A civilized political dicussion...

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by SuperChuck, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. SuperChuck macrumors 6502

    SuperChuck

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Location:
    Chucktown, SC
    #1
    As a liberal, I have a tendency to think of conservatives as greedy, bigoted, ignorant, hot-headed yahoos.

    As a rational person, I know this is not the case.

    I imagine most conservatives think of us as hethenistic, whining, effeminate, communist snobs.

    As a liberal, I know this is not the case.


    I cannot imagine why anyone would be a conservative, and I guess you conservatives out there feel the same way about us.

    But maybe if we each explained what we LIKED about our ideology without discussing what we DISLIKED about other ideologies, we might actually learn something about each other.

    So, let's give it a shot. What do you like about your political ideology/party/etc.?
     
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #2
    Every saint has a past and every sinner a future. -- Oscar Wilde
     
  3. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #3
    I feel that any civilized society has an obligation to take care of it's least fortunate and vunerable citizenry. This includes (not exhaustively): The poor, the sick, the old, the mentally-and-physically handicapped, and the insane.

    While much of this is based on the morality I employ, it is also largely based on pragmatism, as among other things, this creates a more stable society.

    The myth of the "rugged individual" or the whole individualist thing is complete crap. Any successes an individual has, even through his own efforts and resources, owe a silent (and considerable) debt to the context of his/her situation, which are the cumulative effort of a multitude of individuals and their efforts.

    I would prefer that Federal-level Government concern itself mainly with Security, Foreign Policy and Regulation. The rest should largely be the province of Regional, State and local-level governance. The point being, a responsive, flexible government for a geographically large and diverse country.

    I am a fan of strong regulatory apparati for the same reason that I am for strong social-services: because it is apparent that people are unable/unwilling to take the responsibility voluntarily. So while resultant systems may be unweildy and imperfect, they are necessary and far preferable to the alternative. I support any taxation rate as long as it can be shown that the monies are being spent wisely and honestly, and the expenditures are necessary.

    Again, this comes down to the silent contributer to our social wealth. Sure, it may not be fair to subsidize someone else, but it breeds stability. You may resent giving up your hard-earned dough to the government only to have them spend it on someone/something you do not feel deserves it, but would you rather spend that on a gun or iron bars on the window or water purifier?

    I do what to be able (and for my kids to be able) to breath decent air, enjoy beautiful scenery, eat healthily and have access to medical care (among others). I also want to be able to explore my country without fear, or without living in a residential-fortress to protect myself. If that means I have to pay high(er) taxes, I will. I hear Mexico and Nigeria have very low tax-rates...

    If this makes me a Liberal, well fine. I am certainly more complicated than that. I did, however, receive a "Democratic Party Visa Platinum Card" pre-approved offer in the mail today.

    Various plans/policies do need to be intelligent and pragmatic, however. I will not like a certain plan merely because it supports my beliefs, because if it doesn't work, it hardly supports my beliefs now does it?

    This is hardly exhaustive, but it is a brief encapsulation of my thoughts on the matter.
     
  4. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #4
    nicely put, b'fox. it led me to this thought: what we get from society and what we put into it has to be about something more than money. to reduce that relationship to a purely fiscal one leads to condemnation of those who receive money via social services and a perceived desire to not participate in it in any more meaningful way.

    edit: i see i'm unable to abide by the original request. so lemme try this:

    what appeals to me about liberalism is the recognition of society as something we all participate in, in both obvious and not so obvious ways. the liberal believes that a healthy society is beneficial to everyone, and that when some hurt, everyone hurts. further, serving the greater good will enrich oneself.

    I am I plus my surroundings and if I do not preserve the latter, I do not preserve myself. -- Jose Ortega Y Gasset
     
  5. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #5
    Ha! Funnily enough I was_this_close to just putting a short quote in instead...

    speaking of quotes, with refernce to your above post, it really all comes down to basic psychology. Man has basic needs and respective fears: that of security, of shelter, of sustenance, which all come down to fear of death. Once those are out of the way, man is free to move on to the next tier of pressing needs and fears, perhaps of belonging and compansionship, purpose and intellectual freedoms. And so on...

