Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
liberals, conservatives, and other inane labels disected
Published on November 15, 2003 By Draginol In Politics

MadIce writes:
I agree with your "True progress, in my opinion, is a melding of ethics and a realistic understanding of human nature." But isn't that a liberal point of view? It would allow you to make a progressive decision.

Not necessarily. Each side's ideologues believe they have a lock on both.

Communism failed because it didn't take into account human nature (which led to cascading inefficiency that ultimately spelled its ruin -- people generally want to succeed for themselves and their families, not for the state). Fascism failed because it had no ethics (which led to everyone focusing on its destruction in a violent way). American conservatism and liberalism falls far in between those two extremes.

I do not believe that the government rules us. I see the government leading us but we control the government. It's a service provider that we set up. It exists at our convenience.  In other words, the government exists to serve us. But liberals tend to see the government as the solution to many of life's problems. And to do that, they see the need to invest more and more power into the government. A binding power that, given time, turns what we consider basic rights into privileges.  Conservatives tend to see government as a necessary evil. An instrument to implement things that we cannot, as individuals, take care of that must be taken care of (roads, defense being the main two things).

Conservatives tend to see the government as merely this thing we set up to take care of a few things. So when people start suggesting that it should have power over us (such as telling us what we can and can't own in our homes) conservatives have a problem. Note that I use the term conservatives and not Republicans. Republicans are not purely conservative anymore than Democrats are purely liberal.

Americans, particularly conservatives, tend to feel that we are allowed to do anything we want unless expressly forbidden by a law. And even then, we can change those laws. Increasingly, liberals tend to take the opposite track, that the government should decide what behaviors, attitudes, even thoughts are allowed.  To any Europeans reading this, this must seem absurd, backwards. That's because it is. Somewhere down the line, things got switched around. In the United States, it's increasingly liberals looking to take away things from Americans and conservatives wanting to provide more freedoms (or arguably restore more freedoms hence "conservatives").

Moreover, Conservatives want to see the laws made and enforced as locally as possible. Liberals prefer to see laws made and enforced on a national level. I see nothing progressive in that. In fact, I don't really see anything "progressive" about American liberalism. In some ways, such as political correctness laws and policies (seen particularly on campuses), American liberalism is regressive.

So what is progressive really depends on your point of view. My own point of view is that philosophies that promote greater freedom for individuals, as a whole, are progressive.  And I find, overall, that conservative values are more along those lines.


Comments (Page 1)
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on Nov 15, 2003
Communism failed because of human nature, and failed to recoginise that you can't bring about change by not changing a system without the people behind you. The other problem is you cannot fairly or more correctly , evenly distribute wealth when you have some who are prepared to work harder than others Not to mention money and power corrupt, if the communist were serious they would have replaced the monetry system with something else. While you have money in the equation and people who are always willing to work harder than others, wealth will always be unevenly distributed. Which can be good and bad.
As to are conservatives progressive, obviously they are or else we would still have slavery in the US and aboriginals would still not be able to vote in Australia. I am not a conservative, however the realit is that in most cases Conservatives have held office in most free countries, and have managed to move forward on many issues, including social. I think sometimes people tend to forget the good the governments have done. Just because one disagrees with some policies it does not mean that the conservatives are the enemy or evil. Definitely not Nazies. After all are we not all australian, or American or British or ..........the list goes on. I think quite often the left can get a bit carried away with liberalism for the sake of liberalism, which is not progressive, it is just plani irresponsible, change for the betterment of all is good , change for the sake of change, not good.
In fact the Liberal party of Australia, the current government is also a consertative party. As for the Democrates, well they at times have been quite regrissive. I just think that in the main Conservatives are a little more patient and cautious, which does not hurt, I think we on the left of politics could learn a lot from the Conservative side of politics. ANother thing I find interesting is the way most Left wing parties have moved very close to conservative policy, also while the left talks of democracy and taking the people with them Conservatives already practice this.
on Nov 15, 2003
Sorry one other point Government is meant is meant to be for the people, by the people as you say the are there to provide neccessary services for the people as their representatives, they are not there to think for us and rule us, big government is not good government, and does not serve the people by telling us what to do, people need to realise that politicans are just lie the rest of us, and we should be sourcing our own solutions to life and leave them to provide the services to allow us to do this with security. Once we ceed all this over to the government we loose the ability to think for ourselvs and become dependent on these people and a burden to others.
on Nov 15, 2003
"Americans, particularly conservatives, tend to feel that we are allowed to do anything we want unless expressly forbidden by a law. And even then, we can change those laws. Increasingly, liberals tend to take the opposite track, that the government should decide what behaviors, attitudes, even thoughts are allowed. To any Europeans reading this, this must seem absurd, backwards. That's because it is. Somewhere down the line, things got switched around. In the United States, it's increasingly liberals looking to take away things from Americans and conservatives wanting to provide more freedoms (or arguably restore more freedoms hence "conservatives")."

