Defining conservative vs liberal in america today

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Foxfyre, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. Foxfyre
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    Foxfyre Eternal optimist Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    In thread after thread it seems that eventually somebody will throw out 'conservative' or 'liberal and/or progressive' as perjorative terms. The mud slinging that generally follows when that happens will invariably provide an incorrect definition of each.

    Perhaps we can consider and discuss typical definitions from this that I received in my e-mail earlier. Would you agree or disagree with one or more or all of these statements?

    TO WIT:

    American Liberals are more tolerant of and prefer more government control to regulate the activities and choices of the people.
    American Conservatives are less tolerant of and prefer as little government control as reasonable to regulate the activities and choices of the people.

    American Liberals seek more equal distribution of wealth.
    American Conservatives seek more merit distribution of wealth.

    American Liberals
    seek less dependence by the needy on private charity.
    American Conservatives seek less dependence by the needy on government charity.

    American Liberals look more to the Federal government to address social concerns of the citizens.
    American Conservatives more to local government and individuals to address social concerns of the citizens

    American Liberals believe in tax the rich to distribute to the poor.
    American Conservatives believe in all citizens bearing an equal proportionate share of the burden.

    American Liberals see themselves more as citizens of the world.
    American Conservatives see themselves more as citizens of America.

    American Liberals rarely define what they think in specific terms.
    American Conservatives regularly specify what Conservatives think in specific terms.

    American Liberals generally see it as the duty of the Federal government to establish the social contract for all.
    American Conservatives generally want the Federal government to protect and defend the rights of the people and otherwise leave it up to the people to govern themselves and establish the society they wish to have.

    Okay that's it for the email. Others may come up with additional comparisons, but please, can we keep the trollisms and food fights to a mininum? We don't have to agree with each other's point of view, but we don't have to denigrate each other in order to say that.
     
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  2. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    Here's one I got in my email:
    Father/Daughter Talk
    A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat, and was very much in favor of "the redistribution of wealth."

    She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch Conservative, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.

    One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the addition of more government welfare programs. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father.

    He responded by asking how she was doing in school.
    Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't even have time for a boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying.
    Her father listened and then asked, "How is your friend Audrey doing?"

    She replied, "Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus; college for her is a blast. She's always invited to all the parties, and lots of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too hung over."

    Her wise father asked his daughter, "Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask him to deduct a 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA."

    The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired back, "That wouldn't be fair! I have worked really hard for my grades! I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!"

    The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, "Welcome to the Conservative party."
     
  3. Foxfyre
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    Foxfyre Eternal optimist Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    :) I've seen various versions of that PC and it still impresses me as what 'conservatism' is all about.

    I think the Conservative begins with valuing reward for honorable productivity and allowing consequences for a choice not to be productive. The emphasis is not necessarily rejection of a hand up, but on the necessity of the individual taking responsibility for his own productivity.

    I think the Liberal begins with concern for the nonproductive, criticism for the unfairness of factors that made him/her non productive, and emphasis on correcting those factors. The motivation of the nonproductive is immaterial and only external factors should be the concern.
     
  4. manifold
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    manifold Diamond Member

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    American Liberals are more tolerant of and prefer more government control to regulate the activities and choices of the people.
    American Conservatives are less tolerant of and prefer as little government control as reasonable to regulate the activities and choices of the people.

    BULLSHIT. It depends on the the activity.

    American Liberals seek more equal distribution of wealth.
    American Conservatives seek more merit distribution of wealth.

    BULLSHIT. American Liberals seek a more FAIR distribution of wealth. American Conservatives seek to let the free market distribute wealth, regardless of fairness or merit. They will tell you that the free market is wholly based on merit but they are wrong.

    American Liberals seek less dependence by the needy on private charity.
    American Conservatives seek less dependence by the needy on government charity.

    BULLSHIT. Anyone with a functioning brain and/or a beating heart would prefer to minimize anyone's dependence on either.

    American Liberals look more to the Federal government to address social concerns of the citizens.
    American Conservatives more to local government and individuals to address social concerns of the citizens

    I don't know what is meant by "social concerns"

    American Liberals believe in tax the rich to distribute to the poor.
    American Conservatives believe in all citizens bearing an equal proportionate share of the burden.

    BULLSHIT, but only because of the biased wording. Liberals prefer more progressive taxation, Conservatives prefer more regressive taxation.

    American Liberals see themselves more as citizens of the world.
    American Conservatives see themselves more as citizens of America.

    BULLSHIT. Liberals consider themselves both citizens of America and the world. Conservatives see themselves as ONLY citizens of America.

    American Liberals rarely define what they think in specific terms.
    American Conservatives regularly specify what Conservatives think in specific terms.

    BULLSHIT. Neither is big on specifics.

    American Liberals generally see it as the duty of the Federal government to establish the social contract for all.
    American Conservatives generally want the Federal government to protect and defend the rights of the people and otherwise leave it up to the people to govern themselves and establish the society they wish to have.

    WTF is "the social contract for all" supposed to mean?
     
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  5. Madeline
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    Prolly the single most appealing theme in conservative thought is "rewarding merit". Only a dumbass would insist there are no undesirable "sense of entitlement" disincentives from some government programs.

    However, ladies.....

    Here's a few things most conservatives seem unwilling or unable to digest and accept:

    * Upward mobility is a highly desirable, highly American value that is fast disappearing as a reality.

    * Some people are temporarily or permanently in distress. A society as rich as ours that allows its poor children and elderly etc. to go hungry is in danger of moral bankruptcy.

    * "What you earn" as a wealthy person is a function of, in part, government services and the existence of the middle and lower classes. It is a matter subject to debate, not a fixed and observable number.



     
  6. California Girl
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    California Girl BANNED

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    Why is upward mobility disappearing? Is it coincidence that it is happening with an increasingly 'welfare' and 'entitlement' driven society?

    No one, certainly not conservatives, seeks to ignore children and the elderly going hungry. We just happen to believe that there are better, more efficient, local ways of solving such issues.

    No one - not an individual who breaks into the home of another and steals, or a government to does it legally - has the right to take what someone has worked for.

    Not hard. Everyone in this country deserves the same opportunities. What they choose to do with those opportunities is their business. If someone chooses to squander their education, that is not my problem.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 3, 2010
  7. Foxfyre
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    Foxfyre Eternal optimist Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    First, thank you for taking the time and effort to respond to the specific points.

    I understand the social contract to be the values, principles, and ideals by which a people governs itself. So I took this statement to indicate that liberals look to the government to govern the people. Conservatives do not want to be governed but want their rights secured and then be left alone to govern themselves.
     
  8. Madeline
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  9. Madeline
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    foxfyre, this is a nice sentient, but what does it mean? Conservatives seem to be the ones who oppose legalizing drugs; oppose gay marriage; oppose legal abortion; etc. On social issues, most self-proclaimed conservatives seem to be almighty officious intermeddlers of the first order.
     
  10. Foxfyre
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    Foxfyre Eternal optimist Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    But the question is WHY? WHY is there an American elite and an American underclass Madelyn? Especailly considering that 10 trillion dollars have now been expended on the "war on poverty" and the poor/underclass/chronically unemployed/chronically undereducated etc. etc. etc. are still with us in large groups?

    Would that be the case if we had not implemented the 'war on poverty' that utilizes mostly liberal concepts/values but had rather implemented conservative concepts/values?

    I think that absolutely has to be part of the debate.
     

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