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  #1  
Old 04-13-2012, 09:39 PM
SDMBKL SDMBKL is offline
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What is YOUR definition of conservative and liberal?

What is YOUR definition of 'conservative' and 'liberal'? How would you define the two terms, and why do you believe they are defined in such a way? What do you think a typical political conservative wants? What do you think a typical political liberal wants? Do you identify yourself as 'conservative' or 'liberal'? Do you see yourself as a 'conservative' or 'liberal'? How do other people react to your political views? How do other people view you - more conservative or more liberal, compared to them? Have you ever counted the number of topics you are interested in? If so, then do you have more agreements with the liberal opinions or conservative opinions? Do you have a family member or friend who has opposing viewpoints, compared to you, or do you and your acquaintance think similarly? What issue do you have a strong opinion of? What issue do you have a weak opinion of? What issue do you have no opinion of? Why or why not?

Last edited by SDMBKL; 04-13-2012 at 09:41 PM..
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  #2  
Old 04-13-2012, 09:49 PM
Rand Rover Rand Rover is offline
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I think the two terms only make sense if (i) they are thought of in both the fiscal and social dimensions and (ii) one realizes that people can take many different views on different subjects within each dimension.

Fiscal conservatives generally want a smaller government when it comes to the government doing stuff. Some emphasize the amount spent by government, others emphasize the activities performed by government.

Fiscal liberals generally don't really care about the size of government--they want the government to accomplish their social goals, and whether doing so increases the size of government or not just doesn't seem to them as something to be concerned about.

Social liberals generally want a smaller government when it comes to the government restricting stuff that citizens can do. They generally want the government to leave citizens alone and not try to accomplish social goals.

Social conservatives generally want the government to leave citizens alone in certain areas (e.g., owning guns) and want the government to accomplish their specific social goals in other areas (e.g., gay marriage and abortion).
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Old 04-13-2012, 10:00 PM
Sattua Sattua is online now
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I came up with a cute distinction when I was in college. I don't think it covers the whole breadth of the differences but it did reflect the American political climate (in, oh, 2000 maybe).

The most extreme conservative only cares about people he knows.

The most extreme liberal only cares about people he doesn't know.
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Old 04-13-2012, 10:41 PM
Rand Rover Rand Rover is offline
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To add to my post above: because conservatism and liberalism have two dimensions, it kind of irks me when people talk about "conservatives" and "liberals" in just those terms (i.e., without specifying a dimension). If someone doesn't specify, I generally assume they are talking about the fiscal dimension. And I think some poor souls just don't know what they are talking about when they use those terms, really.
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Old 04-14-2012, 12:27 AM
chacoguy chacoguy is offline
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It seems that Lliberals in America believe the GAO and the Scientific Method; Conservatives believe, something else.

Last edited by chacoguy; 04-14-2012 at 12:27 AM..
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  #6  
Old 04-14-2012, 12:49 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Conservatives are selfish. Liberals are stupid.
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Old 04-14-2012, 01:25 AM
Alpha Twit Alpha Twit is offline
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I actually like the way Dave Barry described them. Liberals are the type of people who would stop and help you change a flat tire and somehow manage to set your car on fire. Conservatives would even stop to try to help though because if they did then they would be late for ugly pants night at the country club.
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Old 04-14-2012, 01:51 AM
Nobody Nobody is offline
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Wow, this is the second thread I've seen from the OP where there a lot of questions stringed (strung?) together and reads like a school assignment.

Anyway, a few generalizations of socially and fiscally conservative Republicans and socially and fiscally liberal Democrats.

Democrats_____________________Republicans
Pro union_______________________Pro big business
Pro choice______________________Pro life
Pro social programs______________Pro self reliance
Reduce or end corporate welfare___Reduce or end personal welfare
Faith in the federal government____Faith in state and local governments
Excluding religion from politics____Including religion in politics
Pro quotas and set-asides_________Pro merit only
Open marriage to gays____________Keep marriage between straights
Legalize pot_____________________Keep pot illegal (but seems to be changing)
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Old 04-14-2012, 02:03 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rand Rover View Post
I think the two terms only make sense if (i) they are thought of in both the fiscal and social dimensions and (ii) one realizes that people can take many different views on different subjects within each dimension.

