Core differences between liberals and conservatives?

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    Nov 29, 2011 7:29 PM GMT
    What do you think are the core differences between liberals and conservatives?

    I have some basic ideas, but I may be incorrect and/or biased. I think liberals trust more in government and conservatives trust more in the market/business; liberals are more open-minded and challenge authority while conservatives maintain tradition and respect authority. Conservatives are strong on crime and law while liberals are concerned with fairness and justice. Conservatives are more focused on themselves, their family and are nationalistic, and liberals are more concerned with the interests of others in the country or around the globe--another way of looking at it: conservatives place emphasis on the individual and liberals on society as a whole.

    I'm not saying these ideas are correct. Nor are any of these characteristics "good" or "bad." I think it helps to step back and recognize WHY liberals and conservatives disagree on many things--understanding each other is the key to living together peacefully and without contempt for those on the other side of the political spectrum.

    I'm liberal, but I value bipartisanship more than my own political leanings(though there are certain issues I will not seek compromise on... primarily social issues).

    And please keep this civil! This is not meant to turn into a flame war (though it most certainly will).
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    Nov 29, 2011 7:49 PM GMT
    Interesting take on that. I would partially agree with some portions of that, although It's hard to replicate a specific formula that applies to conservative or liberal because the definitions can vary so much, but I would say my strain of conservatism is this:

    I feel that we need to put the size and scope of government in check so that certain businesses are not getting preferential treatment from politicians over others (crony capitalism). The bigger government gets, the bigger this crony capitalism will get. However, we need government for all basic infrastructure, law and order and defense needs. Also, the government exists to put a check on making sure that businesses (specifically those that produce oil or pollution) are not pursuing profits at the expense of infringing on the health of individuals who also have the right to live safely.

    I believe in individuals being able to freely pursue their interests, if that includes wanting to personally have nationalistic views, then so be it, if it includes wanting to be open and concerned with the interest of others around the globe, that's fine too, as long as they don't prescribe some "right" and "wrong" when it comes to a gray area like this and try to force everyone else into something.

    I believe in maximizing personal freedoms, so long as they do not infringe on the health and rights of others. I believe heavily in property rights -- if a bar wants to have smoking allowed nobody is being forced to patronize that bar, they can go somewhere else. I believe heavily in allowing everyone to maintain their own preferences, while stressing that everyone deserves to have equal rights to do whatever it is they like. I'd rather have someone hate me for being gay but recognize that I deserve equal rights than someone to say they "love" me but won't allow me to have rights because it's a "sin".

    When it comes to crime, I believe we should be tough on it but if it comes to the death penalty I am more against it than for it. Too many mistakes can be made.

    Sounds kind of hodgepodge, but those are a couple thoughts off the top of my head.
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    Nov 29, 2011 9:39 PM GMT
    mocktwinkie saidInteresting take on that. I would partially agree with some portions of that, although It's hard to replicate a specific formula that applies to conservative or liberal because the definitions can vary so much, but I would say my strain of conservatism is this:

    I feel that we need to put the size and scope of government in check so that certain businesses are not getting preferential treatment from politicians over others (crony capitalism). The bigger government gets, the bigger this crony capitalism will get. However, we need government for all basic infrastructure, law and order and defense needs. Also, the government exists to put a check on making sure that businesses (specifically those that produce oil or pollution) are not pursuing profits at the expense of infringing on the health of individuals who also have the right to live safely.

    I believe in individuals being able to freely pursue their interests, if that includes wanting to personally have nationalistic views, then so be it, if it includes wanting to be open and concerned with the interest of others around the globe, that's fine too, as long as they don't prescribe some "right" and "wrong" when it comes to a gray area like this and try to force everyone else into something.

    I believe in maximizing personal freedoms, so long as they do not infringe on the health and rights of others. I believe heavily in property rights -- if a bar wants to have smoking allowed nobody is being forced to patronize that bar, they can go somewhere else. I believe heavily in allowing everyone to maintain their own preferences, while stressing that everyone deserves to have equal rights to do whatever it is they like. I'd rather have someone hate me for being gay but recognize that I deserve equal rights than someone to say they "love" me but won't allow me to have rights because it's a "sin".

    When it comes to crime, I believe we should be tough on it but if it comes to the death penalty I am more against it than for it. Too many mistakes can be made.

