Moderator Phillip has deleted my somewhat provocative answer to "Why are conservatives so patriotic and hateful of the government at the same time?" for valid but unsound reason, commenting:

I'm sorry, but labeling all conservatives as racists is offensive.

Labeling all conservatives as racists would be offensive; I'd also add it's untrue and I've no reason not to suppose that most conservatives are not racists. But I did not intend to write a universal statement, and my answer was qualified:

Extreme conservatives who also hate government...

Apparently Phillip inferred that wording implies that all conservatives are extreme ones. This seems puzzling... if one wrote:

Elbonian conservatives who also hate government...

Clearly that wouldn't imply all conservatives are citizens of Elbonia. It would refer only to that subset of conservatives who had Elbonian citizenship.

The OP Gran24 also made it clear in the question itself that it wasn't about all conservatives, it was about an interesting and vocal set of some conservatives (emphasis added):

I know many conservative Americans (some in real life, but mostly on the internet) that are very patriotic - much more than many of their liberal counterparts.

Possibly the fix would be to add some extra qualifier:

  • Those Elbonian conservatives who also hate government...

  • Some conservatives, who are both Elbonian and hate government...

  • Those wacky Elbonian conservatives who are nothing at all like your average nice conservative...

If there's any doubt as to my opinions here:

I don't believe nor would state that all US conservatives are racists. I don't believe nor would state that all US conservatives hate the government.

I believe some US conservatives are racists, or more properly that some US racists are conservatives, and some are liberal, and some are moderates, etc. I believe some US conservatives hate the government, or more properly that some US government haters are conservatives, and some are liberal, and some are moderates, etc. I believe not all government haters are racists, and not all racists are government haters.

But some people are both, and some of those are also conservative, and some are liberal etc. Racism is an important historic and political problem that still haunts the US. And when those who are both racists and government haters and conservatives look back at that history, they admire.

  • Have you tried rephrasing your answer and voting to undelete?
    – JJJ Mod
    Sep 15, 2018 at 21:47
  • 1
    @JJJ, Not as of yet, first I'd rather listen in a bit...
    – agc
    Sep 16, 2018 at 2:16

2 Answers 2


Clearly, Philipp should have said:

I'm sorry, but labeling all extremist conservatives who also hate government as racists is offensive.

Your post implies that the only reason why someone might hate government is that they are an extremist, either conservative or liberal. And since the question implicitly defines hatred of government rather broadly, such extremists include most of the respective ideologies. I.e. you may view extremist, government-hating conservative as a small minority, but the asker doesn't. But you are hanging your rant on that question, which implies that you are using the same definition.

This is also a common definition. In every election, some Democrat describes a conservative opponent as an extremist and racist. Last time, it was Donald Trump and we are told how great George W. Bush was in comparison. But during the Bush administration, he was the extremist racist and we were told to look longingly back to the days of his father or even Dwight Eisenhower. And during his father's administration, again back to Eisenhower.

All this is despite the fact that people who knew them would tell you that Lyndon B. Johnson was the worst racist president of the last sixty years. Ronald Reagan was known for being polite and mindful of all individuals before him. The elder George Bush was known for being anti-racist back when it was unpopular to be so, once kicking out a guest at a party for being rude to his black bartender.

Other than that, your post never addresses the question of why someone would hate government as a concept and still be more patriotic in appearance and action than others. It really just said that government-hating, extremist conservatives are racists. And to say, that that's not what you meant is irrelevant. That's what you said. And that still, even modified, doesn't address the question of how someone can love country and hate its government. So: offensive and non-answer properly deleted.

Those of us who would accept the labels of government-hating and extremist as exaggerated but not wholly unfair may entirely balk at then being described as racist.

  • Conservatives recognize government as necessary. That which is necessary should not be hated, and no normal conservative really hates government. Even fighting to topple a government doesn't require hating it, anymore than hunting requires hating one's quarry. Hating is an extreme emotion. Hence, a government hater is an extreme-ist not because they disapprove of a government, but because they hate it.
    – agc
    Sep 16, 2018 at 3:24
  • Re "It really just said that government-hating, extremist conservatives are racists.": not quite. Using your terms, it was more like: the USA's super-patriot government-hating, extremist conservatives long for the bygone days of racism, religion, and conquest. The obvious example: the KKK. Less obvious example: those who obliviously do things that might as well be deliberately racist, without wishing to do harm, but so lost in marvelous theories, manners, nostalgia, and positive thinking that they never adequately examine the wealth of negative evidence from their adventures.
    – agc
    Sep 16, 2018 at 4:46
  • 3
    But that's not the definition used by the asker of that question.
    – Brythan
    Sep 16, 2018 at 22:52

Your answer should have been deleted.

The general case for deleting an answer is when the "answer" is not an answer. That is, the post doesn't answer the question it purports to answer. This is where your post lives because:

  • It's full of editorializing ("Extremists of all sorts ... are vain')
  • Lacks any attempt to back-up its claims (such as, "Since federal power has helped check so much of that history, they hate it for that.")

All answers are expected to be factual answers to the posted question. Factuality is demonstrated by backing-up an answer. When a question lacks any kind of backing-up there is a reasonable case that it is not an answer.

Beyond this, there are serious tone problems. To my eye, the editorializing produces an aggressive and biased tone. Not everyone may read it that way, but I did - which means other people might too. If you toned down the language it might have lived longer.

But not for the reasons given by the moderator.

However, these weren't the reasons given by the moderator. The moderator's claim (as presented in your quotes) is that you unfairly characterized conservatives in some unflattering ways.

To me, that seems unreasonable. A statement like "Group X doesn't like Y" isn't normally interpreted to mean that all people in Group X don't like Y. In everyday language we understand that to mean that there are exceptions. It's a generalization, not an absolute. Often times there are interesting exceptions to those generalizations, which helps us develop more nuanced understandings. (Footnote 1)

In short: assume good faith in answers. *

You could lessen the risk of appearing to be in bad faith by using more neutral language. If you think there is a reasonable chance that readers in the categories you are writing about will be offended, then you should take extra care when crafting your answer. That is, Be Nice.

* The wisdom in the good faith answer is that we should, "assume good faith until the user has a documented history of not acting in good faith". It might be worthwhile to look at your own history of deleted answers to examine whether this applies to you or not (normal users can only see their own history of deleted posts).

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