    So why not free up peoples's time and (creative) energies by providing for their basic needs, at least as a safety net? This would allow for the most people to meaningfully contribute to society in their unique ways. This is also why I support funding for the Arts, BTW. People who do look at it as a purely fiscal issue are missing the larger picture. Which is why many of these things have to be mandated by the Government and paid with taxes in the first place...

    I mean, to cross reference with other topics, it is reasonable to assume that the average Iraqi is not concerned with the reasonableness of the form of Democracy being attempted, as they are merely trying to keep from getting shot, to get food and water for themselves and family, and looking for work. Democracy failed in Syria and so many other places because it didn't bring stability, it brought chaos.

    After stability is had, then you would hope that further needs would/could be addressed. Not addressing these initial needs, leads to self-interest and desperation, which impinge deeply on moral principles in the right circumstances. It can lead to fanaticism among other things, and indeed it has in many corners of the world, because it makes a psychological bargain: you receive satisfaction of your needs; of food, housing, belonging, purpose, stability, in return for buying into an ideology.

    So excuse me if I am willing to pay the extra money to try and minimize the likelihood of that at home. Nature abhors a vaccuum, and when there are those vunerable someone will step in to fill the void. So far, government is the best overall option I've seen.
     
  6. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #6
    "The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice." -- Martin Luther King

    This is one of my favorite quotes, because it so succinctly states something I believe, which is that human history has a purpose and direction, and that this direction is liberal, in the classical sense of the word.
     
  7. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Location:
    Reality
    #7
    Heh...when I read the first line of your post, SuperChuck, I thought you were deliberately contradicting your topic title...IOW, trolling.

    But it's a great topic idea. Trouble is, I can't really say it any better than blackfox did.

    I was brought up with a Catholic education and taught by Jesuits (the liberals of the Church), and everything I've learned from them and from the Bible tells me that we were put here to take care of each other. Not that there isn't room for personal growth and achievement, far from it: but capitalism must be tempered by the common good. The idea that this is supposed to be a dog-eat-dog, winner-takes-all existence is exactly counter to what Jesus wants us to be. (Which is why I find it bizarre that many of the so-called Christian "moral values" folks flock to the neo-con side of the aisle.)

    People are, in a way, all born unequal. Athletes, business leaders, etc., were all born with talents and a competitive edge that got them where they are. But we are going 'way too far. It does no good to have a handful of us actually becoming a new class of American, the super-rich, and the middle class and poorest of us seeing their livelihoods shipped overseas and their safety nets dismantled one by one. Where's the moral obligation there?
     
  8. Desertrat macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2003
    Location:
    Terlingua, Texas
    #8
    By and large I'm in accord with many liberal goals. My arguments come from disagreeing about how these goals are to be achieved.

    To look at just one small point in blackfox's grab-bag of ideas:

    "So why not free up peoples's time and (creative) energies by providing for their basic needs, at least as a safety net? This would allow for the most people to meaningfully contribute to society in their unique ways."

    For clarification, is this "all people"? If so, how does "safety net" apply?

    Regardless, how many creative people do you know who would be of benefit and contribute meaningfully to society, if they didn't have to otherwise work to support their basic needs?

    How should we as a society deal with those who would neither work for their own self-sufficiency, or if "sponsored" not perform this meaningful contribution?

    My own conservatism has much to do with efficiency of use of public monies. It also is a function of my belief that I and only I am responsible for the consequences of my decision making. This latter includes acquiring those skills necessary for enabling my own self-support.