    Sounds kind of hodgepodge, but those are a couple thoughts off the top of my head.
    good gawd.. after reading that and then any other post you make, the hypocrisy is rampant!
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    Nov 29, 2011 9:45 PM GMT
    mocktwinkie saidInteresting take on that. I would partially agree with some portions of that, although It's hard to replicate a specific formula that applies to conservative or liberal because the definitions can vary so much, but I would say my strain of conservatism is this:

    I feel that we need to put the size and scope of government in check so that certain businesses are not getting preferential treatment from politicians over others (crony capitalism). The bigger government gets, the bigger this crony capitalism will get. However, we need government for all basic infrastructure, law and order and defense needs. Also, the government exists to put a check on making sure that businesses (specifically those that produce oil or pollution) are not pursuing profits at the expense of infringing on the health of individuals who also have the right to live safely.

    I believe in individuals being able to freely pursue their interests, if that includes wanting to personally have nationalistic views, then so be it, if it includes wanting to be open and concerned with the interest of others around the globe, that's fine too, as long as they don't prescribe some "right" and "wrong" when it comes to a gray area like this and try to force everyone else into something.

    I believe in maximizing personal freedoms, so long as they do not infringe on the health and rights of others. I believe heavily in property rights -- if a bar wants to have smoking allowed nobody is being forced to patronize that bar, they can go somewhere else. I believe heavily in allowing everyone to maintain their own preferences, while stressing that everyone deserves to have equal rights to do whatever it is they like. I'd rather have someone hate me for being gay but recognize that I deserve equal rights than someone to say they "love" me but won't allow me to have rights because it's a "sin".

    When it comes to crime, I believe we should be tough on it but if it comes to the death penalty I am more against it than for it. Too many mistakes can be made.

    Sounds kind of hodgepodge, but those are a couple thoughts off the top of my head.


    Awesome. I don't agree with all of your views (or perhaps to the same degree), but there was nothing entirely radical about what you wrote either.

    I think we forget sometimes that liberals and conservatives are not mortal enemies nor is one or the other trying to "destroy America"--although, such beliefs have turned many people into millionaires via talk radio, 24-hour news TV and book deals.
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    Nov 29, 2011 10:06 PM GMT
    conscienti1984 said
    mocktwinkie saidInteresting take on that. I would partially agree with some portions of that, although It's hard to replicate a specific formula that applies to conservative or liberal because the definitions can vary so much, but I would say my strain of conservatism is this:

    I feel that we need to put the size and scope of government in check so that certain businesses are not getting preferential treatment from politicians over others (crony capitalism). The bigger government gets, the bigger this crony capitalism will get. However, we need government for all basic infrastructure, law and order and defense needs. Also, the government exists to put a check on making sure that businesses (specifically those that produce oil or pollution) are not pursuing profits at the expense of infringing on the health of individuals who also have the right to live safely.

    I believe in individuals being able to freely pursue their interests, if that includes wanting to personally have nationalistic views, then so be it, if it includes wanting to be open and concerned with the interest of others around the globe, that's fine too, as long as they don't prescribe some "right" and "wrong" when it comes to a gray area like this and try to force everyone else into something.

    I believe in maximizing personal freedoms, so long as there isn't an infringement on the health and rights of others. I believe heavily in property rights -- if a bar wants to have smoking allowed nobody is being forced to patronize that bar, they can go somewhere else. I believe heavily in allowing everyone to maintain their own preferences, while stressing that everyone deserves to have equal rights to do whatever it is they like. I'd rather have someone hate me for being gay but recognize that I deserve equal rights than someone to say they "love" me but won't allow me to have rights because it's a "sin".

    When it comes to crime, I believe we should be tough on it but if it comes to the death penalty I am more against it than for it. Too many mistakes can be made.

    Sounds kind of hodgepodge, but those are a couple thoughts off the top of my head.


    Awesome. I don't agree with all of your views (or perhaps to the same degree), but there was nothing entirely radical about what you wrote either.

    I think we forget sometimes that liberals and conservatives are not mortal enemies nor is one or the other trying to "destroy America"--although, such beliefs have turned many people into millionaires via talk radio, 24-hour news TV and book deals.


