Fiscal conservative BUT social liberal?

Hey people,

So I was reading up on Clint Eastwood–scimming, that is, and who knew he was such a manwhore–and he claims to be a “social liberal and fiscal conservative.” And there were all these other quotes over the course of time, the gist of it being Eastwood seeming pretty fickle. I can relate to some of his feelings and I can say I’m not all that disappointed to have given up my blissful ignorance.

Of course I had to read up on “social liberal and fiscal conservative” and, apparently, it means you’re okay with your fellow citizens having their freedoms BUT not okay with the government stepping in to either secure or protect those freedoms and not okay with just government regulation in general. I mean, that’s my take-away from the couple of places I read on it.

What do y’all think about this? Who are the social liberals/fiscal conservatives and why are they?

You can’t be both “ok” with the freedom of others and against government protection of those rights. Without the latter there is effectively no former. IMO.

The Libertarian Party represents this POV in the US, but you’ll hear versions of it from all sorts at various times.

  1. If you ask any of them, you might well get a snootful of talk about liberty and how taxation is theft – and maybe this or that’n’ll actually believe in liberty as a guiding principle, take us where it may;
  2. If you ask me, I’d guess quite a few just don’t like helping people who “aren’t helping themselves.” And if you’re helping the poor and needy with money, not just permissive laws, you’re going to be some money on the selfish and lazy – it’s true, it’s true. When from time to time I have those Libertarian “fuck this stupid safety net!” moments, they always seem to be inspired by egregious examples of people abusing well-meaning programs.

I’m European. Your use of “liberal” to refer to the left will never cease to puzzle me.

I’m European and “liberal” has always meant centre-left to me

I’m European and “liberal” has always meant centre, leaning right in practice and extolling left in rhetoric. Plus libertarian austere economic policy.
Hillary would be a liberal of the bourgeois moralistic tradition. Obama’s more a traditional sit-on-hands conservative. As for British liberals being centre-left, they were allied to the Cameron government for years, carried along for the ride like ignored painted whores by the gangsters they enabled, as their promises were not kept.

That seems like a strange conclusion to draw; it sounds like they’re okay with the government, in the form of police and courts and so on, standing by to secure and protect the freedoms of their fellow citizens the way the military stands by to shoot would-be invaders – and, well, that’s it. You’re exercising your right to freedom of speech, and some guy punches you in the mouth? Please, call a cop; that’s why we pay him. You’re out to exercise your right to freedom of worship, or your right to vote, or whatever, and some guy tries to forcibly stop you? Well, then, call a cop; that’s why we pay him. Really, it’s no different than your property rights; some guy steals your stuff? Call a cop; that’s why we pay him.

I don’t believe that’s part of their message.

I think they’re conservatives who are sick and tired of the social battles or being smeared as homophobes, racists, etc.

They might be reacting to long-term losses (by cutting their losses). Fighting for a social conservative idea might get a Congressperson more votes, but it’s short-term. They can tell they’re slowly losing.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t any who are racist, homophobic, etc but pretend otherwise. Being openly racist, homophobic, etc generally causes a politician to lose votes.

As for Clint Eastwood, I lost most of my respect for his politics when he performed his insulting and decidedly puerile empty-chair routine at the Republican convention.

As for people who label themselves as “fiscal conservative/social liberal,” I’ve come to see that there are as many of them who are really just self-deluded or straight up liars, as there are of any other labeled group. Most of the ones I run across these days, don’t have a liberal bone in their body. They are just hard-line right wingers who say vaguely nice platitudes about others, as a way to avoid taking responsibility for the rest of their actions being destructive of the liberty and freedom of everyone else.

And I agree with the above person who finds American versions of liberal and conservative confusing. Those labels haven’t held to their dictionary meanings since before I became politically aware, back in the 1960’s.

This MB is grossly over-represented with libertarians and libertarian-leaning types. In your two yeas here, you haven’t run into any?

You understanding is incorrect. I am a moderate libertarian and what you describe is not part of the philosophy. Libertarians believe in a strong government that protests the rights of all - it should just be limited in scope. In the United States, that would mean strong protections of the rights outlined in the Constitution.

However, most libertarians are a little perplexed when it comes to social issues like gay marriage, drug legalization, equality and many other hot topics. The reason for that is that we think it shouldn’t even be an issue in the first place. An overbearing government is the one that legislated and enforced laws that have never should have been passed so it seems a little odd to fight it with even more government.

