Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Doug Anderson: The Conservative Mind

1. Believes that it is preserving the old ways, the ways of God and the “Founding Fathers” against encroaching evil.
2. Believes it is entitled to more wealth than others because of its moral superiority
3. Believes that a man’s home is his castle and must be defended against all.
4. Believes the poor are lazy and immoral and are thus poor.
5. Is a social Darwinist even though he may not know what the term means.
6. Believes that because he dislikes something the rest of the world should dislike it.
7. Believes that helping people through the public sector is “socialism” although he may not know the definition of the word.
8. Fears difference and equates it with evil and that which is forbidden by God.


1. The word “conservative” is ironic: they conserve nothing, especially natural resources, the condition of the environment and the nation’s wealth. They accuse liberals of raising taxes and wasting money on handouts to the less fortunate and yet will spend billions of the tax payer’s money on wars, money that will wind up in their hands because of the corporate involvement in wars. They will not, however, spend on the public sector or use their own hoarded wealth to create jobs, etc. The mindlessness of these actions shows up in consequences that are far more expensive than public sector programs, etc.; e.g.; more poverty, maimed and homeless veterans, poisoned relationships with foreign countries etc.
2. Their entitlement to wealth above all others is rationalized as their own holiness and God’s approval of in spite of scriptural admonitions to the contrary. They’ve created God in their own image. They tend to not be self-aware, to work on themselves, and are thus experts at mistaking their projections for reality. They go to conservative churches where the pastors will affirm their idea of themselves and send them home “saved.”
3. That a man’s home is his castle is a hangover from the dead myth of the American Dream, which most Americans cannot possibly achieve. In a very few years, most Americans will not be able to purchase a home and will be living in apartments and projects. He imagines he has to defend his castle against the hoards of lesser people who are always threatening to traverse his lawn and steal his belongings. He regards the”Neighborhood Watch” as a kind of commando organization staffed by the righteous. It is no accident that the Florida gun law responsible for the death of Trayvon Williams is referred to as “castle doctrine.”
4. The poor, he thinks, are responsible for their own plight because they are morally inferior. This chimes well with racism, overt or denied. They grudgingly tolerate the wealth of black athletes because they like football, etc., but to them, most people of color are people always scheming to rob them. The GOP has exploited this baseline racism with great success. This is the grand rationalization of greed. He doesn’t like “white trash” either and were there not people of color, immigrants, etc., he would choose them to deplore, as earlier generations did the Irish, Italians and Jews. That way there’s always someone to hate or feel morally superior to.
5. He believes he is “the fittest” and has survived because of. He has never read Darwin, and is thus unable to distinguish the theory of natural selection from Social Darwinism. In his understanding, science and God are one in this instance.
6. He believes things that upset him are morally wrong. If he is disgusted with homosexuals, he believes they should be eradicated or at the very least “cured.” He experiences cognitive dissonance while viewing art or film or reading books or listening to music which does not add up as an affirmation of his narcissism, and which leaves him with the task of negotiating ambiguity or uncertainty.
7. He believes that giving poor people money will keep them lazy and worthless and that all forms of public aid should be cut off: food stamps, social security, welfare, etc. And yet he is comfortable with the bailing out of exploitive and destructive organizations with taxpayer money.
8. His fear of difference is only possible because of his poor relationship with his unconscious. He hates homosexuals because he fears his own human sexual complexity. He projects these fears outward in the form of sexual rage and homophobia. His fear of women and his need to control them with medieval legislation of their bodies is pathological. This unconsciousness, and its resulting narcissism, splits him in half, ensures that he will fall from grace somewhere down the line. The news is full of conservatives, especially “family values” types, who get busted with their hands down the wrong people’s pants.

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Conservatives’ lack of self-knowledge is responsible for most of the world’s violence and suffering. One of the most remarkable things is that Islamists, with their obsession with the crueler points of Sharia Law, are the psychological mirror of the American conservative who cannot help but finance the wars and exploitive policies that in turn create his enemy. The Taliban are merely the Islamic version of the American Tea Party.

copyright 2015 by Doug Anderson

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