Eve wasn’t deceived, she was curious. Conservatives view her act as a sin; the rest of us as that which makes us human.
The U.S. has been suffering a textbook case of complacency. In belly and in brain, Americans have become blubbery from overabundance, over-inflated from ego, and ignorant from valuing comfort over cultivation.
This disease manifests itself most clearly beyond the Great Culture Wall and into the heart of Republicanland. It’s the place where the word “professor” is said with a sneer, and public education is synonymous with indoctrination.
It’s the place where the tree of knowledge still exists – and its fruit remains very much forbidden.
For those on the other side of the wall, we are lucky enough to have in us a bit of Eve – who I do not believe was deceived when she plucked from the tree of knowledge. She did a great favor to her kind: giving us knowledge of good and evil, rather than being ignorant of it1. Her act is the creation of that which enabled humans to evolve: curiosity.
A person’s curiosity is inversely proportional to their conservative tendencies
It’s not easy to find a prude liberal.
There are a lot of us out there, though. Sex in America has always been taboo – begetting millions of only-in-the-dark democrats – but on a whole, Prudish Progressivism isn’t a great threat to Bernie or Busters. While all things human begin with sex, food, and shelter, curiosity is what guides us away from basic needs toward more interesting things2.
In the battle between Conservatism and Progressivism, we must remind ourselves the definition of conservative: keeping the status quo; resisting change. Conservatives like what they have, and as such, possess no desire to explore anything else. Change is… evil.
True conservatism is wholly without curiosity. A true conservative is threatened by curiosity, because the mere presence of it represents the possibility of change. Conservatives like certainty and safety: if what’s behind door number 2 is unknown, they don’t pick it and hope for the grand prize – they lock it, block it, and point a shotgun at it.
Complacency and Conservatism walk hand in hand in Republicanland
Ignorance is bliss just as conservatism is complacency.
Admittedly, one is hard pressed to watch the anger and vitriol being spewed from Republicanland and think the word “complacent”. The key is not mistaking complacency with comfort and quiet. Kim Jong Un is smugly self-satisfied, but that doesn’t stop him from launching missiles. People will fight to the death to maintain their complacency. Conservative America defends its self-assured unawareness like a Texan misremembers the Alamo – one can be complacent and simultaneously fighting like hell to stay that way. Ignorance isn’t just bliss, it’s pride.
Conservatism fights Change by culling Curiosity. The most common tools are insults and intimidation: dissenters are “snowflakes” and unflattering facts are “fake”. Disagree and you lose your press pass. The more Republicanland can ruler-slap the hands of the curious, the less they hear ideas that make them uncomfortable.
The result is a Conservative America where dogma answers all ills, and therefore has no need to invest in pesky things like science books, teachers, and drinkable water.
Republicanland is The Truman Show
People have escaped, but for many it takes a Truman Show force of will: to leave everything you’ve been taught behind because you want to know what exists outside the bubble. It’s overly dramatic, but not untrue. When asking a conservative to come over to “the liberal dark side”, in most instances we are literally asking them to go against the beliefs of their entire family, their friends, and probably even their dog3.
Asking a conservative to agree with a progressive idea is no different than asking them to commit treason against their father. Liberals need to understand that. Being a republican – being a conservative republican – is a matter of faith, family, and history. It’s not just policy and “doing what’s right”.
We might not understand it, but we have to respect it.
Eve ate an apple, Humpty fell off a wall, and Curiosity killed conservatism
Once liberals and progressives respect the intimacy with which conservatives hold their politics, then we might understand the heavy lift we’re asking of them and shape the dialog accordingly.
It’s easy to admit a policy is wrong, it’s difficult to admit a philosophy is wrong, and it’s near impossible to admit a core belief is wrong. Conservatism is all or nothing: it’s all core beliefs. That’s why American politics remains in a stalemate.
Eve wasn’t deceived, she was curious. Conservatives view her act as a sin; the rest us of as that which makes us human. Squaring those differences takes time and effort.
It’s not something that gets solved with picket signs and petitions. Nor will it happen by force. We can’t push them over and off the wall.
We can’t tell them what’s outside Republicanland. We have to make them want to know what’s outside Republicanland…
… we don’t need to make America great again, we need to make America curious again.
1 Yes, that is an oversimplification of doctrine for the purpose of serving my own agenda, but POLITUSIC isn’t sunday school – and that’s the same thing most churches do, anyway, so give me a break. back
2 But not necessarily more fun. back
3 Science has yet to locate a hound dog that is not a staunch conservative. back