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Conservatives and Liberals

 
 
Reply Tue 25 Feb, 2003 11:27 am
In these discussions the terms "liberal" and "conservative" are thrown around quite a bit. Can anyone give me a good definition for these words?

I can't keep it all straight. Less than two years ago the "conservatives" were suspicious of the government and wanted to curtail its intrusiveness. Now it is the "liberals". What gives?

Based on my experience, the best I can figure is summarized in this table

Conservatives like:.................Liberals like:
guns...................................... taxes
war ...................................... criminals
unborn-babies.........................trees

My question is this What if I like both guns and taxes but hate trees and war? Where do I fit in?

Do you really that most people fall into one of these two categories?

Actually I am proud that I tick off both sides with my views. I figure that this means that I am a independent human being who can think for himself.

These terms are meaningless. People use them because they have nothing good to say. Somehow they think that they can discredit an idea by branding it. Only fools will fall for this fallacy.

If you use either the term "liberal" or "conservative" in a discussion, you are admitting your argument does not have the merit to stand on its own.

It is offensive to try to put the values and beliefs of a human being into such narrow categories. Although if you must, I hold to the tenets of Brown-Munozism.

... There, I feel much better now.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 2,943 • Replies: 33
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trespassers will
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Feb, 2003 12:19 pm
Re: Conservatives and Liberals
ebrown_p wrote:
Based on my experience, the best I can figure is summarized in this table

Conservatives like:.................Liberals like:
guns...................................... taxes
war ...................................... criminals
unborn-babies.........................trees

Based on my experience, here's how I would rewrite your table above:

Conservatives like:................Liberals like:
rights......................................entitlements
defense .................................appeasement
unborn-babies........................freedom from accountability
trees.......................................trees
clean air..................................clean air
quality education.....................government education
equality of access....................equality of outcome
rule of law...............................cosmic justice
families....................................government programs
constitutional government.......nanny-state
religious freedom.....................religious tolerance
tax cuts....................................government programs
local control..............................federal control
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Feb, 2003 12:48 pm
Trespasser,

Yours is the type of clearly partisan post that I find annoying.

Based on your rather narrow charactarization conservatives would be against the war on Iraq and the Patriot act, and liberals would be pushing for drilling in Anwar.

My point is that these narrow characterizations are useless and only lead to silly partisan bickering. They elimate the need to back up your opinions with facts or reason.

Please discuss each issue based on its own merits. Do this and I will respect your opinion without attaching any labels to you.

But don't try to stick any labels on me. I think and speak for myself.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Feb, 2003 12:52 pm
ebrown p wrote:
I think and speak for myself.


Then clearly, you don't fit in . . .

My respects . . .
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trespassers will
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Feb, 2003 12:54 pm
ebrown_p - Sorry, when you opened the door, I assumed you intended for people to walk through it. If you'd like to discuss any of my points specifically, just let me know.
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Dreamweaver MX
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Feb, 2003 01:03 pm
ebrown_p,
You can expect many more of this ilk. They are less interested in discussion than espousing their partisan cookie cutter opinions.
0 Replies
 
trespassers will
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Feb, 2003 01:23 pm
ebrown_p - Likewise, you can expect some people in these discussions to tell you how to act and who think you need them to tell you how to form your own opinions about others. I'm betting you can do that for yourself.

I remain ready and willing to discuss any specific questions you may have regarding my general comments.

Let me go ahead and add that I tend to agree with your blanket assertion that these labels often do not fit any given person well enough to be meaningful in that context.

I do however feel that they are sometimes useful as broad terms to delineate the two sides of many of the "big" issues we face. (This, I assume, is where you and I disagree.) Although I am sure most people here will label me a conservative, that is purely a factor of the debates currently being had. Change the topic and you get a different view. I think most or all of my viewpoints are traceable more to a libertarian than a conservative viewpoint, and honestly tend to call myself a conservative because it is easier than correcting people ad infinitum.
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Feb, 2003 02:00 pm
IMHO, those that are being labelled conservatives are, in fact, classical liberals: they advocate such basic values of liberalism as laissez-faire, equality of access, rights, etc. The ones being called liberals, are liberals too, but the latter adopted several ideas from socialism, such as entitlements, paternalistic style of government, affirmative action (BTW, the first occurrences of the latter thing took place in the USSR in '20s-'30s, mainly regarding the Jewish, Armenian and Muslim minorities); they adopted ideas of pacifism, some environmentalists' ideas, etc. Sometimes the borrowed ideas contradicted the very fundamnetals of the classical liberalism, but those calling themselves liberals preferred these; in such a situation the classical liberals really seem conservative, since they are trying to preserve the traditional values of liberalism. So, the main discussion is taking place between two groups of liberals: classical and modified.
0 Replies
 
Dreamweaver MX
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Feb, 2003 02:37 pm
trespassers will wrote:
these labels often do not fit any given person well enough to be meaningful

...but that won't stop me from trying to mold these labels to fit my partisan agenda.
0 Replies
 
au1929
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Feb, 2003 02:42 pm
steissd
What are you trying to say everyone is a liberal. It's liberal and ultra liberal.
In your world could the analogy be made to Secular and ultra religious? Just thought I would ask Question Question
0 Replies
 
trespassers will
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Feb, 2003 02:49 pm
Dreamweaver MX wrote:
trespassers will wrote:
these labels often do not fit any given person well enough to be meaningful

...but that won't stop me from trying to mold these labels to fit my partisan agenda.

ebrown_p - My guess is you are beginning to get a feel for who is here to discuss things and who is here to engage in partisan attacks.
0 Replies
 
steissd
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Feb, 2003 02:51 pm
Of course not. Ultra-religious are in absolute opposition to the secular world; it is possible to say that secular people and ultra-religious live in almost parallel worlds that have very few poits of mutual intersection. At the same time, civilized dialogue between the classical liberals and the modified ones is quite possible, since they share more or less the same core values of the Judo-Christian civilization.
0 Replies
 
Dreamweaver MX
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Feb, 2003 02:52 pm
trespassers will,
I was talking about you. You came in and tried to change the definitions to suit your views right off the bat.
0 Replies
 
trespassers will
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Feb, 2003 03:02 pm
Dreamweaver MX wrote:
trespassers will,
I was talking about you. You came in and tried to change the definitions to suit your views right off the bat.

DMX - Yes, I know you were writing about me, and wonder why. I did as anyone does in these discussions; offered my opinion. Now, as I understand the guidelines, you are perfectly welcome to disagree with the opinions I offer, but you are not welcome to go around making disparaging remarks about other members, even if you disagree with them.

Now, please discuss the topic. (Last time I checked, I was not the topic.)
0 Replies
 
Dreamweaver MX
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Feb, 2003 03:09 pm
trespassers will,
I did as anyone does in these discussions; offered my opinion. It was on topic. It refered to the attitudes of persons who are too partisan to say anything not clouded by their partisanship. Who can't pass up an opportunity to disparage the opposing parties and who still manage to find time to whine about the responses they get.
0 Replies
 
Equus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Feb, 2003 03:29 pm
This is by no means a perfect definition because even I can think of several exceptions: but in general I think it works.
In the US and most democracies we value Freedom and Fairness. It isn't always possible to be Fair when Freedom comes first, and vice-versa.

I think of Conservatives as the champions of FREEDOM. I think of Liberals as the champions of FAIRNESS. Both are highly desirable ideals, but get in each other's way. Conservatives and Liberals struggle with each other to find the best equilibrium between Freedom and Fairness.
0 Replies
 
gezzy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Feb, 2003 03:41 pm
Just watching.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Feb, 2003 03:46 pm
Equus, how dare you come here and try to offer a reasoned, balanced answer to such a potentially explosive question . . . i'm greatly disappointed in you . . .

An' then he blowed up . . . he blowed up real good . . .
0 Replies
 
Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Feb, 2003 04:32 pm
First, I didn't see anything particularly wrong with Tres adding to the list a series of "concepts" that seem to be used commonly to describe the two camps. It is neither better, nor worse than that presented by Ed Brown, and is no less the result of personal conviction.

Labels are always dangerous things when applied to human beings. They are simplistic reductions of complex individuals. They tend to stereotype people and unfairly ascribe to them characteristics that may not exist. Labels seem to imply that all members of a class can be described with a single, simple and all-inclusive definition.

On the other hand, think how difficult it would be if we didn't apply labels and stereotypes to the world we live in. A red skull and cross-bones on a label doesn't require us to do a lot of thinking, we just assume that the contents are dangerous. Facial expressions and the tone of voice used are short cuts to determining whether we are being attacked, or invited to share some intimacy. A man who surrounds his property with a 8' chain-link fence, lets a vicious dog freely roam the property, and has a sign on his front door that reads, "God made Man, Sam Colt made them Equal", says a lot about who he wants us to think he is. The thing is that the label may be very different from the reality sometimes. Dictators like to affix the term "Democratic" to their regime in the hope that our short-cut thinking will lead us to ignore the decidedly un-democratic nature of their country.

Those who were "conservative" in one age are "liberal" in another. The political parties first champion one political philosophy, and then another as the world changes around them. In the United States both parties are the heirs of the Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicanism that replaced the Federalism of Washington, Adams, and Hamilton. In our history we have continually been torn between whether the scales of government should most favor the rights of individuals, or the rights of the whole. Until the election of FDR, the Federal government was kept exceptionally weak and impotent when managing the affairs of Americans during times of peace. Jackson asserted Federal authority during the Nullification Crisis, and Lincoln refused to accept the secessionist movement without a fight. The Lincoln Republicans were very radical for their time, and the Democrats maintained a Conservative notion that favored States Rights. The Republican Presidents of the late 19th century were conservative in that they stood idly by while monopolies and Trusts made a mockery of freedom. The Liberal Wilson adopted some of the most repressive policies since the Civil War. Change and change about.

Humans like to name things, to label and define them. There are evident similarities in the world-view and values of those who favor policies described as "conservative", and "liberals" advocate a different set of policies and values. The labels aren't what have substance; the substance is in the values and policies advocated by people. Either set of values can be arrived at rationally, though the assumptions and interpretations of same things may vary considerably. In a Democracy the tensions and dynamics of opposition render a final result where individual liberty is most carefully balanced against the needs of society. Our Constitution protects us politically by a system of checks and balances. Organized labor and Federal Law prevents the worst rapine by the greedy balance runaway Capitalism.

There was a time when the Office of the President was respected, even when the man sitting in the Executive Chair had no better description than "incompetent and lazy". The private failings of public men were not regarded as making them unfit for office. Politicians were expected to lie, cheat and hog the public trough. The public at large voted the rascals out of office every few years and installed a new set. During the heat of political campaigns the most outrageous charges and counter-charges were exchanged for the amusement of the electorate. The People were certain that their government was doing the best it could for them. When the President called for war, the assumption was that the War was in the best interest of America. Sometimes, the wars were pure foolishness (1812, 1846, and 1898 all spring to mind), but in the end America prospered and grew stronger. They were terrible times by modern estimation, but please forgive my nostalgia for them.

When the extreme idealism of my generation was confronted by the lies and apparent waste of Vietnam, we began to vilify and demonize LBJ. We were disillusioned and felt betrayed. Nixon, an anathema himself, got into the White House. He was expected to be more willing to exchange nukes with the USSR, and surprised many with his peace initiatives. Nixon ran true to form though, and used his high office to undermine the Constitution. Between LBJ and Nixon our confidence in our elected leaders was dealt a terrible blow and we still haven't recovered. Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush were all honorable men, and each in his own way did what he honestly thought best for the country. Each of these men had faults and failings, and each had individual strengths that in the end benefited our Republic. Some of us might emphasis the good points, and others emphasis the bad points, but if we are fair minded we cannot totally condemn any of them.

I've left out of my example the last two Presidents, Clinton and Shrub. The reason for the omission is that public sentiment is so polarized at the moment that rational discourse is difficult.
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Feb, 2003 06:19 pm
e_brown and dreamweaver, welcome.

Sorry you didn't even get inside the door good before you got waylaid by the attack-and-sidestep-to-appear-like-the-wronged-party that some of us have gotten too familiar with from tres.

You'll also find that some like asherman will agree with him if he starts selling chunks of blue moon cheese.

Sigh.

But there is more stimulating, honest exchange of intelligent thought here, than anywhere else I've seen, so I hope you stick around.
0 Replies
 
 

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