Fiscal conservatives generally want a smaller government when it comes to the government doing stuff. Some emphasize the amount spent by government, others emphasize the activities performed by government.

Fiscal liberals generally don't really care about the size of government--they want the government to accomplish their social goals, and whether doing so increases the size of government or not just doesn't seem to them as something to be concerned about.

Social liberals generally want a smaller government when it comes to the government restricting stuff that citizens can do. They generally want the government to leave citizens alone and not try to accomplish social goals.

Social conservatives generally want the government to leave citizens alone in certain areas (e.g., owning guns) and want the government to accomplish their specific social goals in other areas (e.g., gay marriage and abortion).
To my surprise, I'm actually in agreement with most of this.

The only quibble I'd have is with the fiscal conservative ideology. While I agree that this is a good definition of what they believe in principle, their actual execution has become so distorted it's hard to credit this as their position anymore.

The other three groups - fiscal liberals, social conservatives, and social liberals - might take a meandering path but they're generally heading in the direction of their stated goal. But fiscal conservatives for the last thirty years have said they're heading toward smaller government and ended up increasing the size of the government. So it's hard to say what the real position is anymore.

I try to keep some realism in my politics. I'd rather vote for a guy who says he'll increase government spending by twenty percent and does it than a guy who says he'll decrease government spending by twenty percent and then increases it by fifty percent.
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Old 04-14-2012, 02:53 AM
Craz3d117 Craz3d117 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpha Twit
I actually like the way Dave Barry described them. Liberals are the type of people who would stop and help you change a flat tire and somehow manage to set your car on fire. Conservatives would even stop to try to help though because if they did then they would be late for ugly pants night at the country club.
So liberals are stupid, but nice, but conservatives are not nice and have no redeeming qualities? Yeah I'm not buying that. I don't think stereotyping what a conservative or liberal is by the supposed character of that person is going to help anyone. The image of the conservative rich country club member vs the liberal pot smoking hipster are what's tearing this country apart. They are political ideologies, and the sooner people start thinking of it that way, and not just some foreign species, the sooner this country can grow the fuck up.

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Originally Posted by Nobody
Democrats_____________________Republicans
Pro union_______________________Pro big business
Pro choice______________________Pro life
Pro social programs______________Pro self reliance
Reduce or end corporate welfare___Reduce or end personal welfare
Faith in the federal government____Faith in state and local governments
Excluding religion from politics____Including religion in politics
Pro quotas and set-asides_________Pro merit only
Open marriage to gays____________Keep marriage between straights
Legalize pot_____________________Keep pot illegal (but seems to be changing)
As for what I identify myself as? Well, let's go through this list shall we? I'm all for the idea of a union and totally get why they were created, however these days many unions serve no purpose than to just take your money. I'm all for big business and capitalism and Wal Mart and what have you, but there definitely needs to be restrictions. I'm pro choice. While I'm a fiscal liberal in the sense that I don't mind big government, I don't like the idea of a lot of welfare. I prefer the idea of non-government charities, but understand that government welfare has done a lot of good. I also prefer the idea of one solitary nation and find the idea of states rather outdated, so I have faith in the federal government and think it is definitely within its rights to override state rights. Religion has no place in government policy, simple as that. Not a fan of quotas, so I prefer merit I suppose. I'm all for gay marriage and the legalization of pot. So overall I'd say I'm a moderate liberal, and have no problem identifying with that.
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  #11  
Old 04-14-2012, 03:00 AM
BigT BigT is offline
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Originally Posted by Rand Rover View Post
To add to my post above: because conservatism and liberalism have two dimensions, it kind of irks me when people talk about "conservatives" and "liberals" in just those terms (i.e., without specifying a dimension). If someone doesn't specify, I generally assume they are talking about the fiscal dimension. And I think some poor souls just don't know what they are talking about when they use those terms, really.
I actually think that most people think they go together. For some reason, a pro-lifer must also be pro-big business, and if they aren't, we have to invent a new term for them: libertarian.
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Old 04-14-2012, 10:11 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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Originally Posted by BigT View Post
I actually think that most people think they go together. For some reason, a pro-lifer must also be pro-big business, and if they aren't, we have to invent a new term for them: libertarian.
There's the reality of political parties. The Republicans have brought fiscal conservatives and social conservatives into a long term coalition.
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  #13  
Old 04-14-2012, 03:13 PM
Qin Shi Huangdi Qin Shi Huangdi is offline
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To be conservative and liberal in their original definitions are little more than difference of emphasis and not necessarily contradictory with conservative emphasizing the importance of tradition and the foolhardiness of fast-paced, top-down ordered change while liberalism meant equality before the law, political freedom, and free market economy.

