Why are conservatives so hostile?

In the past I suggested on a blog that each person could do a little good in the world by sometimes not putting a lid on their drink they purchase at a fast food restaurant. The lids are free, but if you are going to finish the drink in the restaurant and throw the cup away there, does the lid add enough value to your experience to be worth the cost to the environment? The first response to the post was in all caps and was something like, “WHY DON’T YOU F**** COMMIES LEAVE US ALONE! THIS IS THE U.S. AND WE DON’T NEED A NANNY STATE TELLING US WHAT TO DO!!!”
The vehemence of the response seems incredibly inappropriate to me. Why did the poster feel such anger? I suspect the poster’s ire was raised by multiple factors. 1) My suggestion was taken as criticism of his current behavior and it made him defensive. 2) A part of him recognizes the truth and validity that a change of behavior on his part would be better for the environment but he hates being “told” what to do. 3) He especially hates when someone on the left suggests something that is good because it creates cognitive dissonance with his belief that everything the left says or does is bad and everything the right says or does is good.

I think the response highlights the challenges facing the U.S.A. The blog responder is so angry and hates the progressives with such vehemence that he is incapable of accepting or listening to any idea promoted by the left; even when it agrees with his own position. This anger and negativity has been fostered and nurtured over the last decade by personalities like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Sara Palin into what it is today. These right-wing cultivators of anger and fear strive to convert their listeners into mindless zombies that believe everything the conservatives say or do is good and right, while everything the progressives say or do is bad and wrong. This polarization of thought is, of course, bad for the individuals it affects, bad for society, and bad for planet Earth because it creates intolerance of others, vilifies learning, and opposes change and thus prevents progress.

What is Right is not always what is Best

Doing what is right is not necessarily best. When President Obama chose not to release the pictures of a slain bin Laden, that may not be right, but it might be for the best. I can argue that the right thing to do is to never hide information from the world, but sharing that information may lead to the deaths of many when some Muslims become incited to violence upon seeing the pictures. Clearly the Muslims are acting immorally, but just because we consider their response immoral and wrong does not mean that we should not consider it among the considering the consequences of our own actions.

At what point would you forsake your morals in order to save your own life? Would you, as a Christian, lie and say that you were Muslim if lying spared the life of your wife and kids? Would you, as a Muslim, lie and say that you were Christian if lying spared the life of your wife and kids? Would you lie about religion to an alien race if it were the only way to save the planet? Would it be better to tell the lie, or would it be better for all of humanity to be destroyed? Isn’t it also immoral to allow all human life to be destroyed?

We may have deeply ingrained ideas of morality, but to follow a specific moral principle regardless of the cost is, in itself, immoral. It seems to me that many Christian right-wingers choose to do what they think is right and do not believe they are responsible for the results/response to their actions. Many right-wing Christian politicians like Sarah Palin would make decisions without regard to the consequences because they have been raised to believe that a person is not responsible for the actions of others in response to your own actions. To some degree, that is true, but to fail to consider it is stupidity.

The danger from the right-wing Christians is that many live in a world that is black and white. Something is either 100% right or 100% wrong. These people don’t stop to consider the results of their actions because they allow their thinking to stop once they have answered, “What is right?”; they don’t keep considering what might be Best.