I don’t know if this quote or idea can be attributed to any one person, but in political conversations I’ve often heard the expression, “A liberal is a person who’s never been mugged.” The meaning of which, I guess, is that someone with liberal attitudes, who goes through life working for the common good, trying to help others, thinking about community, will morph into a conservative once they’ve been threatened or attacked.

If that’s the case then, I guess a conservative is just someone who’s never before needed a bailout. Their independent, go-it-alone, trailblazing worldview remains unsullied by the need to ask for assistance (especially from the government) of any kind.

Strange then that these same conservatives come to the government, hat in hand, to ask for a taxpayer-funded bailout when their investment businesses fail. Suddenly, government is important. The common good is important. “These banks can’t fail,” goes the argument, “because the ripple effect on the economy would be catastrophic.” Not that these titans of finance want a similar bailout for homeowners trapped by their mortgage decisions. “They should have read their mortgage agreements more carefully and known what they were getting into,” say the investment bankers.

I guess there’s no true opposite to a liberal getting mugged. Maybe a conservative is simply someone who goes through life making their own reality.


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