T Nation

Liberal = Emotional Approach


Why is it that it seems Liberals are driven by emotion, rather than calm reasoning?

I'm not bashing, (OK Maybe) but just curious. In an arguement/debate it seems to me that the Conservatives take a non-emotional stance toward policy and Libs are fully emotional.

Why is this?

My Mother in Law is so emotional she says things like "If I had a gun I'd shoot him." She gets so worked up it amazes me. This is just one example.

It's so common that I found and purchased a bumper sticker:

"Piss off a Liberal"

It's just TOO EASY!


Vote Democrat. It's easier than thinking.

The Conservative (truly conservative, that is.) way of fixing a problem is MUCH harder than the Liberal way.

It's a tough love vs. enabler type difference.

It's much easier to count yourself a victim of whatever than it is to pick yourself up by the bootstraps and fix the problem yourself.

Typically, the Liberal "fix" makes the "fixer" feel good about what they do.

Remember when some Hollywood lunatics decided to "act homeless" in order to raise awareness for homelessness right down to the cardboard box?

Sure it didn't actually HELP anyone but at least they felt righteous about having cared.


First, I didn't take your question to be meant as insulting, so don't take my respone that way.

To answer your question,: That isn't exactly a true statement. Look at the situation in Iraq. I could say that liberals that want to get out have calmly assessed the situation, seen it for the impossible quagmire that it is, and have reasonably deduced that it is time to leave.

Conservatives, on the other hand, let such emotionally charged constructions as patriotism and loyalty fuel their fervor for staying longer.

However, you could make the exact opposite argument about the situation having seen the exact same information I have. It is a question of view points.

You might say that loyalty and patriotism are not emotional but rather logical, but I could also say that equality and moral obligation are also logical. It just depends on how your viewpoint.


Yes, they seem to hold people up to standard that they themselves can't even begin to approach.


I don't see it this way at all. I see it as a responsibility in building a Democratic government. The fanatical views of the Iraqi people seem to not allow for a democratic approach, thus leading to civil war.

Patriotism has nothing to do with it. Finishing what was started is the goal as well as to protect the people there from this uprising in violence.


Is any stance from the abortion augment from a "non-emotional" perspective? Is any stance from the immigration argument from a "non-emotional" perspective? Is any stance from the capital punishment argument from a "non-emotional" perspective? Is any stance from ...pick your topic...from a "non-emotional" perspective? No, I disagree. Everyone argues from an emotion perspective regardless what that perspective may be. It is what makes us incapable of being "objective". Emotions, it is my belief, come from one's ability to rationalize the world. For example, from sight, hearing, touch, smell, tastes. They are shaped by environment and parentage.

You may be making an argument that "liberals are more emotional" but that is not true. I can think of some pretty (outwardly) emotionless democrats (uuuuhhhh Sen. Clinton) whose seemingly only reason for being a democrat is her own personal dogma. When it comes down to it though, everyone's emotions can lie to them. It is a trap that can cloud judgement no matter one's political philosophy. However, displaying one's emotions can make one seem more genuine and believable as long as they are not taken to extremes.

As far as "calm reasoning" is concerned...I'm not so sure that actually exists in politics.


But neither of those are solely logical reasons. "Finishing what you started" is just an unwaivering devotion to seeing something through to the end, regardless of whether the cost is greater than the gain. And there is absolutely no way you can justify protecting people half a world away from a violent uprising as a purely logical endeavor.

Sorry Rockscar, you might be a liberal...


Like the condom hand-outs in schools. Much easier to just give in (as a parent or teacher) and assume that young kids "will do it anyway" than to be on top of your kids/students and demand certain behaviors are prohibited. You need to do this from the get-go though, not after you already lost control.

It's goddamn hard to do the right thing. It's a heck of a lot easier to be friends with your kid than it is to be thier parent.

An analogy;

I could listen to a client complain about how weak, fat, sore, skinny tight, slow he/she is. Or how hard it is to eat right, maintain discipline etc. and say "Oh, I know sweety. It is hard and life just isn't fair. Look at (any model/movie star). They don't even work out and they stay in such good shape. Blah, blah, blah.

That's the easy way. It's also the quickest way to utter failure.

That hard way and the most productive is to actually FIX the problem. Make them stretch. Make them squat, sprint, eat right. Tell them to get over it, suck it up and lift. Sure you seem like Satan at first but soon enough the results start and the problem(s) is fixed.

That's the hard way.


First off, it is for the Iraqi people to decide what they want in terms of government, not the US. Secondly, what makes you so sure that yours is a completely rational argument and not emotional?


