Jason is reading the late Richard J. Neuhaus' classic work The Naked Public Square, and came across a piece of text he thought worth sharing. I'm glad he did because the passage is typical of Neuhaus' keen insight. In it Neuhaus puts his finger on a fundamental difference between how conservatives and liberals see things when their opposite number is in power. He's talking specifically about liberal and conservative Christians, but I think his observation is valid for liberals and conservatives in general:
"A more believable reason why the left is not likely to raise an effective holy crusade for political change has to do with the intensity of actions and reactions. That is, under a conservative government left-of-center Christians do not feel themselves assaulted. From a liberal viewpoint, the faults of a conservative government are more passive than active, more sins of omission than sins of commission. The liberal complaint against conservative government is that it does not take care of the domestic poor, or advance foreign aid, or expand environmental protection, or press for the extension of minority rights, or a host of other things that liberals think it the business of government to do.
In conservative eyes, however, the sins of liberal government are sins of commission: government does many things they think it should not do and forbids them to do things they think they should be free to do. They are notably outraged by governments that, they believe, advance changes in sexual and family mores - areas that could hardly be more value-laden. While accepting the prohibition of mandatory race segregation, they resent deeply programs such as school busing and 'affirmative action' aimed at mandatory racial integration. They react vociferously to government actions that get in the way of praying in schools, owning handguns, hiring whom they want, and living where they please. In sum, in very everyday ways they feel assaulted by liberal government as liberals do not feel assaulted by conservative government."
This is, of course, very true. Conservative governments by their very nature are glacially slow to implement change and thus are not a threat to liberals, but liberal governments want to effect change in every aspect of our lives, from taxes to personal morality, and they want to do it yesterday. Conservatives thus feel very threatened by them indeed.
It might be noted that the Obama government is liberalism on steroids, and is consequently seen by conservatives as the greatest threat to the values they hold dear that has come along in at least the last 70 years. The fear that Obama is intent on turning their world upside-down and turning America into an impotent economic basket-case is why there is a tea-party movement today.RLC