Of course nowadays conservatives are economic liberals and social conservatives (and various combinations and degrees thereof) while liberals are Keynesians and social liberals (again of various combinations and degrees). Although I prefer the term "progressive" to describe American-style "liberals" (while most people who are conservative like that term most liberals prefer terms like "progressive").
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Old 04-14-2012, 04:51 PM
The Hamster King The Hamster King is online now
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Liberals run things for the benefit of the poor and middle class.

Conservatives runs things for the benefit of rich.

Everything else conservatives say they stand for is merely a smokescreen to get poor and middle class people to vote against their own self-interest.
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Old 04-14-2012, 05:30 PM
Nobody Nobody is offline
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Although it would be too big, complicated, and confusing as hell, it would be interesting to see a Venn diagram, or something like it, with the following categories:

Republicans
Democrats
Socially conservative
Socially moderate
Socially liberal
Economically conservative
Economically moderate
Economically liberal

Although to be honest, I think that whatever you are socially, you're most likely to be economically. So I'd guess there are very few socially conservative / economically liberal or vice versa combinations of people. But that's just a guess on my part, so no cites.
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Old 04-14-2012, 05:41 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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Liberals see government as a means to protect the weak from the powerful; conservatives see government as a means to protect the powerful from the weak.
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Old 04-14-2012, 05:55 PM
Rand Rover Rand Rover is offline
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Originally Posted by The Hamster King View Post
Liberals run things for the benefit of the poor and middle class.

Conservatives runs things for the benefit of rich.

Everything else conservatives say they stand for is merely a smokescreen to get poor and middle class people to vote against their own self-interest.
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Originally Posted by Fear Itself View Post
Liberals see government as a means to protect the weak from the powerful; conservatives see government as a means to protect the powerful from the weak.
Fiscal conservatives recognize that a free and robust economy benefits everyone through allowing wealth creation. Fiscal liberals think that wealth is a fixed amount and should be distributed across the population in ways that make fiscal liberals happy.
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:08 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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Originally Posted by Rand Rover View Post
Fiscal conservatives recognize that a free and robust economy benefits everyone through allowing wealth creation. Fiscal liberals think that wealth is a fixed amount and should be distributed across the population in ways that make fiscal liberals happy.
I don't see how that contradicts my thesis.
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:16 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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Originally Posted by Rand Rover View Post
I think the two terms only make sense if (i) they are thought of in both the fiscal and social dimensions and (ii) one realizes that people can take many different views on different subjects within each dimension.

Fiscal conservatives generally want a smaller government when it comes to the government doing stuff. Some emphasize the amount spent by government, others emphasize the activities performed by government.

Fiscal liberals generally don't really care about the size of government--they want the government to accomplish their social goals, and whether doing so increases the size of government or not just doesn't seem to them as something to be concerned about.

Social liberals generally want a smaller government when it comes to the government restricting stuff that citizens can do. They generally want the government to leave citizens alone and not try to accomplish social goals.

