Conservatives are too prone to engage in zero-sum thinking (either I keep my money or the government takes it). They fail to appreciate the possibility of positive sum solutions to social conflicts.
Conservatives hold the laissez-faire ‘minimal-state’ view that, although we have a moral obligation to refrain from hurting others, we have no obligation to help others. Conservatives cling to the comforting moral illusion that there is a sharp distinction between allowing people to suffer and making people suffer.
It may provide some comfort to those bonding over their political and culture beliefs to ignore unpleasant truths and focus instead on the merits of abstract political traditions and ideals, along with tabulating today’s scorecard. But that comfort has limitations, and the consequences of legislative pursuits benefiting the few at the continuing expense of the many will be unpleasant at best if too many of us continue to rely on convenient rationalizations rather than working together.
If our collective future—the one we intend to pass on to our children and for their benefit—still matters, then we have a duty to do what we can to make it a better and brighter one than the future which inequality, conflict, knee-jerk dismissal of inconvenient facts, and the many damaging components of intense polarization will create instead. Shouldn’t the outcomes matter more than they seem to?