There’s something about the psyche of the average American conservative that makes them only truly win when someone else is losing.
There’s no victory in seeing everyone do better because, in the conservative mind, not everyone deserves to do better. What kind of world would it be if there was no punishment for making bad decisions?
[SHOUTED FROM OFFSTAGE] The world Donald Trump lives in?
Shut the hell up, imaginary person I’m using as a silly literary device. No one asked you.
To the American conservative, everything is a competition. Folks in poverty deserve their lot in life. They don’t work as hard as I do. They have sex out of wedlock and have babies they can’t afford. I knew better. Why the hell should they get a penny of my hard-earned money? Sure, they face circumstances beyond their control, but so does everyone. Why can’t they just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and push their way into the middle class?
* lowers bifocals to peruse stack of resumes, pushes aside those belonging to applicants with names like “Tyrone” and “Juan,” those without four year degrees from expensive private schools, and those whose address is in the “rough” side of town.
We’re all in this together…we just define “we” very narrowly. And you ain’t part of it.
The systemic dismissal of those “circumstances” which disproportionately affect brown people, simultaneously improves the chances of economic gain for people who aren’t brown. The pool of applicants is narrowed, but you’re still in. The number of competitors for scarce resources is decreased, but you’re still in. It’s much easier to win the game when it’s rigged to keep certain competitors at a disadvantage.
No one has to teach anyone that. That’s instinctive.
A victory for everyone not only unfairly rewards people who, in the eyes of conservatives, bring their suffering upon themselves. It also fails to tip the scales in the favor of the self-assessed righteous and deserving.
But worse, there’s no glory in winning if we all win…that’s some millennial hipster libtard “participation trophy” bullshit, according to the conservative mindset. In order for a conservative to truly win, someone has to lose. That “someone” will be someone lesser, both by virtue of the loss and as assumed before the rigged game even started.
If it is to be complete, the victory (and more to the point, the loser’s defeat) has to confirm the conservative’s bias that the conservative’s choices and hard work resulted in his/her victory. The loser’s defeat is obviously because they didn’t work hard enough and has nothing to do with the tilted field, skewed rules, shady officials, or deflated balls.
Speaking of deflated balls, anyone notice we don’t hear much from Lance Armstrong these days? I’m sorry, that was a cheap joke. I’m better than that, allegedly. I’ll have fewer jokes about cheating cyclists with testicular cancer in my next article. You have my word.
The competitive drive to win at all cost is not just economics or politics for the folks on the right. The conservative need to win at someone else’s expense runs deep.
Take religion. The majority religion in America is Christianity, and it’s especially prevalent in the conservative movement. The focal points of Christianity are things like forgiveness, peace, grace, charity, truth, and love.
But if you listen for about five minutes to an American Evangelical preaching about Jesus, you’ll hear about how a just, angry, jealous God will send the nonbelievers straight to eternal, fiery damnation. And you’ll have four minutes left to envision Lucifer tenting his fingers and laughing behind them as they rattle on and on. You’re almost never going to hear about any of the pacifist, socialist, loving themes of Jesus’s message to humanity…unless it’s en route to telling you what he really meant.
[bctt tweet=”The conservative need to win at someone else’s expense runs deep.”]
To conservative Christians, the message of Jesus needs a giant asterisk. His words weren’t enough, because even though he’s doctrinally (a) omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent and (b) still literally alive, he didn’t personally say everything that he meant to say.
He needed his apostles and followers to fill in the blanks. Blanks like “everyone who disagrees with you is going to burn in hell,” or “slavery was okay because someone once said something about it in II Deuteviticus or something,” or “you are literally better than anyone who is different than you, and as such don’t need to bother loving, caring, or thinking about those ‘others.’”
Through generations of angst and bitterness (fomented and leveraged to the hilt by disingenuous religious and political leaders), American conservative Christianity turned the egalitarian, loving message of the Prince of Peace into a self-mollifying, self-serving doctrine of deserving victors over deserving losers.
Want some other examples? No? WELL TOO BAD, because I’ve got more examples. Come on, you knew I would.
If you really want to feel the zero-sum mentality at work, forget politics, economics, and religion. Just look at culture itself. Conservative culture requires winners and losers.
