Liberals and Conservatives

Posted By Elgin Hushbeck

Liberals and conservatives differ in many ways but three of most significant and the easiest to see differences are in how they view themselves, how they view each other and how they see freedom and equality. Conservatives for the most part see themselves as conservatives.  They are one part of a spectrum of ideas all of which are competing for power.  They see those who differ as being wrong.  They believe liberal ideas however well intentioned should be rejected because either they do not work, or world lead to greater problems.  Since liberal solutions to problems normally involve a larger government, they are in addition a threat to freedom, for as government grows freedom must correspondingly be restricted. For conservatives freedom is more important than equality.

Liberals, on the other hand, for the most part do not see themselves as liberal. In fact, they frequently reject all such labels as meaningless, or even worst divisive.  Rather they see themselves as independent thinkers, not tied to any ideology, but willing to go where the facts and their hearts lead them.  Those who differ are either putting their ideology ahead of the facts, or worst, are heartless or have some other moral deficiency.   Since liberal are only seeking to do what is right and good, those who oppose them must therefore be seeking to do what is wrong and evil.  Finally, for liberals, while freedom is important, equality is more important.

These differences are at the heart of the reason why conservatives do so well on talk-radio, while liberals haven’t.  Conservatives, since they see themselves as one part of spectrum of ideas all competing for dominance, tend to think in terms of battling ideas; of reasons and intellectual arguments supporting a position vs. reasons and counter-arguments opposed to a position.  They listen to the arguments used against them; find their flaws and weakness so as to make counter arguments. They are prepared to not only compete in the marketplace of ideas, they are prepared to win. 

Liberals don’t see that they need to compete.  After all, what good is an intellectually argument, when someone is ignoring the facts and following their ideology? What good is an intellectual argument when someone is heartless and has no compassion, or is greedy and seeks wealth and/or power? As for the arguments conservatives use against them, they are normally simply ignored without any real consideration. After all, from the liberal view these arguments are grounded in either ideology, or heartlessness and therefore don’t deserve any serious consideration.

This difference can be seen in the debate over health care.  Many liberal seek a single payer health care system that would guarantee that everyone has equal access to medical care. They see the opposition as greedy corporations such as the drug companies who seek to profit off the suffering of others.  After all such systems are working in Canada, and most of Western Europe, so why can’t it work here? Conservatives oppose a single payer health system because, while they provide equal access to all,  such systems have been show to deliver a greatly reduced level of health care than is currently available in the United States, and  at a much greater cost.  Those countries that current have them are struggling to pay for them. In short they do not work very well. Since they involve a large Government they corresponding restrict freedom. 

Conservatives deal with the arguments of liberals by analyzing them and pointing out their weaknesses. The US drug companies by far lead the world in discovering medicine that not only prolongs people’s lives, but give people a much better quality of life in the process.  It is a system, that whatever its flaws, has produced a tremendous and direct benefit to people.   Why would we want to change from a system that has produced such clear benefits to a system that, as can be seen in countries with single player systems, does not work as well?  Liberal, on the other hand, normally write-off these arguments as inspired by the drug companies and since they are greedy, their arguments cannot be trusted.

Much the same can be seen in the debate over man-made global warming.  Liberals put forth their evidence from scientist who supports the theory of man-made global warming, Conservatives counter with evidence from scientists who reject or question the theory of man-made global warming.  Liberal normally write-off this evidence as inspired by the oil companies and since they are greedy, their arguments cannot be trusted. 

This is also why it is so difficult to have discussion and debate between liberals and conservatives. While liberal frequently see themselves as open minded and tolerant, their way of viewing the world actually leads them to be closed minded  and intolerant, at least when it comes to conservatives.  Their tendency to see conservatives as greedy, heartless, etc, also insulates them and effectively closes their minds.   In addition, because they value equality more than freedom, and equality is viewed as a right, they tend to see their position as supporting rights, and those who challenge them as infringing on rights.  As a result they feel justified in suppressing the opposition against them, after all they are not so much suppressing opposition, but merely defending basic human rights. 

As a result, conservatives, on the rare occasions that they do get a chance to speak at  those most liberal of all institutions, Universities, frequently require body guards, have their speeches disrupted by protestors, or are even attacked on the stage by those who claim to be open minded and tolerant.

Jan 30th, 2008

Comments are closed.