Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Understanding Our Fundamental Differences

I’ve been meaning to do an examination of the fundamental differences between the thought processes of Liberals and Conservatives. In the spirit of Progressive Understanding, I figured that I could contribute to the dialogue by examining the two different methodologies of looking at any given situation.

As has been pointed out to me by my friend Rob, Conservatives are more comfortable keeping the status quo so to speak, and simply remain going about the daily business of life in the same routine as it has always been done. Liberals on the other hand are almost always looking for new things to try. These principles can best be related to the general public as:

Conservative: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Liberal: There’s gotta be a better way.

If you look at many recent hot-button issues, you’ll see that this is largely the case. Conservatives fight for things to remain the same, while Liberals fight to bring about change (no pun intended).

The most obvious examples of differences in this vein are demonstrated by what we name our organizations:

Conservative: Heritage Foundation

Liberal: ACORN or Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now

“Heritage” implies long-held traditional values, while “Reform” and “Now” imply the progressive sense of forward movement.

Keep in mind one important fact: Neither of these viewpoints is invalid. While it could be argued that the Conservative outlook gives us tradition and a sense of culture, similarly, the Liberal outlook demonstrates invention and progress.

Another way we differ is when it comes to national security or foreign policy. This has been remarked upon before within the blogsphere, but I’ll repeat it again.

Conservative: Crime Prevention

Liberal: Law Enforcement

The essential gist if this idea is that while Conservatives tend to be pro-active in the defense of themselves or the nation, Liberals tend to wait for something to happen before taking any measures. While Conservatives will arm themselves due to their natural distrust of the unknown, “Just because it’s never happened, doesn’t mean that it can’t”, Liberals will be more prone to trust their fellow man and believe that goodwill and charity will suffice in their daily interactions, “I believe that all people are inherently good”.

Again, the general ideas themselves are not bad, but they might be misplaced or even inappropriate under certain circumstances.

As a generalization, Conservatives are more independent, while Liberals are more community-oriented. This can be illustrated by looking at the differing approaches in everything from child-rearing to economics:

Conservative: “Tightly-knit Nuclear Family”

Liberal: “It takes a village to raise a child”

A Conservative will be more likely to consider home-school for their children, usually with a religious based curriculum, but a Liberal will demand that the local (and secular) public school be adequately funded so as to afford the finest available education for their offspring.

Conservative: I give to charities of my own accord.

Liberal: Our taxes should pay for the less fortunate.

While many strong arguments have been made concerning the negating effect on charity by mandatory charity through allocated taxation, others have stated that it should be a wealthy nation’s responsibility to take care of as many people as possible.

Conservative: Privatized Healthcare

Liberal: Universal Healthcare

The current administration wishes to make available a government run system of providing healthcare to any that cannot afford to take on the fiscal responsibility of privately funded healthcare. While this matter is a hotly debated sticking point between the parties, the idea is not necessarily a bad one. The primary reasons for it being so divisive are the unintended consequences seen by one side, and the desire for humane action viewed by the other.

Conservative: I should keep as much of my money as possible to decide its uses as I see fit, such as investing in our economy.

Liberal: High taxes are patriotic, and allow my country to grow stronger through the government’s direct guidance.

Conservatives argue that keeping most of their money will allow them to spend it on free enterprise items that will stimulate the economy, and invest it in stocks thus “floating” the industries on capitol. Liberals believe that through government programs and regulation of business, sustainable economic prosperity can be achieved.

In conclusion, I would say that while all of the above can be argued ad Nauseum as to whether or not it is logically applicable to various political issues, has moral value to be assigned, or is right, wrong, evil, or the best thing for everyone; at the core of every thought process is what I hope to be a good intention. I do realize that a certain avenue of approach to a locale that features deplorable living conditions is manufactured from only the finest of desires for other’s and one’s own well-being, but they have worked out for the best as well.

Perhaps through the understanding that we all want what is best, and that the goal is often approached from different angles and may even yield different conclusions, you will alleviate the tension in your next argument or debate with whomsoever you enjoy such lively political discourse.

After all, understanding another person’s point of view is a crucial factor in the ultimate goal of elucidating your own…