Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Right Wing Lifestyle

Right wingers have frequently been vilified for their illogical views and hypocritical behavior. I must admit that I’ve been among those who have condemned such people, because I assumed that their views, and their unceasing attempts to impose those views on others, were a matter of choice and free will. However, I have become increasingly convinced that being right wing is not a choice, but instead is a natural, intrinsic product of who these people are. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if, someday, scientists demonstrate that the brains of right wing people are significantly different from those of you and me.

What brought me to this conclusion was the realization that no rational person would ever deliberately choose the right wing lifestyle and all the problems that come with it. Who, for example, would ever deliberately choose to believe that lowering taxes would increase federal revenues, or that you could reduce the murder rate by having more guns around? Who would deliberately overlook the fundamental inconsistency of advocating for religious freedom while simultaneously trying to deny gay people the right to marry? Who would deliberately believe that Creationism is a science while evolution is “just a theory”? Who would plausibly believe that teenagers can be abstinent? Who would deliberately believe that the sick and the poor should be denied health care? And who would deliberately believe that global climate change is purely a natural phenomenon despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary?

It’s hard to reconcile the obvious logical flaws of right wing thinking with the notion that anyone would choose to engage in it. Yet almost a third of Americans apparently do. And what a struggle they face in the pursuit of their lifestyle: trying in vain to defend the policies of the current administration, actually believing what they see on Fox News…. Even the Bible is against them, warning against the perils of right wing tendencies. Don’t believe me? Look it up – it’s near the section that condemns abortion and supports the right to bear arms.

If being right wing is a product of nature rather than nurture or choice, then we can no longer condemn the right wing lifestyle in good conscience. After all, we know better than to condemn people for things they have no control over. Here, again, is a difference, as right wing people do exactly this when they engage in racism, condemn gay people, or fixate on Barack Obama’s middle name. Forgive them – they can’t control their racist, homophobic, anti-Islamic tendencies. Instead, the next time a friend makes a snarky comment about a right winger, just smile to yourself, secure in the knowledge that they aren’t that way by choice. They just turned out that way.