Top Ten Reasons I’m Neither a Liberal Nor a Conservative:

I’m reposting this screed from 2002 because it’s no longer visible on the Web, and in the near future I expect to post some things that will get me accused of right-wing bias.

Top Ten Reasons I’m Not A (Left-)Liberal:

  1. Gun control. Liberals are completely wrong about this. A fair number
    of them know better, too, but they sponsor lies about it as a form of class
    warfare against conservative-leaning gun owners.
  2. Nuclear power. They’re wrong about this, too, and the cost in
    both dollars and human deaths by pollution and other fossil-fuel
    side-effects has been enormous.
  3. Affirmative action. These programs couldn’t be a more diabolical or
    effective plan for plan for entrenching racial prejudice if the Aryan
    Nations had designed them.
  4. Abortion: The liberals’ looney-toon feminist need to believe that
    a fetus one second before birth is a parasitic lump of tissue with no
    rights, but a fetus one second afterwards is a full human, has done
    half the job of making a reasoned debate on abortion
    nigh-impossible.
  5. Communism. I haven’t forgiven the Left for sucking up to the monstrous
    evil that was the Soviet Union. And I never will.
  6. Socialism. Liberals have never met a tax, a government
    intervention, or a forcible redistribution of wealth they didn’t like.
    Their economic program is Communism without the guts to admit it.
  7. Junk science. No medical study is too bogus and no environmental
    scare too fraudalent for liberals. If it rationalizes bashing
    capitalism or slathering on another layer of regulatory bureaucracy,
    they’ll take it.
  8. Defining deviancy down. Liberals are in such a desperate rush to
    embrace the `victimized by society’ and speak the language of
    compassion that they’ve forgotten how to condemn harmful,
    self-destructive and other-destructive behavior.
  9. William Jefferson Clinton. Sociopathic liar, perjurer, sexual predator.
    There was nothing but a sucking narcissistic vacuum where his principles
    should have been. Liberals worship him.
  10. Liberals, by and large, are fools.

Top Ten Reasons I’m Not A Conservative:

  1. Pornography. The complete absence of evidence that exposure to
    sexually-explicit material is harmful to children or anyone else doesn’t
    stop conservatives from advocating massive censorship.
  2. Drugs. We found out that Prohibition was a bad idea back in the
    1930s — all it did was create a huge and virulent criminal class, erode
    respect for the law, and corrupt our politics. Some people never learn.
  3. Creationism. I don’t know who I find more revolting, the drooling
    morons who actally believe creationism or the intelligent panderers
    who know better but provide them with political cover for their
    religious-fundamentalist agenda in return for votes.
  4. Abortion. The conservatives’ looney-toon religious need to
    believe that a fertilized gamete is morally equivalent to a human
    being has done the other half of making a reasoned debate on abortion
    nigh-impossible.
  5. Racism. I haven’t forgiven the Right for segregation, Jim Crow laws,
    and lynching blacks. And I never will.
  6. Sexism. Way too much conservative thought still reads like an
    apologia for keeping women barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen.
  7. Anti-science. Stem cells, therapeutic cloning — it doesn’t matter
    how many more diabetes, cancer and AIDS patients have to die to
    protect the anti-abortion movement’s ideological flanks. Knowledge —
    who needs it? Conservatives would try suppressing astronomy
    if the telescope had just been invented.
  8. Family values. Conservatives are so desperate to reassert the
    repressive `normalcy’ they think existed in Grand-dad’s time that they
    pretend we can undo the effects of the automobile, television, the
    Pill, and the Internet.
  9. Ronald Wilson Reagan. A B-movie actor who thought ketchup was
    a vegetable. His grip on reality was so dangerously weak that the
    Alzheimer’s made no perceptible difference. Conservatives worship him.
  10. Conservatives, by and large, are villains.