    Another facet of argument between liberal and conservative, I guess, has to do with limits on regulatory processes. I don't hold with undoing the decisions made from "good science". I also don't hold with using regulations to further political agendas. Overall, my impression about SOME liberals is that they see no limits to the use of governmental powers if it suits their own agendas. But, really, I guess that's a separate set of threads, item by item. :)

    While being conservative, I'm certainly not afraid of change. Lord knows, I've probably seen more changes in material things and in society than almost anybody on this board. I guess that's sort of a family thing, with a grandfather who lived 96 years from 1885 and a still-living mother from 1910. My own reaction to any proposed social-law change is questioning the efficacy thereof. Sort of a, "Will this really fix things for those chosen for benefit? What will it do to the rest of us?"

    Half a joke, I guess: The Liberal wants a change; the Conservative wants a long, hard look for unintended consequences.

    :), 'Rat
     
  9. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #9
    liberal

    adj 1: showing or characterized by broad-mindedness; "a broad political stance"; "generous and broad sympathies"; "a liberal newspaper"; "tolerant of his opponent's opinions" [syn: broad, large-minded, tolerant] 2: having political or social views favoring reform and progress 3: tolerant of change; not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or tradition.

    conservative

    adj 1: resistant to change [ant: liberal] 2: opposed to liberal reforms.
     
  10. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #10
    Perhaps poorly phrased on my part. I guess I meant that at the very least we might try to free people of worry about being up the proverbial creek, so that they may put their energies towards other avenues of priority. I am not advocating a free lunch here, only a softening of the essentially competetive, exploitative nature of Capitalism.
    Again, I am not saying that people should not have to work to support their basic needs and beyond, only that they are able to diversify their contributions to society by not having to be focused merely on having the financial strength to adequately provide for themselves and their loved ones.

    Well, that is the trick, isn't it. Personally, I feel that someone is going to exploit a system, no matter how well-designed. I am more concerned about those with legitimate circumstances that deserve aid. If it comes down to serving both or none, I choose both. In any case, these people do not dissapear if not paid attention to, and their cumulative effects on society not included in a system will probably be more damaging than their (unfair) inclusion.

    I am also a fiscal conservative. While I also believe I am responsible for the consequences of my decisions, I also understand that those decisions often effect much more than myself and that not everyone has the same context or choice of available options. I also believe in aquiring those skills necessary for enabling my self-support, but I also understand that our system is essentially hierarchal, and that some people will always be at the bottom for others to be at the top. This, of course has to do with our basic inequality, both of inherent skill-sets and of circumstances. Basically, I look for something (government at this point) to attempt to equalize the playing field somewhat, to save us from ourselves - our narrow-mindedness and myopia, which comes from being just an individual in a large and complex environment.

    No argument there, but I wasn't really advocating the misuse/expansion of Government power (not that you were addressing me specifically). Nor do I advocate the mis-use of government to further political agendas, or personal/financial ones. Still, if I had to choose (to over-simplify), I would rather there be over-regulation for the wrong reasons than under-regulation.

    Anyway, gotta run...
     
  11. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #11
    Reading the title of this thread made me laugh :eek: :D :p
     
  12. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #12
    Why, because it sounds so oxymoronic?
     
  13. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #13
    The words civilized, political, & dicussion just don't sound right :d :p
     
  14. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #14
    Well we do try to get along (mainly).

    BTW, you and I own the same car. Same colors even. Mine's got the steering wheel on the other side though. :cool:
     
  15. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #15
    I suppose the term "Welfare State" would cause near apoplexy over there, but it seems to be what you're talking about.

    And frankly, the exploitation of loopholes at the other end of the income scale makes such welfare scams seem very insignificant.

    Why engage in redistribution beyond the requirements of the "safety net"? This introduces whole new levels of corruptible assessment and moralistic prioritization. Too many opportunities for greedy bigots. Correct the skews in current legislation designed to garner institutional support and play to special interests, and the inequalities might be less oppressive.

    Is that the choice?
     
  16. stevietheb macrumors 6502a

    stevietheb

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Location:
    Houston
    #16
    I'm stevietheb, and I'm conservative...