    At the end of the day I'm not radical, I don't know why some here feel that way. I may support the rights for people to have radical thinking, but I don't actually consider myself to have them.
  • allanon

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    Nov 29, 2011 10:22 PM GMT
    Anybody who has watched Food Inc. knows that the government (who the liberals adhere to) and the powerful capitalists (whom the conservatives patronize) are basically the same entity. The people who call themselves conservative or liberal simply buy into the false idea that this nation was created for the sake of the equal freedom of all people. They have been wooed by the ambiguous, yet powerful language of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

    The differences between conservatives and liberals are illusions that the upper class has propagated to maintain a quiet servitude of the masses. At the top of the tier, both parties have the same agenda: to maintain the status quo of rich/poor, oppressor/oppressed, consumer/producer.
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    Nov 29, 2011 10:30 PM GMT
    Change and the degree of tolerance for change makes all the difference.
    Fiscal or social issues are just concrete examples--the underlying theme is the same.
    (For example, in 2100, the conservative movement will defend homosexuality against bestiality, human cloning against interbreeding of species, and evolution against creation of new species)
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2011/09/07/your-brain-on-politics-the-cognitive-neuroscience-of-liberals-and-conservatives/
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    Nov 30, 2011 12:16 AM GMT
    discoverblogThe obvious question we should be asking first is: What does it mean to be liberal or conservative? As a nation, we have been through wars, major financial crises, human rights revolutions, and during each of these significant historical events, the core values or prominent issues backed by the liberal and conservative party seem to change somewhat. Because of this, it wouldn’t be accurate to say a liberal 50 years ago looks the same as a liberal today. So can we really say there is a liberal or conservative “thinking style” if the issues paramount to each party are always evolving? Actually, I think we can. Really, it isn’t so much the specific issue that defines the thinking style, it’s the preference for either stability or change. Depending on the current events, this can mean very different things.
    ...
    When we speak of “liberal and conservative thinking styles” the most important thing to keep in mind: we are talking about group differences, not individual differences. The people that fit into this two-category model described here are generally the most active and hard core members of the parties. This doesn’t account for moderates, nor does it take into account extreme fanatics of both wings, where we start to see mental instability confounding the group traits. Both sides have a little extremity and their fair share of imbalanced individuals in the fringes, so don’t assume any one party is immune.

    Additionally, this “liberal/conservative thinking style” division doesn’t account for those types of individuals mentioned up there in point number 2. Some people are just really complex. Maybe they are highly emotionally sensitive and have a large amygdala, but also have a prominent ACC and prefer novelty and ambiguity. Those people exist, and I know some of them personally. The really complex people never fit neatly into models like these. Furthermore, I hypothesize that those complex people are more likely to be the ones to switch parties at some point. Because they have the traits that make them receptive to both kinds of arguments—logical and emotional—it might take one particular issue that strikes a chord that swings them one way or another. However, I don’t think these “party switchers” are necessarily moderates; they may be just as extremely committed to those new ideals as they were the old ones. Also, these “party-switchers” might be the best ones to champion reaching across party lines; they know, to some extent, how the other side feels and how best to reach them. I would love to see further research on this cohort in particular.


    There was an RJ thread on an interview with some guy who was a gay advocate who became "ex-gay" and a religious nut (a smart one, but a nut nonetheless) somewhere in the Midwest...I can't find the thread right now, but he's an example of those extreme switchers mentioned above.
  • creature

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    Nov 30, 2011 2:18 AM GMT
    mocktwinkie saidInteresting take on that. I would partially agree with some portions of that, although It's hard to replicate a specific formula that applies to conservative or liberal because the definitions can vary so much, but I would say my strain of conservatism is this:

    I feel that we need to put the size and scope of government in check so that certain businesses are not getting preferential treatment from politicians over others (crony capitalism). The bigger government gets, the bigger this crony capitalism will get. However, we need government for all basic infrastructure, law and order and defense needs. Also, the government exists to put a check on making sure that businesses (specifically those that produce oil or pollution) are not pursuing profits at the expense of infringing on the health of individuals who also have the right to live safely.

    I believe in individuals being able to freely pursue their interests, if that includes wanting to personally have nationalistic views, then so be it, if it includes wanting to be open and concerned with the interest of others around the globe, that's fine too, as long as they don't prescribe some "right" and "wrong" when it comes to a gray area like this and try to force everyone else into something.

    I believe in maximizing personal freedoms, so long as they do not infringe on the health and rights of others. I believe heavily in property rights -- if a bar wants to have smoking allowed nobody is being forced to patronize that bar, they can go somewhere else. I believe heavily in allowing everyone to maintain their own preferences, while stressing that everyone deserves to have equal rights to do whatever it is they like. I'd rather have someone hate me for being gay but recognize that I deserve equal rights than someone to say they "love" me but won't allow me to have rights because it's a "sin".

