Jul 162010

But the facts won’t make a difference to dyed-in the-wool conservatives, since the facts will be filtered through their ideological frames: when the facts don’t fit the frames, the facts will be ignored.

The conservative worldview says man has dominion over nature: nature is there for human monetary profit. Profit is sanctioned over the possibility of massive death and destruction in nature. Conservatives support even more dangerous drilling off the coast of Alaska and are working to repeal the President’s moratorium on deep water drilling. Nature be damned; the oil companies have a right to make money, death or no death.

George Lakoff, Huffington Post

Rush Limbaugh on BP's Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill...
Image by Cory M. Grenier via Flickr

I agree with much of this article, but I think the central premise is somewhat askew. I see the problem differently as it pertains to the common conservative. These are people who have real concerns about themselves and their families. They fear the loss of their meager means and the intrusion of those not like them, and these fears are fanned on a daily basis by those they trust — those who seek to exploit their naïveté, to use them.

I’m not an apologist for ignorant conservatives, but I believe that at the core, we all share a similar set of concerns and principles. These people don’t reject a liberal telling them something that doesn’t fit their model because they’re arrogant or uncaring. They do so because they’ve been trained not to trust that “snake oil peddling” liberal.

This dynamic grows in both consequence and complexity in situations like those in the Gulf, or the Appalachian coal mines, or any number of cases where the economic wellbeing of average Americans is wed to the future of given industries.

When liberals rightfully demand a drilling moratorium, or campaign against dirty coal, they position themselves between people and their livelihoods — they ask people to cut of the hand that feeds them.

This is not a problem of a certain people. It’s a societal problem. We need to educate everyone, and when we show them that we care about their personal situation, they just might listen to us long enough to learn.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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