44 thoughts on “Top Ten Reasons I’m Neither a Liberal Nor a Conservative:

  1. Pingback: the diffident spectator

  2. I like this list. I am 10 for 10 with you on the “why I am not a liberal”. I agree with more than a couple of your “why I am not a conservative”, but not 100%.
    If nothing else, this post makes you think. And at the end of the day, if more people thought about what and why the believe things, the better off we would be.

  3. 10. Liberals, by and large are fools.
    There is a willful ignorance on the part of most liberals. They tend to be incurious, despite their charges of the same against conservatives.

    9. Reagan
    How he performed as an actor is irrelevant. He had core principles that fit the anti-Communist need at the time. His faults do not outweigh his accomplishments, IMO. But, history will judge him best and the jury is still out, unlike on Clinton, whose description is both accurate and his personal characteristics his downfall.

    10. Conservatives, by and large, are villians.
    Conservatives give more to charity than liberals. Conservatives believe the market system is the best means to distribute goods. Liberals believe the government will do the better job. It’s an empirical question that seems answered through experience. Capitalism works–communism does not. That certainly does not implicate conservatives as villians or mean liberals are not villians.

    Like the list. Describes pretty much where I am, if these were top 8 lists.

    Regards.

  4. I agree with most of that.

    I think Nuclear Power is good and we should build more plants, but the costs of fossil fuel side effects have been grossly exaggerated. Despite increasing power consumption, air pollution has been going down steadily for around a century or so, thanks to increased efficiency and improved emissions control technology.

    I think Reagan deserves credit for defeating the Soviet Union without a shot fired, not to mention pushing huge tax cuts through a Liberal congress.

    FWIW, most of the conservative things aren’t things I really associate strongly with the modern Republican party.

    And statements like Liberals are fools and Conservatives are Villains are pretty pointless. There’s more then enough issues to debate on without name-calling.

  5. Whoa!! I am reminded of the scene in the original Superman movie where the teenaged Clark Kent, frustrated at having to keep hiding his abilities, waits till nobody’s looking and then kicks a football right up into orbit.

    You just kicked one, buddy. These lists are awesome.

  6. While I agree that all the attributes you list are abhorrent, and that all of these attributes can be found on the respective sides, I find that “conservatives” are more likely to be open to debate on these issues than “liberals” are. Either that, or there are a lot less conservatives than there are liberals.

  7. You do realize, of course, that segregation, etc. wasn’t exactly a “conservative” cause. Wait a sec, I’m thinking political parties, not conservative/liberal. The parties then have never been conservative/liberal. The Republican Party itself sprang out of the anti-slavery movement. Jim Crow came into being when the Republicans stopped the Reconstruction and left the ex-slaves out to dry(hang or whatever) as the Democrats came back into power in the South as the ex-Confederates were re-enfranchised. I believe Truman was the first Democrat to desegregate anything. Most of the Civil Rights bills were proposed and passed by Republicans.

    But then, who needs pesky facts?

    The truth is that which is considered liberal and conservative changes throughout time, and that many of these issues aren’t due to politics, but other reasons. For example, women were pregnant and doing housework mainly because: no effective birth control methods excepting abstention (which most husbands wouldn’t go for) and no labor-saving devices at home. It would take all day to cook and clean and take care of the kids. Now it takes a couple minutes to get dinner ready — my mother was a housewife for a while in the 70s and 80s, and she got bored out of her gourd because there was very little for her to do. It didn’t take sunrise til sundown to do laundry. It didn’t take hours for her to cook dinner. She didn’t have to teach us kiddies herself. So she went back to work part-time when we were all in school. None of this had to do with any laws being passed – whether non-discrimination or whatever – but everything to do with time-saving technology. I would say women entering the workforce has a lot more to do with boredom than anything else.

  8. #5, Racism? Whoa! Slavery, segregation and Jim Crow is, of course, associated with the South during the many decades that the Democratic Party had a lock on Southern politics. Also, Lincoln was Republican and a greater percentage of Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act than Democrats. It would be fair to say that both parties have some racism in the closet, but to name Republicans or conservatives as poster children for racism is revisionist history. I add that the Democrats still hold the distinction of having the only (retired) KKK member in the Senate, Byrd of WVa.

