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Voice of a True Conservative! (Response from a former Conservative)
So I logged on to my HubPages today to see that distinctive broken link notification. It appears Dzephaniah has deleted the article in question, "Voice of a True Conservative!", which means that anyone reading this will have to rely on the cut & pasted quotes from his hub, rather than getting the full context of his original work.
I had a friend a few years ago who was a hard, right-wing conservative. He was flabbergasted that I had transitioned from voting Republican in my youth to voting Democrat as I grew older. He was fond of paraphrasing Winston Churchill by telling me, "Liberals are young and idealistic, but conservatives understand how the world works."
In response, I felt it necessary to point out that he was essentially saying liberals are inherently compassionate and conservatives are disillusioned, world-weary people who want everyone to feel their misery. I'm not really interested in debating my former friends claim, though. I'm interested in your unsourced arguments. Let's go through them step by step, shall we?
Argument: Democrats are supported by immature welfare recipients.
"They really have the support of naïve college students that have absolutely no clue about life. The students support the democrats because of their leaning towards environmentalist and liberal ideas." -- A True Conservative
First off, the so-called "youth vote" applies to voters age 18-29 years old. Generally, most people are done with college by their mid-20's. Those who are still finishing degrees in their late 20's are, generally speaking, the ones going for Doctorates or Masters degrees.
Of the students attending college in 2011, 23% work 20 hours or more in addition to attending school. The total family income of 47% of college graduates is less than $40,000/year, meaning they have to work or earn scholarships to pay for education. And (you'll like this) among freshman college students, party affiliation is a near-even split -- 21.7% identify as conservative, while 27.3% identify as liberal.
Your next claim, that:
"Most of the other democratic support comes from uneducated people and the immigrants. Large percentage of them doesn’t (sic) pay taxes and are looking for government handouts."
Is also not supported by the evidence. The Pew Research data for the 2008 elections show that the young voters were not as crucial to President Obama's victory as popularly touted -- he would have lost some key states if no older voters had voted for him. The exit polls showed that while Obama captured 66% of the youth vote (compared to McCain's 31%), the two candidates were evenly split on voters 30 and above. Whether or not the voter was college educated made no statistically significant difference in voting preferences. An interesting point -- and one the GOP would have done well to note -- is that a significant gender gap was noticeable even then, with 69% of female voters aged 18-29 voting Democrat (62% of men), and 52% of women 30 and above voting Democrat (47% of men).
You might also be interested in looking up some actual information on the current state of welfare in our country. To sum up: 3% of the total government budget (about $59 billion) are spent on "traditional" welfare recipients -- the type highlighted in these maps of welfare recipients that so neatly overlap with Republican voting districts. Comparatively, 5% ($92 billion) of the Federal budget is dedicated to corporate welfare.
The difference is not, as you think, college education or welfare queens. The difference is something else altogether: The Internet. In 2000, voters aged 18-29 were almost completely even split between the Democrat (36%) and Republican (35%) parties. According to the Pew Reseach data, younger voters were less inclined to vote Democratic than older voters. By 2004, that gap was already starting to widen. In 2008, the Democratic affiliation of young voters had increased 8 points in 4 years, while Republican affiliation had actually dropped 9 points in the same amount of time. Voters identifying as "independent" remained constant. During this same time frame, internet use has tripled, meaning that it is easier than ever before for voters to remain informed.
Argument: Rich people are conservative, therefore conservatism equals success.
"Let’s face the truth folks: If the conservatives are as backward as the democrats try to portray, than how come that most of the rich and famous people in the world are conservative?" -- A True Conservative
The problem with this stance is not only that you immediately dismiss successful and wealthy people who "don't count" (ie: "Hollywood and entertainment riffraff,"), which is particularly ironic given that entertainers are more likely to work hard at honing a skill in order to become wealthy and successful, while 5 of the top 10 wealthiest Americans inherited their wealth. You might also be interested to know that the top 3 wealthiest Americans (Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Larry Ellison -- who, incidentally, earned their wealth) have signed a "giving pledge," vowing to leave half their wealth (upon their death) to charity. Heck, according to this conservative website aimed at a conservative audience, 60% of the wealthiest Americans identify as Democrats.
Of course, the article conveniently leaves out that many wealthy Democrats have gone on record asking to be taxes at a higher rate, while the wealthy Republicans have gone on record with statements such as, "Why is it fair that I should be paying a higher percentage of taxes than anyone else?" (Sheldon Adelson) and the infamous, "I like to fire people," statement by Romney. While it's true Romney meant his statement in a more personal and individual sense of, "If someone has provided poor services, they should be fired," when the statement was inevitably juxtaposed against his background as a corporate raider at Bain Capitol, it made him come off looking pretty heartless.
Thus far, you've made a lot of hyperbolic claims, but cited no statistics or evidence to back them up -- which is probably because the facts do not back up your claims, but instead actually contradict and falsify them.
Argument: Belief in god equates to wealth and success.
"Nearly every successful person that I ever met believed in God. If you don’t believe me look around you and see what leaders of the successful countries and corporation do believe in God, and they have become successful by following his principals." -- Voice of a True Conservative
First, I'd like to ask how many successful people you personally have met. I find that a really interesting claim, and I'd like to hear the story with that. I'd love to meet Bill Gates or Doris Fisher or Jim Sinegal, but let's be honest -- as a middle-class, under $60,000/yr American, I am not going to be running in their social circles anytime soon. It's not just a matter of wealth, it's just statistically unlikely: Of the current 313,165,610+ United States citizens, the trend of the last three decades has placed fully 90% of them (347,961,789+) in households making $100,000/year or less. As an average American -- one of the 90% -- the chances I'll meet one of the 10% in the day-to-day run of life is statistically unlikely.
