Politics Question

Is there name for someone, or for the group of people, who are conservative fiscally, and liberal socially? If so, what is it?


It depends on style. Those whose liberalism on social issues and conservativism on fiscal issues is anti-government are called libertarians. Otherwise, they are usually called moderates, a term that can also be applied to those who are moderate across the board, or to social conservative/fiscal liberals.

There is a group called the “Log Cabin Republicans” who embrace most Republican fiscal policies and reject most of their social policies. They also embrace members of the same sex – as they are gay. :slight_smile: The Republican Party is not exactly embracing them.

I am unaware of a specific name for these groups. They tend to cling to either the right wing of the Democrats or the left wing of the Republicans, and retain their party affiliation.

I would say that a large number of people call themselves “Independent” for the very reasons you describe, but that term is really too loose and inclusive to fit your group.

What about the inverse of that position (which, as far as I can tell, gets completely ignored) — conservative socially and liberal economically? The official positions of the Catholic Church tend that way, somewhat (but the Catholics also supported Civil Rights and the anti-nuclear campaign).

Jomo Mojo writes:

> What about the inverse of that position (which, as far as I can
> tell, gets completely ignored) — conservative socially and liberal
> economically?

I’ve heard two different terms for what the fourth position in the following square should be called:

____________Economic Liberal_____Economic Conservative
Social Liberal_______Liberal_____________Libertarian
Social Conservative

(The underlinings are just there because that’s the only way I know to draw it as a table.) I have heard both the terms “Statist” and “Communitarian” used for this fourth position. In any case, there’s no universally accepted term for this.

Well… there are the Blue Dog Democrats (who are fically conservative and all over the board on the social issues (but mainly to the left))

there are the Centrist Republicans who are generally fiscally conservative, but are not totally in lockstep with the leadership

but I would disagree about calling them “moderates,” since they may not actually be moderate. If by moderate you don’t mean Tom Delay or Nancy Pelosi, than many people are moderates. However, there aren’t many people in Congress who are rated about 50% by both the liberal and conservative groups.

In the end, it all depends on what party they choose to associate themselves with (at least in the U.S.)… if you are a Republican, you become a liberal Republican. If you are a Democrat, you become a conservative Democrat. If you are independent you may become a “swing” voter. :slight_smile:

I believe the term is Neo-Conservative. I heard that the definition of a Neo-Conservative is a liberal that has had to deal with the realities of the business world.

I’m rather fond of “Chamber of Commerce” Republicans. They want what is best for small businesses – law, order, low taxes – but they really don’t care what people do. After all, having a small porno movie store, or a liquor store, or a smoke shop, etc. are all good ways to make money!


Come on, people, you’re just throwing out terms at random now. Docklands asked for a general name for people who are “conservative fiscally, and liberal socially.” The standard term that covers that position is “libertarian.” The other groups that you’re mentioning - Log Cabin Republicans, Blue Dog Democrats, Centrist Republicans, Neo-Conservatives, “Chamber of Commerce” Republicans, or even moderates - sometimes intersect with this position, but they aren’t really the same thing. The term that Docklands is looking for is “libertarian.”

Generally, you might be able to find what you want in Libertarians (members of the Libertarian Party): They want small government, something that results in the views you seem to be looking for. Getting the government out of everything seems to promote ideas that are socially liberal' (Civil equality and an end to public morals’ laws) and fiscally `conservative’ (Low taxes and little restriction on businesses and investors).

I, myself, dislike the terms conservative' and liberal’. They have been co-opted by too many different groups and have become a very shifty, uneven foundation upon which to build a philosophy. I think in terms of a three-dimensional political cubemap:
[li]X-Axis (horizontal left-right): individualist/collectivist (individualists on right, collectivists on left). Individualists think the common good is best served when people work for their own good. Individualists are opposed to social welfare policies. Collectivists think the common good is best served when individuals all work for a single common purpose. Collectivists think social welfare policies are a good thing.[/li][li]Y-Axis (horizontal up-down): libertarian/authoritarian (libertarians on top, authoritarians on bottom). Libertarians think people are best served when government is kept to a minimum and people are allowed to provide services in the private sector. Authoritarians think the people are best served by a large government that provides most services. (Note that big-L Libertarians are members of a political party, whereas small-l libertarians share a common philosophy about the size of government.)[/li][li]Z-Axis (vertical up-down): progressive/conservative (progressives on top, conservatives on bottom). Progressives think social change is a generally good thing and want to promote it. Conservatives are more wary of social change and desire to hinder it. (Note how I have limited the scope of the term conservative for my own purposes.)[/li][/ul]You probably want a libertarian/individualist/progressive system. In which case you agree with me. Welcome. :slight_smile:

In Australia the terms “wet” and “dry” are applied to the main factions of the (centre right) Liberal party. A liberal “wet” would be fit the criteria in the OP, though there aren’t that many serving in the Howard government.

There is an Irish political party called the Progressive Democrats, whose policies fit the criteria outlined in the OP. So, while the term is of no use in international parlance, in Ireland “PD” would be readily understood as a description of somebody with those views.

Thanks guys. Your description of a libertarian seems to fit me pretty well.

I don’t know why, but a libertarian brings to my mind an image almost no government, but maybe that’s just my misconception.

Almost no government, what a blissful thought. Congrats on finding what you were looking for, and welcome to the libertaria! If you are further interested there are a few fairly reasonable books out there.

Sorry for not providing publisher info etc, but:

Robert Nozick “Anarchy, the State and Utopia” woud be a good start as would a (Cato Institute?) issued book, edited by David Boaz “A Libertarian Reader”, which is a great set of essays.

Have fun

For further reading on this very issue:

Beyond Liberal and Conservative: Reassessing the Political Spectrum

What does “liberal socially” mean? If it’s aligned with libertarian views, does that suggest less stringent dealings with criminals (the 1% of the population that #@%*s everything up for the rest of us) or more stringent?

This columnist invented the term “crunchy conservative.” http://www.nationalreview.com/dreher/dreher071202.asp

When you’re talking about real people, their views are too complicated to fit on a one-dimensional spectrum. They’re also too complicated to fit on a two-dimensional table. Real political views are all over the place, and it’s not even clear how many dimensions you want to use to represent them.