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Jerry Shenk


'Old White Man' Conundrum

by Jerry Shenk
 

Sure, most of us vote "wrong," but when and how did peace-loving, law-abiding, elderly, white, conservative, heterosexual males become politically disreputable?

NOW and Planned Parenthood advocate for women. CAIR professes to represent all American Muslims. The NAACP defends blacks' interests. LGBT communities have many public advocates. Some jurisdictions have hired or face demands for Wiccan and atheist "chaplains."

Despite CAIR's cultural misogyny, Planned Parenthood's sickening abortion agenda and the oxymoronic weirdness of atheist chaplains, American liberals treat the wackiest of these groups respectfully to avoid violating the progressive orthodoxies of "cultural validation" and "inclusiveness."
But older conservative men are disregarded — until we exercise our constitutionally-protected right to free speech and are dismissed as "angry old white men."

Progressives view themselves as objective, diverse, benevolent, but, when addressing others with whom they merely disagree, they can be the worst offenders of their own axioms.

As an older writer of pallor, I generally express conventional conservative viewpoints. I welcome hearing from civil critics (and do, occasionally), but wonder why, rather than explain disagreements, inexplicably angry liberal e-mailers often substitute volumes of unrelated, irrelevant nonsense. Anglo-Saxon expletives, contempt, personal (including age-related) insults and related "pleasantries" are just lazy, crude ways of saying "I disagree, but don't know why."

Condescension and sanctimony aren't relevant, logical arguments. Neither is changing the subject. News flash: The definition of "open-minded" is not "agrees with liberals." Indeed, what's more close-minded and less inclusive than rejecting other viewpoints while vilifying and/or scolding those who hold them?

Unless motivated by intellectual insecurity -- fear that they're wrong -- progressives' angry negativity is baffling. More tolerant and inclusive than liberals imagine, aging, white, straight conservatives aren't anarchists. We acknowledge a need for government, prefer driving on well-constructed, properly-maintained government roads and drinking clean water.

But, older conservatives view the government's primary role as the protector of our guaranteed rights and freedoms. We'd limit the federal government's brief to matters specifically-enumerated in the US Constitution (an enduring document written by older white men), and prohibit government tinkering in markets. We believe that many federally-imposed policies should be left to the states -- or alone.

We're OK with manageable debt that doesn't plunder the wealth and welfare of current and future generations or jeopardize American security. Conservative seniors disapprove of self-interested, career "elites" formulating public policy. Informed by age and experience, we believe our values to be sensible and defensible.

If progressives wish to be taken seriously by older, white conservatives, they should listen to and treat us with the same respect they, themselves, demand, objectively confront and responsibly deal with the realities of culture and governance, and realize that approaching disagreements from positions of reflexive antipathy debases discussion, hardens opposition and discourages converts.

Left-wingers' shabby treatment of older, conservative males can be offensive. Yet, though some are both, progressives don't view themselves as hypocrites or bigots.

The offenders are too busy muttering progressive platitudes and insisting that the people they demonize pick up the tab for their liberal "generosity."


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