(The topic is intrinsically debatable, so it is here.)
As many of you are very aware, some months back I made some assertions about the nature of conservative philosophy. I’m not going to reiterate what they were here, but I bring them up as introduction to the question I am sincerely pondering and I seek your answers to.
What makes a liberal a liberal and a conservative a conservative?
I’m not asking for a recitation of the positions held by each, we can all do that with a fair degree of accuracy.
No, what I’ve been thinking about is the fact that if a person believes, for instance, that welfare is a good thing in some form or another, there is a high degree of probability that they will also have a fairly strong interest and concern about environmental protection. It’s also a good bet that such a person is a pretty strong supporter of a woman’s right to choose, inheiritance taxes, some kind of affirmative action, equal rights for homosexuals, less emphasis on military spending, etc.
By the same token, a person who is for lots of military spending is probably down on welfare and abortion and inheritance tax and up on drilling for oil in Alaska, logging in the Pacific Northwest, and big fat tax cuts.
My point is this: what is the underlying thread that ties disparate ideas together? Of course there are people who are a conservative on issue A and liberal on issue B, but this board is a fair example of the predictability of most people’s positions based on just a few. But why is this? What makes wanting to save the whales like wanting to preserve abortion like not wanting vouchers and not wanting more military spending? What is it about wanting to abolish the inheritance tax that is like wanting to spend more on the military that is like being agsainst abortion that is like being against welfare that is like being unconcerned about environmental destruction in pursuit of resources?
Please don’t pick apart my examples…I trust that my fellow dopers are plenty smart enough to get my point without necessarily agreeing with my examples.
This all relates to my infamous thoughts about conservative in that I put forth my ideas about what does make a conservative. Many, probably most of you jumped all over me about my opinions on the subject, so I’m asking for yours. What is the underlying philosophy that ties the disparate issues together for each of the two sides? Why is someone who is a “tree-hugger” more than likely also an abortion supporter and a gun-control advocate? How are these attitudes related? Ditto conservative attitudes.
Having stated what I’m looking for several times, I now stand back and look forward to your answers. I hope you will each offer your opinions about both sides of the aisle.