    When it comes to crime, I believe we should be tough on it but if it comes to the death penalty I am more against it than for it. Too many mistakes can be made.

    Sounds kind of hodgepodge, but those are a couple thoughts off the top of my head.


    Thanks for sharing, mocktwinkie. I believe there are a lot of basic concepts many of us can agree upon. And surprisingly, I'm actually a supporter of the death penalty.
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    Nov 30, 2011 2:32 AM GMT
    This resistance to change also explains why you can have socially regressive Democrats in West Virginia and socially progressive Republicans in New York.

    In a sense, all "liberals" who yearn for the golden age of the middle class of the 1960's are conservatives, while all "conservatives" who promote free trade above all are the liberals. Change is hard, and sometimes not in a good direction.

    In another sense, sometimes it takes a bigger view to discern who is the "real" conservative. Adapting to change doesn't mean that you're resigning yourself to the inevitable. E.g. climate change: the liberals are the true conservatives, since they want to preserve the current standard of living for posterity, while the conservatives just want that same standard for today, and let tomorrow worry about the billions of dollars that will be needed to adapt to climate change.

    In short, liberals are conservatives in some ways, and conservatives are liberals in other ways.icon_lol.gif
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    Nov 30, 2011 3:09 AM GMT
    my reasons for being liberal are simple, I'm for social justice, a clean environment, universal healthcare, promotion of the arts and sciences, removal of theology in government, better school funding. I also believe that no one should make money off the destruction of our environment, for profit healthcare is evil, the destruction of the prison industrial complex and creating something that actually rehabilitates criminals (and that starts with investing in youth so that they never end up there in the FIRST place).

    I don't believe that any man is an island, we all got to where we are due tot he failure or success of our community, we are only as strong and prosperous as our weakest members.
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    Nov 30, 2011 8:44 AM GMT
    DoomsDayAlpaca saidwe are only as strong and prosperous as our weakest members.


    Not true at all. Our weakest members contribute next to nothing. Should the government really pay for non-contributing members of society, like perpetually-unemployed stoners who have shown no attempt to rehabilitate themselves?

    The core issue here is whether or not people should be held accountable for their own actions in the eyes of the government. As a conservative, I believe they should.
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    Nov 30, 2011 9:04 AM GMT
    FrostedFlakes said
    DoomsDayAlpaca saidwe are only as strong and prosperous as our weakest members.


    Not true at all. Our weakest members contribute next to nothing. Should the government really pay for non-contributing members of society, like perpetually-unemployed stoners who have shown no attempt to rehabilitate themselves?

    The core issue here is whether or not people should be held accountable for their own actions in the eyes of the government. As a conservative, I believe they should.



    I find it funny that this is the only argument you can come up with. It's always some kind of horrible drug addicted person or some terrible welfare queen (guess what, both are situations misrepresented time and time again by "conservatives"!).

    The majority of people end up in situations beyond their control due to broken system or for simply having the nerve to try and better themselves., and sometimes shit just happens and there is nothing anyone could have done to prevent it.
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    Nov 30, 2011 9:39 AM GMT
    The left doesn't want "big government" - that's not what it's about - in fact if you look at what progressives and the left really advocate - we are for the freedom of individuals first and foremost against the barbarities and inequalities they suffer for whatever reason or under any circumstance...the true "anti-individual" ideology is the right-wing, which preaches subservience to the corporation, religion, nation-state above everything else. How the fuck is it individualist to demonize entire groups of people for being different (such as the endless amount of conservatives who are always bashing gays) ?

    The left sees the community of human beings as a collection of individuals - whose rights must be protected. The right sees a population of people to manipulate, to brainwash and to divide and oppress.

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    Nov 30, 2011 3:23 PM GMT
    Stan904 saidThe left doesn't want "big government" - that's not what it's about - in fact if you look at what progressives and the left really advocate - we are for the freedom of individuals first and foremost against the barbarities and inequalities they suffer for whatever reason or under any circumstance...the true "anti-individual" ideology is the right-wing, which preaches subservience to the corporation, religion, nation-state above everything else. How the fuck is it individualist to demonize entire groups of people for being different (such as the endless amount of conservatives who are always bashing gays) ?

