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Is it incoherent to be socially liberal while economically authoritarian?

  1. Apr 4, 2009 #1
    I'm often being criticised because I in politics am liberal when it comes to social issues, and more authoritarian when it comes to economics. Why is less coherent than being authoritarian in economic issues and liberal in social issues? And what's the point of being coherent at all?Why is coherency better than non-coherency?
     
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  3. Apr 4, 2009 #2

    Chi Meson

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    lot of problems in our politics come from this "game plan" of social issues. Many peopl decide at what point which "team" they are on, then take on the entire package that comes with that team. So if you support gun ownership, then you are also against abortion, against socialized medicine, for the death penalty, against gay marriage, etc etc. Each of these issues is a separate thing and can be judged individually.

    I'm guessing that your critics can't figure out which "team" you are on.
     
  4. Apr 4, 2009 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    I agree with Chi. In fact, as an Independent, I don't belong to either major US political party.

    However, in the modern context, social liberalism and fiscal conservatism can be mutually exclusive. Often the choice is between a socially liberal solution, or a fiscally conservative solution.
     
  5. Apr 4, 2009 #4

    Danger

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    Go with whatever you feel is right in any category. If that forces you to choose a party, go with the one that best represents your opinions. My grandparents were all dead before I was born, but my mother told me what her mother told her: vote with your conscience.
     
  6. Apr 4, 2009 #5

    Dale

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    Social freedom and economic control is the standard "liberal" position. How is that considered incoherent? The standard "conservative" position is social control and economic freedom, the standard "libertarian" position is social freedom and economic freedom, and the standard "authoritarian" position is social control and economic control. They are all coherent political philosophies.

    Moderates are a little harder to figure out. I suppose someone could have a coherent political philosophy that would lead to moderate results on the social and economic scales, but I haven't seen one articulated.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2009
  7. Apr 4, 2009 #6
    Alas, this is discouraging news indeed, but the war is not over yet.
     
  8. Apr 4, 2009 #7
    So true!
     
  9. Apr 4, 2009 #8
    Heh, sounds like you're the exact opposite of me. I am socially rather conservative, but liberal on almost all other issues, and very liberal in terms of economics. It's rather amusing to unify both parties against myself.
     
  10. Apr 4, 2009 #9
    I'd dispute that. That is true for modern/social liberalism, but not classical liberalism, which is on the other side of economic freedom (overlapping with libertarianism, according to some). I'm not even sure what the word 'liberalism' means, exactly: for instance, the pro-free-market position is "economic liberalism", yet it is predominantly a conservative position (and also classical liberal) - and in fact social liberalism is at its core economically illiberal!

    Pragmatism? The idea that "optimal" policy reflects not a pure application of an abstract ideology, but a balancing among mutually contradictory goals - which cannot be simultaneously satisfied - and the maximum of the sum of the component utility functions is somewhere near the center of parameter space?
     
  11. Apr 4, 2009 #10

    Dale

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    That is a standard authoritarian position: government control of both social and economic life.
     
  12. Apr 4, 2009 #11

    Dale

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    This is correct. I was refering to modern liberalism as typically understood in today's "left vs. right" debates. Classical liberalism is, as you mention, closer to today's libertarianism.

    That is not a coherent philosophy because you cannot use it to determine the stance on a given issue. Let's take recreational drug use for example, liberals and libertarians would let it be legal (social freedom) while conservatives and authoritarians would make it illegal (social control). All four positions are coherent, you can boil down the broad philosophies to a specific position on a given issue.

    For moderates, should recreational drug use be legal or not? How do you determine the "pragmatic" or "optimal" stance? In optimization language, what is your cost function? If a moderate could clearly articulate an "optimality" criterion that could be used to make such policy decisions then that criterion would be the underlying coherent philosophy. I'm sure it is possible, I just have never seen in done.
     
  13. Apr 4, 2009 #12
    I think abortion is murder and that meat isn't. Does that make me a social conservative? Liberals call me a fascist. I also think that pot should be legal and governmental racial discrimination illegal. Does that make me a social liberal? Conservatives call me a socialist. I am well aware of the various procrustean beds that others would have me lie in. But I don't, and you shouldn't either.
     
  14. Apr 4, 2009 #13
    I'll always call you Jimmy. Hey, you could find Jimmyism and make buck or two in the process.
     
  15. Apr 4, 2009 #14
    Sometimes I am liberal and sometimes I am conservative, but I am always Jimmy.
     
  16. Apr 4, 2009 #15

    Danger

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    Not really. In normal circumstances, I suppose that a lack of grandparents might be considered tragic. My case is different. My mother was the youngest of 13 kids, and she's 96. That would mean that my grandmother would be about 140 now if she was still around. She died a few months before I was born. (My dad was the second oldest of 13, and was coincidentally 13 years older than my mother.)
     
  17. Apr 4, 2009 #16
    I'm sorry for your grandparents, but I was referring to the voting advice. In my opinion we should vote with reason instead of conscience.
     
  18. Apr 4, 2009 #17
    You can't help people unless you have the means to help them.
     
  19. Apr 4, 2009 #18

    Danger

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    Pardon the misunderstanding. :redface:
    Personally, though, I don't see a difference between reason and conscience. My conscience is guided by reason, and vice versa. I can't separate the two. (Maybe it's because of being amidextrous... :uhh:)
     
  20. Apr 4, 2009 #19
    But in court, wouldn't it be wrong if the judges didn't apply the same principles and rules in all cases?
     
  21. Apr 4, 2009 #20

    Danger

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    On a jurisdictional level, that is correct. Unfortunately, jurisdictions vary as to what constitutes a crime and what the appropriate punishment is.
     
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