The Facts of Life Are Conservative. That’s the Problem.

Attributed to Margaret Thatcher is this most pithy of truisms: “The facts of life are conservative.”

Falsely attributed to Winston Churchill is a longer version of the sentiment: “If you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 35, you have no brain.”

The thrust of each is that lived experience challenges any and all notions of social justice. It opens eyes, checks reality, bursts bubbles, and brings rubber to road.

(Photo: Shutterstock.com)
(Photo: Shutterstock.com)

The best defense against wisdom’s pernicious effects, if you’re looking for one, is an imaginary world of imaginary parables. Preventing reality from rearing its compelling head must be achieved at all costs.

Some examples:

Planet Fitness is taking the safe space route.

A carefully laminated sign posted on a weight machine reads:

We do not cater to bodybuilders or heavyweight lifters, please help us keep our non-intimidating environment by loading only four weight plates on each side. Thank you!

The notion that feelings trump reality might bite it when Planet Fitness members walk out the front door of the gym. However will they handle it if they have co-workers who go to gyms that cater to bodybuilders or heavyweight lifters? I suppose the notion could live on a little longer were the boss to put a sign on the water cooler that read:

We do not cater to healthy or fit employees. Please help us keep our non-intimidating environment by wearing only loose clothing that hides muscles, six packs, and perky pecs.

Conservative fact of life: Body builders and heavyweight lifters are intimidating, and that’s okay. They might even inspire the rest of us gym rats to work harder.

Twitter has begun a slow, steady, self-choking as it polices more and more interactions between followers.

What was established as a site to “create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers,” now invites me to report as abuse and harassment anyone “in disagreement with my opinion.”

Conservative fact of life: Disagreement is a part of life; get over it.

Related conservative fact of life: Censorship isn’t profitable.

Facebook took down a page chronicling each step and decision of an anti-fracking trial in Pennsylvania.

FrackNation and only FrackNation reported on the two families suing an oil and gas company for allegedly poisoning Dimock Township’s water with its fracking fluid. Specifically, plaintiffs alleged that they and their children suffered neurological, gastrointestinal, and dermatological damage from drinking the water; and their property values were damaged.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys found it surprisingly difficult to prevail before the judge, perhaps because their clients had no proof that they had ever taken their children to a doctor despite being allegedly poisoned. Even more inconvenient, property values increased after the drilling started.

Anti-fracking activists objected—strenuously—to the accurate reporting, so they submitted complaint after complaint to Facebook that the page was posting “inappropriate comments.” Inappropriate comments like “Jury sent home for night from Dimock Water trial. They will resume their deliberations at 9am in the morning.”

There is no evidence that Facebook investigated the page before removing it and informing its manager that the page had “violated community standards.” And there’s the rub. The community standard it violated is that fossil fuels are evil, truth be hanged. FrackNation’s sin?

“[D]istracting energy firms and governments from investing in renewable sources of energy, and encouraging continued reliance on fossil fuels.”

As such, positive analyses of fracking are not allowed. Not even if Harvard Business School publishes a study recommending fracking as an innovative strategy: safe, an economic bonanza for America, and good for the environment because it reduces carbon dioxide. Ohio, where fracking has produced a budget surplus, must be referenced—if at all—as an outlier whose foolishness spells doom for its citizens.

Yet there is reason to hope. Enough of the Facebook user community complained about the censorship that FrackNation’s page was restored 24 hours later.

Conservative fact of life: “[T]here is a real risk that American citizens, companies, and communities will fail to capitalize on this historic [fracking] opportunity because of misunderstanding and distrust.”

Related conservative fact of life: Identifying a source of information as unacceptable heightens both its visibility and interest to the public. I had never even heard of FrackNation, but since I have liked their page, I get regular updates in my Facebook timeline.

It would seem that knowledge of the facts dispels a multitude of notions. Proceed with all caution.

My 20-year-old son finally made enough money last year that he has to file taxes. A sweet memory, nay teaching moment, occurred when he first realized exactly how much tax he is required to pay. With all the righteous indignation of the truly aggrieved, he burst out, “That’s my money! I worked for it!” Without missing a beat, I informed him, “You just became a Conservative.”

The truth will out, God willing and the creek don’t rise.

Donna Carol Voss is an author, blogger, speaker, and mom. A Berkeley grad, a former atheist, pagan, and hot mess, she is now a Mormon on purpose and an original thinker on 21stcentury living. Her memoir, “One of Everything,” traces the path through one of everything she took to get here. Follow her on Twitter @donnacarolvoss or stop by www.donnacarolvoss.com.

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