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They call us “libs.” Or “libtards.” You can’t see the sneer when they write it, but it’s there. I call them “right wingers.” If they provoke me, I retaliate by calling them “repugs.” (an abbreviation for “repugnant Republicans”) And yes, the sneer is returned in kind.

More descriptive, and less combative terms to define the dichotomy in our society are “progressive” and “conservative.” If you shorten them to “pro” and “con” they illustrate the basic philosophy of the two sides:

Progressives favor government actions that attempt to address problems in our society. To change things for the better. Of course, those actions cost money, so taxes are necessary, and progressives favor higher tax rates for the wealthy than on the lower economic classes. Such taxes are called “progressive” taxes, an interesting coincidence. Progressives also see that for-profit businesses can cause “external” costs, like harm to the environment and the people who live in it. So regulation is necessary to protect the earth and all its occupants…not just human ones.

I think it is fair to say that Conservatives tend to favor the status quo. They oppose most government actions that address problems in our society…like welfare, unemployment insurance, food stamps, even AFDC. They oppose almost any publicly-funded service that could be provided by a private, for-profit corporation. Of course, they also advocate minimal taxation, and are adamantly opposed to most regulation of business.

Pro vs. Con. Those are the terms that best describe the current political divide in our nation. Is this a new phenomenon? Hardly. Surely. the southern planters in our early history thought slavery should continue forever, and even invoked the Bible and went to war to defend it. And many thought that the whole idea of women and freed slaves voting was preposterous. Nowadays, the climate change deniers similarly deploy fact-free arguments to oppose regulations to limit the release of GHG’s, or to limit the pollution of land and water by toxic industrial wastes. Opposition to regulations to limit environmental damage come almost entirely from the Cons. Just look at the ways the Trump administration eviscerated past environmental regulations.

15 ways the Trump administration has impacted the environment (

There is more. Cons oppose women’s reproductive rights, and equal rights for the LGBTQ community. Recent actions by Republican state legislatures have made it clear that they oppose voting rights for minorities. These positions reflect traditional positions in our early history, and are heavily influenced by religious belief. The growing secular influence in our society is challenging those who defend the status quo.

The Con worldview is quite a package when you put it all in one box.

It’s a stinking, oozing, putrescent box that belongs in the dumpster of history.


Bert Bigelow is a trained engineer who pursued a career in software design. Now retired, he enjoys writing short essays on many subjects but mainly focuses on politics and religion and the intersection...

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