Well, it is confusing to say the least. But I think that in my country similar ideas are at work too. I once said that European socialism isn't what it used to be. But for the right winged politics it is much the same. By that I mean that both are growing towards a center or even are crossing each others lines. For an example: In the Netherlands we have had a purple government: A government lead by both left and right winged parties. Something like that wasn't possible before. They used to be opposition parties.
on Nov 15, 2003
As a clarification: Of course both these parties were trying to keep their identity and their ideology pure, but you have to admit that both trying to rule a country is no easy task. To make it work, you need at least to share some goals. That used to be impossible.
on Nov 15, 2003
And oh. We have a lot of parties (conservatives, liberals, christian democrats, democrats, socialists, the greens and several other tiny parties). So parties NEED cooperate with each other to reach majority votes.
on Nov 15, 2003
The ruling parties select the ministers and of course need to back them up. That's why they need to coorporate to be large enough during voting and that's why they have to plan their goals until the next elections.

Hehe. Sorry for the multiple post. If someone else can word it better than me then please fill me in.
on Nov 15, 2003
I see this society as my glass of tea I purchase at my local diner. I know how I like my tea sweetened. I work to get my glass of tea just right for me, not for anyone else. If you do not like my tea, you are free to purchase your own glass and modify it to your own taste. The liberal is the waiter that is constantly hovering over my glass of perfectly sweetened tea waiting to dilute it with his pitcher of the masses with every sip I enjoy. The liberal assumes that because I now have consumed a quarter of my glass of tea that I need to have it filled again at his whim. Get the hell away from me and my glass of tea. I am perfectly capable of monitoring my own tea and tendering it to my own liking. When I need to have my glass refilled I will let you know and will then again enjoy the freedom to sweeten it to my own taste.
on Nov 15, 2003
Zergimmi, "change for the sake of change, not good." Soooo true! I know so many people, when discussing political figures, that say "I just don't like that guy. At least this other guy would be different." That sort of stuff infuriates me! Different could mean more social programs that don't do any good, changes in the military, changes in taxes. The whole "Time for a change" platform doesn't work with me unless I am convinced it will be change for the good.

These people can't even seem to give a reason why they vote the way they do. It is almost like religion with a lot of young people I know. They are Catholic/Baptist, etc because they were raised that way. They don't like Bush/Clinton because their parents are Democrats/Republicans. I had one friend say they didn't like GW because they didn't like his father but coudn't give any reasons there either. What the?!

I think the more we force people to take responsibility for themselves, the better. I even wish people had to answer a quick quiz before being able to vote. Just name a couple of the platform points for the candidates. If you don't know anything about them, you shouldn't be able to put them in office! I don't vote on a person/subject unless I have educated myself in a way to make an informed decision. I leave decisons about things I don't know about to people who least I hope they do.

MadIce, I found your comments very thought provoking.

on Nov 15, 2003

 Liberal: The overwhelming fear
that someone, somewhere, may actually be able to do something for themselves.

on Nov 15, 2003
Well put Anthony R.
on Nov 15, 2003
I don't think that's fair. Liberals are not bad. They want people to be able to do things for themselves but recognize that not all people are able to do so and believe that as a society we have an obligation to help our fellow man.

Where they get off track, in my opinion, is the cynical view that "Well people don't do teh right thing on their own so we'll have the government make them do the right thing." They don't have faith (pardon the pun) in charities and of private citizens working together. And they have some good reasons to think that.
on Nov 15, 2003
To quote G.K. Chesteron, "Progress is a comparative, when we have yet to agree on the superlative."
on Nov 16, 2003
Conservatives are progressive only to the extent that they progress toward the super ego, not a rational individual which essential in a democratic nation bent on developing honor and dedication to the general happiness and common good.

rrk or ezp
on Nov 16, 2003
communism... when I was in school as a young lad in the 8th grade I remember learning about this Communism.

I didn't see much bad about it. I remember Marism too and felt it was not as thought out but Communism seemed better. The problem with both is as what Draginol said in the article... lack of understanding in human nature. Way to much control on goverment and lives... personally I don't think money drives invention or creation, but that amount of control on society can't be good for anyone. Plus Communism didn't have any controls and apparently 'trusted' goverment as if it were a separet human being incapable of error or selfishness.

Govemenment is made of humans you know...
on Nov 16, 2003
Draginol, I think liberals get off track when thinking any one group (namely them) can decide what "the right thing" is.

The American society has gotten too far from the days when we took pride in caring for our own. Remember when it was humiliating to ask for assitance? Now people practically brag that they are getting away with drawing unemployment or getting welfare.

I am not saying that we shouldn't have programs to get people back on their feet or to help those that don't have any other source of help. I just wish, and am not saying I know how to accomplish this, that we could have programs that teach people the satisfaction of making it on their own. I think we keep fostering the "the government owes me" mentallity by extending too much help. It's the old "give them an inch and they'll take a mile."

Remember the days of surplus food rather than food stamps? Remember when low income families used to have to make their clothes or get second hand? I do. Now I hear how all kids need to have the same type of shoes and clothes so they won't get discriminated against. There we go with communism again. Can't have anyone having anything more than anyone else. That's not reality. That's not democracy.

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