Social conservatives generally want the government to leave citizens alone in certain areas (e.g., owning guns) and want the government to accomplish their specific social goals in other areas (e.g., gay marriage and abortion).
I tend to agree with that except for the part about fiscal conservatives. I think 'in theory' they want smaller government but when they are confronted with that meaning less SS and medicare for them and less education spending for their kids they decide that no they do not. I think 'fiscal conservatism' is 90% rhetoric at this point, too many people are financially dependent on government spending (the vast majority of people couldn't fund retirement w/o social security and medicare, and I don't see fiscal conservatives turning down UI payments, or clamoring to pay 100k out of pocket for K-12 education for each of their kids) for true fiscal conservatism to ever take hold, no matter what rhetoric says about it.

http://www.good.is/post/reminder-44-...e-on-medicare/

Quote:
In preparing for the coming months of massive budget cuts, one should note that, in April 2010, a CBS/New York Times poll found 44 percent of Tea Party supporters were either receiving Medicare themselves or had a family member receiving Medicare. When it came to Social Security, that percentage was even higher (48 percent). Exactly one year later, in April of this year, it came as no surprise that 70 percent of tea party supporters said they were against Medicare cuts. They're also against Social Security cuts by a two-to-one margin. It makes sense: Would you want to slash programs from which you were benefiting so greatly?
Also I don't agree that liberals think wealth is a fixed amount. We want wealth redistribution, but from what I've seen we know that wealth will grow with time just like fiscal conservatives (but we want the newly generated wealth redistributed to a degree too). Some countries in Scandanavia has a GDP growth rate of 3-4% a year as an example.

Last edited by Wesley Clark; 04-14-2012 at 06:21 PM..
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:29 PM
Qin Shi Huangdi Qin Shi Huangdi is offline
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Originally Posted by Nobody View Post

Although to be honest, I think that whatever you are socially, you're most likely to be economically. So I'd guess there are very few socially conservative / economically liberal or vice versa combinations of people. But that's just a guess on my part, so no cites.
Well the latter combo (ie Libertarians) are pretty influential even if small in numbers.
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  #21  
Old 04-14-2012, 06:29 PM
monstro monstro is offline
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Liberals tend to be realists. They are more cynical about institutions than they are about individuals. They place a lot of emphasis on fairness, equality and--perhaps paradoxically--individuality. When they talk about freedom, they mean freedom to do whatever they want as long as it's not hurting anyone (which means laws should only proscribe behavior that result in foreseeable harm).

Conservatives tend to be idealistic. They are more cynical about individuals than they are about institutions. They value morality above everything--respecting authority as a means of upholding morality and esteeming conformity as a way of perpetuating it. Whey they talk about freedom, they mean freedom to do whatever they want as long as it's not immoral (which means laws must be written to reflect morality--however you want to define that).

The above applies to social liberals and conservatives. I am sure social conservatives who are fiscally liberal exist, but I have never met any. The only fiscal conservatives who are socially liberal I've ever met have been on the SD.
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:21 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
Liberals tend to be realists. They are more cynical about institutions than they are about individuals. They place a lot of emphasis on fairness, equality and--perhaps paradoxically--individuality. When they talk about freedom, they mean freedom to do whatever they want as long as it's not hurting anyone (which means laws should only proscribe behavior that result in foreseeable harm).

Conservatives tend to be idealistic. They are more cynical about individuals than they are about institutions. They value morality above everything--respecting authority as a means of upholding morality and esteeming conformity as a way of perpetuating it. Whey they talk about freedom, they mean freedom to do whatever they want as long as it's not immoral (which means laws must be written to reflect morality--however you want to define that).

The above applies to social liberals and conservatives. I am sure social conservatives who are fiscally liberal exist, but I have never met any. The only fiscal conservatives who are socially liberal I've ever met have been on the SD.
Poor non-whites and white, rural Reagan democrats tend to be social conservatives and fiscal liberals.
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  #23  
Old 04-14-2012, 07:24 PM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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I like Andy Rooney's definition, although he made it more party-centric:

"Democrats believe people are basically good but must be saved from themselves by the government. Republicans believe people are basically bad but they'll be okay if they're left alone."

Edited because I found the exact quote.

