Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Conservative vs Liberal

Originally the word Conservative referred to a political belief in the value of tradition.  Conservatives wanted to avoid change.  They wanted to continue what worked so well in the past.   Liberal referred to a political belief in the value of progress.  Liberals wanted to fix the problems that existed by fixing the political system.

But in the 1960's and 1970 that began to change.   Liberals began to win on discrimination, pollution, abortion and other major political battlegrounds.  Some claim that the death of Kennedy created a martyr and Nixon's crimes sealed the deal.  Other claim that a cultural movement pushed by the anti war movement in the 60's created a wave of liberals which slowly took over the political landscape.  It doesn't really matter why the the change happened, just that it did.

Suddenly the Conservatives were no longer fighting to keep things the same, but instead to return things to the way they USED to be.  This was despite the fact that the liberals had proved some of their methods worked as well.   The liberals eventually had to start fighting to keep things the same, as opposed to reverting to an older model.  Their positions were reversed from the original tradition.

Some conservatives saw this change and attempted to redefine both terms.  They claimed that conservative meant limited government, despite the fact that they want huge government interference on social issues such as abortion, gay marriage, immigration, placement of mosques, etc  There is a word for limited government it is Libertarianism. Conservative has little to do with limited government, except as an excuse to kill liberal programs - the claim is that they are not against poor people, they are just against big government.  Real Libertarians are as likely to vote Democrat as to vote Republican, because Liberals want limited government too - just different areas limited.

Conservatives also claimed that liberal meant tax+spend.  This was proven wrong during the 2000's.  During the Bush years Republicans spent more than the Democrats.  Yes, they cut taxes - creating the worst deficit ever. The truth is all career politicians pretty much have to spend, because when you cut programs, you lose a bunch of zealots that loved the program but gained only some slight support. If you are not spending money, you have nothing to brag about.

But that's OK, because honestly, America is one of the richest countries in the world, so we have money if we choose to spend it. In addition, we continue to have many problems that people WANT the government to spend money on.  The Military and Social Security are great examples.  Those are two of our most expensive programs, and people are generally proud of them.

So, what is the difference between conservatives and liberals?  I think it is a simple evaluation of the human mind.

  • Conservatives think humans are weak willed, but are capable of accurate foresight.

  • Liberals think that humans are strong willed, but shortsighted creatures

This explains why:  Conservatives want a huge amount of government interference in the prevention of 'sin', but minimal business intervention.  They want to regulate things that a sinner would be tempted to do, but not things that a wise, careful, ethical person would foresee.   Actions they consider to be immoral, such as sexual activities, violent video games, marijuana use, abortion,  stem cell research, prayer (required in school), must be stopped be - because people will be seduced into doing it.  Similarly, that is why they want the right to bear arms and don't trust unions or immigrants, or pay welfare.  Good men need the ability to protect themselves and worthy people can thrive because they have foresight, so you don't need a government, union, or welfare to protect you.

Liberals on the other hand believe humans are strong willed creatures that routinely don't bother to plan for the future.   Therefore people don't need to be protected from the evils of seduction, but do need 'insurance' and regulation, to protect against bad luck and to avoid the tragedy of the commons (where a shared resource such as clean air, trust, privacy, is overburdened).  Liberals are not scared of citizens doing things they know are evil.

Instead liberals think we need to be protected from bad luck and bad planning.  Liberals don't sex is evil, nor do they believe abortion is murder.  Violent video games don't 'convert' or 'damage' a mind.  Marijuana does not induce you to crime, etc. etc.    At heart, the liberal belief is that humans choose  to do evil (as opposed to being tricked or seduced), often because we don't think things through.  Hence the idea of restricting weapons as you don't know who is going to use it (and the worry about guns being used by owner's kids or used in a moment of passion or by a criminal that steals it), paying for welfare, social security, unions to protect people, etc. etc. 

Honestly, there is some truth in both - some humans are week willed, some are strong.  Some take complex steps to plan for future problems, others are just after immediate gratification.  But it makes more sense to base government on the liberal view. I would rather arrest people for being week willed, then let them starve for being short sighted.

I used to be an independent, but George W Bush and experience cured me of that.  I have a strong personality and the idea that a video game, comic book, hearing about gay married people, etc. corrupting me sounds foolish.   But I do believe that many people are penny wise and pound foolish.  True, people do sometimes give in to sin, but I think it is a choice that they should be punished for, not something they need to be protected from.

Worse, the belief in a weak willed human sounds sounds like an excuse to me.  To paraphrase some of what I have heard conservatives say: "Oh, it's not my fault I had gay sex in a men's room, I was seduced into it by hearing about my next door neighbor's happy gay marriage.   It's not my fault I cheated on my first three wives, I was seduced.  Its' not my fault I got addicted to Oxycontin, I was seduced by the evil drug.  But those gay people, they may  have been tricked but we have to stop them from seducing my children.  We have to punish the people caught with the illegal drugs because they are seducing others (but not those of us that misuse prescription ones)."  This stuff is lame and we should not accept it and forgive them..

These people were not seduced or tricked, you failed to foresee the possible consequences of your actions, and made bad decisions.    Stop complaining, man up and take responsibility for your own mistakes

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