The military is sacrosanct, and its enemies (foreigners, liberals, John McCain apparently, or anyone who questions our next act of war) should GET THE HELL OUT OF OUR GOT DANG COUNTRY if they don’t support our troops. The military is holy. Those who blindly support it are holy, too. But anyone on the wrong side of that holiness deserves whatever hell befalls them…be it an Israeli sniper bullet, a lost chance at NFL greatness, or a keyboard whipping on Facebook. They lose. We win. USA! USA! USA!
Care about animals? Well let me tell ya, “vegetarian” is old Navajo for “guy who can’t hunt.” It ain’t my fault that animals are stupid and delicious with gravy. And you’re a pussy for caring about what happens to them. That’s just the way of the world, snowflake. Fuck ‘em. They lose. I win. *shoots guns in the air whilst jumping about a la Yosemite Sam.
You want to take my daughter on a date? Let me get my shotgun and pose for you so you understand the hierarchy: it goes ME, YOU…and then my daughter, I guess. Sure, it deprives her of her own autonomy, and it deprives you of your right to safely enjoy your teenage years, but it makes me feel 7.26% more macho. They lose. I win.
You either hate the same list of losers they do, or they’ll add you to the list.
You either buy into their illogical, victim-blaming, ideological zero-sum games, or you’re just one the evil liberals their preacher/politician/radio host told them about. Your objections might be logical, but you can’t fool them with your devilish “education.”
The funny thing is when you sell out to win at all cost, you’re left with a pretty scary proposition: if you don’t keep on winning, that “at all cost” part comes back to take its pound of flesh. When you make everything a competition, you have to keep coming out on top no matter what.
Eventually, all of the “losers” you’ve cast aside—different as we all are—realize two things we have in common: our pragmatism and our total disdain for your take no prisoners antics. WE can bend. YOU can’t.
Your stubbornness and lunacy have served you well, quite frankly, but they’ve screwed the country. Thankfully, it’s all ending very soon…courtesy of the actual majority of us who are sick of your bullshit.
We’ll try not to fall into that whole “tyranny” thing y’all have perfected once we’re in charge again.
No promises, though.
 I understand Christian doctrine better than most. I am a comedian, a political satirist, and a dickhead. If you seize upon this portion of my text to lecture me on the real meaning of Christianity, I shall smite thee mightily about the head.
 Who me? Did I serve? Well, nah, ya see, I was gonna join, but then I slipped on a banana peel and spun out my go-kart and then someone threw a turtle shell at me, it got really crazy. It was kind of my own personal Vietnam, except without the STDs. But I would have served if I could’ve, dammit!
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9 thoughts on “I Can’t Win Unless Some Loser Loses”
The only funny about this is the projection involved, since it’s liberals that embody the sentiment of winning requires others to lose more than conservatives.
That’s not to say that some conservatives don’t also do this to some extent since we do believe in effort being needed for victory. Yet it is the liberals who claim others won do to “privilege” and whose policies are based upon stripping from some in order to give to others w/ “protected traits.”
I don’t totally disagree, actually – liberals can have a tendency to think we’re right, everyone’s wrong, etc. I think the difference for me (and why I wrote the piece, besides the fact that my audience is mostly left-leaning) is that I started to notice how the winners/losers idea infiltrated every aspect of conservative culture: religion, politics, race relations, hunting, stance on bullying, gun rights, etc. I don’t see it as starkly on the left. There’s a lot more room for finding compromise, just by definition of what it is that progressives want: progress. That doesn’t apply to everyone. One need only look at the antics of PETA to see that there are lefties who don’t give two shits about anyone’s opinion but their own. But I think that’s a minority within the progressive/left-of-center population at large. Just my two cents. Thanks for reading and commenting (and for being civil in your disagreement – always rare and refreshing in our current world).
Well, I don’t even know what to call this. It’s not actually confirmation bias but it’s related.
You see, I see how the winners/losers idea infiltrated every aspect of LIBERAL culture: religion, politics, race relations, hunting, stance on bullying, gun rights, etc far more and far more pernicious. Of course, they back the “losers” and want them to “win” at the expense of the current “winners.” What else are claims of privilege or blaming every piece of the “plight” of minorities on “racism,” the attacks on any form – good or bad – of masculinity, or phrases like “cisgender” or “heteronormative?”
As for progress – the left sees what they want as progress but the rest of us see much – not all – of it as degeneration. Given society today and the fact that the liberals have largely shaped it, I’d say my side has closer to the right of it.
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