Last edited by Tim R. Mortiss; 04-14-2012 at 07:27 PM..
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  #24  
Old 04-14-2012, 09:09 PM
F. U. Shakespeare F. U. Shakespeare is offline
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The fiscal-social distinction is important, but there are other reasons why two people can have differing opinions on an issue and both claim to be conservative.

One way to describe the dichotomy is: conservatives believe the individual is more important than the group; liberals believe the opposite. By this standard, preference for keeping taxes low is conservative. But so is opposition to a military draft, and the freedom to take drugs. That's not how it lined up during Vietnam.

Another way: conservatives believe society is like a lifeform; liberals believe it's like a mechanism: it's safer to change a mechanism without worrying about unforeseen consequences. This explains conservative hesitancy to adopt things that may seem like improvements. E.g., some conservatives warned that the birth control pill would lead to promiscuity. They also tend to oppose government-coerced indoctrination (aka 'social engineering'). However, there are definitely some forms of this - like mandatory recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance - that are almost exclusively supported by conservatives.

Emotions and interests trump ideology.
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Old 04-14-2012, 10:33 PM
The Hamster King The Hamster King is online now
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Originally Posted by Rand Rover View Post
Fiscal conservatives recognize that a free and robust economy benefits everyone through allowing wealth creation.
Nonsense. Well-regulated economies with a strong government sector are more prosperous and better at wealth creation. Unregulated economies with weak governments are better only at enriching a narrow class of rent-takers and their hangers-on.

This is why GDP growth always tanks under Republican presidents.
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Old 04-14-2012, 10:36 PM
Nobody Nobody is offline
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Originally Posted by Qin Shi Huangdi View Post
Well the latter combo (ie Libertarians) are pretty influential even if small in numbers.
Crap, I forgot about Libertarians. They are a socially liberal economically conservative bunch.

I wonder which group would be considered socially conservative and economically liberal.
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  #27  
Old 04-14-2012, 11:33 PM
Craz3d117 Craz3d117 is offline
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Originally Posted by Nobody View Post
Although it would be too big, complicated, and confusing as hell, it would be interesting to see a Venn diagram, or something like it, with the following categories:

Republicans
Democrats
Socially conservative
Socially moderate
Socially liberal
Economically conservative
Economically moderate
Economically liberal

Although to be honest, I think that whatever you are socially, you're most likely to be economically. So I'd guess there are very few socially conservative / economically liberal or vice versa combinations of people. But that's just a guess on my part, so no cites.
I'm surprised no one's posted this yet actually: http://silenced.co/wp-content/upload...ht_eu_1416.gif
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  #28  
Old 04-14-2012, 11:49 PM
The Second Stone The Second Stone is offline
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For purposes of modern American politics:


A liberal likes the sorts of policies of Roosevelt (either one really) and dislikes the policies of Reagan. And dislike the character of Nixon.

A conservative likes the policies of Reagan and dislikes the policies of Roosevelt. And dislike the character of Clinton.

Last edited by The Second Stone; 04-14-2012 at 11:50 PM..
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  #29  
Old 04-15-2012, 12:10 AM
Crafter_Man Crafter_Man is offline
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Conservative: Independent. Takes responsibility for his/her actions.

Liberal: Looks to government to fix their problems. Doesn't accept responsibility for his/her actions.
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Old 04-15-2012, 12:52 AM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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My personal opinion will not be popular here, in the land of the liberal pinheads. But WTF, you asked, so here it goes:

IMHO, Liberals think people are stupid. They think that the government needs to provide a safety net, because a significant number of people just can't survive on their own wits.

Conservatives, on the other hand, believe in the power of the individual. They believe that if the government would just BUTT OUT, and leave people alone to prosper on their own merits, the vast majority of citizens would rise to the occasion and be far better off.
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Old 04-15-2012, 01:39 AM
Onomatopoeia Onomatopoeia is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post
My personal opinion will not be popular here, in the land of the liberal pinheads. But WTF, you asked, so here it goes:

IMHO, Liberals think people are stupid. They think that the government needs to provide a safety net, because a significant number of people just can't survive on their own wits.

