I Could be Wrong, But I Doubt It


I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

I have gone  through five years of grammar school, three years of middle school, four years of high school, four years of college, three years of law school and nearly two years of work experience.  I have stayed consistently in one side of the political spectrum.  I studied politics for four years and focused on it in law school.  I made friends with diverse opinions and lived in areas with polar opposite ideas from mine.  I’ve read about politics, wrote about politics and spoken about politics.

It’s safe to say that I’ve had sufficient exposure  and have sufficient intellectual capacity to make an intelligent judgment about politics.

And I simply can’t comprehend why anyone would be a liberal.

To be fair, this statement comes with two caveats.

First, it’s not that  I don’t see where liberals come from.  These days, my favorite phrase when I talk politics is, “I understand, but I disagree.”  I’ve befriended enough liberals to understand their thought process.  I found them to be perfectly logical, their conclusions based on sound reasoning.

But since I can’t make myself come to an agreement with them, I’ve realized that liberalism is based on false assumptions and misplaced values.

That’s the only explanation I could come up with for why two perfectly reasonable people (I consider myself reasonable although undeniably also emotional) could come to such different conclusions.  The way I see it, if  you start out with false assumptions, it really doesn’t matter how many logical links you connect.  You’re going to drift astray.

And then there is the issue of what exactly constitutes “conservative.”  The modern Republican Party is a hotchpotch of strange bedfellows.  Somehow, in the last three decades, those who believe in small government, lower taxes and market economy  joined together with those who think government should ban abortion and restrict marriage to traditional notions.  There is no rational connection with all of these ideas, yet that is the modern Republican Party.

Be that as that may be, I am a proud, card-carrying member of the Republican Party, wholly aligned with its current policies and ideals with very few exceptions.  I am a fiscal, social and legal conservative.  I make no apologies for it.  I see no need to.

Being a conservative has been a blast.  I received my higher education surrounded by people who were clueless and I now work with people who are hopeless.  I find great pleasure in the every day I live knowing that I stand alone being right while those so much smarter than I am are debating the different ways in which they can be wrong.  It does wonders for my ego.

My conservatism has also been a nice way to distinguish myself from the crowd of the accomplished.  I have taken liberties with introducing my politics almost immediately after I introduce my name because it turns out that my conservatism is a source of great fascination with many people.  My college roommate  loves telling the story of how we became great friends because he, from Denver, had never met a conservative until he met me.  I’d like to think the first conservative he met was also the nuttiest.  Now that I work, I’m meeting colleagues who love listening to how a person who seemingly led a normal path to a legal career in the Big Apple veered so far off the standard political spectrum.

Of course, it’s not always so rosy.  Especially now that I have a career, I have tried to become more discreet about when and where to disclose my politics.  It’s a difficult balance.  On the one hand, I have no interest in making enemies over matters so trivial (and yes, unless either you or I are running for office, political discussion is trivial because all the talk ain’t makin’ much of a difference).  On the other hand, I have no desire to sit quietly while people discuss the divinity of Obama and the depravity of Bush as if they were matters of fact rather than personal opinion.

The fact is, the mockery of Bush and the Republican Party that I am increasingly subjected to is something I am tiring of and no longer have any patience to tolerate.  I work for a fine New York City law firm with a juris doctor from a first rate law school.  I may have come to a differing conclusion than most in my shoes, but I’m confident I have the intellectual capacity to coherently analyze the situation.

And for that I think I deserve some fucking respect.

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11 Responses to “I Could be Wrong, But I Doubt It”


  1. 1 Eileen Connors July 20, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    Joe!
    I hear ya and agree wholeheartedly!
    Your posts are great :)

    • 2 joesas July 21, 2009 at 12:13 am

      I’m glad someone agrees! It’s good to know I’m not all alone… LOL.

      Thanks for reading (and even more for leaving a comment)!

  2. 3 Peter July 21, 2009 at 2:04 am

    Yeah, but I can say the same exact thing about conservatism – that is based on false assumptions (for example, regarding the power of the free market). And you challenge liberalism’s false values, but both liberalism and conservatism are subject to exagerations of their values. The key value of liberalism seems to be equality, but taken to extreme you get a type of collectivism, whereas the key value of conservatism seems to be liberty, but taken to an extreme you get pure individualism. Neither extremes are desireable or beneficial, which is why you need both conservatism and liberalism.