  9. I disagree on the racism (see mikem’s comment) and there are two others I’d moderate a bit (‘family values’ on the conservative side and ‘defining deviancy down on the liberal side).
    For the rest, I agree completely.

  10. I like this list a lot, and there’s a lot of myself that I find contained within these views. HOWEVER: I think there are some hidden inconsistancies here that make me wonder how Mr. Raymond resolves his libertarian views with his dedication to freedom. I briefly researched the Libertarian Party a few years ago, and then dismissed it. Recently, inspired by my respect for Eric Raymond, I went back and revisited the Libertarian “Principles”. There is much in there that I agree with, but much that is apalling. Without going into detail, my impression is that, if the libertarian ideal were to hold sway, we would certainly be liberated from big government — but it would be replaced by a feudal, tyrannical, corporeaucracy that would ultimately be even more threatening to individual freedom. I’m just as much a capitalist as the next guy, but a world where nothing has any value unless someone “owns” it, is not a stable or prosperous world. The libertarian principles detail no system of checks and balances except the mythical entity called “the marketplace”, which has been already historically shown to be wildly chaotic. In fact, in a world lived purely by libertarian governments, there would be no bazaar at all — only cathedrals built as monuments to corporate greed. And that would be just before the complete social collapse that would leave civilization an economic wasteland.

  11. I’m with you on most, except that I’m conservative and I don’t believe in a god and a lot of your conservative list is made up of religious stuff.
    I’m with you on how you feel about all of it except for the Ronnie Raygun jab. I don’t think you have to believe in god to be conservative.
    Also, the whole “ketchup is a veggie” thing was a lie.
    My opinion on Ronnie Raygun was that either he or his handlers did a great job so why not honor him? If he was an idiot then I am honoring his handlers, if not, then I’m honoring him.
    The best Ronnie parody was SNL had a skit where he thought he was in a movie and he “…liked that movie where I was Governor of California much better.”

  12. Do you have to be anti-religious to be a libertarian? No, that’s not the question I want to ask. I want to know where “libertarianism” has been tried before. Is there a historical example of a successful libertarian political/economic system that I can go study? Even a failed example of a libertarian experiment would be educational. Or is libertarianism only a theory?

  13. My, my, my. Somebody got up on the wrong side of the bed this lifetime. I have to say that it’s nice to see that ridiculous overgeneralizations are not dead. Indeed, you haven’t left enough for the rest of us!

  14. >I think Reagan deserves credit for
    >defeating the Soviet Union without a
    >shot fired,

    Right, except for that little Viet Nam thing, and that Korea thing, and that stuff over in Afghanistan in the 80’s, and those folks down in Angola, and…

    OK, OK, I know what you *meant*, but really isn’t it appropriate to consider all the proxy wars that did happen during that struggle?

  15. If this post is designed to make one think, then I’m afraid its effect goes in the minus column. Speaking as a conservative, you’ve managed to shoot the liberal fish in the barrel so I’m with you 10 for 10 there. I’ll even give you #s 1-4 of the first 4 of your 10 conservative reasons. Theyr’e at least rational. The others tho, are frankly more embarassing to you more than to any modern conservative I know. Others have dissected the fallacy of absurdly constructed “reasons”, but at their heart, Eric, is a need to distort the truth and reality so as to rationalize your need to see yourself as being apart from, and thus on a higher level than, your neighbors.

    Loved your Rather piece tho, and welcome back!

  16. I’m not sure whether I liked the lists or the comments better. In any case, after posting two lists of Things You Have to Believe To Be A Dem/Rep and fisking them both, I thought this deserved a link. Nice.

  17. Why do the things you don’t like about liberals make them fools, while the conservatives are villains? I would say that communism is pretty much the most evil thing on the list.

