It's all about ego.
Well, ok, no it isn't. I just thought that little bolded lead-in would get your eyes open a slight bit wider. I don't know if it worked, and I don't care, I write to amuse me, not necessarily you (though if I do entertain, inform, inspire, anger, annoy, or otherwise prompt you to think, so much the better).
Never has American society been so divided - and it's not between the haves and have-nots, as much as it is between the self identified 'intelligent' and most everyone else. Oddly enough, we all live and work and eat and drive and shop and vacation in much the same places and ways and for the same things, but somehow, we've come to see it all different.
For generations, children grew up with an expectation, and even hopes, of being like their parents. In America of old, not only did they dream of it, but they did it, and they did BETTER than their parents. I think we expect it, and I don't think that's a bad thing. But somewhere, it seems to have gone awry. As knowledge has increased, children often have the chance to learn much more than the parents did. The universe of knowledge about science, biology, physics, and many other things has expanded in a way that makes the word "dramatically" seem pitifully weak, but for now, it stands.
And somewhere along the way, there became the inevitable, when children came to believe themselves wiser than than their parents. In the old days, when your ability to accomplish concrete things, like hunting, fishing, growing, building and so on, was the key to success in life, those children who failed to learn from parents often did poorly, as the knowledge needed came ONLY from the generations before. Children who ignored their parents were generally unsuccessful, and often attended the University of Hard Knocks before they wised up, and ended up emulating much of what their parents knew and taught.
But today, our financial success in life is not nearly so much dependent upon broad practical skills passed from generation to generation, it's more dependent upon learning some specialized skill and exploiting it for gain. You may think that's good or bad, and there's arguments for both, but either way, it's hard to argue differently. Parents taught frugality, but it seemed that even the non-frugal did ok. Parents taught to be patient and to restrain yourself and be prudent and all those other things, and yet, we saw the impatient and imprudent prosper.
And so questioning and often outright rejecting the mores and traditions of our parents became a generational pastime, one now entrenched and generations old. There are multiple versions of this... Political, meaning "progressive" and "conservative" and there's social versions as well, and financial versions and so on. It was a very progressive thing in 1778 to be against slavery, but today, conservatives are adamantly opposed to it. Meaning that issues or matters can move from one spectrum to other. But the moral case against slavery was just as true in the 1700's as it is today. This is a case of a truly conservative idea becoming so far outside of the publicly accepted, that it could be labelled "progressive". But the right and wrong never changed.
The Founders had a truly revolutionary idea, one we could probably reasonably appropriately label as "progressive", that government would serve, not rule, the citizens. One where the idea of a centralized government ordering the people around to please the whims of those who hold office was so foreign and so repugnant it would be codified into law as illegal. Truly, in that era, it was an idea that was far and away outside the "norm". But it was a truly great idea, one worthy of the ages.
It is a lot of generations from 1788 to now, and in that time, social change has brought us that same ever evolving generational change. Now it is "progressive" to want a government with the power to control every aspect of our lives, to limit people's income, wealth, economic activities, and control relationships between even employee and employer. And, to take economically from those not poltically favored, and give material or financial benefits to those politically favored by politicians.
The reason the US went to war with England, was over that kind of centrally directed economic control, forced upon us by the King. The colonies rebelled to escape such centralized powers.
But what we face, is that a few generations back, it was much harder to visibly discern the array of differences between us. Today, they are stark. Academics claim that morality is based upon political ideology, and supposedly great thinkers laud them for their innovative approach to complex problems. The Colonists rejected the King, precisely because the King claimed that what was moral and just was defined by what the King wanted. To those of us who hold other views, there is negligible difference between modern progressives and the kings of yore, for obvious reasons.
Conservatives look at economics in a very utilitarian way. Wealth is created by undertaking business ventures. Unlike the 1700's, growing food without large capital investment will not make you wealthy. It is impossible to actually survive in a subsistence mode today, the taxes alone will make you lose everything you have, and you'll be left without the means of even subsistence farming. Nothing any individual can do, without the interaction of, the conduct of economic trading and transaction - otherwise known as business, will generate enough wealth to provide our needs and wants. Everyone needs a job, and jobs are created by private enterprise. Very simple equation. Very fundamentally sound and time tested for many, many centuries.
As a conservative, I hold onto the things that are time tested and true. "Open marriage" is a bust. High risk debt is not secure. Deep debt is an entrapment. Big, controlling government is a massive burden too large to bear and still be individually prosperous. Poverty is bad. Dependency does bad things to people's thinking and will. None of these ideas require or even depend upon academic thinking or education to establish. They are simply the accumulated wisdom of the ages, about things that do not change.
But progressives do not accept these things. Not universally, of course. Progressives may be conservative about marriage, for instance, but be wholly radical about government. It's a free country, of course. But progressives, by and large, have come to despise the "old fashioned", and have instead, embraced the "new". And by "new", I mean the untested, the untried, the unproven. Or, at least not in the way they want to do them. They pride themselves in rejection of the old and staid and embracing the "smarter" and "better" "new" ideas that are better and smarter than the old and dull stuff my parents and maybe their parents or grandparents or maybe great grandparents thought was pretty solid and true.
