The meaning of being conservative - differs by region?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by kylera, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. kylera macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2010
    Just last night, we here in South Korea had our presidential election, and a conservative was voted into power for the next five years (single five-year term, no re-elections allowed).

    That got me thinking...what does it mean to be a conservative? There were numerous posts during the US election season on MacRumors throughout the year talking about US conservatives and what they stood (or claimed to stand) for.

    The funny thing is, if I were a US citizen, I would consider myself a Democrat or maybe a Libertarian. I find myself agreeing more with either platform than the Republican one. However, over here in South Korea, that isn't the case - I would consider myself a staunch conservative.

    There are some contentious issues here in South Korea, just like in any other country. Some of these include how to deal with North Korea, how to maintain the US-South Korea alliance, what to do with the US-South Korea free trade agreement as well as whether to continue building a naval base down south.

    Conservatives here don't want anything to do to mess with US ties, maintain building the naval base and have a conditional approach to North Korea - you get rid of nukes and we'll talk. Liberals on the other hand want to get rid of what is perceived to be US dominance, re-do the free trade agreement to make it benefit Korea more and have unconditional talks with North Korea.

    A lot of older-generation people tend to be conservatives as some remember the Korean War and the aid the US provided during that time, as well as the subsequent decades. Meanwhile, the liberals believe that this is all a ploy.

    I don't know how familiar with these issues MR members would be, and given that I've revealed that I would label myself a conservative, there would be an obvious slant here. If you look at the track record of conservatives and liberals here in South Korea...

    During the current (conservative) administration:
    - Aid was cut to North Korea over nukes
    - North Korea was involved in shelling a peaceful island as well as the sinking of a naval ship
    - There were numerous victims

    During the previous (liberal) administrations - there were two consecutive ones prior to the current one coming in:
    - The "Sunshine Policy" was enacted to engage North Korea
    - There were inter-Korea summits
    - However, it turns out a crapton of money was wired over to North Korea in the process

    As such, it makes me wonder whether a conservative is shaped by his or her surroundings, or whether there are common grounds among all conservatives around the world.

    Your take?
  2. iStudentUK macrumors 65816


    Mar 8, 2009
    Yes it certainly does vary by region.

    For example Obama is often considered a liberal lefty by US Republicans. Here the Democrats would align well with our Conservative party which is right wing (but not too right wing). If the Republicans stood here they'd be unelectable! They'd align with the more right wing parties in the UK that have a small and vocal support base, but are generally laughed at by most normal people. Similarly our Liberal Democrat Party may well be considered communist in the US!

    So yes there is a great deal of variation by region.

    Also words like 'libertarian' haven't really entered into UK politics, and I can see why. The UK public aren't nearly as cautious about big government as some, for example although we moan about the NHS (the Brits are a nation of moaners) there would be outrage if we adopted a privatised system.
  3. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    Here the Liberals are the conservatives, Labor are the liberals, the democrats are dead, the right is the US centre and the left is the US far left.

    They're all useless though. We're not nearly as polarised as the Americans though, they seem to be constantly trying to go from one extreme to another.
  4. kylera thread starter macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2010
    I think Korea has polarization down pat. Basically everyone under the age of 40 swung for the liberal candidate while everyone 50 and over went otherwise. The 40s were more or less split.
  5. Happybunny macrumors 68000

    Sep 9, 2010
  6. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    In your opinion, what's wrong with unconditional talks?

    I can't think of any reason that simply communicating needs to come with conditions.

    But that's why I'm a liberal, I guess.
  7. rmwebs, Dec 20, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2012

    rmwebs macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2007
    In the UK we have:

    Liberal Democrat

    They are all run by pillocks, and nobody wants any of them in power. Hence why we currently have a coalition government between the Lib Dems and Cons.

    No idea which ones would be considered Left/Right as it's never really 'advertised' like that in the UK. As a consensus we all hate our government and feel they spend money on crap that we dont the EU.

    Officially the three biggest parties are marked as:

    Liberal Democrat - "Centre-Left" (yes...Centre, not Center)
    Conservatives - "Centre-Right"
    Labour - "Centre-left"

    As it stands, they all sit in the Houses of Parliament shouting at each other like children. Bunch of morons.