    First, off many of the goals/beliefs that liberals have put forth are definitely in tune with the conservative agenda. I just want to start with that lest someone read terms like "justice" and "welfare" and "common good" as liberal-only vernacular. It's just that the means to achieving those ends are different.

    Conservatives do want justice. We, in general, favor welfare programs for those who do need the aid (those who are disabled, for example), and we hope for the future, we believe that our ideology will lead to the "common good."

    In addition to being conservative, I'm also one of those "evangelicals." The reason that evangelicals tend to vote Republican (in spite of Jesus' cool, liberal attitude) is because we tend to feel that Democrats align themselves with people who seek to attack Christianity. Now, I'm not saying that all liberals and Democrats seek to do this, but certainly some seem to have a vendetta against the religious. I once heard Nobel prize winning physicist Steven Weinberg explain how he becomes enraged when he sees people praying...this is the kind of attitude that frightens us. In general, we tend to feel that those who seek to remove God from public life are themselves violating the establishment clause of the 1st amendment by establishing atheism as the government religion. Now, that sounds a bit irrational, I know. But when we hear of these lawsuits attempting to remove "God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, or judges ordering that a Christmas tree be removed from a public facility (while a menorah was allowed to remain...not that I care about the menorah, I just want to know why the tree had to go and the candles stayed), we take it personally. That is why, I believe, the evangelicals vote Republican.

    The reasons that I am a card-carrying conservative are thus enumerated:
    1) I believe in a strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. To me, it is not a "living" document--it is static. It is nearly Scripture.

    2) I believe in every man's responsibility for the welfare of his family. Consequently, I believe in a small central government with more powers given to the states and smaller communities. I also believe in every man's duty to better his society...to "promote the general welfare."

    3) I believe welfare is better handled through private charities. Therefore, I oppose most government-run welfare programs and if I am to pay tax dollars for such programs, I would prefer to see the money given to private charities to do the good.

    4) I believe in a strong national defense. Not that liberals don't, but they tend not to spend as much money in this area.

    5) I oppose historical revisionism and "political-correctedness." [It would not bother me to read in a high school history or government textbook that the founding fathers, generally speaking, were Christians.]

    Soo...those are some reasons.

    I appreciate the candor of this thread.
     
  17. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #17
    Your candour is also appreciated, though I note what, to me, are several internal contradictions in your position.
    You equate "Christianity" with "the religious", whether consciously or unconsciously, which suggests a worrying and rather undemocratic level of evangelical zeal.

    Again, you are equating "Christianity" with "religion": what happened to freedom of choice? What happens to those not born into Christianity? Are they less American? Are they less religious?

    The words on the page are static, the interpretation is moot, and always has been. Ask any slave.

    Quaintly chauvinistic.

    Why not just call a spade a spade and return to tithing?

    I think you'll find that this is not actually true.

    Would it bother you to read that the tortures of the Inquisition were carried out, generally speaking, by Christians?
     
  18. SuperChuck thread starter macrumors 6502

    SuperChuck

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Location:
    Chucktown, SC
    #18
    Everyone is, of course, free to post whatever they want, but I really think this thread will continue to be interesting if we stick to what we like about our side of the aisle.

    (Sheesh - I sound like an irritating, new age kindergarten teacher.)

    Really, though, I think we'll learn more if we keep the partisan nitpicking to a minimum and let people be honest. It doesn't matter if they're "wrong," it's what they believe and it's part of who they are.
     
  19. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #19
    Well, we've had threads like this before, and they tend to evolve into discussions of definitions, which is hardly surprising. It's a sad but true fact that a major feature of American political history over the last 20 years has been the largely successful efforts of conservatives to manufacture an almost entirely whole-cloth definition of liberalism. I think it would a far more valuable exercise to establish some sort of commonly accepted definition of the concepts of liberalism and conservatism than for individuals to declare what they like about their ideology. That's why I started with the dictionary -- it isn't polluted by the politics of the moment.
     