In general, libertarians aren’t vocal social activists though although we will happily share our personal beliefs if someone asks. Individual freedom is a natural right and the government should step out of the way as much as possible unless those rights are being threatened.

Those aren’t “securing” examples. Those are “protecting” examples. The government wouldn’t have to step in because it’s already been established that those are your rights no matter what and they apply to everybody. Those are–as I’ve read–negative rights, rights that don’t call for government action. “Positive” rights are the ones that would call for the government to step in in some way and say, “Alright, boys, this is how it’s gonna be from now. You can’t do this thing anymore. Here’s some legislation or a court case that is making it real.”

I might have my positive and negative mixed up but I gave it my best shot.

You being a moderate libertarian yourself, I appreciate your insight and I see what you’re saying. But you said, “The reason for that is that we think it shouldn’t even be an issue in the first place.”

Rights like that–that you don’t think should be an issue but are–aren’t what I’d call secure rights. Rights that aren’t secure are vulnerable to and likely to be violated. Only government can secure rights like that.

I guess what I’m trying to say is inaction leaves rights to be violated. I don’t understand how a social libertarian/fiscal conservative or libertarian would compensate for that without government action.

You said they’re “not okay with the government stepping in to either secure or protect those freedoms”. And so I figured that the “either” and the “or” in your sentence were doing useful work, and so I guided off them accordingly.

I actually have not run into anybody who has claimed to be one. Maybe it’s because I’m from the South, so everybody is just plain ol’ Republican (or the majority anyway). I’m sure I’ve run into people who fit the bill but just claim Republican.

Fiscal means related to government revenue – it’s about how the government gets its money and what it does with it.

I come at this from a completely different angle. I started out as a conservative, someone who believed that it was best to limit taxation and government spending. I originally registered as an independent, but was more closely aligned with the Republican party. But I’m also someone who believes very strongly in civil rights, which has always been my top issue. Once the Republican party aligned itself strongly with the Moral Majority, which to me meant being aligned against civil rights, I became a Democrat. The more conservatism focused on denying people their civil rights, the more liberal I became.

For many years, I’ve called myself a liberal, registered as a Democrat, and voted for Democratic candidates, because they were aligned me with me on civil rights issues. But I never really lost my fiscal conservatism, and I still vote that way on specific measures. For instance, I very rarely support bond measures, or measures to raise spending, unless I have very good, specific reasons to do so. I’m not a libertarian at all, and I think government has a role to play in society beyond the basics of law & order. But at heart I’m still very conservative when it comes to the government’s money, and if there were candidates who took that position, but didn’t hold abhorrent positions on race, religion, immigration and LGBT rights, I would support them.

I once posited an opportunity for a new party that I called the Moderate Party, that held positions similar to mine. But I’m not sure if there are enough of us to make it happen.

Then why is a social liberal/fiscal conservative? That’s exactly why I’m a little confused.

There’s bound to be a lot of would-be Moderates and, if not, then anyone near the center of the right over left can be converted easy peasy (I’d bet on it), because it sounds nice to the ear. I’m like that with my own personal funds. I mean, I’d rather not spend money but it’s necessary.

I don’t know what all we do with our money from taxes, to be honest, but I think money spent for the good of our own is money well spent. Then that opens other questions.

I’d say, though, that it must be difficult to be a social liberal/fiscal conservative on the topic of social programs, for instance, and other things for the common welfare. Because social liberal things like that need funding, yet libertarian-minded SL/FC despise taxation, and regular fiscal conservatives still have to decide what they want taxes spent on, what is worthy. It makes my head spin.

You want the government out of your bedroom and your pocketbook. I’m not sure I’m understanding what is perplexing. You can surely reconcile being for gay marriage, legalized drug use, etc, and also against runaway spending or excessive taxation, no? Im a strong social liberal, and a fiscal moderate., which puts me on the liberal/libertarian edge.

Because they want people to leave them alone, and they will leave everyone else alone. It’s essentially a libertarian approach - an attempt to minimize the initiation of force whenever possible. I would turn the question around and ask why people would want to force others to do something they don’t want to?

I find both liberal and conservative positions incredibly contradictory when it comes to initiation of force - both have elements of authoritarianism that is distasteful.