CONSERVATIVES ONLY: What's the difference between a liberal and a conservative?

Although the subject line sounds like a joke, it’s meant as a serious question.

I’m definitely on the left side of the political spectrum, and have often had a hard time identifying with conservatives. Deep down, I believe that, left or right or middle we’re all good people who want to make the world a better place. But I think that the “left” and “right” tend to view each other as mortal enemies.

I know that my perceptions of the “right” are probably colored by whatever “leftist” influences I’ve encountered. But I’m learning that if you want the truth, you have to go to the source.

So here I am asking people who identify as conservative-

What does it mean to be conservative?
Is there anything you don’t like about other conservatives?
What is your perception of liberals?
Is there anything you like about liberals?

My goal here is to understand things I don’t know much about.

Okay, I’m going to jump in and hope I don’t get beat over the head by other posters for this but I am – ::gulp:: a conservative

::Sheilds her head for the coming blows::

Okay, okay. I know that my feelings are not echoed by many on these boards, but I do know that you would never beat me up just for that ::smile:: (I hope!)

To answer your questions :
::Disclaimer: any opinions expressed herein are solely the property of their creator and do not by any means represent the views of any others she may or may not affiliate with::

What does it mean to be conservative?

To me, a conservative viewpoint is one that is composed of decisions and beliefs based on the ideals of personal responsibility, limited government, and (generally) Christian ideals. To me, it means that self-reliance is of great importance. It means that success is something to strive for, not something to try to tear away from someone else. To me, it means that the freedoms allowed to us are ultimately the greatest benefit of our country, and so should be protected at all costs. And to me, at least, it means that in all things I do, I should acknowledge God’s work and try to live up to His expectation of me.

Is there anything you don’t like about other conservatives?

There is much I don’t like about other conservatives, but generally the things I find unpalatable apply to conservatives and liberals alike. Generally, I can’t put up with anyone (left or right) who feels that there are no other valid viewpoints in the world but theirs, and refuses to take into account opposing stances. I despise those who refuse to actually debate a topic, and instead continue to spew venom. With regard to conservatives in general, though, I particularly abhor those who purport to speak for God, or use religion as though they were the only ones in the world who understand it.

What is your perception of liberals?

My perception of liberals, in general, is that they have their hearts in the right place, but what sounds good in theory does not work in practice. I can appreciate many different liberal issues and viewpoints, but to me they seem not quite grounded in reality. Without getting into any specific topic, I would generalize my view of liberals as being somewhat hyper-sensitive to certain issues and topics, and not quite practical enough in certain areas.

Is there anything you like about liberals?

Yes! (surprised to hear that, aren’t you?) There are many things I like about liberals. I like that liberals appreciate and support the arts and creativity more than conservatives are historically known to do.

Now, I’d like to say that as a fairly new member of the boards, I hope I’m not inviting any particuarly menacing comments my way. I understand that I’m in the minority here, and I would never even think of being disrespectful of anyone. I am presenting my opinions here with the understanding that you were looking for serious answers.

Please be gentle! :slight_smile:

Conservatives like to put rules where none belong.

>Conservatives like to put rules where none belong.

But who decides where they belong and where they don’t?

::rhetorical question alert::

Democrats have hearts but no brain.
Republicans have brains but no heart.

Conservatives hold on to their last nickel.
Liberals want to spend your last nickel.

Liberals think it takes a village to raise a child.
Conservatives think it takes two parents (a male and a female) to raise a child.

“A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.”

  • G. Gordon Liddy

quoth ShibbOleth, who finds the appellation of both Liberal and Conservative grossly misleading.

Here goes,

What does it mean to be conservative?

I view it as being fiscally responsible. I’m heavy into economic theory and I feel that public support should be limited. People need to be responsible for themselves. I also view that the USA should be protected by a strong military.

Is there anything you don’t like about other conservatives?

Absolutely. I don’t like the conservative social agenda. Keep religion out of politics. I am not religious but find myself aligned with them out of necessity. I can’t stand Jerry Falwell or any of those “nuts.” My religion is my business. A person should also be allowed domain over their own body. I also see nothing wrong with gay marriage.

What is your perception of liberals?

Great bunch of guys who don’t know how to run a country.

Is there anything you like about liberals?

Their hearts are in the right place, but in order to move forward you can’t hold people back by creating a crutch. Also, for the most part, Liberals make great movies! :slight_smile:

I dislike political arguments, in general, because people hold very tightly to their perceptions. I also tend to dislike all politicians because, in my view, they’d sooner stab you in the back then shake your hand depending on the number of votes it will cost them.

What does it mean to be conservative?

To be a conservative, IMO, means to believe in freedom from governement, which is of course a liberal (in the classical sense) idea. Modern day liberals, in contrast, believe in freedom through governement.

Is there anything you don’t like about other conservatives?

I don’t like it when the term is corrupted by people who are actually liberals but just have a different goals for the government. The christian coalition is a good example.

What is your perception of liberals?

Liberals tend to see the world through rose colored glasses, tend to believe that money is both the root of and solution to problems, and in general are long on ideas and short on details.

Is there anything you like about liberals?

I think liberals tend to have a more hopeful outlook on life, and I see that as a positive.

XJETGIRLX shouldn’t ::gulp:: so much. I once did an IMHO poll about people’s political orientation, and there are plenty of conservatives on this board. IIRC, it was pretty close to half and half. Plenty of Christians, too.

