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What Conservative and Liberal mean to you

  1. Jun 17, 2005 #1
    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?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 17, 2005 #2
    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).
     
  4. Jun 17, 2005 #3

    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.
     
  5. Jun 17, 2005 #4

    Pengwuino

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    People are too stupid. They shouldnt be allowed to take sides :D
     
  6. Jun 17, 2005 #5
    I agree that the spectrum is circular. Linear does not work.
     
  7. Jun 17, 2005 #6

    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.
     
  8. Jun 18, 2005 #7

    russ_watters

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    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
     
  9. Jun 18, 2005 #8

    Lisa!

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    "Liberals think I'm a Conservative, Conservatives think I'm a Liberal.I must be doing something right!"
     
  10. Jun 18, 2005 #9

    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.
     
  11. Jun 18, 2005 #10

    Art

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    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:
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2005
  12. Jun 18, 2005 #11

    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."
     
  13. Jun 18, 2005 #12
    Kind of like the scientific method.
     
  14. Jun 18, 2005 #13

    vanesch

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    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 :-)
     
  15. Jun 18, 2005 #14

    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.
     
  16. Jun 18, 2005 #15

    Pengwuino

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    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:
     
  17. Jun 18, 2005 #16

    Art

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    Ah but I bet illiud latine dici non potest :biggrin:
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2005
  18. Jun 20, 2005 #17
    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
     
  19. Jun 20, 2005 #18

    Art

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2005
  20. Jun 20, 2005 #19

    loseyourname

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    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.
     
  21. Jun 20, 2005 #20
    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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