Myths of Conservatism

Apr 162007
Authors: Nick Hemenway

After debating politics for so many years, I can almost always predict the response of those who disagree with me. I know the names I will be called, and I know exactly how the truth will be spun. However, there are several reccurring accusations I, along with my fellow conservatives, regularly face. I thought this might be a good time to address some of these conservative “stereotypes” that I encounter far too often.

Myth #1: Conservatives love Bill O’Reilly.

For the life of me, I cannot figure out why people automatically assume I am an O’Reilly fanatic just because I am conservative. The truth is I strongly dislike the man. Just as he himself routinely proclaims, Mr. O’Reilly is a moderate, or at least something similar. He supports civil unions, is weak on abortion, and his views of gun owners is somewhat suspicious. The only way I rationalize the existence of this myth is that people either don’t know much about Bill O’Reilly, or they don’t actually know what it means to be conservative.

Myth #2: Conservatives hate the poor.

This myth, as clever as it may be, has been perpetuated by liberal politicians for decades. Most prominently linked to taxes, we conservatives believe that people should receive tax relief according to how they contribute. Therefore, the wealthy, who pay the majority of our taxes, should receive the majority of a tax cut. It is not hard math, but it is routinely distorted into a class warfare accusation.

Also included in this debate is the welfare system. We conservatives believe that our current welfare system is too full of loopholes and inefficiencies to legitimately help those it was created for. Additionally, conservatives believe that people, no mater what their background, have the power to create their own American dream. The only required resource is hard work and determination, something everyone can control.

Myth #3: Conservatives love “Big Evil Corporations.

It seems like every political debate I get into eventually degrades into my counterpart claiming that I just want “corporations” to rule the world, not the people. This is one of my favorites. Somehow, people have this idea that businesses are evil robots up in the sky or something equivalent. Businesses are made up of people, just like you and me. They have the same rights and responsibilities as you and I do. For further explanation, I suggest the movie “Team America: World Police.”

We conservatives will often fight in the corner of those competing in the business world because we believe that a free market and the entrepreneurial spirit of America is what makes our country great, which has lead to our success as a nation.

Myth #4: Conservatives don’t care about the environment.

This myth is absolutely false. I would contend that many conservatives hold the environment higher than liberals do. Liberals view the environment as a flimsy entity that cannot be touched. Conservatives believe that God’s creation is an incredible gift that is robust and beautiful at the same time. We give it credit for its ability to adapt and interact with its inhabitants, including humans. We seek to hunt and fish responsibly, and enjoy the great outdoors to its full potential.

Myth #5: Conservatives don’t like Mexicans.

This one may be the worst of all, mostly because it is flat out wrong. It can be expected that during a debate on immigration reform, someone will be called a racist. This usually happens when arguments run thin. The fact is that we don’t hate Mexicans at all. Just because we ask people to follow the law does not make us racist. To steal an idea from Dennis Miller, I welcome any race into our country; I just ask that you sign the guest book on the way in.

Happy tax day everyone.

Nick Hemenway is a senior mechanical engineering major. His column appears every Tuesday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to

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