Conservatives, I’m convinced, are the most misunderstood people on the planet. At least today they are. This wasn’t the case in the past, when America was a more conservative country. But in a liberal world — and by that I don’t mean most Americans today are liberal; I mean the culture, via the media, exudes liberalism — it’s inevitable.

The thinking goes something like this: If you’re liberal, you’re open-minded, tolerant, and basically just a nice person. If you’re conservative, you’re inflexible, intolerant, righteous, and judgmental.

Let’s pick apart these ridiculous notions and set the record straight.

Being open-minded. This is one of my favorites. Liberals, as a whole, don’t have any concept about what it means to be open-minded. Being open-minded does not mean accepting, or “tolerating,” anything and everything. It means being open to looking at a particular idea — studying it, analyzing it, talking about it — and then deciding what you think about it. The only people who are close-minded are those who refuse to look.

Refusing to look at an idea means you don’t want to think about it because it may upset the nature of things. It may upset one’s order, the way people want it to be. Certainly there are conservatives who fall into this camp — but they are rare. The vast majority of American conservatives are open-minded people. What separates conservatives from liberals is that conservatives are not afraid to take a stand and say, “Hey, wait a minute. This is wrong.”

Rarely will you hear a modern liberal call anyone’s behavior wrong — because in a liberal’s world the concept of right and wrong is personal. It’s not dictated by God, or society, or any universal moral order. It’s dictated by the Self. If a person deems something to be right, it is right. That conservatives don’t believe in this view of the world — we call it moral relativity — doesn’t make them close-minded. They’re perfectly open-minded; they just disagree. It’s only when a liberal doesn’t like the conclusion the conservative has come to that he calls him close-minded.

As far as being righteous goes, it is true conservatives can sound righteous when they talk, but more often than not when you actually get to know conservatives, they’re incredibly humble. I can’t speak for our media personalities, but everyday conservatives are quite self-deprecating. This is not a characteristic of a righteous people. The reason they appear this way sometimes is because they care so much about humanity, so much about the underdog, so much about liberty and fairness that they get carried away. Their passion overtakes them, and they don’t come across all soft and mushy like liberals. Add to this the fact that modern culture is so morally corrupt that it makes conservatives appear that much more righteous b/c they have to scream to be heard.

Then there’s the “nice” label. Ugh. Makes me nuts. It’s so easy to be nice: just smile a lot and nod along in conversation. Anyone can be nice. Being nice isn’t what gives a person character. You don’t have to do anything to be nice. It takes speaking out, getting involved, and sharing ideas and opinions to have character. Just because a person is nice doesn’t mean he’s good.

Finally, arrogance. Being confident about right and wrong doesn’t make a person arrogant. Fifty years ago Americans agreed on right and wrong, and no one considered this arrogant. It’s only because of the rise of moral relativity that those who don’t subscribe to it — namely, conservatives — are labeled arrogant.

President Obama has plenty of opinions about what we should and shouldn’t do as a nation. Is he arrogant? The National Organization of Women has a lot of opinions about the right way to handle things. Are these women arrogant? Even liberals have opinions about right and wrong. It’s just that to a liberal, conservatives are the arrogant folks because they won’t change their worldview to step in line with the liberal worldview.

That’s not arrogance. That’s just smart.