“Hi, I’m a Liberal.” “And I’m a Conservative”

“If by a ‘Liberal’ they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a ‘Liberal,’ then I’m proud to say I’m a ‘Liberal.'”

—John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States


“To put conservatism in a bottle with a label is like trying to liquify the atmosphere … The difficulty arises from the nature of the thing. For conservatism is less a political doctrine than a habit of mind, a mode of feeling, a way of living.”

R.J. White

I don’t like what’s happened in our country over the past eight years. We’ve become divided down every line you can imagine. ‘Liberal’ and ‘Conservative’ have become dirty words, words whose meanings aren’t quite clear to most Americans.

Let’s talk about gun nuts, the ones who find it necessary to have an AK-47 in their house. My opinion—that view is an outside view. I don’t need an assault weapon in my house to make me feel comfortable. Now, let’s talk about being fiscally conservative. A lot of people on both sides of the aisle want to reduce spending on unnecessary items/programs. That, in my view, makes about as much sense as an idea can make, putting it more toward the center (center in this case meaning shared by most). 

“Second Amendment rights” and “fiscal conservative” are terms that are usually talked about on the Republican platform. I’m a registered Democrat, so one might try to stereotype me and say that I’m against both ideas. That’s not the case. While I do think it’s unneccesary to have assault weapons in private homes, I also think there are ways we could trim down our spending and start reducing the national debt.

Though I ramble, the point I’m trying to make here is that you can be a Republican and still be “liberal”—meaning your views are considered ‘out there’ by some—or you can be a Democrat and still be “conservative”—meaning your views would be closer to the majority.

Take what you will from what I’ve said—which probably isn’t much, as it’s poorly written after too much work and not enough sleep. Just don’t start hate comments—I’ll track you down.


4 responses to ““Hi, I’m a Liberal.” “And I’m a Conservative”

  1. well, it’s because the terms liberal and conservative can only mean something in regards to their context. some people who claim to be liberal are socialist, some conservatives are fascist. obviously this provides a lot of room to describe where people stand on different issues.

    i think if you ask people what they think about nazis, they often use the term fascism.
    nazi translated is national socialism. there are differences, of course. socialism is government control of production in the economy and thereby socialization of the cost..fascism is government control in a similar manner, costs are socialized, but profits are still mostly private.

    here in america we have a mixed economy. we have some of everything. obviously the trend is towards more control not less.

    the terms liberal and conservative have a checkered history and its easy to see that the words are hijacked for self interest reasons.

    easiest example i like to use is classical liberal. people who assume this ideology are in favor of free markets, limited government, sound money. this is not the liberal of todays world. conservative is a relatively new term and it represents a significant shift in american politics in the 20th century. there are different factions of conservatives.

    neo conservatives are an interesting bunch and a perfect example of hijacked terms. intellectually, philosophically, the people of the neconservative movement are actually from the left. they are international socialists in many ways. that story gets really complicated, but they are definitely not conservative.

    some have broken conservatism down into 3 categories:
    libertarianism, anticommunism, and traditionalism.

    as you can see, there is much more of this discussion that can be had, but it helps to give a basis as to why there is so much animosity in this area.

    the current situation in the presidential race shows us another interesting fact. they are both centrists. meaning, they both want more controls, they both claim to be “bipartisan”, another term is ‘moderate’. this general outline highlights why so many people are upset and won’t vote, don’t vote, are undecided, there are repubs for obama, dems for mccain, etc…. people are upset over this past administration and are looking for a “change”, those on the right don’t want mccain but are afraid of obama. etc….

    anyway. hope i helped add to your post. i agree that the fundamental issues are what are important and that labels can be divisive, but i think more-so when there are no definitions. this gets into the use of language and is more esoteric yet highly important. otherwise, we end up with things like the ministry of truth and memory holes.

  2. I think a lot of the confusion arises when Liberal and Conservative (capital initials) are substituted for liberal and conservative (lower-case initials). The first two are strictly political ideologies, the last two are ways of thinking about anything, not just politics. As Jesse implied above, the ideas and feelings that associate with the terms Liberal and Conservative have become divorced from the actual definition of the words they sprang from.

    What’s worse is that some people further confuse the issue by using the terms interchangeably with the political party that holds their ideology. For instance, someone may say “I’m a Republican,” when they are, in fact, not registered with the party. What they mean to say is that they hold same political sentiments as most Republicans, i.e. Conservativism.

    So, in effect, you could be a registered Democrat and Republican, be a Conservative, and be conservative on military spending and liberal on health care. I think this confuses most people though, and, as Rush Limbaugh fans have proven, the majority of Americans just want some person or label to point to and say, “Ditto,” so they don’t have to do any of the thinking themselves.

  3. McBastard FTW! That’s what I was trying to get at—damn you and your ability to put forth coherent thought on very little sleep.

  4. right, that’s why we have mcbama, because why would want so much choice?
    it’s easier to have control when there isn’t much difference.

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