News What Conservative and Liberal mean to you

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What "Conservative" and "Liberal" mean to you

Everyone has both conservative and liberal ideations. What are your principles in relation to those of political Conservatives and Liberals in your country and those in the world as a whole?

Do you find yourself switching allegiances with time? (I shifted from my liberal youth to a moderate middle age.) Do you think most moderates sit on the fence or freely vacillate between opposites?

Is the Conservative-Liberal spectrum linear (with extreme endpoints) or circular (continuous, meeting at totalitarianism) in nature?
 
well, to me liberals want to go forward and conservatives want to go backward.

I personally believe that both ideologies are necessary to keep a stable system (keeping progress in check, but not stagnating).

As to the spectrum, it seems to be circular (as you stated). The radicals on both sides tend toward immoral acts.

As far as the political parties (in the US), I'd say that the Democratic party is fairly moderate, while the Republican party (the faction in charge, anyway) is radical.

The overwhelming number of kids in my history class thought the opposite about the parties when we polled (I live in a Republican-dominant area).
 

SOS2008

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In the day when, the major dividing topics were social, financial, and military--at least in the U.S. If you are pro-choice you are liberal (social example), if you are for limited government you are conservative (financial example), if you are for a strong military you are conservative (military example). Of course some of these dividing points have become blurred in recent times. I had once seen a survey on this, and googled to find something like it but couldn't find anything like it.
 

Pengwuino

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SOS2008 said:
In the day when, the major dividing topics were social, financial, and military--at least in the U.S. If you are pro-choice you are liberal (social example), if you are for limited government you are conservative (financial example), if you are for a strong military you are conservative (military example). Of course some of these dividing points have become blurred in recent times. I had once seen a survey on this, and googled to find something like it but couldn't find anything like it.
People are too stupid. They shouldnt be allowed to take sides :D
 
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I agree that the spectrum is circular. Linear does not work.
 

loseyourname

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I still associate liberalism with Woodrow Wilson and LBJ-style social engineering programs. Things like regulating service-providers, rent controls, living wages, standardized, centrally controlled public education, 'don't hurt yourself' measures like speed limits on open highways, seatbelt laws, prohibition, taxing cigarettes at a ridiculous rate and banning them in public places. For the most part, I'm against these kinds of things, as it has always seemed to me that the idea of a master-controlled society just isn't going to work. Individual liberties and market flexibility is not only more appealing to me, but has generally proven to be a more effective system anyway.

Things that have become associated with conservatism (or neo-conservatism, as it stands), like huge military spending and perceived police-state measures, I'm not necessarily in favor of. I have, however, spent a good deal of time looking over these perceived police-state pieces, at least in the USA PATRIOT act, and have found nothing all that alarming, except to those looking to be alarmed, although there is a certain way in some of the wording that could make room for abuses. That should be cleared up. Most of the act just allows the CIA and FBI to work together more closely and extends powers that were allowed in drug trafficking and racketeering cases to terrorism cases. Anyway . . .

Items associated with contemporary liberalism that I am in favor of are checking the religious influence on federal legislation, ending the war on drugs (Although how many democrats are really in favor of this? It seems a fringe position in any party.), and being somewhat more prudent about foreign policy.
 

russ_watters

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Loren Booda said:
Everyone has both conservative and liberal ideations. What are your principles in relation to those of political Conservatives and Liberals in your country and those in the world as a whole?
I'm somewhat of a mixture - pro choice, pro gun control, tough on crime, pro military/ pro-active foreign policy, anti-taxes, anti-handouts. edit: oh, I'm pro "sin" taxes (I prefer "idiot taxes") too.
Do you find yourself switching allegiances with time? (I shifted from my liberal youth to a moderate middle age.)
No, I've been quite consistent since at least 8th grade (the first time I ever took a political afiliation quiz). I think that's unusual though. The old saying "If you're not a liberal at 17 you have no heart and if you're not a conservative at 40, you have no brain," while crass, is largely accurate in that people do tend to get more conservative as they get older. Personally, I connect liberalism with idealism and conservatism with realism.
Do you think most moderates sit on the fence or freely vacillate between opposites?
Quite the opposite: I think most people in the middle are in the middle because their views are well thought out and they know things aren't as simple as the two parties would have us believe. I find most extremists on either side have a lot of passion but never stop to think about their beliefs.
Is the Conservative-Liberal spectrum linear (with extreme endpoints) or circular (continuous, meeting at totalitarianism) in nature?
I think there is something to be said for the circular one. On either end, extremism requires force to impliment and the results look very similar. In practice, the Nazis and the Stalinists weren't that much different.
 

