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.
The task for those of us on the Left is in part to better understand the traditions and significance of conservative thought which create the motivation for the Right’s “individuals-and-markets-first” approach to governing.
So too must we be both clearer about the motivations and values which drive our community-oriented philosophy, and more consistent in sharing those values. More information can only help lower the hyper-partisanship temperature, while diminishing both the knee-jerk inclinations and justifications for demonizing the Left.
The moral difference is clear: Do we have both personal and social responsibility, or just personal responsibility? Are we in this together, or are we on our own? The conservatives say we are, and should be, on our own. Are we the United States or the Separate States — or millions of isolated individuals who don’t care about anybody else? The answer to these questions affects every issue.