There is an old adage that reads "One half the world doesn't understand the other half and it doesn't matter which half you're in." Nowhere, is that truism more obvious than in the campaign battles of an American presidential election.
Sometimes, it is almost a miracle one party is able to hem out a victory at all in those elections where the divide is so equal. Were it not for that unusual group of voters we label "independents," we would have to flip a coin at the conclusion of some of these elections.
However, for most of us, there is little party jumping — it's Republicans and Democrats to the death — conservatives and liberals we are, and forever shall be. One might ask, "Why are we like this?" or better yet, "How can two rational groups of thinkers reach such diametrical conclusions?" We view the same canvas, yet we see two different works of art.
I'm sorry to say, but the answer is quite simple: One is correct, and the other is not.
My point in case was masterfully made in the letter to the Times last week suggesting the "true soul" of America was liberal. The writer immediately fell from grace when he first tried to define the word "liberal." He may have described the flight of a lovely bird, but not the persuasion of a school of political thought. Like most liberals when they attempt to employ history to defend their blind assumptions and failed policies, they generally get everything wrong.
The writer first suggested that Thomas Jefferson "was driven by liberal ideas" such as liberty, freedom and equality when writing the Declaration of Independence. These were not new and liberal ideas; they were the traditional and conservative ideas that the colonists had been enjoying since the founding of Jamestown. It was the English Crown that had recently begun to "bring about change" in order to finance its war with France. The Americans were only trying to preserve their traditional rights, which was to continue to legislate and be governed only by the laws they themselves approved. The colonists were conservatives.
Now, in regard to the War Between the States, the liberal who wrote the above-mentioned letter loses all credibility when describing some daring challenge by Lincoln that involved "wealthy conservative plantation owners." But then again, every good liberal argument must somehow include a scenario of class warfare.
But this liberal's "walk through history" gets even more imaginative. According to our friend from the far left, the classic liberal is none other than God himself. He apparently traded the testament of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John for John, Paul, George and Ringo. I wonder if our friend knows it was a liberal that once proclaimed "God is dead."
The truth of the matter is, God is not a liberal, nor is He dead. But now we conservatives know what the other half was doing while occupying Wall Street.