  20. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #20
    Both - or indeed, all - sides can with equal sincerity assert that they seek the "common good" while having completely divergent definitions in mind. Therefore, a simple assertion of such aims is meaningless without an agreed definition.
     
  21. Desertrat macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2003
    Location:
    Terlingua, Texas
    #21
    Well, skunk, "common good" is probably the most complex part of the whole definition deal.

    I guess I could start with A System which enables everyone a fair shot at the means for food, clothing and shelter for oneself and the family, and a reasonably hassle-free chance for advancement, limited only by abilities, talent and ambition.

    :), 'Rat
     
  22. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Location:
    Reality
    #22
    [12-step program] Hi, Stevie! [/12-step program]

    (Sorry, I'm not making fun, but that was such a good straight line...) :D
     
  23. kuyu macrumors 6502a

    kuyu

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2003
    Location:
    Louisville
    #23
    Better chime in....

    I like conservatism for a couple of reasons...

    1) I tend to be a bit of a utilitarian in my assesment of a particular situation. That is, the greatest good to the greatest number. The conservative movement seems to be more in tune with this brand of ethical reasoning. Example: When oil prices rise we find that suicides, murders, domestic violence, and heart-attacks also rise. The exact numbers escape me, but it's something like 50,000 innocent Americans dead or injured if oil prices rise 10%. If 1,000 Marines (who volunteered to protect civilians) have to die to keep oil prices down, it's a no brainer.

    2) I believe in the power of the free market. I also believe in comparative advantages. Again, most liberals appear opposed to this school of thought.

    3) While I fancy myself a cultural relativist, I'm realistic enough to believe that there are people who would kill my family in their sleep if given the chance, simply because we are Americans. I wish the world was a peaceful place. But, it's not. I don't believe that compassion and understanding are the best way to deal with our enemies. In this epoch of uncertainty, self-preservation is in order.

    4) I believe that the only things the government does better than the private sector are lying, cheating, and manipulating. Remember, they work for us - not against us.

    Please don't confuse my conservatism with the Republican party. They are every bit as crooked as the Democrats. I voted mainly Republican in the last election for one reason: the democratic leadership is terrible.

    5) THIS IS A JOKE: These liberals, with their bleeding-heart welfare state, are keeping the weakest of us alive. They insist on teaching the youth about Darwin and survival of the fittest, while screwing up the very system which they themselves champion as the truth. If we let the weak ones breed ad naseum to increase their monthly payout, are we really evolving?
     
  24. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Location:
    Reality
    #24
    This is where liberals differ in their method of attacking a problem. The liberal inclination would be not to go to war over oil (which we're eventually going to run out of anyway), but to develop alternative energy sources.

    Not sure what you mean by this.

    I don't think any liberal would argue with that basic premise, but the purpose of understanding our enemies is not to compromise our right to self-defense; it's to see if we can resolve our problems with a minimum of bloodshed. Failing that, we will resort to violence...but we also may understand how to avoid getting into similar situations in the future.

    If the former (government) is corrupted, isn't it usually because of the latter (private sector)? Get lobbyists out of Congress, and forbid politicians from using their jobs as merely stepping-stones to cushy sinecures in industry, and you'll see better government.
     
  25. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #25
    This explains much of my outlook in life. My uncle was a Jesuit priest. The parishes I went to too were staffed mostly by Jesuits. But heck, I find myself drawn to some principles of the Orthodox Jews, like not charging interest.

    Maybe my view on party affiliation is driven by my being Gay. In todays USA, I find it hard to swallow that the US supports freedom for all, but denies my lover of 12 years and I basic rights that so many others enjoy under our government. That we will give the right of one person, one vote to other countries, but hold on to a system that allows the RNC and DNC to control the power and money. I find it hard that a "born again" President can turn his back on that "charity begins at home".
     

Share This Page