    We are lucky enough to have Wallace of Wallace and Gromit fame working for the Labor party though:

    (Oh we also have the typical ******** parties such as BNP (the racist party), Green, UKIP (not quite as racist but still racist), etc
  8. Peterkro macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2004
    Communard de Londres
    While Labour have been drifting rightwards for decades they are still Labour and not Labor.
  9. rmwebs macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2007
    I've been spending too long on Americanised apologies :(
  10. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    In my opinion, this infographic pretty much hits the nail on the head.

  11. kylera thread starter macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2010
    South Korea tried unconditional talks. The response was for aid, more aid, and yet more aid.

    Granted, there were some good that came out of it, like the Kaesong industrial complex that straddles the border, or some family reunions (which were only temporary). But afterwards, all there were were rocket launches and nuclear tests.

    If South Korea is going to get bombarded or threatened with or without aid, I might as well take the threats without giving money.
  12. SnowLeopard OSX macrumors 6502a

    SnowLeopard OSX

    Dec 5, 2012
    That's pretty spot on. If only more people understood this diagram, realizing that there are positives and negatives to both sides as opposed to painting politics as black and white and making simple minded assumptions like: democrats want to help the poor only, republicans want to help the rich only.
  13. DakotaGuy macrumors 68040


    Jan 14, 2002
    South Dakota, USA
    What do you call someone who likes or dislikes things on both sides of that graphic? Just a couple examples... I'm all for gay rights and don't have any issues with gay marriage, but I'm also a big believer in personal responsibility and the right for law abiding citizens to own weapons... Etc.

    Why is it assumed that you must fall in line behind one ideology or the other. What's the problem with liking some of both or is that not possible?
  14. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    I wish the US was like that. The design of our government seems to favor two dominant parties and in the mainstream media you don't even hear of smaller parties. I don't see it is very good representation and at times a barrier to an egalitarian society. There are things I agree with democrats on and republicans on, but there is no middle party here. The two parties have also locked any third parties from achieving much success simply by limiting their access to media and political activities required to win office. I've noticed that parliamentary systems seem to provide more representativeness in that there are multiple parties and even smaller ones still have a say that affects the overall outcome.
  15. Happybunny, Dec 21, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2012

    Happybunny macrumors 68000

    Sep 9, 2010
    I'm going to give you an answer, I don't want to derail the thread.

    There are some things that would take some getting used to.

    First off with more political parties fast decision making is a non option, consensus politics takes time.
    This does stop knee jerk reactions, but the pace of change is always slow.

    The political sphere is far more non confrontational, because you never know when you will need to work with the same people you are now arguing with. Less me me me, and more we we we.
    Sometimes you find that the parties that form the government cannot agree on a policy, they then try to form a majority with other parties in the parliament to get the policy through.
    Election promises are far more subdued, as you will be work in a coalition, no one party will ever get it's full policy agenda.

    Tactical voting is an art, which you have to master, it order to get what you want.

    After every election there is a period of horse trading behind the scenes, in which the various parties try to form a government.

    All these thoughts are based after talking to people from countries with a two party system.(Who now live in the Netherlands)

    If you don't believe me just ask the British, the transition from a two party system to a full coalition is not easy, it is an equired art.:cool:

    I also think for true multi party government you need a proportional voting system
  16. rmwebs, Dec 21, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2012

    rmwebs macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2007
    I'd call you an 'average joe' :p

    I do agree. It's complete crap that someone is either left or right. It really cant/doesn't/wont/will never work like that.
  17. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    On the flipside the public definitely cares about civil liberties but there's no party that makes preserving them their focus, which I think is a great shame.

    Big government certainly isn't that scary, I like our welfare state but the gradual erosion of civil liberties genuinely worries me and I'm certainly not alone.
  18. rmwebs macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2007
    I could be wrong, but isnt UKIP supposed to be the party all about being Libertarian. Seems like the non-racist alternative to the BNP.

    This seems to be their key policy:
  19. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    Very interesting. It also explains why democrats and republicans in the US seem to be more at each other's throats than in other countries as there are periods in which when one party has a majority/supermajority that they really can overlook any insight from the other party and operate fully on their own agenda.