  18. I agree with 90 percent but think your treatment of the late R. Reagan was both unfair and in poor taste, esp. the line about Alzheimer’s. He helped push the Soviets on to the ash-heap of history, reignited growth with his supply-side tax cuts and gave Libya an emetic, as PJ O’Rourke once put it. The Gipper was also a zillion times better than the present occupant of the White House.

  19. I didn’t like the jabs at creationism, as not every christian tries to legislate people into believing. I agree with you on just about everything political, and I’m about as much of a faith holding protistant as you’re going to find.

  20. ‘Nother double post. My apologies, I’ve been spoild by forums edit features. Anyway, on the anti-science argument. You mention that they don’t want new sciences developing just because they’re new. Whether you agree with them or not, you know it’s because of where the stemcells are coming from, not because it’s new.

  21. Jim Crow (i.e. legally mandated segregation) was the work of the Progressives, the direct ideological ancestors of modern ‘liberals’.

    As for Reagan and tomatoes, when I first read that cooked tomatoes have more lycopene than raw ones, my immediate reaction was ‘YES! Ketchup IS a vegetable!’. Seriously, I never quite got the ridicule that was heaped on him for that; ketchup is a vegetable, just as are potato chips. It seems like the underlying notion is ‘all vegetables are good for you, therefore anything that isn’t good for you isn’t a vegetable’, which is nonsense.

  22. Dave said “In fact, in a world lived purely by libertarian governments, there would be no bazaar at all — only cathedrals built as monuments to corporate greed.”

    I suppose this is the thesis of your comment. No support or logic behind it. Seems to be a belief more than anything else.

    I would really like to see this point even remotely proven. That would be a trip.

  23. It just so happens that I, like the semi-retired Steven Den Beste, am both a liberal and a conservative — a philosophical liberal who wants to conserve the liberal (libertarian) form of government established by the Constitution.

  24. Come on Eric, you’re smarter than this. Why don’t you spend your time talking about *your* thoughts rather than attacking ridiculous straw men? You should learn from the Kerry campaign that if you want things to change, you’ve got to come up with something original rather than just pointing at Group X and saying they’re bad. 99% of political blogs go like this:

    1) Link to something about Group X
    2) Say you don’t like Group X
    3) Insult Group X

    Part 3 is a rarely exercised option.

  25. Excellent lists, though I think you are
    a little harsh on the Gipper. He had
    flaws, especially his Republican-
    entrenched tendency toward public
    displays of religious faith (though not
    as irritating as Bush the Minor), but
    I think he left the country (and the
    world) in better shape than he found it,
    so I guess I’ll keep him off my list.

    I don’t see conservatives as any more racist
    than liberals. As you point out in Lib-3,
    Democratic programs and legislation to benefit
    minorities has done more to foster racial
    resentment among whites than anything the
    GOP has done.

    I’ll add one item to each list: Liberals –
    They need the political guts to stand up
    and tell the American people that the
    government is not everyone’s mother, and
    that each of us is ultimately responsible
    for our own health, happiness, and success,
    so quit whining that “something has to be done”
    everytime you’re inconvenienced or frightened
    by your own ineptitude at dealing with adversity.
    Conservatives: You need the political guts to stand
    up and tell the American people that the
    failure to adapt to change frequently
    leads to extinction, and that progress
    of all kinds is impossible if people
    don’t dare to explore new ideas.

    There, that oughta do it…

  26. While I sorta agree with most of your post, there is something missing.

    I believe that the current impasse re: healthcare matters shames both liberals and conservatives. We have awfully slow progress toward easing and curing the AIDS pandemic. We have not dealt with the real healthcare issues of an aging population. We have shut-down promising lines of medical research to maintain divisive political positioning.

    My position: The lack of meaningful and steady progress in healthcare will lead to more deaths, human misery, and cost than any terrorist threat.