Next is your assertion that wealthy people and nations become so by following god's principals. I'm not even going to get into which god you mean, because given the context and your self-identification as an American conservative, I think we can reasonably deduce you mean the Christian-Judeo (likely Protestant or Evangelical) version of god. While the bible is suspiciously silent on political affiliation, conservatives, or liberals, it is pretty clear on what Jesus thinks of wealth:
22. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.
23. When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.
24. Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" -- Luke 18: 22-24 (NIV)
According to Jesus, as recorded in the bible, Jesus recommended that the wealthy redistribute their wealth to the poor. As for your next examples, the list of so-called unsuccessful "atheist" countries who had turned their backs on god:
- Russia is one of the most atheist countries in the world.
- Cuba also doesn’t (sic) believe in God and see how well that they live (sic).
- China doesn’t (sic) believe in the bible.
- East Germany didn't believe in God either and believed in socialism, until it almost collapsed and finally joined the west
This is getting almost embarrassing. While it's true that, like the United States of America, neither Russia or Cuba have an official state religion -- although in 1997, Russia recognized Roman Catholicism as an official "historical heritage" of the country, something the U.S. has not done for any religious belief -- you are false in asserting that Russians and Cubans are non-religious. In fact, 73% of Russians identify as Orthodox Catholics (ie, Christian), and 60% of Cubans identify as Catholic. In other words, the majority of the population. Asserting that China's lack of belief in the bible is the cause of their economic situation is to ignore two things: First, that Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is number 8 (just below the U.S.) in world rank of top 10 wealthiest countries. Two, that of those top 10 wealthiest countries, only two are considered Christian. Three are Islamic, one is predominantly Buddhist, and four consider themselves atheist -- which, again, neatly contradicts your final point: "There is no prosperous country out there that doesn’t (sic) rely on the bible principals."
The rest of your hub spins completely away from politics and into a religious rant that attempts to defend your religious superiority without actually citing any factual or statistical evidence to back up your claims. I mean, to just address a few:
Argument: Religion makes people happier overall
At some point, you devolved from trying to prove a conservative political view to trying to prove why your particular brand of religious belief is superior to other forms of belief and/or atheism. Unfortunately, most of your arguments are subjective ("We have great gatherings,"), unverifiable ("We rarely get sad, because we are never alone."), or simply not sourced. What claims can be examined are disproved with no effort:
Your Claim: "We have happiness and rarely have mental health problems."
Facts: Research shows this to be false. In fact, religious people with mental illnesses feel unsupported by religion and unable to seek support. The stigma of mental illness within religious structures causes the religiously-affiliated mentally ill to fear being open about their medical issues. Additionally, 1 in 17 Americans suffers from a serious, lifelong mental illness.
Your Claim: "Our children give us utmost respect and joy to us. They will never consider putting us out in the retirement home."
Facts: Clearly, people of all stripes -- including born again Christians -- put their parents in nursing homes. In fact, 1 in 7 American seniors 65+ will live in a nursing home, and for American seniors 85+, the chances go up to 1 in 5. Your claim is just numerically and factually incorrect, again.
At this point, I have to skip a bunch of your assertions, because they are a) unverifiable and b) just plain laughable. But to address the very final claims,
Your Claim: "We NEVER take a government handout."
Fact: This was already addressed above, with the map that showed highly conservative/ religious areas overlapping with welfare recipients. There's no shame in taking government handouts. There is shame in not realizing it and voting against your own self-interests.
Your Claim: "The term "Single Mother" is non existant (sic). We only have children, if we are married."
Fact: I don't even have to cite a study. Just let me google that for you. Look at all those Christian support groups, church groups, and dating sites for single mothers!
You're never going to get anyone to take you seriously, even people who adhere to similar religious and political beliefs, if you just outrageously lie to try and prove your point. You don't need to lie if truth and the facts are on your side.
A final note
For any readers who actually read the hub I am addressing and my full response, you're probably thinking, "Why the heck did you go to all the effort to find the research to disprove an obviously crazy guy? He thinks he's a direct descendant of a prophet!"
To that, I respond: Well, I was hopping hubs, as you will, when I came across his hub, purporting to represent the views of a "true conservative." By the first sentence, it was clear he didn't have a clue what he was writing about. By the end of the first paragraph, it was clear he wasn't even going to try to back up his claims with cited evidence. And when I reached his list of unsuccessful "atheist" countries, I was so irritated at his complete and utter inability to even try to research his claims that I began writing this hub to rebut his poor political arguments. So I started writing my response hub right then, and only returned after I'd addressed up to his atheist countries claim.
At this point, I realized I'd wasted a ton of time and research trying to rebut someone who wasn't even seriously discussing politics, but instead was setting up an elaborate argument to explain why his particular brand of religious is vastly superior to all others. As a former mormon turned atheist, I just prefer not to discuss religion. It's a touchy topic. Belief and faith, by their very nature, are resistant to facts -- that's the way it's set up. I don't like to argue faith with facts, because it's ultimately up to the believer to choose when and if they want to question their particular faith, let alone their basic belief in a god or gods. But I'd already written like 75% of the hub, and I was like, "Eh, what the diddle. I'll go ahead and finish it up and publish it, and this way if anyone who happens to read this hub finds themselves in a political discussion, I'll have gathered a lot of the research for them.
So that's why there's a hub responding in all seriousness to a religious zealot. Thanks for reading!