Lisa!

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"Liberals think I'm a Conservative, Conservatives think I'm a Liberal.I must be doing something right!"
 

honestrosewater

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Conservative - currently rich and powerful. Liberal - trying to become rich and powerful. (I'm only half joking.)
I don't know where I fall. I'm for basic protections for everyone and local control to accomodate diverse belief systems, i.e., to allow birds of a feather to flock together.
 
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Art

Pengwuino said:
People are too stupid. They shouldnt be allowed to take sides :D
It is unfair to make such a general supposition based purely on one's own experience of self. :smile:
Antiquis temporibus, nati tibi similes in rupibus ventosissimis exponebantur ad necem
Absit invidia :smile:
 
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Janus

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Personally, I adhere to Bertrand Russell's take on Liberalism:

"The essence of the liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being viewed dogmatically, they are held tentatively, with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment."
 
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Kind of like the scientific method.
 

vanesch

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Loren Booda said:
What are your principles in relation to those of political Conservatives and Liberals in your country and those in the world as a whole?
First a note: what's called "liberal" in the US is probably closer to "social democrat" in Europe (often called, socialist, labour) ; what's called "conservative" in the US is often called "liberal" in continental Europe. :bugeye:

My views are: I'm in favor of a slightly controlled free market, some social protection (medical care - social security...), full intellectual freedom, essential state services but without a monopoly and glorification of my own person. I guess in the US that makes me closer to liberal,... and in Europe too :-)
 

selfAdjoint

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Patrick, according to the right wing blogs in the US, that's a pinko comsymp set of preferences. I bet you don't support the attack on Iraq either!

P.S. I agree with you.
 

Pengwuino

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Art said:
It is unfair to make such a general supposition based purely on one's own experience of self.
I think they need to rewrite to the 1st amendment to disregard falsehoods. Would be like a gag order on you wouldnt it :wink:

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
 
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Art

Pengwuino said:
I think they need to rewrite to the 1st amendment to disregard falsehoods. Would be like a gag order on you wouldnt it :wink:

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
Ah but I bet illiud latine dici non potest :biggrin:
 
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I personally see "Conservative" as meaning a desire for less goverment intrusion on the federal level allowing for more freedom on the state level. Also placing more accountability on the idividual. The individual should work harder to make their own life better and their community better.
I see "Liberal" as more government intrusion. The fed heavily policing the states. Protection of the individual even from him/herself. The idea that it is the responsability of the government to assure the quality of life for the individual and to be sure the community is doing well and progressing.

That said, I am very middle of the road personally.
This is a fun little thing someone posted on another forum.
http://www.politicalcompass.org/
It gauges your political alignment on two axis instead of one. These were my scores.
Your political compass
Economic Left/Right: 0.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.77
 
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Art

TheStatutoryApe said:
I personally see "Conservative" as meaning a desire for less goverment intrusion on the federal level allowing for more freedom on the state level. Also placing more accountability on the idividual. The individual should work harder to make their own life better and their community better.
I see "Liberal" as more government intrusion. The fed heavily policing the states. Protection of the individual even from him/herself. The idea that it is the responsability of the government to assure the quality of life for the individual and to be sure the community is doing well and progressing.