    But the @#$%ing debate is about Iraq. Feh.

  27. I support Turok’s position. Too many lifes depend on the healthcare nowadays and “we” “must” not refuse this.

  28. Pingback: The AnarchAngel

  29. Are you the John Scherwitz who used to work for GD ?

    Mike Manry
    Arlington, Texas

  30. I have several objections to your claims, Mr. Raymond, and I am a vehement Conservative:

    For 1. Conservatives (a large portion of them) don’t worship Ronald W. Reagan. I don’t worship him, and as a matter of fact, don’t believe he was a cause of the Fall of the USSR, especially with his fiery rhetoric (e.g., “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”). I don’t believe rhetoric can be that effective. I believe the Soviet Union was on a path that could not be stayed. I do acknowledge, however, that Reagan did a better job than Bush, though I am critical of the both of their economic policies.

    Second. I am a Pentecostal. We are not Sexist, religious fanatics. As a matter of fact, according to Wikipedia.org[/wiki/Pentecostalism], we were among the first to ordain women in the ministry.

    Third. I, as a Conservative, am not Racist. I believe the Bible objects that, and I cite the verse which states “There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek.”.

    Fourth. I believe Bill Clinton was a satisfactory president, but unlike Liberals, I don’t perceive him in a “great” light. I do acknowledge that he had sexual ambiguity and that I truly hate his “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy. But at least he didn’t bring us into an unjust War.

    Fifth. I do believe in family values. But they don’t coincide with your interpretation thereof. I believe man and woman was and are fit to meld the Sanctity of Marriage and the Family together. I don’t want to undo the Internet by any means, if that were true I would lack much of the knowledge I have, and many hours of recreation.

    By any means and any circumstance, I would rather be an evil villain than a fool engulfed in idiocy like a Liberal. But the plain truth is, you are more of a Liberal than a Conservative, in the fact that you support choice and personal freedom, which is what Liberals are like. Conservatives tend to be authoritarian, just ask Pat Buchanan that, because he is basically a Nazi (his Anti-Semitism is a blot on Conservatives like myself everywhere).

    Aaron Kinney

  31. just want to address 1 pint- nuclear power- if you google searc h something like- near nuclear meltdown- toledo ohio- you will see how close we came to a disaster that put the lives of 11 million people in jeopardy- you will note on some of the sites discussing this near catastrophe- that’s it’s nearly occurred in several plants around the country- the french use the identical reactors- but have 10X the inspection as we have– it seems- shocker- that the nuclear regulatory commission is in the back pocket of the folks that make these things and is suppose the owners of the plants- if in private hands- i spoke to the head of the carpenters at the san onofre plant a few years ago- he said- if we want more money or improvement in benefits- we just sloooowww everything down- or just stop- time for a nap—-guess were gonna have to have lot’s a folks croak first for any change- i happened to be 7 years old when the first nuclear reactor nearly melted down in the west san fernando valley in 1959- luckily- i didn’t- back in the 1980’s their were folks slightly irritated to find that – secretly their was a nuclear reactor operating in a densely populated area- orthridge ca. if i recollect correctly and i believe it was the same darn company that nearly melted down the population of the west san fernando valley back in 1959- i bet that sucker in northridge is still in operation– good luck everyone

  32. Yeah, you pretty much read my mind with that list. I agree with you 100%. However, I probably lean more towards the left side, because although liberals are wrong about affirmative action, communism, socialism, and stuff like that, that stuff isn’t the top priority. This election, I’m not thinking about the economy or affirmative action; I’m thinking about life and death situations, like the war. And although the conservatives are right about most of the smaller issues, the liberals are right about more of the issues that really count.

  33. In my opinion, it is better to be a fool with good intentions (liberal), than a genius with evil intentions (conservative).

