Over the past few years, from when I first started exploring this whole "blogging" thing people were doing, I started reading political blogs - or at least blogs where people voiced their political opinions along with their other opinions on things. Fairly early on, I encountered a phrase on conservative/right leaning blogs. "Liberalism is a mental disorder."
At the time, I thought of it as hyperbole. Rhetoric. The deliberate baiting of opposing opinions.
As time went on, I found myself on facebook, which put me back in touch with a number of people I was no longer in contact with - after moving 17 or so times, there's a fair number of those - and met new people as well. With my kids needing less of my attention, I've become more involved with groups both online and in real life.
Of course, I've also been writing my own blog, doing my own research, and exploring ideas I would probably not have encountered were it not for this grand virtual world that exists on the Internet.
In the process, some of my opinions on things have grown and changed, while others have solidified into something more cohesive and less ambiguous. Writing things down has a way of clarifying thoughts and ideas in a way that speaking or just thinking about them doesn't.
Personally, I am a political agnostic. While I tend to lean towards the libertarian side of things, I'm not completely libertarian. Currently my views are considered right of centre - at least in Canada - but there are things on the left that I agree with, too. The definition that best fits my views is Classical Liberal, which is more what the Conservatives are now than the Liberals, but neither truly fits it. When it comes time to vote, I try to educate myself on the parties that are running in my area, as well as the individuals, and try to vote for either the person or the party that best represents what I believe to be the most beneficial to Canada. So far, I haven't found myself having to choose between a person I want to support, running for a party I don't, and vice versa.
I've noticed a few things over the years, and I'm finding them increasingly disturbing.
After years of the Liberal Party systematically destroying the country, I had some hope when the CPCs finally drove them out. I saw it a bit like a lot of experienced home schoolers say to new ones; no matter what the challenges, it would be awfully hard for any parent to do worse than the school system already is. The Conservatives have their problems, but they'd have to screw up pretty badly to be worse than the Liberals were. So far, I haven't been completely disappointed, and have even felt somewhat pleased by how our current government is doing. Especially when the economy started to fail. There is no doubt in my mind that, had the Liberals or a coalition government been in power, Canada would have tanked quite spectacularly.
Clearly, enough Canadians agree - Canadians not only voted the Conservatives back in again, but we gave them a slightly stronger minority, even with the Quebec-only Bloc messing up the numbers. (As an aside, I think that if a party wants to run federally, they should have members running in at least 2 provinces. Otherwise, stick to provincial.)
Among my various contacts, though, you'd think it was the other way around. Conservatives or right of centre folks tend to be a rather quiet lot, I've noticed. Considering how many times I've bit my tongue to keep the peace myself, I can understand why. Leftists are awfully good at shouting down dissent, and if they can't do it that way, they will manipulate things in the background to drive out those who disagree with them - and I don't mean just for political views. Conservatives and those on the right, who value individual liberty so much, are more willing to live and let live, and I notice that leftists take full advantage of that. Liberal, Green and NDP supporters tend to be much more vocal and public. They're more likely to have loud, boisterous demonstrations, or start up facebook groups against whatever conservative viewpoint they disagree with.
They also tend to have a knee-jerk reaction against anything proposed by the current government, no matter what it is. The left has never been able to accept their loss against the CPC, and have been trying their hardest to sabotage anything they can, while at the same time trying to manufacture scandal after scandal. While the Libs were in power, these same people would completely ignore or accept far worse, but a Conservative can't put even a toe out of line (and only they get to decide where that line is) without huge, dramatic outrage.
Just an example of the leftist contradictions, many of these people fully supported the idea of overturning our elected government with an unelected coalition - one that we later found out was in the works before the election. They are perfectly okay with having a new Liberal leader appointed by the party elites, rather than elected by members. Yet these same people say that the Conservatives are anti-democratic, authoritarian and elitist.
It doesn't matter to them what's good for the country. It doesn't matter if their actions cause more harm to our country. As far as they're concerned, only their views matter, and if fighting the Conservatives means things go badly for ordinary citizens, well, it's clearly the Conservative's fault for not rolling over and doing what they want them to do.
I sometimes wonder how the cognitive dissonance doesn't result in their heads exploding.
As I've heard and read various self-identified leftists go on about this or that thing done by the Evil Conservatives, I was at first amused. Then I started to feel disgusted. Now I'm increasingly alarmed. It seems like they've turned off their critical thinking skills completely, and given themselves over to their own personal prejudices against anyone they consider conservative (which seems to be anyone who disagrees with their views). If it's from the Conservatives, they not only automatically reject it, they vow to fight it. Loudly. Publicly. Preferably through mass media, which happily laps it all up. Whatever it is, no matter how benign, or even beneficial to the country, it might be, it's twisted to become yet another proof of the Terrible Conservative Hidden Agenda. Strangely, no Conservative I have encountered seems to have any idea what agenda they're talking about. Only the leftists seem to know what it is.
In the end, watching their behaviour and listening to their rants, I've noted a strange similarity to my mother, who is a textbook example of paranoid schizophrenia, even if we can't get an official diagnosis. I've found myself coming to an inescapable conclusion that disturbs me as much as their actions.
Liberalism really is a mental disorder.