>XJETGIRLX shouldn’t ::gulp:: so much. I once did an IMHO poll about people’s political orientation, and there are plenty of conservatives on this board. IIRC, it was pretty close to half and half. Plenty of Christians, too.

Thanks! I’m just so used to ducking and covering when I own up to it – I live in a 70% Democratic district – not a whole lot of fun around election time! I tend to tread lightly! (But I carry a big stick!)

What does it mean to be conservative?
People joke about “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” but that’s not really too far off the map. Part of being convervative is not desiring to put new government positions into place in order to fix things, since the new solutions often turn almost immediately into new problems. I guess it’s also a grudging acceptance of the need for government agencies, but god forbid they try to set up more as band-aid cures. It’s also a position of caution, and the only gradual adoption of new ideals over old ones, rather than embracing any and every idea that comes down the pike.
Is there anything you don’t like about other conservatives?
There are two things that bother me:

  1. The religious right. I’m not a very religious person, so it makes me uncomfortable to have religion be so heavily associated with my party.
  2. The fact that those from #1 make it more difficult for certain people (gays, primarily) to live their lives without being stigimatized.
    What is your perception of liberals?
    I suppose they mean well, but they’re rather hasty to decide to give away other people’s money. I suppose I may get flamed for this, but I don’t understand why some of the local liberals are upset by the welfare-to-work program. If the welfare recipient is working for their check(and I think furthering their education also “counts” as work), they’re also gaining work experience which might prove valuable to them, and ultimately lead them to gaining a position that will support them fully. They, these liberals, are very negative about this, as though the person’s time is better spent doing nothing! I know, “what about the children?” I’ll tell you though, I know children who were in daycare 5 days a week whose parents don’t work, so it’s not as though not having a job gave their parents more quality time with them.
    Is there anything you like about liberals?
    As irritating as it can be at times, it’s always good to have other ideas floating around to challenge the validity of your beliefs. That’s what liberals are for :smiley:

A Liberal is a Conservative who’s been arrested,
A Conserative is a Liberal who’s been mugged


If you’re not a Liberal when you’re 20, you have no heart.
If you’re not a Conservative when you’re 30, you have no brain.
Speaking as a Moderate Independent with liberal leanings on some issues and conservative leanings on others.

I didn’t read all of this.

As a conservative, I’ll try to answer without sounding condescending.

One fundamental difference that fosters into many other policies t is that liberals think that a major role of the government is wealth distribution, or redistribution.

I think that’s the biggest difference.

The difference between a liberal and and a conservative is about 50 IQ points, on average.

Oh, you want a serious, but basic answer? Ok . . .

Conservatives want smaller government, fewer regulations, and a totally open market and tend to favor ‘status quo’. Big business, wealthy people who want to protect their holdings, and company owners whose primary mission is the bottom line (i.e., financial profit) tend to be labelled conservatives.

Liberals believe that individuals, especially those who aren’t in power and who don’t have a lot of money, need and deserve to be protected, via federal rules and regulations, from the profit-at-any-cost mentalities of businesses and, in addition, believe that it’s important to help people who need help.
Maybe a more practical application would help:

Liberals believe that Exxon, BP, and other oil corporations would fail to engage in clean air practices and would avoid taking any steps to reduce pollution, environmental damage, and the like, because these actions increase their costs and thus reduce their potential profit, if there were not a ‘clean air act’ and other laws which required them to do so. Conservatives believe that the companies will regulate their behaviors on their own, without any intervention.

To see how this works in the real world, you might look at what happened recently (a few years back) in Texas, when then-Governor George W. Bush passed legislation that made it OPTIONAL for corporations (e.g., petrochemical industries, etc.) to follow previously established pollution-control standards.
Guess which state quickly rose to the top of the ‘worst quality of air’ indexes?
(hint: While Los Angeles has been improving its air quality and reducing its pollution, the recently crowned winner of smoggiest city in the U.S. was Houston)

Gee, Pablito, I thought this was for conservatives only. I’ve seent he other people try to give a thoughtful answer, trying to see both sides, trying to answer the questions posed in the OP. Not you. Maybe that’s the difference between liberals and conservatives.


You’re quite right, of course. I probably should have apologized up front with a ‘sorry’ or something for breaking in. Or perhaps a warning sticker or TMI alert. That’s sort of how I intended my first line, with a biased joke to tip off conservatives that it would be safe to skip.
The funny thing is, I feel like my answer is pretty thoughtful, despite clearly exposing my liberal inclinations. Too, I would argue that the general tendencies and interests which I ascribe to each group are not only accurate but would be readily accepted by the large majority of conservatives and liberals alike.
Here’s another difference: one group likes to keep things exclusionary.

(just kidding around here. no hard feelings) :wink:

You may be a Libertarian, then. :smiley:


I started yet another thread of this very same kind for liberals. If you identify as such, come and share.

In order to understand modern conservatism you need to read this speech:
What does it mean to be conservative?
To believe in Liberty and personal responsibilty.
Is there anything you don’t like about other conservatives?
They care enough about winning.
What is your perception of liberals?
They want to relieve us, the little people of the burden of running our failed and useless lives.
Is there anything you like about liberals?
They make it very gratifying to oppose them.

If Pablito is any example, I’d say another difference is that liberals have poorer reading comprehension skills. Unless, perhaps, we need to argue about the definition of “only”. :slight_smile: