Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Conservatives and Liberals

It seems necessary to determine what a conservative and what a liberal are. Google will give you countless ways and means to explore this. As it is early on in this new blog, I will admit up front that I have not tried to validate the bias (or lack of bias) in any of the below referenced sites. I am sure that sooner or later there will be some level of bias in all of them. I did find that the views I am relaying did line up with my personal views fairly closely.

From www.student I found the following descriptions...

CONSERVATIVES - believe in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty, traditional American values and a strong national defense. Believe the role of government should be to provide people the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals. Conservative policies generally emphasize empowerment of the individual to solve problems.

LIBERALS - believe in governmental action to achieve equal opportunity and equality for all, and that it is the duty of the State to alleviate social ills and to protect civil liberties and individual and human rights. Believe the role of the government should be to guarantee that no one is in need. Believe that people are basically good. Liberal policies generally emphasize the need for the government to solve people's problems.

I also saw an interesting 'related search' for a quiz. There are many, but I had to pick one.

It appears that I am an Enterpriser. I can live with that. This early on I am not trying to draw lines in the sand, but create a starting point for debate. For the most part, we all want the same things. We want freedom, prosperity, opportunity, peace, love, etc. Many of us just differ in our opinions on how this can be best achieved.

I'll leave for now with another interesting link.

I encourage everyone to take some time to read some of the quotes from our founding fathers. It helps us all develop a better understanding of their ideals and what they had in mind for our country and form of government. I leave us with a few from Thomas Jefferson to ponder.

I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Ludlow, September 6, 1824

But with respect to future debt; would it not be wise and just for that nation to declare in the constitution they are forming that neither the legislature, nor the nation itself can validly contract more debt, than they may pay within their own age, or within the term of 19 years.
Thomas Jefferson, September 6, 1789

And finally...

Is it the Fourth?
Thomas Jefferson, evening July 3; Jefferson died the next morning, July 4, 1826

Tell me that he didn't love this country...


  1. First, let me thank the moderators for creating a space to hold conversation around the topics of being conservative or liberal. I will do my best to provide meaningful topics and responses that will progress the conversation. That was my liberal side to mix it up. :-)

    Just about any dictionary you browse will have several meanings to individual words. It has been my experience that the first explanation of a word is the newer more universally recognized definition; while the definition at the end tends to be the original thought for the word. For instance, the last definition for the word "freedom", as defined by, is, philosophically speaking, the power to exercise choice and make decisions without constraint from within or without; autonomy; self-determination. This definition alone encompasses all the other definitions that provides for the word "freedom". I will make my opinion based on this reason and logic.

    Conservative means "having the power or tendency to conserve; preservative". Liberal means "of, pertaining to, or befitting a freeman". Now, I chose the adjectival form of the word because being a Conservative or Liberal comes from a person's actions being described as liberal or conservative. Putting these words (adjectives) in a historical (US history) context, conservative would translate to someone who looked at the world and said "all is well" and maintains the status quo; while liberal would translate to individuals that were constrained or limited in their options and wanted freedom (refer to definition of freedom).

    Now, I am completely understanding of the political references to being called a "conservative" or "liberal", but I have not seen an example of either. I consider myself a conservative. Meaning, I make an honest effort to not live by consumption alone, or to propagate more responsibilities than I can handle. By handle, I mean done with my effort alone. However, I am of a liberal thought when it comes to allowing other humans to pursue their own philosophies.

    The government finds itself in the unenviable position of having to accommodate both views. Unfortunately, this propensity of government to fix things stems from conservative and liberal people competing against one another. The most contentious of those competitions culminated in the Civil War. I don't think any of us will disagree that this problem required a federal solution. From there, the government tackled a woman's rights, civil rights, financial rights, prisoner rights, senior rights, LGTB rights, and so on. That being said, is this really about Conservatives vs. Liberals, or our lack of tolerance for another way of life. This planet is big enough to accommodate them all, and provide the means for their manifestation.

    I proofread, but my eyes are tired after writing all this, so forgive any grammatical errors. :-D

  2. Esoteric definitions aside, I tend to agree with the simple descriptions of what each are; the ones from student, as referenced in the Post, seem clear enough to me. That’s why I have no trouble identifying myself as a conservative. However, LaKeviusM, you seem to have some kind of identity crisis, for which you have my sympathy. Nonetheless, I will have to take issue with a part of your description where you said, “However, I am of a liberal thought when it comes to allowing other humans to pursue their own philosophies.” Certainly, you don’t mean to suggest that as conservatives, we lack the desire to allow our fellow man the pursuit of a philosophy of his choosing, do you?

    Also, your assumption that there can be no argument against the federal solution to the Civil War, would surely have to be predicated on the fact that without federal encroachment on states rights, in violation of the Tenth Amendment, there might not have been a need for a solution of any kind, correct? Lastly, the natural bridge you see as a result of that federal solution, which has addressed the issue of subsequent “rights” afforded to certain entities, or socio-economic groups, may be somewhat specious, in that, I fear you may not fully understand what constitutes a “right.”

