Why do I argue? Why do I try to convince?
Reason One: I want to push the average American’s philosophy to the Left. I want to do this because I think some very liberal people vote Right because they don’t like liberals or what liberals stand for, divorced from the fact that the majority of their positions are more Left than Right. The Right has so successfully demonized the word “liberal” that cowards like John Kerry are too afraid to admit to it.
Reason Two: I think the philosophy of the Left is one of more potential for maintaining and improving our overall quality of life. I believe in the principles of the Left, I’m convinced by the huge benefit Liberalism has provided us in history and I’m emboldened by the huge potential for Liberalism to improve our future.
So I want to make people reexamine what the Left really stands for, because it is often incorrectly characterized by the Right.
So what is it? In a nutshell, in a phrase I’ve used repeatedly, I think the Liberal idea is expressed perfectly by Paul Wellstone in one sentence:
We all do better when we all do better.
We all do better when we all do better! The base conservative ideals of survival of the fittest, private ownership of everything, weak government, etc. are ideals of “haves” and “have nots”. They are ideals which great permanent divides. Walls.
The base liberal idea is that our own success is tightly coupled to the success of those around us. That we best insure our own survival by working effectively with those around us. Walls with doors.
Now I must emphasize that I am a capitalist and I think that ownership and markets are very important. But there is a role for socialist forces. Socialist, in this context, literally means “of the society”. It does not imply a state-owned world. It means that there is a role for forces which embody our shared will and protect our shared best interests.
I think the America was founded on the Liberal ideas I’m talking about here. Citizenship is not a one way street. You take and you give. This country was founded by intellectual liberals who were not happy with the status quo. They found an intelligent mix of personal and social responsibility.
The bottom line is that the philosophy of the Right is, when you strip everything away, the “haves” protecting their assets from the “have nots”. The philosophy of the Left is that we’re more likely to be “haves” if we work also for the success of the people around us and not focus solely on our own best interest.
In game theory, as depicted in A Beautiful Mind, this philosophy was proven mathematically! The Liberal philosophy is a mathematical fact. That’s why I argue.
3 thoughts on “Liberal v. Conservative”
I completely understand micadelics last point.
I moved from Right to left via education and reacting to zealots on the right. That is why I feel that “the right left me as much as I left them”…
The “imprinting” you mentioned in the earlier post is also very interesting…do we evolve or intensify or modify or stagnate?…
I came to a point in my life where the rightwing agenda/platform was no longer one that I could; comprehend at some levels, certainly not live with or live by and could not tolerate as a mindset.
The left has the same issues with me, but to a much lesser degree. I was approached to “run” in my district by the dems. Due to the socio-economic strata of my particular district that attempt has, and would prove quite futile.
Just want to make this observation to maybe help clarify what I’m trying to say… When you state “I want to push the Average American’s philosophy to the left” that’s fine and I understand that. Your left leaning friends give you a big “right on.” But making that statement automatically turns off the very people you say you want to persuade. It’s gutteral, they react by thinking “I don’t want to be pushed to the left” or “I’ll never identify with the left.” I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try to convince people of your point of view. You make good points, your a smart and well reasoned guy, I’m actually trying to help you to better plead your case. Can you understand the point I’m trying to make?
I can’t find one thing to disagree with you here and in a way you are saying exactly what I have been trying to say over and over.
Somewhat like baby ducks, I believe most of us “imprint” on one side of the debate or another from a very young age. We’ve talked about this, I believe your parents are academics and very liberal, correct? I was brought up in a very religious, military family, a fact I am very proud of. The left and the right have become so polarized that I find it very, very difficult to identify with the so-called left because of the downright mean-ness and condescension I perceive to be directed at “my side.” I believe the left has vilified many on the right (and rightly so) in much the same way. This is exactly why in my little presidential campaign, I don’t even mention the words left, right, liberal, conservative, democrat or republican (except in one place where I denounce labels).
I don’t do this because I deny these differences exist, I do it because I think that as soon as I overtly identify with one side or the other, I lose half my audience, whether they agree with my actual views or not.
Both you and bsherwood have come to my blog and you’ve accused me of being alternatively a liberal, a democrat, and “not a republican.” I think if we focus less on so-called affiliations and more on actual issues, without the baggage of these labels, we more quickly and easily identify our agreements instead of highlighting our differences.