  34. I agree with the liberals list 100%. On the conservatives side, 9/10. I tend to vote republican but really want someone to come down the middle of the road. Conservative views on stem cell research, “family values”, abortion, sexism, and creationism are archaic. I have to disagree with you on the Honorable Mr. Reagan. Great President. take him over Obama or Clinton any day. I got to thinking after this last election, if you had to pass a high school literacy test to vote, the Democratic party would never win another election, ever.

  35. Liberals want gun control for everybody but still want the special privlage to carry a firearm with them for self defense WHAT A BUNCH OF LIBERAL ELETISTS SNOBS WHY DONT THEY ALL GO BACK TO THEIR PALACES AND STAY THERE FOREVER

  36. Coming in very late, some of my own thoughts:

    o Liberals as well as conservatives have been plenty supportive of Jim Crow in the past (e.g. Woodrow Wilson, liberal and dixiecrat.)

    o Likewise liberals as well as conservatives have been plenty supportive of the War On Drugs.

    o A lot of conservatives support gun control. At best conservatives (as opposed to libertarians) are “two cheers for the RKBA” – giving it the same sort of lukewarm support that they give to freedom of speech or freedom from arbitrary searches. They only look like extreme supporters because the anti-RKBA side is so extreme.[1]

    o One more big reason to not be a conservative is the way they apologize for police brutality and abuse of power. (And not just in support of the War on Drugs, either. See the recent flap over the Professor and the Cop,with so many conservatives opining that proper behavior toward the police is to tug ones forelock, very ‘umble sir.)

    o On his final points, I think esr has it backwards: Conservatives are mostly stupid, rather than evil, and liberals are mostly evil, rather than stupid. (Or at least traditionally so. During the past decade the conservatives seem to have been doing their best to make the Republicans into the party of Stupid AND Evil, with the liberals responding by making the Democrats into the Crazy party.)

    [1] The pro-RKBA movement is a profoundly unnatural alliance. It’s as if Bible-thumpers, free-market pornographers, and atheistic Marxists needed to march shoulder-to-shoulder in support of freedom of the press against an opposition that wanted to outlaw literacy.

  37. “A B-movie actor who thought ketchup was a vegetable. ”
    And here, sir, you lost me. It was a nice manifesto which I (self-defining as a libertarian) was largely in agreement with, and even where I wasn’t, it was within bounds of reasonable and respectful disagreement. However, encountering a known and false urban legend in this list – a myth which is thoroughly false and had been repeatedly dissected and debunked many times, and for which the truth lies as near as one Google/Wikipedia search – is a real downer. I know the author is a very intelligent and informed man – much more than myself, I am sure – so the fact that he included this blooper in the list means he got intellectually lazy and either didn’t bother to check his own data or didn’t even care if it is true as long as it confirms his opinion. I understand that this list is purposely written in exaggerated and in-your-face tone, but it is one thing to use hyperbole to illustrate a point and another to use an outright lie.

  38. Meh. So not impressed by this mess. You basically misrepresent and dumb down complex arguments and policy positions on both sides of the fence. This is why Conservatives and Liberals alike treat the voting public like idiots and children: you’re not capable of grasping nuance or complexity, so you get the dumbed-down, bumpersticker politics you deserve. Stop whining and grow up.

  39. While liberals are not the democratic party and conservatives not being the republican party in general, there are conservatives who are democrats as well as there are liberals who are republicans. Although you don’t see them often. I am going to be a democrat, but a moderate democrat. Whatever the liberals and the conservatives are doing in both political parties, they don’t give us what we want, they give the most for themselves. They’re actually lawyers and the majority of them are INDEED lawyers. I learn to hate them as much as myself and I got used to self-hatred a lot because that’s how I am. Sorry to say that your opinion sounds great, but there are a lot of misses here.

    On the side note: FDR is the one who screwed the Japanese for oil and lawyers love oil if you know what I mean. He is the racist type too, so he would have been a republican today. I don’t crave power for oil, I crave power to protect the citizens and fix the economy by saving the money, not spending too much crap we don’t even need.

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