In the book “Contradictions in Conservatism” Dr. Farmer explains the discrepancies and inconsistencies in conservatism in order to enlighten his audience about the contrariety in the ideology, Conservatism. Dr. Farmer brings forth to light the values and beliefs that they hold. He lists all of them and then he explains why they are wrong or contradicting. He does a great job in portraying their flawed logic. Along with all the ideologies he gives us basic information about Political Socialization and how our political attitudes towards other groups differ among everyone.
It differs because different people in different locations contain different Socialization agents. Although, the majority of people in the United States tend to gain their attitudes from their socialization agents. Farmer starts the book off by giving us basic information about Conservative Ideologiesand also talks about American Political Socialization, Theory, Values and Beliefs. Dr Farmer writes that Conservatives usually look at human nature with a negative view. According to them humans are naturally “bad, selfish, uncooperative, and incapable of honorable behavior(11).
In that specific chapter he is introducing things like Ideology to us, which he defines as “belief system through which people view and interpret reality (8)”. I honestly agree with this definition because it is true. Most of our behaviors, interpretations and beliefs stem from views we “pick up” from our environment. He explains that Ideologies aren’t reality, he says this because the view of the entire world is through an ideological “framework”. So basically the ideas that are explained of what’s wrong with society, are interpreted are actually simplified.
When talking about values and beliefs Farmer states that “Political scientist assume that political attitudes, values, and beliefs are learned (15). ” Although this is only an “assumption” this is pretty accurate. It is accurate because method of gaining your own political attitude is through socialization. Farmer states political socialization occurs “between the ages of eleven-fifteen (15). ” This is very true because at this age you’re still living at home usually. You’re more likely to be going to school, as well as being around different groups and have access to the internet.
All those factors are enhancers to ones acquired political attitude because socialization agents are included in those environments. Some examples of Socialization Agents would be: Parents and Family, Peers, School, Media, Workplace, and one’s Religion. Your parents and family are considered to be the most important socialization agents because usually the parents’ political attitudes pass on to their own children directly. The other major agent is your peers at school. Why? Because it’s where you spend the majority of the rest of your time when you’re not with your family-in school and around your classmates!
Farmer does a great job with giving us basic information to understand what exactly is Political Socialization is and how it is the basic channel from which our Political attitudes stem from. Further into the book Farmer explains and lists a few Ideologies and names the problems that each of these Ideologies have. Some of the basic beliefs that he mentions are: Liberalism, Extremism, Conservatism-all the while mentioning there contradictions. Farmer did a good job making a counter argument by listing the central tenets of one of the most dominant ideologies within conservatism-Contemporary Liberalism and then listing the problems with it.
For example he stated that they believe that the “Government [was] a solution/ remedy to free market harshness (40). ” Then he goes on to point out a flaw in that logic by stating that they don’t want “Government intervention because it creates inefficiency (42). ” This is quite effective in his book. When utilizing this technique he proves his point that they have a flawed belief. He does the same by pointing out the beliefs that Extremism holds. He writes it’s a combination of “racism, nationalism, and authoritarianism (86). ” This is true because they thrive off the intimidation of different foreigners and immigrants.
Farmer goes on to say that the biggest and most obvious problem of the Extremists are that they want to “stake] over nations and people… against their will… (96)”. Dr. Farmer goes on to explain the second major conservative ideology that is the most common in the Republican Party-Traditional Conservatism. He explains that they look at the world negatively, as if the earth were decaying and being deprived. They have a negative view of human nature, and feel that the whole world needs to “return to better, vanished time (52). ” Thy do not wish for social changethey’re against women’s rights and the end of slavery.
Farmer concludes with the point that “there is no better, now vanished time (70). ” Quite frankly, this is strongly agreeable because “human nature does not change (70). ” Dr. Farmer explains more areas of which conservatism is linked to and is damaged by such as: Environmental policies, Healthcare Policies, Gay rights, Social Welfare, and Crime policy. He wrote conservative Republicans “tend to sacrifice more of the natural environment in the interest of economic advantage (96). ” That’s really harsh and selfish compared to Liberal Democrats because they tend to support the environmental protection in exchange for economic strains.
In the healthcare part conservatism support competitive free market health care systems and that the government should not control healthcare. Conservative people oppose long-term welfare as well. Another problem with this specific ideology is that they feel marriage should be between a man and a woman, not between gay or lesbian couples, they are very against it. By reviewing all of the major parts and adding what’s wrong with them in addition in this book it gives the audience information about the ideology and helps us understand why “conservativism is not the answer for America. ”
This book could be useful for anyone and everyone that would like to broaden their perspective and get a real close look at the facts of Conservatism. The most interesting thing about this book is that it presents itself in a non-ranting fashion. Dr. Farmer states the facts professionally while being a bit unbiased. He also points out the fact that all of Americans believe in this Ideology and it’s somewhat not correct, because we as a society find our Political attitudes in one another. In conclusion Dr. Farmer does a great job overall by illuminating the follies in the Conservatism ideology in this eye-opener.