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Ben Leander Willgruber, MSc.
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Some Thoughts on Conservative Politics

In my blog post about the LGBT+ Pride movement I have received an interesting comment about conservative politics standing in the way of change, that got me thinking. How must these people feel about that? And do I feel the same in other ways?

The comment was from Joshua Shea from Recovering Porn Addict and he basically said that conservative politics often stand in the way of change and sometimes there’s nothing to do except waiting for these people to become less in numbers (aka die), so that we can move forward. It’s best you check out the original comment here if you wanna catch up on everything he wrote.

Even if it sounds harsh, there is a lot of truth to that. But how must people feel who stand in the way of change for the sake of keeping ‘what’s been working in the past’ intact? Do they see themselves as barrier of change? How does that make them feel? Does it make them feel good to fight for outdated values?

Then it got me thinking about my own values and because I wanted to understand where conservatives might be coming from thought about similarities in my own life.

Non-smoking regulations

When it comes to non-smoking regulations I am usually on the side of conservative politicians. I am a smoker myself, so naturally I wanna be able to keep smoking. When Austria followed many EU states in banning cigarettes basically everywhere indoors, I asked myself why we didn’t rather follow cities like Berlin, where there are still some smoking bars and cafés and you’re allowed to smoke in clubs.

I wanted smoking to still be allowed even though I rationally know that it’s the better decision for society as a whole (and also me personally) if smoking is highly regulated. So, yes, in that matter I am conservative. But, what differs this from the LGBT+ debate is that I have a personal agenda aka my own smoking habit. That is not the case when straight people fight against the rights of queer people. So, I looked further.

Highly sensitive language

I think nobody will disagree when I say that we live in times where language has become a highly sensitive subject. Ten or maybe fifteen years ago, this wasn’t the case. You could make very inappropriate jokes just for the sake of being funny and you didn’t have to care so much about what you said because every word could get twisted in your mouth. The German language, specifically, has changed a lot over the past years as we’re in the ongoing process of making it gender-sensitive.

I used to not be a fan of gender-sensitive language (and in some cases, I am still not) because I used to think that this takes away a lot of linguistic and artistic elements of a language. But I realized at some point that gender-sensitive language is important for inclusivity. The only thing that doesn’t sit well with me is when words are ‘forbidden’ or rather changed to phantasy words that don’t make a whole lot of sense. But that’s a different topic.

Freedom of speech

I am not a fan of forbidding people from saying certain things. I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion (even if it’s a stupid one) and should also be allowed to say so (as long as it isn’t illegal or directly hurting someone). Sometimes people will be called ‘special snowflakes’ (which is on it’s own a problematic term) and sometimes I agree. Art, comedy and satire shouldn’t be censored and in some cases I think it would be better if not so many things were being labeled as ‘problematic’. The thoughts are free, art is supposed to be free and freedom of speech stands – for me – above anything else. I do realize that this is a conservative aspect of my morals, particularly because some conservatives use the veil of art or satire to say hurtful or even illegal things.

Maybe we all carry some conservative notions in us and it’s not a good idea to judge each other for them. Is there something like a spectrum from a conservative to a liberal mindset? And if so, what is the right balance?

Ben

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