One subject that is often present in the disgusting political debate of late is the notion that our opposition has been indoctrinated or brainwashed. When you see this kind of approach, back away slowly and leave the discussion. The person you're talking to has no intention of finding resolution. They want to be right. They want to be heard. They want to argue.
If you take a look at the tent hanging over each political ideology, you'll notice the one covering the Left is much larger than that which covers the Right. While the political spectrum is agreeably much more diverse, it's clear to me that lines have been drawn. What's even more striking is how those on one side of the line believe in all of the same things while variation rules on the other side.
That leads me to one very direct conclusion.
There are very few independent thinkers on the Right.
Pick any major issue plaguing our country at the moment, whether it is a fiscal or social problem. Now run down the list of everything that is stereotypically considered Republican. Now tell me how many Republicans or "true" Conservatives you've talked to who deviate from the stereotypical stance.
Let's run down the list.
On social issues like gay marriage and abortion, unless you consider yourself a Libertarian, there's a damn good chance you're going to be against both come Hell or high water. Why can't we find Republicans in great numbers who differ on these two major issues? No independent thought.
On health care reform, global warming and climate change, the environment, gun rights, animal rights, creationism vs evolution, and use of military force, if you're a Republican, it seems like there is only one acceptable answer with regard to any of these issues. No? Find me some Republicans who deviate from the herd mentality. Yeah. Find me some. I dare you.
Declaring yourself an Independent does not make you an independent thinker. It just makes you someone who doesn't want the label of a political party, yet you still follow rank and file opposition to anything left of center. It does not make you an independent thinker by claiming you're immune to Liberal indoctrination. Prove me wrong. Show me where you deviate from the issues I've listed only moments ago.
The ones who deviate from the batshit crazy people are more likely to be Libertarians and moderates.
Make the same comparison to those sitting on the Left.
On health care reform, there are differing opinions on whether we should have a single payer system or a public option. On climate change, there are people who insist we go completely green while others recognize various necessary evils. With regard to gun laws, the Left has people who are completely against guns altogether and others who understand we need to regulate, but not ban firearms. On the environment, you have people on the Left who strap themselves to trees and people who simply go out and plant more trees. On gay marriage, some on the Left are very socially conservative and many others openly accept homosexuals and desire to grant them the same right to misery in marriage the rest of us have been given. On abortion, there are both pro-life and pro-choice folks.
The Left is a much more diverse population which suggests some level of independent thought, not indoctrination. On the Right, there is a finite list of must-haves that few deviate from. That suggests sociological factors which lead to a herd mentality. There are clear signs as to whether or not you sound like one of the batshit crazy Conservatives. Deny your insanity if you must, but you aren't going to be able to dispute my accusation that you've been indoctrinated if everything you believe in is the same as every other Republican or conservative standing next to you at a town hall meeting or commenting on your blog.