This is just a little insight into the minds of Democrats, for any conservative who wants to take advantage of it. I say this as someone who agrees with the left on virtually nothing, but nonetheless knows a lot of Democrats and considers some of them pretty good friends.
If conservatives want to understand what informs the thinking of Democrats, it’s important to start with this: For Democratic Party true believers, politics is heroic. They are convinced that society is inherently unfair and unjust. It would be going too far to say they think human nature is inherently evil, but what they do think is that it only takes a few evil people with lots of money to rig the societal system so that it hurts the powerless.
That’s where they see government coming in. They dream of a heroic figure who emerges as a leader and wields the levers of government skillfully and benevolently to mitigate the harm done by unchecked greed, ignorance, racism, etc. This is why liberals so often talk of “the struggle,” which they never really acknowledge can be won. Without strong, benevolent government constantly at the controls to make sure horrible and powerful people don’t gain advantage over everyone else, we are always looking at the virtual guarantee of widespread societal injustice.
They viewed the Kennedys as heroic figures because the force of their personalities – Jack and Bobby in particular – allowed liberals to envision them just the type of leader who would bravely stand up to the powerful moneyed interests on behalf of the people. If you look at Democrat presidents in movies and on television – like President Bartlett on The West Wing or President Palmer on 24 – they convey the same kinds of heroic traits in their personalities.
In Barack Obama, they invested the same kinds of hopes. There was nothing in his track record to suggest he could do any of it, but the force of his personality enabled liberals to see him as the sort of Sun King who could somehow make it happen just by being who he was (or who they thought he was). They see the judiciary in the same way, if not even more so, which is one reason they are going so completely insane over the Hobby Lobby ruling. They think the job of a judge is to help the women, the children and the poor, and this “apply the law” stuff makes no sense whatsoever to them.
Conservatives and liberals want two totally different things from government. Conservatives want competent administration of the limited number of things government really needs to be involved with, and otherwise a respect for private institutions and indivduals to be able to take care of things for themselves. Liberals want a hero – a super-figure who will emerge on the scene, set wrongs right, feed the hungry, save the planet and make us all feel better. They truly believe that none of this will happen unless government does it, and that a heroic-type political leader is what we need to inspire the rest of us to do what’s right and just.
Now I am not suggesting there are no cynical power-mongers in the Democratic Party. Of course there are. The political consultants and propagandists who serve Democrats – and I include the mainstream media in that – are some of the slimiest people you could ever meet (second only to many of the politicians, and sadly maintaining only a slight lead over many of their Republican counterparts). The permanent political class in Washington is dominated by these cynical bastards – people who would just as soon eat your children for lunch as exercise the slighest virtue, if it would benefit them politically to do so.
But I want you to understand the mindset of the Democrats’ base. They don’t trust individuals. They don’t trust private institutions (especially businesses). Many of them don’t trust churches and have little if any use for God.
But they keep the dream alive of a heroic government, led by a heroic political figure, that will somehow use the power of government to make everything fair and equal and wonderful for everyone.
So the next time you’re talking to a liberal and it seems like you’re talking past each other and not even speaking the same language, keep this in mind. You don’t think like this. They do.
H/T: Dan Calabrese