A major difference between liberals and conservatives?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by AP_piano295, Dec 18, 2010.

  1. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

    Mar 9, 2005
    I had a conversation with wealthy family friend over thanksgiving break. He was telling me the story of how he was basically GIVEN a functioning and profitable business at the age of 23. Long story short the owner was retiring and so he simply offered the business to his employee.

    Now this friend happens to be a strict fiscal conservative, he believes in the free market no government handouts etc. Yet he was given an opportunity that 99.99% of people will never encounter. And still he believes that he is a self made man and everything he has "he has earned"

    We'll I'm not saying he didn't work hard or that he doesn't deserve any of his wealth. I simply take exception to his misguided belief that he is a "self made man" and thus he shouldn't be expected to help pay for people less fortunate than himself (food stamps, welfare, etc.)

    I wonder if this is one of the fundamental differences between liberals and and conservatives.

    Conservatives look at all they have and think look at all that I have "earned".

    While social liberals look at everything they have an think "how lucky I have been".

    Now I'm not saying luck is all it takes to be wealthy and successful, but it is a much larger part of the equation than many conservatives are willing to admit.

    For example:

    -I am lucky that I was born fairly intelligent
    -I am lucky that I was born with two loving parents
    -I am lucky that those parents are wealthy enough to help me through college so I can get a well paying job someday.

    All of these factors were/are totally out of my control and yet they are instrumental to the person I am today. So when my taxes go to help people who didn't have those same advantages I never feel the need to complain that "all my earnings are mine" and "taxes are stealing".

    While conservatives look at their taxes and proclaim "why should I pay for this, no one ever helped me.

    Heres a great example.


    (3:30-4:00) is the most noteworthy part.

    "There but for the grace of god go I"

    Our nation might be better off if more of our citizens took that idiom to heart.
  2. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    Conservatives like to see themselves as islands while liberals see themselves as part of past, present and future society. I don't get it either. It seems to me that conservatives have an unrealistic and self-serving POV.

    I will admit that's a bit of a broadly brushed opinion.
  3. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    Your over-stereotyping of conservatives is quite erroneous

    I know many conservatives who are thankful for what they have and give tremendously back to the community

    Also, conservatives are not opposed to paying taxes as your post implies. It is more on what the taxes are used for that causes the debate

    Now imo, this thread will serve nothing more than to incite rude responses from people of both ideologies. Hopefully that does not happen
  4. AP_piano295 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 9, 2005
    It is a bit of a broad brush statement I'll admit. I maybe should use the word "libertarian". But an enormous part of the new neo conservative post fiscal melt down party seems to think this way.

    I find it laughable that you think conservatives aren't opposed to paying taxes. The GOP essentially shut down congress in the last month rather than see the bush era tax cuts to the wealthiest 2% disappear.

    And Libertarians have been know to make the extreme claim that taxes are stealing "period".

    I'm not trying to incite a flame war but I would like to discuss the belief that many in this country seem to hold. That they are self made men and their success belongs to them and them alone.
  5. freeny macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2005
    Location: Location:
    Conservatives don't like their taxes being spent on helping people, liberals don't like their taxes spent on killing people.

    Both are necessary at times
  6. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020


    Jun 18, 2009
    City of Angels
    Those are actually ridiculously broad strokes. You're pretty much saying all conservatives are spoiled and all liberals are grateful. You're also ignoring poor conservatives among other things because you use your one friend who received a business to tokenize the whole entire right.

    Also many conservatives, including the ones in Congress who wanted the tax cuts extended, do so because they believe in supply side economics. That has nothing to do with not wanting to pay taxes.
  7. freeny macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2005
    Location: Location:
    Seeing as trickle down economics has never actually worked, are they "believers" or is it just a buzzword to get their wealthy backers more money?
  8. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020


    Jun 18, 2009
    City of Angels
    You got a specific politician and backer in mind?
  9. Sydde macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2009
    Maybe start with David Koch?
  10. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    There may be something behind those broad strokes...