That said, I am very middle of the road personally.
This is a fun little thing someone posted on another forum.
http://www.politicalcompass.org/
It gauges your political alignment on two axis instead of one. These were my scores.
Your political compass
Economic Left/Right: 0.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.77
Interesting link 'though the definitions provided on the site are at variance with your own definition above. The article suggests that liberals are more in favour of less centralised gov't control. There appears to be a basic difference in what constitutes Libertarianism between America and Europe.
By adding the social dimension you can show that Stalin was an authoritarian leftist (ie the state is more important than the individual) and that Gandhi, believing in the supreme value of each individual, is a liberal leftist.
 
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loseyourname

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Art said:
Interesting link 'though the definitions provided on the site are at variance with your own definition above. The article suggests that liberals are more in favour of less centralised gov't control. There appears to be a basic difference in what constitutes Libertarianism between America and Europe.
The definitions are different depending on whether we're discussing social conservatism/liberalism or fiscal conservatism/liberalism. Socially, a liberal is someone who favors more freedom and less controls. Fiscally, a conservative is someone who favors more freedom and less controls. The thesis of this web site is that it is inadequate to refer to someone simply as "liberal" or "conservative" without specifying the qualifier. Personally, I'm socially liberal and fiscally conservative, although pretty far out on both counts, not nearly as centrist as Ape.
 
Art said:
Interesting link 'though the definitions provided on the site are at variance with your own definition above. The article suggests that liberals are more in favour of less centralised gov't control. There appears to be a basic difference in what constitutes Libertarianism between America and Europe.
I didn't really mean for the link to back up my definitions. My own are based on what I was originally told the definitions were. I connect the definitions more with the goverment than with an individual idealogical perspective and also the common definitions of the words; liberal = more, conservative = less. It just makes more sense to me that way. I recently looked up the origins of the terms Right-wing and Left-wing which I think contribute to the muddled interpretations of conservative and liberal when such things start to simply be lumped together.
 
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Just a comment about conservatism; I understand it as opposing change, rather than going back to something old - which I understand as fundamentalism.

To answer the question is hard, in my personal beliefs I am quite liberal, but in my political (ideas about society) I feel more I'm more middle ground. To give some idea, economically I'm conservative and socially more liberal. Keeping Vansch's Eur-US translation in mind, I like a competetive market; basic health care, social security and education for all; a free publik discourse; an army big enough to make conquring Finland economically unfavourable; and big government spending on pure, 'useless' scientific research. :approve:
 
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Art

TheStatutoryApe said:
I didn't really mean for the link to back up my definitions. My own are based on what I was originally told the definitions were. I connect the definitions more with the goverment than with an individual idealogical perspective and also the common definitions of the words; liberal = more, conservative = less. It just makes more sense to me that way. I recently looked up the origins of the terms Right-wing and Left-wing which I think contribute to the muddled interpretations of conservative and liberal when such things start to simply be lumped together.
I wasn't questioning your definition I was just showing there is a difference in what europeans and americans regard as liberalism; specifically economic liberalism.
I found the following quote in the FAQ part of the site you referenced which explains this better.
You've got liberals on the right. Don't you know they're left ?
This response is exclusively American. Elsewhere neo-liberalism is understood in standard political science terminology - deriving from mid 19th Century Manchester Liberalism, which campaigned for free trade on behalf of the capitalist classes of manufacturers and industrialists. In other words, laissez-faire or economic libertarianism.
In the United States, 'liberals' are understood to believe in leftish economic programmes such as welfare and publicly funded medical care, while also holding liberal social views on matters such as law and order, peace, sexuality, women's rights etc. The two don't necessarily go together.

Our Compass rightly separates them. Otherwise, how would you label someone like the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan who, on the one hand, pleased the left by supporting strong economic safety nets for the underprivileged, but angered social liberals with his support for the Vietnam War, the Cold War and other key conservative causes?
 
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Conservativism and liberalism aren't particularly exhaustive. The former is about conserving the existing status quo, while the latter is about freedom of the individual. The term liberal, though, seems to be applied to anything that is not conservative. A lot of 'liberal' ideals are actually quite restrictive (the above reference is smoking in public is not such a good example, since it is about the freedom of the individual to not have to passive smoke), such as banning of blood sports or firearms. Likewise a lot of 'conservative' ideals demand change, such as pro-life lobbies.