    The left sees the community of human beings as a collection of individuals - whose rights must be protected. The right sees a population of people to manipulate, to brainwash and to divide and oppress.



    What you are failing to understand is that the methods by which leftists think they will accomplish this utopia of individual freedom and equality actually creates the very opposite effect.

    Take the push for equality, for instance. Leftists don't just want equal opportunity or equal rights, they want equality in socioeconomic outcome as well.

    In order to achieve this all of the trees in the forest would need to not dramatically differ in terms of height (metaphoric for economic success of individuals), therefore the ability to accomplish this will need to rest in the hands of an entity trusted to accomplish these wonderful ideas of equality -- the entity holding the chainsaw (the power to do it -- government). The problem with that is, you've already contradicted the idea of achieving equality, because the entity capable of leveling all of the trees in the forest to the same height is not subject to the same "equality" being enforced on everyone else (ex. Let's take away dangerous guns from everyone to protect society, but we -- the government-- get to keep them to ensure "public safety"). So now you have 99.9% living in a form of equality decided on (most likely a miserable standard) while the very ruling elite live in unparalleled luxury and are not subject to the miserable equality that is "good for everyone else". Instead of a 5% or 1%, it's .001%.

    You can't create a society that emphasizes equality in terms of outcome without first putting trust and ultimately unbridled power in a force that becomes strong enough to take freedom away from the individual. We all know what happens when people put trust in a dictator to "accomplish great good".

    Obviously I'm providing you with the extreme example, but I'm trying to show you how the grand picture isn't what you think it is. Leftism is about collectivism, not about the individual.

    The rightwing, on the other hand, generally pushes for individual freedom (save for wedge issues that the rightwing will use - abortion etc - just like the left uses with guns, etc.) over equality.

    As much as the left worries about corporations "taking over" and enslaving the population, it has never happened before in history. However, we do have quite a few examples of "big government" (predicated on the idea that they will do everyone well) going awry.



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    Nov 30, 2011 4:10 PM GMT
    FrostedFlakes said
    DoomsDayAlpaca saidwe are only as strong and prosperous as our weakest members.


    Not true at all. Our weakest members contribute next to nothing. Should the government really pay for non-contributing members of society, like perpetually-unemployed stoners who have shown no attempt to rehabilitate themselves?

    The core issue here is whether or not people should be held accountable for their own actions in the eyes of the government. As a conservative, I believe they should.



    ...and who will play Judge? You? Should those you deem unworthy be sent to lie in your front yard and die there so you can self-righteously watch them suffer?

    Your weakest members include the mentally ill, the physically handicapped, the destitute, the chronically ill and the aged. Be careful what you wish for. They can't all go home and live with Mommy and Daddy like you can.



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    Nov 30, 2011 5:39 PM GMT
    mocktwinkie said
    As much as the left worries about corporations "taking over" and enslaving the population, it has never happened before in history.


    Not yet, not completely.
    We're getting very close again, and have had some close calls in the past.

    James Madison“There is an evil which ought to be guarded against in the indefinite accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it in perpetuity by corporations. The power of all corporations ought to be limited in this respect. The growing wealth acquired by them never fails to be a source of abuses.”


    Andrew Jackson“In this point of the case the question is distinctly presented whether the people of the United States are to govern through representatives chosen by their unbiased suffrages or whether the money and power of a great corporation are to be secretly exerted to influence their judgment and control their decisions.”


    Grover Cleveland“As we view the achievements of aggregated capital, we discover the existence of trusts, combinations, and monopolies, while the citizen is struggling far in the rear or is trampled to death beneath an iron heel. Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters.”


    Theodore Roosevelt“The fortunes amassed through corporate organization are now so large, and vest such power in those that wield them, as to make it a matter of necessity to give to the sovereign – that is, to the Government, which represents the people as a whole – some effective power of supervision over their corporate use. In order to insure a healthy social and industrial life, every big corporation should be held responsible by, and be accountable to, some sovereign strong enough to control its conduct.”


    Franklin D. Roosevelt“A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor – other people’s lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.”


    Dwight D. Eisenhower“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted.”
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    Dec 02, 2011 2:05 AM GMT
    http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/denial-science-chris-mooney?page=1
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    Dec 02, 2011 8:32 AM GMT
    http://neuropolitics.org/Anxiety-Depression-and-Goal-Seeking-in-Conservatives-Liberals-Moderates.htm