Conservatives, on the other hand, believe in the power of the individual. They believe that if the government would just BUTT OUT, and leave people alone to prosper on their own merits, the vast majority of citizens would rise to the occasion and be far better off.
I consider myself a liberal, but not by any conservative's definition.

I have to say, however, that I do believe most people are stupid, willfully and neglectfully so. I believe the government needs to provide a safety net because a significant number of people, conservative and liberal alike, simply cannot survive by their own wits. I also believe in the power of the individual, and that if the government would simply butt out of people's daily lives the vast majority of citizens would be better off.
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Old 04-15-2012, 01:52 AM
Onomatopoeia Onomatopoeia is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
Conservative: Independent. Takes responsibility for his/her actions.

Liberal: Looks to government to fix their problems. Doesn't accept responsibility for his/her actions.
The OP did ask for opinions of what a conservative and a liberal are, and this is obviously yours.

However, whenever I read a sentiment like yours, my response is that it's nothing more than a conservative's caricature. I know and have known many conservatives who don't take responsibility for their actions. I read about them, hear about them on radio, and see them on the TV news. In fact, I'd say the most vociferous and well-known conservatives tend to blame others for their actions more often than not.

Some liberals, in equal measure with conservatives, tend to look to government to fix their problems, but that's not the vast majority of liberals. Liberals do, in large measure, look to the government to ensure equal access to opportunities and protections for the disenfranchised, but that's not the same as not accepting responsibility for one's actions.
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Old 04-15-2012, 05:03 AM
mbh mbh is offline
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A liberal wants to fix the problem, right now.

A conservative wants to make sure that the fix isn't worse than the original problem.
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  #34  
Old 04-15-2012, 05:39 AM
DeweyDecibel DeweyDecibel is offline
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Real people have a variety of opinions and don't usually fall into one camp 100%. But in the context of US politics, I think there is a pretty clear understanding of what each term signifies. Stereotypical? Yes, but useful in broad strokes.

Conservative: fiscally minded (Low taxes, small government in regards to regulations, business focused). Also morally traditional (anti-gay rights, anti-abortion, religious, pro-gun). Often pro-war. Often puts needs of business/people over the environment (drilling, logging, etc). The anti-evolution guy? Probably conservative. Ditto for the billionare banker. For some reason, this category includes both despite them being opposites.

Liberal: Socially minded (supports government programs for people, especially those considered disadvantaged, ie welfare, affirmative action). Supports progressive social positions (pro-gay marriage, pro-choice, pro-gun control). Usually environmentally focused. Often against war. That hippie protester with a huge sign for saving the whales? Liberal.

I'm liberal and think this should not be a dirty word. Conservatives are happy to fight over being more conservative than their opponent. We should own our term, too!
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Old 04-15-2012, 06:57 AM
SDMBKL SDMBKL is offline
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Is it possible to ever switch meanings of the two terms? When liberals become the new conservatives, and conservatives become the new liberals?
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  #36  
Old 04-15-2012, 08:50 AM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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Is it possible to ever switch meanings of the two terms? When liberals become the new conservatives, and conservatives become the new liberals?
Theoretically, if liberalism is pushing for 'dramatic' social and political change and conservatism is upholding tradition. If a dramatic change becomes tradition then a liberal policy becomes a conservative policy. It is my understanding that the conservatives in the USSR were some of the biggest supporters of the regime back in the 1990 period when it was about to fail. So communism was once a far left ideology when it was new, after it became entrenched the conservatives supported it.

However in the US social change doesn't really ever seem to be entrenched. Slavery was ended 150 years ago and womens suffrage was 90 years ago, but conservatism is still hostile to womens and minority rights. Those never became 'entrenched' and therefore conservative.

However (if it matters) political parties have changed. The republicans under Lincoln were the radical change party and the democrats were the party of the status quo. That all shifted in the 1960s with the civil rights movement.

