16 February 2012


    Last night, as my wife and I were watching the news, she asked me what a Liberal or Conservative actually is. As I made a gallant but futile attempt at defining them for her, I realised that I'm just like Potter Stewart (supreme court judge; 1958 to 1981) who, when referring to pornography, said "I shall not today attempt further to define (the kinds of material) I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it...1
    The February 13th issue of Time® Magazine has an article titled “WHAT IS A CONSERVATIVE?”. 3 pages of commentaries by 9 different authors and they all seemed to articulate what a Conservative ISN'T, with absolutely no consensus on what one IS! I will assume that they would be similarly as inconsistent if they tried defining a Liberal.
    On that note, and with one of the most important elections of the last 100 years coming up in just 9 months, I decided to try my hand at coming up with a solid definition for each term.

    If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know where I stand on most social, economic and political issues; I have always considered myself to be a staunch right-wing Conservative and try to espouse those values and ideals. However, like Justice Potter, I really don't have a solid definition. I just know them when I see them.
    So I did a bunch of research and here I bring to you my shot at putting forth true, accurate definitions for the terms Liberal and Conservative.

Liberal: lib·er·al/ˈlib(ə)rəl/ Adjective: Open to new behaviour or opinions and willing to discard traditional values.

Answers.com has this to say:
Liberals believe that individuals are collectively responsible for the welfare of the entire community. Thus more programs to help the entire community means that higher taxes and bigger government is needed to oversee the programs.
  • Pro-choice
  • Equality
  • Feminism
  • Affirmative Action
  • Gun Regulation
  • Social Help
  • Insurance that covers all
  • Support welfare program
  • Separation of church and state-No religion in schools
  • Against the death penalty
  • Regulated Market
Ask.com says:
Liberals don't love to pay taxes, but they stress that a well-functioning government has a responsibility to maintain law and order, and that doing this is costly. Liberals stress that taxes are necessary for providing police and courts, ensuring safe transportation by building safe roads, promoting education by providing public schools, and protecting society in general by providing health care to those who need it.

    In an article by Robert S. Sargent, Jr titled “Understanding the Liberal agenda2, I believe I found the best non-Conservative-biased definition. Even though he is an obvious conservative, he seems to attempt to offer a truthful, straight-forward view. It the article he says: 

...what is the underlying principle that drives the Liberal (not Democratic) agenda? I'm convinced it's egalitarianism. It is a constant drive toward equality.
Egalitarianism means everybody is equal, and that must be instituted from a central source: the Federal Government.

   And from  StudentNewsDaily3 we get what is probably the most definitive, in-depth and side-by-side comparison, which begins (for the Liberal side):
Liberals – believe in government action to achieve equal opportunity and equality for all.  It is the duty of the government to alleviate social ills and to protect civil liberties and individual and human rights.  Believe the role of the government should be to guarantee that no one is in need. Liberal policies generally emphasise the need for the government to solve problems.

Now onward to:
Conservative: /kənˈsərvətiv/ Adjective: Holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in politics or religion.

For the Conservatives, Answers.com says:
Conservatives believe that individuals are responsible for themselves, and that the community benefits from the efforts of the individuals acting in their interests. Thus less governmental programs, less taxes, and less government is the goal.
  • Pro-life
  • Equality takes a back seat
  • Patriarchal
  • Believe there is reverse racism in affirmative action
  • No Gun Regulation
  • No social help
  • No separation of church and state
  • Religion in public schools
  • Support the death penalty
  • Free Market
And we get this from Ask.com.
Conservatives generally value individual accomplishment and resent too much government intervention. They do not believe that it is the job of the government to solve the problems of society by imposing intrusive or costly policies, such as affirmative action or mandatory health care programs.

The Conservative side of the StudentDailyNews.com3 comparison says:
CONSERVATIVES – believe in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty, traditional American values and a strong national defence.  Believe the role of government should be to provide people the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals. Conservative policies generally emphasise empowerment of the individual to solve problems.”

While assisting me in the research for this posting, my son said: “For what it's worth, here is why I call myself an independent.

    It has been said many times that; if you want to keep peace in a crowd, never discuss politics or religion. I hope this discussion doesn't start any brawls. I just wanted to bring a little clarification to what seem to be some very muddy waters. I hope I succeeded. And...I hope that, the next time someone tells you that they are a Liberal or Conservative, you know exactly what they are claiming to believe. Or at least what somebody else thinks they claim to believe. Or what the other side wants to believe they believe. Or...Ahh! To hell with it. For better or worse; there it is.

    One more thing. I'll be the first to admit that our laws, our government and even our country are not perfect. Sometimes our laws don't work quite like we think...or wish they would (see my posting: 01 June 2011-THE HIJACKING OF THE WHITE-HOUSE - WHO REALLY CHOOSES OUR PRESIDENT?) But the ballot box is the backbone – the very lifeblood of our republic. I'm not trying to get anybody to vote or believe one way or another. Whether you consider yourself a Liberal, Conservative or Progressive; whether you think of yourself as a Socialist or a Constitutionalist; please vote. Do your part to make us better. And to keep us the best country in the world. It only takes a few minutes every other year. Please! Just vote.

    Besides if you don't vote, you have no room to complain if things don't end up the way you wanted.

At least, that's my opinion. What's yours?

PS: for a little more incentive to get out the vote, please read my posting from 04 November 2011 titled


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