one, am not smart enough to tell
anyone their belief is wrong. People will believe what they want to believe.
I have the right to disagree with anyone’s opinion be they liberal or con-
servative and I do exercise my right. We can stop beating this dead horse —
it ain’t gonna get back up. Time to move on.

I would like to hear more from “et”.. A Humble Opinion, dated 05/25/2012 at 12:40 PM. Could “et” direct us to learn more about the separation of form from matter in Aristotle’s Mode of Being? I would love to hear Michael Medved discuss that concept in explaining the differences between liberals and conservatives on his radio program. Thanks Ed Coyle

Jedediah,

AMEN! I believe that word is still allowed for the moment?

I love you on Red Eye. I love that you wrote this blog. I can’t stand when the president feels the need to always belittle the Republicans or ????? I am an Independent. But it irks me because those Republicans are Americans and he is the president. How awful is that? I don’t feel like he is my president.

Jedidiah, your reminder to Conservatives to be whole and wholesome people was well written and makes a point for each of us to consider concerning the dignity needed when speaking and acting within the political arena. Thank you.

I AGREE WITH CHEETAH1956, SARAH IS SO SCARY TO THE LEFT AND SOME ON RIGHT FOR SOME UNREASONABE CAUSE THEY CAN’T ARTICULATE!!

Well said.

We can disagree – with out trashing each other. We need to keep focused on November – and OUR GOAL of making sure the Messiah has a NEW job and it’s NOT at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

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