Progressives have a burden to change everyone else to be like them. They embrace the new and innovative, they love "change", sometimes just for the sake of change. And they blame all the problems on the old ways of doing things. Which brings us to the intractable debate, the argument that expresses itself in the Sarah Palin divide.
Liberals, progressives, Democrats, whatever the self identity is that brings them to despise Palin, it's because she is the most visible source of antagonism. Unashamedly, with a smile, and sometimes with humor, she, without recognition of their superior intellectual status, tears them down, dismisses them without a second thought, and champions the ideas that they have so carefully spent time and energy attempting to discredit.
For decades, the arguments have mostly been limited to a few Republicans vs progressives. But political parties are soulless things, and so the GOP had drifted far their way, mostly giving into their relentless activisim. Politicans rarely stand too firmly on principle, and as such, are easily drifted with the tide. And the "tide" it is. Because progressives have sought with fervent ardor to become the teachers, the legislators, the journalists, the media, the entertainers, the ones who control the conversation. Progressivism isn't based upon logic and facts and reason, it's based upon a reflexive rejection of traditional things and an embrace of the new and exciting or even just "different", for sake of being "ahead" of the generations previous.
It can all be predicted, you know. The labelling as dumb - after all, she is so dumb, she doesn't acknowledge that progressivism is better. She doesn't know her ideas have lost, and thus champions them with a straight face and no reservations. She doesn't act like a product of an elite school, where "education" has become an indoctrination - perhaps even programming - into progressivism on every subject. Professors and administrators feel free to degrade those who fail to conform. Pundits on TV react with derision and insult toward those who don't conform.
There have been other targets, of course. Some we know still, some forgotten. Mostly because they folded under the withering barrage against them, or compromised, or found themselves silenced by efforts of those who wished to shut them up. But Palin's the exception. Palin has reached into the heartland, where progressivism isn't the standard of thinking. She speaks for the majority, in an unabashed, proud and self assured way. She is, to put it in crude terms, the massive boil on the face of a model.
And, so they get angry. Irritated, hateful, enraged, deranged, and whatever other terms fit the passionate and negative reaction to one who has so much popular support, who simply refuses in any way, to be cowed. Even more irritating, she turns their criticism and anger into additional public support and popularity. Progressives thought by making her the face of conservatism that they would marginalize it. Instead, it backfired. They attacked personally, the conservatives, by making Palin the proxy, and conservatives, for the first time, didn't roll over and die. Nor did Palin. Instead, the more they throw at her, the more she generates support for herself and the ideology attacked by proxy.
Liberals, progressives, whatever term you wish to use, are by definition, followers. They follow the ideas of some thinker, some writer, some figure. They have their icons, and thier 'wisdom' consists of the writings by and speeches from, and ideas from radicals from various generations. For them, history starts at their adulthood and they have the answer for all the vexations of humanity. It never occurs to them that far wiser have tried far harder than they have ever dreamed of. Our status as an incredibly prosperous country has provided the funding, the discretionary income and time, for them to experiment, mostly without consequence, on our people and country, and they are wholly taken back, that when a real crisis occurs, the people they thought were following them have been reluctantly tolerating them. And along comes someone like Palin, who represents every, and I mean EVERY thing they fight so hard against, and rides a wave of popularity to celebrity status.
Political critics of Palin say she's running a celebrity event. She's trying to be celebrity. Perhaps so. Analysts of Palin insist she can't run for President, because she's too caught up in being a media star. I think Palin has an instinctive grasp of things far better than she or most grasp. What more of a lightning rod could Palin be, than to subvert media and celebrity to campaign for conservatism? You could not possibly be more "in your face" than to use the very tools and venues of progressivism to promote conservatism. Conservatives were supposed to be mind numbed robots, remember, following Rush on AM radio. It was a nice, neatly packaged lie that progressives told themselves. Conservatives don't follow anyone... Except perhaps Jefferson and Washington and Jesus and other unknowns in today's media. They just assumed that conservatives followed, just as they follow.
Palin's not dumb. Not ignorant. She is the child of two passionate teachers. She knows more about biology and physics and math and history and geography and the list goes on, than the vast majority. She knows her place and our place in history. And she knows where we, Americans came from. And that exceptionally bright "city upon a hill" and "beacon of liberty" to the world. That's the kind of teaching that real teachers taught. It may be "ignorance" as defined by progressives. But it's the wisdom of age, time, and history.
And just when they believed the battle to overcome history and wisdom was won, along came the most unlikely hockey mom from a dusty and un-sophisticated town, in the most primitive state, championing the most unprogressive ideas, and in doing so, taking that victory and flushing it down the toilet. Instead, the TEA Party showed up. It's the worst nightmare of the intellectual, the elite, the progressives. Thank God. I thought for a while the darkness would win. We had forgotten that even a hockey mom from Wasilla can beat back the darkness. We fear it no more.