Posted by: vwbusguy | October 19, 2008

“Liberal” and “Conservative”

Unfortunately, presidential elections tend to be polarizing events.  You can often find blogs and TV interviews and frustrated people can often be seen stating “How can someone be a {liberal, conservative} at a time like this?”

Among, the strong in both views, you can often hear the opposite opinion used as a synonym for evil, bad, or misinformed.  At different times in my life, I have found myself on both sides of this, because in part of the places I have lived, and the education I’ve had.  Therefore, I thought it appropriate to answer the question, for why conservativism or liberalism would be appealing.


Conservativism
– Having grown up in a small town in Indiana, I can understand this perspective.  The culture is very much one of being independently reliable on one’s self and directly helping your neighbor in times of trouble.  There is a sense in which when someone is in hard times, it is up to their neighbors and church to make a judgement as to how best help them, and there is a very big sense of a person in poverty owns their own poverty, and is ultimately their duty to pull themselves out.

There is also a sense of mistrust in the government, and a sense of not wanting to government to interfere in their lives by imposing restrictions and taxes, except when those restrictions help to enforce the current culture.  As an example, the retail sale of alcohol is banned on Sundays in Indiana.

Conservatives also believe in a small government and very little, if any, oversight over business, as they believe that the market should take care of itself on the basis of greed vs fear, supply vs demand, and competition.
Liberalism – Having also lived in a big city, and for a time in Ireland, I have also seen this perspective.  There is a sense of looking at what we all can achieve when all of us are working together to help those in hard times and to improve an already established community.  This is not only economic safety nets, but also infrastructure.  People in large cities enjoy publicly funded mass transportation, parks, and infrastructure, such as roads with good traffic flow.

They tend to not want to enforce one sub-cultures outlooks on another, which eventually causes a lot of debate among liberals themselves on issues such as gay marriage and faith-based initiatives.

There is also a sense of wanting oversight, helped in part by people like Ralph Nader and Dennis Kucinich.  This is the notion of enforcing a sense of trust in companies that they aren’t going to harm or misinform people with their products.  They also tend to support the right for laborers to assemble (and for unions) and have representation in the company where they are employed.

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In our current times, we are seeing Independents becoming more and more a factor right now that get turned off by polarizing statements and may not follow the ideas of each party all the way.  I imagine we will continue to see these views diversified among the population.

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