While discussion of the Liberal/Conservative debate is often framed in the context of politics, but this is far too simplistic. There are complex and, often, contradictory moral and philosophical ideas and ideals within both camps. Let us, then, examinf their social agendas. In one camp, we see expressed the primacy of the individual over society. In the other, we see the primacy of society over the individual. On one hand, the the demands of society supercede the rights and needs of the individual. On the other hand, the rights and needs of the individual supercede any demands placed upon them by society. In either case, both are mistaken. No sane, healthy society can exist with total disregard for for the individuals who are its constitutents anymore than individuals can meaningfully exist with total disregard for the society in which they live. To have any meaning at all, the rights and needs of the individual and society must exist in a dynamic equilibrium, with neither sacrificed in the name of the other. In oreder to get beyond pointless arguments of "...the individual vs. society..." we need to understand a key concept; that being self-interest. Over time, self-interest has been saddled wiht connotations of "greed" and "selfishness". However, these labels become meaningless in the light of one basic fact...Self-interest is an integral part of the human psyche. Without it we wouldn't survive infancy, let alone childhood. Self-interest is, at its most basic level, a mechanism for ensuring the survival of the organism...Nothing more. Societies, whether simple or complex, are rooted in mutual self-interest. At a fundamental level, this mutual self-interesttakes the form of protection from the elements and from marauders, both human and not. As societies increase their level of complexity and interdependence, they also expand their range of opportunities for sel-expression and self-fullfilment while fostering an even greater reliance on societal stuructures and infrastructure. This leads us, the, to a question that must be resolved if a society is to function properly. What are the standards by which societal and individual behavior are judged. To be meaningful, these standards must be simple, understandable and universal without being absolute. The standards themselves are based upon their actual, verifiable consequences on individuals and society they live in. On an individual level, actions leading to the harm on oneself, another, or both cannot be sanctioned by society, again bearing in mind that these consequences are objectively verifiable. On the societal level, interference with the lives of individuals, as long as those individuals are not acting to harm themselves or others, is unjustifiable. When the actions of an individual or group lead to the harm of themselves or others, society is obliged to intercede and correct the situation. However, society cannot arbitrarily impose its will upon those causing no harm to themselves or others. Above all, we must understand that the individual is not some absolutely independent entity with absolutely inalenable rights, or defined by society as having no rights at all. Likewiae, society is not a group of unrelated individuals nor some absolute phenomena which unrestrictedly imposes its will upon the individual. In the end, society and its institutions are a dynamic and continuously evolving system. Any attempt to concretize, or render static and absolute that society and its institutions will ultimately lead to the stagnation and death of that society.