    • 4 joesas July 21, 2009 at 10:23 pm

      Peter, welcome to the blog! Thanks for disagreeing enough to leave a comment in the blog! LOL. Are you a devout follower or do you just drop in for my political posts? I really, really prefer to keep politics out, but check out the feedback. My life and my fiction are boring but apparently not my politics.

      Anyways….

      As always, you provide insightful feedback that I find agreeable, but I think this is an unusual time that I disagree with some of what you have to say. I do think it’s necessary to have both conservatism and liberalism, if only to keep each other honest. It’s sort of like me in 2006 with the GOP and this year with the LDP (ruling party in Japan): I’d vote for them, but won’t be upset with their loss. After a while, you have to say, you’ve lost your ways, go into the minority and find yourself.

      Where we part ways, I think, is in how I would distinguish values and exaggerations. While I agree that excesses of either ideology is problematic, I don’t think the problem with liberalism is in the excess. I think many of the values themselves are flawed. Not all, obviously, but most. I just don’t see success with most so-called “liberal” ideals, even if pursued in moderation.

      Why not is a difficult question to answer, but it’s a fair assumption that if I couldn’t be enlightened in college and (even more liberal) law school, all cause for me is lost. :)

  3. 5 rattoch July 21, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Me too! Many of my descendants were Republicans and lawyers, so I think that is where I get it from. At one point the northeast was Republican. I swing on the Republican Libertarian side of things.

    • 6 joesas July 21, 2009 at 10:03 pm

      Yes, the Northeast used to be all Republican, but I think it was a different mode of Republicanism. It was laissez-faire economy and individual rights-centric GOP, the kind that still gets elected around here. I can honestly say I am not that kind of Republican. I am a social conservative who doesn’t hesitate to bring that into politics. I think you and I are in relative agreement on this issue. I wonder whether you’re really a Libertarian…

  4. 7 Miran July 21, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    I respect your opinions, Joe! In my experience, some liberal NYers sound just as extreme and intolerant as some hillbilly conservatives in the midwest. It’s great that you’re meeting liberals who actually want to hear your opinions instead of throwing eggs at you.

    • 8 joesas July 21, 2009 at 10:08 pm

      Thanks, Miran! Yes, I have been blessed with meeting people who are thoughtful and open enough to find humour in my asinine ideas instead of being nasty and throwing eggs. LOL. I respect many of my friends, not despite their views, but because of them. I don’t think it’s that hard, really, to be respectful. So our ideas differ. Really, what’s the big deal?

  5. 9 Mindy July 24, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Hi Joe. Personally, I’d like to hear what assumptions and values you are praising and attacking. While I have the utmost respect for you and your views, I think it is more valuable to be clear exactly what you are criticizing and praising than to hear your assertions of criticism and praise. I know you said you’d like to keep the blog non-political, but I’m curious (and the best conversations I’ve had with you are usually questions of politics and/or morality anyway…)

    • 10 joesas July 26, 2009 at 12:26 pm

      Hey Mindy! Thanks for leaving a comment!

      You’re not the only one who’s asked for the details. Indeed, almost everyone has echoed the view that my rant on my blog doesn’t encourage constructive dialogue since it’s vague and unnecessarily hostile.

      I think one of these days, I may elaborate on one or two things I have issues with, but I have this ongoing series called “Letters to a Congressman” on another website where I post the letters I write to Congressman Scott Garrett, who represents my district in NJ. I’ve only written about two or three, but it’s precisely because I write a thoughtful piece, rather than a casual rant, defending certain principles of conservatism. No one has read them (except the Congressman, who occasionally responds).

      In light of the common wish of my readers to elaborate, I think I may write more of those letter and post them here, but to be honest, they are a lot of work, as in like a whole day to write it.

      So please keep on visiting, read my unthoughtful rants and comment even if it’s not politics related!


  1. 1 I’m Available to Give a Lecture | The World According to Joe Trackback on September 22, 2014 at 12:10 pm

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