Also because the overton window has moved to the right in the US, some conservative policies are now considered center left policies. Eisenhowers infrastructure program and hostility to the military-industrial complex, Nixons EPA and universal health care, etc. are all closer to something Obama would support.
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Old 04-15-2012, 08:52 AM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post
My personal opinion will not be popular here, in the land of the liberal pinheads. But WTF, you asked, so here it goes:

IMHO, Liberals think people are stupid. They think that the government needs to provide a safety net, because a significant number of people just can't survive on their own wits.

Conservatives, on the other hand, believe in the power of the individual. They believe that if the government would just BUTT OUT, and leave people alone to prosper on their own merits, the vast majority of citizens would rise to the occasion and be far better off.
That may sound good, but like I said earlier, 90% of that is rhetoric. The tea party is just as dependent on gov. spending as the rest of us. There are very few people who can afford education for their kids w/o public schools or retirement w/o medicare and social security. most people can't afford private security so they need a public military, prisons and police.

Public schools, medicare and SS make up about 2 trillion of all gov. spending (federal, state, county, city). Add in domestic and international defense (military, police, firefighters, prisons) and that adds another trillion or so.

What are you going to cut? Many conservatives only support cutting programs that benefit 'other people'. That never strikes me as individualism and self reliance, because they don't want the programs they themselves are dependent on cut.

Last edited by Wesley Clark; 04-15-2012 at 08:56 AM..
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  #38  
Old 04-15-2012, 09:40 AM
monstro monstro is offline
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Originally Posted by SDMBKL View Post
Is it possible to ever switch meanings of the two terms? When liberals become the new conservatives, and conservatives become the new liberals?
The issues they latch onto might change.

I think it's fair to say that most abolitionists were liberal and most pro-slavery people were conservative. Most people fighting for civil rights were liberal. Most people complaining about the uppity negroes making trouble were conservative.

But then when you read about the Progressive Era of the early 1900s, it's harder to figure out who's who. Progressives wanted the government to fix the social ills resulting from rampant capitalism. That sounds pretty liberal. But they used morality as the billy club, which is conservative. If the government banned alcohol, which is probably responsible for more out-of-wedlock babies and immoral behavior than anything else in the world--then you'd have conservatives complaining about government interference of commerce and nannystate-ism, and you'd have liberals complaining about the undue influence of religiousity and "family values" on our laws. So was Prohibition "liberal" or "conservative"? It's a mystery.
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Old 04-15-2012, 10:23 AM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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Originally Posted by mbh View Post
A liberal wants to fix the problem, right now.

A conservative wants to make sure that the fix isn't worse than the original problem.
I'm as conservative as they come, and I like this definition.
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Old 04-15-2012, 10:30 AM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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In my experience, liberals place a higher priority on helping the unlucky, or those on the most un-level part of the playing field, even if it means that a bunch of lazy or undeserving people are also given help.

Conservatives place a higher priority on preventing the lazy and undeserving from taking resources from the hard-working and competent, even if it means that a bunch of deserving but unlucky/started-in-a-hole people are denied reasonable assistance.
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  #41  
Old 04-15-2012, 10:35 AM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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Originally Posted by Parthol View Post
In my experience, liberals place a higher priority on helping the unlucky, or those on the most un-level part of the playing field, even if it means that a bunch of lazy or undeserving people are also given help.

Conservatives place a higher priority on preventing the lazy and undeserving from taking resources from the hard-working and competent, even if it means that a bunch of deserving but unlucky/started-in-a-hole people are denied reasonable assistance.
Based on what they post here, conservatives don't believe in luck. Financially secure people always got there by dint of hard work, and poor people have only themselves to blame. Good fortune or bad luck never enters into their view of the way things are.
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  #42  
Old 04-15-2012, 10:45 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Everyone who has characterized the differences based on irrational belief systems is generally correct. Those beliefs vary alot within the categories, and usually have nothing to do with the person's actual words or deeds, but then it doesn't really matter does it.
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Old 04-15-2012, 11:23 AM
Qin Shi Huangdi Qin Shi Huangdi is offline
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Originally Posted by F. U. Shakespeare View Post
However, there are definitely some forms of this - like mandatory recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance - that are almost exclusively supported by conservatives.
Which is rather ironic since the Pledge was first devised by a socialist.
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