    An Evolutionary Theory of the Liberal-Conservative Divide: From Primate Politics to Political Psychology

    ABSTRACT: Primatologist Frans de Waal (1989, 2005) argues that the behavior of our closet primate relatives, Chimps and Bonobos, clearly reflects power and politics. Chimps live within male-dominated hierarchies that, though relatively stable, can change with shifting coalitions. We might attempt to understand liberal vs. conservative dispositions as alternative, pre-wired strategies for negotiating such hierarchies. Social-cognitive research within psychology identifies two core components of conservatism: resistance to change and justification of inequality.

    A meta-analysis by Jost and colleagues (2003) suggests uncertainty and fear triggers motives that are epistemic (e.g., need for order), existential (e.g., terror management), and ideological (system justification) which in turn foster conservative beliefs. This paper suggests individuals, given different formative life-experiences and self-efficacy levels, will either wish to accept or challenge societal hierarchies. Given that individuals would prefer a low rank in a dominance hierarchy over the dangers of anarchy, some will opt for a suboptimal status quo. This line of thinking explains why conservatism would attract both economic elites (who clearly benefit from the hierarchy) and the marginalized (who are seeking to rationalize their relative deprivation).
  11. Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    If you look at politics you will find that every law and regulation that has been passed to help working/middle class people have been passed by liberals. Conservatives always will tell you, maybe with a "sorry" tacked in there some where, "we just can't afford it." This is why we should stand up and call BS on the hypocrisy of the Republican Party who wants to tack $800 billion onto the deficit to help those poor rich people hang on to more of their income. Those poor folks just need the extra help for fixing the yacht, the Bentley, the Stables, the summer house, and the fall house, among other important expenditures. :p

    Not to imply that liberals are perfect... far from it. Their eyes are bigger than their checkbooks. But I would pick a liberal all most any day of the week because they have something conservatives do not, empathy for their fellow human beings. They think more in terms of society, we group together for mutual support. Conservative think more in terms of every person for themselves. "I pay my way. I'm not paying for you."
  12. AP_piano295, Dec 18, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2010

    AP_piano295 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 9, 2005
    No I'm not, I'm saying that conservatives tend to credit themselves with what they have. That doesn't mean they're spoiled many of them have worked very hard to get what they have.

    What I'm saying is a liberal who has achieved a-lot is more inclined to recognize how fortunate they are (how lucky they have been.)

    While a conservative who has achieved a-lot credits his achievements primarily to himself. This belief makes conservatives feel like those who haven't been successful failed because they were lazy or some other affliction of poor character.

    Conservatives focus on the things they achieved and they tend not to remember the moments when they were given a helping hand. See the video I posted.

    The conservative on Glenn's show says "no one ever helped me I was on welfare and food stamps"...
  13. AP_piano295 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 9, 2005
    I'm not sure that these are exactly parallel concepts :rolleyes:.
  14. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020


    Jun 18, 2009
    City of Angels
    That paper is interesting but I could not find the part where it talked about conservatives taking credit too much credit and liberals taking too little credit.

    BTW the paper also argues that liberal views are visceral emotional reactions with no rational origin (P#4). I think most liberals would disagree with this.

    Yeah I understand what you're getting at now. Though looking at people I know who swing conservative or liberal, I don't see the behaviors you see.
  15. skunk macrumors G4


    Jun 29, 2002
    Republic of Ukistan
    Conservatives are working towards a romanticised image of our past, liberals are working towards a romanticised image of our future.
  16. glocke12 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2008
    I think your friend is just "misguided". Whats the real story?

    Was the business given to totally free of charge? Or was there money exchanged, or a promise of money being exchanged once he starts making profits? In either case his situation is just a matter of being in the right place at the right time, but if he has to pay the owner for the business than that validates his claim a little bit that he is self made, but even I still have a hard time buying into it as he did not actually build the business himself.

    As to the difference(s) between liberals and conservatives, I am still trying to figure out how liberals think :D , but to be honest I think they have alot more in common than people think. The main arugment I see thrown around is that liberals favor more gov't and gov't programs, and more spending, and more taxes, while conservatives favor less gov't, less spending and less taxes.

    The kicker is both libs and cons favor more gov't control of things that are differeng philosophically (i.e. libs favor more gun control, cons want gay marriage banned), and both like to spend, spend, spend, but they just spend on different things.

    Hope that all made some kind of sense...
  17. AP_piano295 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 9, 2005
    The exact story is that my friend worked for a legal documents firm (I don't remember exactly what they did but it involved real estate documents). It was a small business with about 8 employees.