  3. Let us not take up the labels of Conservative or Liberal. Nor should we cling to Republican and Democrat. Instead, we must consider ourselves something better than these labels, which despite historical context, have all come represent big government in some way.

    Now is the time for all citizens of these United States to stand for what is right and against what is wrong, and dispose of what is Right and Left.

    This great nation was founded upon personal freedom and responsibility. Neither of these ideas should be looked upon separately as they are the "Yin & Yang" of Americanism. With great freedom comes great responsibility. Yet, we have groups of all kinds along the political spectrum shirking responsibility, and giving up our freedoms piece, by piece, by piece.

    Is it right to impose the redistribution of wealth upon the productive members of our society? No it is not right and it is not constitutional. But, do we have the responsibility to give of ourselves, our time and our possessions to make our communities a better place? I believe we do. I will, and do, redistribute my wealth as best benefits my local, national and world community.

    Is it right to play the politics of fear by screaming climate change at every turn? No it is not. Is it right to pollute our environment and otherwise act as bad stewards of God's creation? The answer is clearly no. We are charged by God to care for our environment. This does not however suggest that the creator in some way put these resources on the earth for us not to use them.

    Perhaps it is time to revisit common sense in this country. Both from a figurative and a literal perspective. Thomas Paine, in 1776, published his thesis Common Sense. the full text of which can be found at the following:

    "These are the time that try men's souls." - Thomas Pain

    As for me, give me liberty or give me death!

  4. I'm sorry that the concept of "labels" has wormed its way into our society but, I guess that's simply a matter of human nature. However, for me, it has always been an issue of Conservatism not being a matter of party, but rather a failed philosophy neither party has yet been able to achieve.

  5. "LaKeviusM, you seem to have some kind of identity crisis, for which you have my sympathy." Forgive me if I take offense. My character is not up for debate, nor is it in crisis. For you (Ben Franklin), to act as though all of your actions are of a conservative nature is misleading at the least. Sure, you claim conservatism in your political views, but you have liberal bones running throughout your anatomy. I digress...this is not about you or I. Just wanted to take offense to you calling out my "identity". Now, I will get back on subject.

    I can see how my statement, "However, I am of a liberal thought when it comes to allowing other humans to pursue their own philosophies." can be attributed to the thought that conservatives do not allow these things. If I am not mistaken, I mentioned that I am a conservative (politically), but personally, I allow for all types of lifestyles (not speaking of homo- or hetero-, but in general). As for your question about the "federal solution", the federal solution allowed for reconciliation. For the same reasons a husband and wife go through a system of divorce, if not for that system, then more husbands would take advantage of their wives. This would not happen because it was the best and right decision, but because the husband had the means and power in which to do so. Handling a problem that way, propagates that kind of solution to most problems, and I imagine that some folks with foresight knew handling problems that way would be an even bigger issue.

    Now, if you would be so bold as to post your own thoughts and move away from trying to minimize mine, then we can move the conversation forward. That is your "right". We can get into the debate about what a "right" is after you "write" it...Ben.

  6. Well stated Patrick. The issue is clearly not whether you claim "conservatism vs. liberalism". The issue is how do we marry a person's will with a nation's ideals. This nation was built off of protest and conflict. The reasons behind these protest and conflicts had everything to do with a person's will being trumped by a nation's (church's) ideals. We have done a decent job of curtailing that kind of phenomenon in America. However, I find that we are creating circumstances that will eventually lead us to address our nation's ideals in relation to a person's will. For me, a lot of the issues that are being made national, are really personal ones that should be handled in privacy. They are strictly about choice. The fact that our government has taken up the issues makes me all the more skeptical about what we call leadership.

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  8. Hey, Tommy, relax; no one attacked your character. I just made a logical assumption that you were experiencing some sort of personal dilemma, based on stating you consider yourself a conservative in one sentence, but are of liberal thinking in another. You can see how easy it was to come to that conclusion, don’t you? But, if anyone has impugned someone’s character, wouldn’t that be you? After all, you intimated that unless, as a conservative, I’m capable of “liberal thought,” I haven’t the ability to accept other philosophies.

    I’m also a bit perplexed as to how you are on such intimate standings with any of my bones, be they liberal or conservative. I hate to disappoint you, but to my knowledge the only “bone” in my body that I’m conscious of even remotely being anywhere near “liberal” would be that one from which I derive the full and complete satisfaction of unadulterated male pleasure. But, in its defense, it has always seemed to be of its own mind and, I’m afraid, rarely logical.

    I believe the question I asked about the “federal solution” centered on the premise that if it weren’t for federal infringement of states rights, there wouldn’t have been a need for a “solution” in the first place. I fear I’ve missed your point about reconciliation. What possible logic would there be to argue the merits of reconciling something that shouldn’t have happened in the first place, had the federal government adhered to the Constitution?

    Now, if you allow me to be so bold, I will certainly give you the definition of a right. It’s pretty simple. A right is that which one has a natural claim to, that neither hinders, impugns nor infringes anyone else’s rights; an example of which would be freedom.



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