… offered by DougJ at Balloon Juice, although I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it elsewhere:
Never lose sight of the fact that conservatives are mostly motivated by the desire to piss off liberals. It explains almost everything they do.
Sweeping generalities alert:
Obviously, not all conservatives believe what they believe and do what they do specifically to piss off liberals, and vice versa. But I think it’s true of some conservatives (and liberals), and of proportionately more conservatives than liberals.
That’s only a guess. But I think it’s a fair one because, in general, liberals tend to worry about what’s fair and what works more than conservatives do. That happens, I think, for a number of different reasons that stem from both theological (God of Law vs. God of Love) and secular roots and from the fact that conservatives tend to be more authoritarian in nature and more willing to accept authority (often favoring scriptural “authority” over, say, science) than liberals.
That notion of fairness also helps explain, I think, that to the extent sociopaths and the malicious have any political philosophy, they tend to show up more often among conservatives than among liberals. Liberals might not mind that achieving a policy objective pisses off conservatives, and some of them may even celebrate that fact. But they tend to see pissing conservatives off more as an incidental benefit than as a motivation, whereas conservatives really do sometimes seem to get into pissing liberals off. Maybe it has something to do with wanting to make the heathen rage because they think that if they do that, then God is smiling down from Heaven. Or maybe they’re just jackasses. Either way, it’s not real attractive.
It’s also wrong if anyone does it, but wrongness has levels and shadings. For someone with privilege and power to treat the less fortunate this way is orders of magnitude worse than the other way ’round, just as humor flows, and satire races, uphill.