Liberalism vs Conservatism



A political theory founded on the natural goodness of humans and the autonomy of the individual and favoring civil and political liberties, government by law with the consent of the governed, and protection from arbitrary authority.


A political philosophy or attitude emphasizing respect for traditional institutions, distrust of government activism, and opposition to sudden change in the established order.

Why is one better than the other? If I were to choose, Liberalism seems to me the better choice. It shows caring and concern for other.

Is it that they aren’t fitting the traditional definitions? Which is better for you?

Why is one better than the other?


Which is better, up or down?

libertarianism is best (best since there are 3 options).

Did I ask about Libertarianism?

Wisecracks do really tell a story.

Don’t forget authoritarianism.

I don’ t think one is necessarily better than the other for all possible situations. Well, actually I lean pretty heavily liberal. Being liberal is more fun, for one thing. But for the sake of argument, why do I have to choose either of these? Bonus question: why do some people believe a single political philosophy answers all requirements?

Depends on the conditions. A conservative attitude is best when things are good; a liberal attitude is best when things are bad.

The way I see it, things work this way… Liberalism focuses on the individual and sees things in short-term periods, while Conservativism focuses on the group and sees things in long-term periods.

The upside to Liberalism is that it’s huggy-soft and quick to action when there’s a problem… the downside is that it can be hasty, impatient, and prone to mistakes.

The upside to Conservativism is that it is willing to take some losses for the sake of the greater good, more patient, more levelheaded… the downside being that it can be callous, cold, and cruel to individual people (because Conservativism states that the Individual isn’t as important as the Group).

It all depends on what you can live with. If you follow a philosophy of “you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs”, I’d say you’re probably conservative. If you believe “If only ONE LIFE is saved…” then I’d say you’re probably liberal.

Please note that I’m ignoring the Religious Right in my summary above. The inclusion of religion throws EVERYTHING out of whack.


Your lists are incomplete. I see very little overlap in ideas between them. I say if you also include in your liberal definition the opposite of the conservative definition and like-wise with the conservative one then you may have something. As it is, I find merit in everything listed on both. But we know that conservatives are anti-liberals and liberals are anti-conservative. At least they frequently act that way.

Even then, do conservatives believe that people are inherently evil? Do liberals really trust goverment activism? I really don’t think so.

In reading that list I was reminded of the Declaration of Independence. Are not all of those concepts expressed there?

Heh… Reeder, why didn’t you go ahead and provide more from the definition:

Liberalism: “An economic theory in favor of laissez-faire, the free market, and the gold standard.”

Ironically enough, the opposite of what many Liberals seek. And further…

Conservatism: “Caution or moderation, as in behavior or outlook.”

Just supports my theory that the likes of Fred Phelps, Rush Limbaugh, and Jerry Falwell shouldn’t be described as “conservative”, since, technically, they ain’t. :smiley:

That’s why I asked about the definitions.

Have they changed?

Up, of course. And that damn downist in the White House is proof of that. :smiley:

Because being accused of fence sitting is seemingly the worst sin an intellectual can commit - far worse than having a rigid, unyielding opinion on any given subject, apparently. Which is why liberals take so much shit from conservatives in the media and not vice versa, not to mention why people that are not well informed tend to gravitate toward conservative policies (NOTE: definitely NOT implying conservatives in general are ill-informed, so lay off. I take enough shit from you guys in the media).

Jeremy Ulrey

It’s silly to suggest that either point of view is “better” than its antithesis. Both are necessary for progress.

I am not right all of the time. Since I am human, however, I will naturally believe whatever point of view I hold to be correct as long as I hold it. Otherwise, I would change my point of view to whichever seemed correct to me based on the facts that I was aware of at the time. I am dependent on those who hold different points of view to point out shortcomings in my own, and to support their observations with different facts that I have not previously been aware of.

In doing so, they are doing me a service: they have made me aware that I am wrong, and they have done so before I suffered any tangible consequences of being wrong. In turn, since it is unlikely that they are 100% correct either, I can point out flaws in their reasoning that they ought to correct. We will probably still disagree, but we will be at a more enlightened stage of disagreement. Even if we have not yet agreed on precisely what to do, we have reached greater agreement on what not to do.

I believe that everyone wants to do what is right. The problem arises in determining precisely what that is. Since each of us must make decisions based only on our own limited knowledge, we are likely to adopt viewpoints that only hold true in limited situations. The universe is not confined to our way of thinking alone. By allowing ourselves to approach problems from other points of view, and to adopt other ways of thinking, we stand a better chance of more completely understanding our world and what needs to be done with it.

Are you claiming that there’re no liberals in the media, or that liberals in the media don’t give shit to conservatives?

Either way, I’m still gonna laugh at such a ridiculous notion.

Liberalism: See totalitarianism.
Conservatism: See totalitarianism.

You’ve framed the “debate” too narrowly. Mine was not a wisecrack, but a valid response to a false dichotomy. There are other options besides Lib and Con. And it sounds like you are just realizing that the classic (ie, 19th century) definition of liberal is more akin to what we would call libertarian today.

It’s comments like this that prevent 3rd-parties from gaining popularity.

Link and link.

Just my 2sense

How 'bout an explanation and an explanation?