In a comment to my recent post on the teabaggers, JL Wilson seemed to suggest that I have been too hard on dumb people and social conservatives. I would like to take the opportunity to deny this. I am not hard on dumb people per se, just dumb people who do things that annoy or inconvenience me. In this regard, I am equally hard on smart people who inconvenience and annoy me. Also, I don't have a beef with social conservatives per se; it's the ones who want to force everyone else to adopt their preferences who get me riled up.
In many ways, I am a dumb person. I grew up with my head up my ass in rural North Georgia where I received a fourth rate public education. Once I got out of there, I made plenty of boneheaded blunders and held idiotic opinions for many years. I'm still prone to stupid moves, but I am more comfortable with my opinions nowadays, especially since I have a better sense now of what they're worth than I did when I was younger. I have also taken the time to become better educated. I have become more tolerant of my fellow man and their foibles over the years, and I have a special love for the intellectually challenged. I hate to see them manipulated to act against their own interests, but I recognize that they are probably doing the best they can, bless their hearts.
On the other hand, I reckon it's my duty to speak up when my countrymen of the dimmer persuasion are hell bent on self destruction and get enlisted in the cause of authoritarianism. They don't mean to be authoritarians most of the time; in fact, they often think they're working for freedom because that's what their manipulators have told them.
It also turns out that I'm a social conservative. My personal preferences by and large line up with the socially conservative template. Am I a heterosexual with deep rooted sexual repression? You bet. Am I faithfully monogamous? Yes. Do I like to have a quiet life puttering around the garden and doing wholesome activities? Yes. Do I dress and behave like the whitest white man who ever lived? I do. I'm even an evangelical Christian! I hate rap music, and kids with baggy pants and trucker caps askew annoy me.
The difference between me and the social conservatives whom I criticize is that I don't reckon that my preferences should be enacted into law or otherwise privileged in any way. I like to mind my own business. I want society to evolve naturally and for there to be a free market in culture and ideas. If socially conservative preferences are "superior", they will prevail without the need for social conservatives to enforce them with autos da fe.
I'll even take it a step further. Not only do I tolerate that other people have different preferences, I celebrate and embrace it. It makes me happy. It means that I live in a society that is in some sense free. It seems that many of my fellow social conservatives hate freedom unless it's the freedom to do as they say you should. What's conservative about that? It seems radical to me. Take it to its logical conclusion, and you end up with something like the Taliban.