Much better categories would be 'ars*h*les' and 'groovy people'.

Ars*h*les: those who seek to perpetuate the unfairness that benefits them, believe everyone should be like they are and should follow their personal ethics, that those who are not do not deserve the same rights and freedoms, and those that are deserve advantage over those who are not;

Groovy people: those who seek to introduce fairness even if it costs them personally, that believe each person should have the freedom to live by their own ethics as long is they do not adversely effect others, that believe in diversity and equality, and do not seek advantage over those different to them.

Most people considering themselves conservatives will easily fit into the former category while most who consider themselves liberals will sit comfortably into the latter, without the messy semantics that may undermine their otherwise cosy positions. The rest should find it easy to adopt a position from these straightforward definitions. No, don't thank me. 'Twas a pleasure.
 
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El Hombre Invisible said:
Conservativism and liberalism aren't particularly exhaustive. The former is about conserving the existing status quo, while the latter is about freedom of the individual. The term liberal, though, seems to be applied to anything that is not conservative. A lot of 'liberal' ideals are actually quite restrictive (the above reference is smoking in public is not such a good example, since it is about the freedom of the individual to not have to passive smoke), such as banning of blood sports or firearms. Likewise a lot of 'conservative' ideals demand change, such as pro-life lobbies.

Much better categories would be 'ars*h*les' and 'groovy people'.

Ars*h*les: those who seek to perpetuate the unfairness that benefits them, believe everyone should be like they are and should follow their personal ethics, that those who are not do not deserve the same rights and freedoms, and those that are deserve advantage over those who are not;

Groovy people: those who seek to introduce fairness even if it costs them personally, that believe each person should have the freedom to live by their own ethics as long is they do not adversely effect others, that believe in diversity and equality, and do not seek advantage over those different to them.

Most people considering themselves conservatives will easily fit into the former category while most who consider themselves liberals will sit comfortably into the latter, without the messy semantics that may undermine their otherwise cosy positions. The rest should find it easy to adopt a position from these straightforward definitions. No, don't thank me. 'Twas a pleasure.
I've never been able to work out where the Liberal Party in Britain fit in the political spectrum. Their policies seem all over the place. Like ban smoking cigarettes but legalise marijuana. I get the impression they simply adopt their policies from whatever tops the poll on any particular issue????
 
Art said:
I've never been able to work out where the Liberal Party in Britain fit in the political spectrum. Their policies seem all over the place. Like ban smoking cigarettes but legalise marijuana. I get the impression they simply adopt their policies from whatever tops the poll on any particular issue????
If you remember when Jack Straw was home secretary, he too wanted to decriminalise cannabis and his party did, eventually, reclassify it (to that of a strong onion as someone once said), the same party that is now banning smoking in public places. I think Kennedy's policy is pretty much the same. These are liberal issues (I mean - 'groovy people' issues): the freedom to live your life in a smoke-free environment, and the freedom to get smacked off your t-ts on weed (in private, of course). I think to ban smoking tobacco altogether would not be on either party's agenda. However, I can see the sense in cracking down on cigarettes in their current form, as this is essentially a form of exploitation. Another Straw-era Labour policy was to ban the advertisement of cigarettes, though a quick back-hander from various companies with a vested interest in tobacco advertising ensured this did not stretch to the motor racing industry, and also gave the British public an early example of Labour's conservative side (i.e. showed the labour party to be 'ars*h*les'). Another Straw-era idea was to stop cigarettes being sold in anything other than plain white packaging. That lasted about two seconds. I can't help wondering if Straw's aggressively liberal attitude was what got him posted in a job where he essentially couldn't do much but make the best of a bad situation, while that blind totalitarian f---wit Blunkett got the Labour party back on its conservative track. Surely being blind would have been a much more beneficial quality for British foreign secretary. It would certainly have given the British government a decent excuse for not finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
 

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