The Lakeland Mirror

Karalee: Do conservative values have a place in modern society?

Karalee Manis, Staff Reporter

It is good — essential even — to have values. They can be a driving force in our lives and help guide us in times of crisis. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have a stable foundation on which to rest your moral compass. The problem is that not everyone holds the same values.

When our beliefs are singular in a society of plurality pertaining to certain morals and actions, conflict is bound to arise. Again, not necessarily bad, but when the goal is to dominate and squash all those opposed, we are right back to the bad again.

Conservatism is, on the whole, an aristocracy trying to dominate society. In our case, it usually comes in the form of Republicans trying to bend us to their will. The conservative politicians aim to turn us back into a further unequal and prejudiced society that smacks modern society in the face. When we turn a blind eye to the less fortunate and minorities, in the name of “moral tradition,” we are stunting our potential for growth both culturally and intellectually.

We cannot grow by any means if we are being forced into an outdated mold. In no way do I think that traditional beliefs ought to be banned or suppressed by any group. Everyone is entitled to believe what they want, but there needs to be a balance. We need to find a place where moral meets right, and I do not mean the “right” that always has a “wing” on it.

The hard truth is that conservative values are hurting people. When you tell someone they cannot do something others can, like marrying the person they love, and think you have a right to do so, that is when you need to take a closer look at your values and re-assess just what it is you believe.

Conservative ideals have devastating and ridiculous effects that encourage discrimination and fear. A key example of such harm was during the Reagan administration. They ignored the AIDS crisis for six years, which led to 40,000 people dying from the disease. And the only reason he said anything at the end of his second term was because Elizabeth Taylor tricked him into it.

It is this blatant disregard for human life—because it was an ailment of the supposed “immoral” demographic of gay men—that only leads to further destruction. When we single out people because they don’t fit our ideals, we as a society start to close in on ourselves. We lose sight of any greater good of humanity simply because we don’t agree with a lifestyle or take issue with what should be basic human rights.

Conservative morality to politicians becomes less about values and more about power, and thus has become a childish and corrupt endeavor. We cannot continue to live in the past because it is more harmful than good, and it leaves us vulnerable. If we fail to embrace the new, we are doomed, and we will become irrelevant and obsolete. We must adapt to live, learn acceptance and recognize that traditional conservative values leave us little room to attempt to take that first step outside a rigidly structured, familiar box of closed mindedness.

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Karalee: Do conservative values have a place in modern society?