    The owner of the business called a meeting and asked his oldest employee if she wanted the business. She said no I'm ready to retire as well, so the owner offered the business to my friend and he accepted.

    He didn't buy the business from his boss he took over all the expenses (salaries, rent, etc.) and the business was signed over to him.

    As to the second part of your post its hard to determine how all liberals or all conservatives think. Which is why I admit this is a bit of a broad brush commentary. Yet this is a trend I have noticed in the media and on these boards. Conservatives are opposed to taxes and social programs because they seem to believe that people who can't afford food, or heath care must not have earned it.

    And yes both parties like to spend on different things, our last conservatives liked spending a TON of money on wars and what not.

    The difference between liberals and conservatives is that liberals believe in taxing AND spending. A phrase that conservatives have made dirty "ie* tax and spend liberals. Conservative government prefers to spend a lot and then complain about taxes and say that we need to reign in spending.
  18. AP_piano295 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 9, 2005
    Those concepts sound like opposites but are they really?

    We know about history and all the mistakes that were made. To romanticized the American past is to romanticize slavery, indentured, servitude. Romanticizing the past can be defined as editing out the bad parts.

    While romanticizing the future is imagining/desiring a world that is better than what we have today. Where people get along a little better, wreck the environment a little less etc.

    Isn't it a good thing to romanticize the future, at least to some degree?
  19. iJohnHenry macrumors P6


    Mar 22, 2008
    On tenterhooks
    It's already been done.

    What's that in the sky?? OMG, it's pie!!!
  20. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    The point of my link was to establish that there may be some scientific basis to our political differences and to move the discussion beyond mere feelings and anecdotes. Of course, no single study or paper establishes anything as truth.
  21. freeny macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2005
    Location: Location:
    I can only respond to your original generalization.
  22. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    "We have to deal with the world as we find it."
    — David Axelrod

    "The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
    — Attributed to Karl Rove
  23. Disc Golfer macrumors 6502a

    Dec 17, 2009
    We still use slavery and indentured servitude (sweat shops making almost every thread of clothing we wear and all the increasingly "important" electronic toys, illegal immigrant field labor for our food and housekeepers paid far below minimum wage, etc) to maintain our quality of living but we don't call it "slavery" anymore. Additionally it's for a large part the conservative attitude that a cheaper price for the end user is the most important part of our consumptive culture that fuels modern day slavery. So no, it doesn't romanticize the inequities of the past but rather paints over them with a more modern and socially ignorable shade in order for the profits to continue to reach the fewest number of people.
  24. fivepoint macrumors 65816


    Sep 28, 2007
    I think you're way off base.

    I'm a conservative Libertarian, and I've always considered myself to be very blessed, lucky, etc. I also feel that I've worked hard to get where I am.

    I've got conservative friends who have next to nothing, that live paycheck to paycheck, and they are still incredibly conservative... they believe in working for what you get and that government handouts are generally bad for society.

    It's been proven over and over again that conservatives and religious folk are more charitable than liberals and secular folk.

    Conservatives perceive liberals to be more charitable with other people's money (taxes, entitlements), as opposed to their own (private charity.)

    Saying that your friend was given something as evidence that he was not 'self made' I find to be a bit questionable. Would the man have gave/sold his business to your friend if he was a complete loser? If he was a drug addict or never showed up to work on time, or didn't work hard, or didn't have a passion for the business? Probably not. And after he got the business, did he squander the gift or build on it, grow, expand, keep people employed? Probably not.

    Your friend seems like a great guy. I think you should do whatever you can to make sure you stay his friend... learn from him, work with him, I'm sure you could learn something.
  25. mcrain macrumors 68000


    Feb 8, 2002
    It's been proven over and over again that conservatives and religious folk give more money to charities (including religious entities) than liberals and secular folk (who probably don't give much to church), but, it has also been proven that the wealthiest conservatives, the top 10%, control about 80% of the wealth, but don't give 80% of the charity. In other words, those in the bottom 90% give a higher percentage of their income in charity than the wealthiest.

    Taxes are the price you pay for the privilege of earning money in a free society. The price of earning your first dollar is less than your fifty thousandth which is less than your millionth. IMO, that's the way it should be.

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