    And to be honest, I think this is one of the reasons 'fear' is present in regards to US government because if you think about it, it is pretty scary to think that everything you don't believe in is becoming policy and all of your own concerns are being overlooked. That is a terrifying thought if you think about it!!! I don't believe when the US began that it was the intention of those whom envisioned the government (which is worth also noting that the three original schools of thought were radically different). The US system of Checks and Balances is supposed to correct this but the problem is when everyone involved in the checking and balancing is of the same affiliation (as is common when you only have two party choices) then it isn't much of a check or a balance. Even if there isn't a majority, the interests of any other parties are consistently overlooked.

    To tie that back into the topic, I see the above as threatening because many people (myself included) do not align with either party and would theoretically fit somewhere in the middle. And I must be honest that such lack of representation makes me somewhat fearful. But I see the issue of geographic variation of what constitutes 'conservative' or 'liberal' as a good thing. How you and I define 'conservative' is radically different, and there isn't a single thing wrong with that. Given ideology is defined by culture and culture can't be ordered or ranked, that means neither is wrong and that such variation isn't harmful. I'd go as far to say such variation prevents a dominant ideology from prevailing and given many wars have been fought over this, then the variation is a plus. And that is sometimes why I feel frustrated when people attack conservatives (not saying you). Given diversity is an asset, this variation provides numerous different perspectives on a single issue. If collaboration can be successfully facilitated (that is, taking people who are different, putting them in the same room, and getting them to work in a cohesive manner on the same problem), bringing a wide variety of thoughts to a single issue presents a chance to get a helluva lot accomplished. Then we've gone from working hard to working hard and smart. You and I working on a problem together is going to result in a wider worldview and scope versus one of us on our own because of how we view things differently. As you noted, there is an 'art' to the blending and combining of perspectives, but IMO it is a worthwhile undertaking if such a thing ever existed. One of the fields I am studying currently is 'diversity management' and this is a core component...very interesting stuff.

    I've always liked the concept of a proportional voting seems like it is good at forcing people to work together.
  20. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    Who's assuming that? :confused: This thread is about what it means to be conservative, so I posted a graphic that lays out various differences between conservative and liberal. Nothing in there assumes you must be one or the other.

    Your art teacher at some point probably showed you the difference between black and white, all while never saying that gray doesn't exist.
  21. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    Simple reason ... no proportional representation.

    If a fringe party that won 5% of the vote actually got 5% of the representatives, there be a reason (for me) to cast my vote for them.

    As it is, I'm caught in the struggle to make sure the party closest to my political philosophy is the winner ... because in the U.S., only the winner gets to represent the people.

    Guns and slaves weren't the only thing our Founders got wrong.
  22. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    A large portion of the people of this country who like to call themselves "conservative" are actually religious extremists.

    And that info-graphic is pretty inaccurate. It tries to claim that the left wants to interfere with "society" and "social lives" yet we all know it wasn't the left that was trying to deny civil rights and intrude on the personal lives and decisions of gays and women. :rolleyes:
  23. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    Noticed that old canard too.

    The right doesn't want to interfere with society of social issues?

    Don't make me laugh.
  24. rmwebs macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2007
    We dont seem to have that problem here. Religion is actually pretty much dead and buried here as the country has become so diverse.

    Instead of religion however, we have benefit cheats (and a hell of a lot of them at that) and immigration problems.

    We're all just always moaning about how our government works. As it stands, anyone from Europe can move to the UK without really needing to do anything.

    Then you've got the fact that we have the NHS - this is very attractive to the rest of Europe, so we get a lot of them coming here.

    Take for example the house next door to me. It's constantly let out, and always has Polish groups living there. They work here for 6 months doing self-employed contract work, then go home before they have to pay their share of the tax. So they can effectively work completely tax free, due to the way the EU works.

    We've lost a lot of rights and power in our country due to the EU. With any luck we wont be in it much longer - we really dont belong under the same label as the rest of Europe, we dont get along and have no interest in each others affairs.
  25. Happybunny macrumors 68000

    Sep 9, 2010
    I second that. :D

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