Much of the liberal philosphy is based on what feels right vs what is right.

Both political parties play on emotion so it is probably not fair to pick out individual examples like Hillary Clinton.


Good choice.

Liberal view:

Un-documented workers (don't hurt anyone's feelings by calling them "illeeeegal) are just trying to make a living here. It's not fair to send them back. Boooo, hoooo.

Conservative view:

Illegal aliens are criminals by virtue of them being here. This country cannot afford to support the programs needed to keep them here. We will go broke trying to take care of the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens that take from our society and give nothing back. They send billions back to thier homelands and pay no taxes.

It is also a slap in the face to those who DO follow immigration policy and do it the right way.


Didn't they do this when they voted on their constitution?


Wow. I guess it depends on where you see things. But I have consistently seen socalled conservatives using the emotional approach far more frequently and pathologically.

Seriously. Where are you getting this?

Of course there are examples of socalled liberals being just as emotionally charged, but that is usually reserved for the dumb hippies, and if you're taking dumb hippies seriously, you probably shouldn't be discussing politics in the first place.

But, for day to day discourse, it has always been the supporters of the iraq war that are the first to overemphasize women and children and innocents being ruthlessly murdered by 'the terrorists'. They are always the first to remind anyone about 9/11, the first to accuse someone that disagrees with specifics as 'anti-american', the first to actively seek examples for why islam is evil, or why muslims are wrong...etc.

It just goes on and on and on.

Just look at these forums. Who do you see with the most emotional and reactionary posts more frequently? who brings up topics specifically for the emotional content.

Heck, Derek, you've started numerous threads in the past 3 weeks with emotionally volatile content and little commentary of your own. What is the purpose of that? if not to incite emotional response?

Frequently posters such as Headhunter, Jumper and Hedo are 'reminding' everyone about 'the atrocities' and how 'the terrorists' are killing women and children and want to kill you too. If that isn't pandering the emotional angle, I don't know what is.

I would never say "liberals" don't try and use emotional guilt-trips as well. They're people just like "conservatives".

At the end of the day, I doubt any side does it more than the other, it would be impossible to prove, anyway. But strictly anecdotally, I see guilt-trip tactics used by "conservatives" far more frequently and systematically than "liberals".


I'm not saying I'm fully rational. I will say that yes it is up to the US to determine the regime based on our actions thusfar. Any other approach would be a big mistake given our commitment and the Nuc'ULAR' and WMD situation in the Middle East.

Rational or emotional, it is what it is, however my point was more along the lines of debate. I find it rare that a Liberal stays calm in a heated debate, no matter the topic. It's just my experience.




I really don't know what they voted for, nor do I care. It's not my place to and this isn't the argument being made.

Anyone who thinks that emotions aren't involved in every decision we make as humans is sorely incorrect. Just by virtue of the fact that we ascribe a particular valuation to an event (is this good or bad?) implies some emotional cognizance on our part--for example, the acts of psychological arousal, behavioral expression, and conscious experience, no matter how slight.

I'd like to hear some psychologist's view points on this though.


Well, I think both liberalism and conservatism have elements of rationalism and emotionalism (wow, that is a lot of isms), and rightly they should. Not every political problem can be reduced to a problem of Reason, but nor should we abandon being rational when trying to solve public problems.

That said, what makes it interesting is that Liberals are often very emotional in their appeals to public policy - which is nothing novel on its face - but then run and tell anyone who will listen that it is they who are the great guardians of clear-headed rationalism while the Conservatives are knuckle-dragging mudheads who make policy through superstition.

Part of the problem is that rationalism can be cold and unsparing of people's feelings in its methods and analysis, and Liberals don't have much of a stomach for such frankness. Rationalism often demonstrates are harsh, uncompromising world that can have brutal results, and modern Liberals have little desire to take the world that way.

I don't automatically think this is an awful thing to reject such coldness of rationalism, I just wish modern Liberals would admit to it instead of parading themselves as the great rationalists of the world.


As I said above. This is a Human condition more than anything else. It has nothing to do with party lines.


Liberals didn't get the lable "Bleeding Heart" for nothing.

I often tell my Mother in Law to move a bit to her right, because her bleeding heart is staining my floor.


Yeah, possibly...my conservative brother-in-law and I always butt heads in terms of politics. I am the one who would get angry (at his callously naive attitude) and just assumed he was incapable of what I think of as "positive" human emotion...a sociopath, in other words.

I think the calmness you are referring to is your supreme self-assurance that you are always in the "right". That is a common characteristic I have noticed in many conservative, master-debaters. Must be the "alpha" gene...