American Liberals and Conservatives-the way I see it in Cave Allegory

Plato's allegory of the cave

 Allegory of the Cave. Left (From top to bottom): Sun; Natural things; Shadows of natural things; Fire; Artificial objects; Shadows of artificial objects; Allegory level. Right (From top to bottom): "Good" idea, Ideas, Mathematical objects, Light, Cr
Allegory of the Cave. Left (From top to bottom): Sun; Natural things; Shadows of natural things; Fire; Artificial objects; Shadows of artificial objects; Allegory level. Right (From top to bottom): "Good" idea, Ideas, Mathematical objects, Light, Cr | Source

Source

In general, according to the website student Netnews daily, Liberals believe in government action to achieve equality and opportunity for everyone, to protect civil liberties and individual and human rights and the government should guarantee no one is in need: Policies generally that the government should solve problems.

On the other hand Conservatives believe in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty, traditional American values and a strong defense. The government should provide people the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals. Conservative policy generally favors empowerment of the individual to solve problems.

Student News Daily has much more detailed information and I have provided a link to it. It is very informative.

William F. Buckley

Source

Changing views

The differences cited above, I believe, are due to differences in what each believes about human nature, history, philosophy, and government.

The role of liberal and conservative tend to change at times in politics. In college I had to write an analysis of “The Conservative Mind,” by Russell Kirk. In retrospect I don’t think I understood what it was all about.As I was too culturally oriented to some liberal ideas.

I did conclude:

  • that the meanings tend to change. For example:President Kennedy who is considered a liberal icon has a lot in common with President Reagan, a conservative icon. They both stood for strong defense and pride in country and patriotism.
  • It is often said that people tend to become more conservative as they grow older, but some of this politically is that the definitions change. The classic definition of Liberalism tends to describe the modern conservative in such matter as the right to private property.
  • The modern conservative movement in the United States probably started with Russell Kirk, William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater.
  • Modern conservatism may also be a reaction to the new deal and other programs that followed and grew the size of government.
  • Modern liberalism or progressives as they seem to prefer now, comes from the “new left” of the 1960’s and the anti-war movement. One doesn't have to look far to see the influence in government, the press and the schools.

Political Philosphy

What is your political philosophy

  • Liberal
  • Conservative
  • Libertarian
  • other
See results without voting

Philosophy

In a broader philosophical sense I believe liberalism has its roots in the view of Plato, the Greek Philosopher. As I understand it, Plato taught that the world around us is just a reflection of the real or Ideal world. He told a parable about a man in a cave and his vision being limited to only what he could see from inside the cave. The implication being that we had a limited view of the real world.The philosophy became known as idealism. It leads to the idea that the world and the people can be perfected.

with the idea of humans being perfected than it is possible to eliminate poverty, war, crime, even the weather for a Utopian world. Policies or laws are drafted to do all these things. We had a War on Poverty, a War on Drugs etc. but it doesn't necessarily address the realities of how it plays out in the real world.

Conservative thinking comes more from Aristotle who thought that the world we see is the real world. The world and the people in it are flawed and we have to live with the reality that

  • if people cannot protect themselves the bad guys will take advantage of them,
  • If a country doesn't show it is willing to sand up and defend itself against agreesors it si inviting disrespect and possible attack.

If I am correct, I think it leads the liberal to want to change things hoping to always make things perfect, sort of heaven on earth. All are good, just not yet perfected. Which leads to wanting to rehabilitate prisoners and such.

The conservative is more likely to want to protect what is good and control what is bad. Thus an emphasis on the rule of law for an orderly society and protect the people.

Currently the liberal view seems to be that society, with their help, will evolve to perfection. However, evolution is not always in a positive forward direction.

In my first vote in a presidential election I voted for John Kennedy. I supported Gene McCarthy in the 1968 campaign and still admire him. I was not a fan of Ronald Reagan either as an actor or politician. Partly because I was suspicious of an actor being a politician, but mostly because I believed the media propaganda against him. Now I realize that none of it was true. I remained a Democrat until the Clinton administration. By that time I got cable TV and had more access to other opinions. I was disgusted with the slogan about abortions being legal, safe and rare and then signing every bit of pro abortion legislation that came along. I registered as a Republican.

Some of you will agree and some of you will disagree with this analysis, but it is my view.

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Comments 56 comments

Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

I don't like political parties. I agree with John Adams who was against political parties, because he predicted they'd lead to a philosophy of party before country. And he was right.

I'm an Independent and I evaluate the issues, not the party agenda. I voted for Bush senior but I voted against Bush Jr.

I find both parties hypocritical. Republicans say they want less government but they increased the level of government surveillance on the American public in the name of security. Democrats say they support the individual right to be and say what you want without judgment, but then they say Republicans don't have the right to criticize or object to those they don't agree with.


samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee

up & useful! Thanks for sharing your views. I believe the Progressives have taken over the Democratic Party. I don't like government control, abortion or union shops all leading to one world government. I vote Republican even though some Republicans are leaning to the left. The TeaBaggers have the right ideas if they could just organize...


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Robwrite

I agree with you to a large extent. I have been known to split my vote. It seems that when I lived in Illinois I had to register with a party. I generally considered myself an independent but when I discovered that the Democrats had abortion as a party platform I turned against them. Although I am registerd as a Republican does not mean I wont at tiem vote for someone I deem to be better.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Samson1

Thanks for your comment.I am for the teabag movement. I am not sure that I want them organized. I guess I like the rebellion and anti-establishment attitude of it. Those in power need a thorn in their side once in awhile.


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV

dahoglund,

I believe the old saying when you're young if your not liberal it proves you have no heart and when your older if your're not conservative it proves you have no brain!!!!!!!!!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Tom

Yes I have run across that saying. But my point here is largely that it is not the individual that has changed but the philosophy. My own views are more favorable to business than they used to be but largely I am the same, the parties and labels have changed.Thanks for commenting.


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 6 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

It's interesting that some states require that voters register for a party. There's nothing in the Constitution that says party. Requiring a party affiliation forces people to pick sides and divide themselves, and forces the winner-loser mentality. Perhaps someone back in history had the forethought to exercise that old maxim 'divide and conquer', and we’re seeing the results of that attempt now.

Perhaps the Tea Party will be a non-party, relating everything back to it's core values in some way, and sticking strictly to those, then endorsing candidates (not necessarily along party lines) when one clearly follows their principles far more than the other, or not-endorsing anyone at all.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for visiting my hub and for the comment. I think the tea party movement is the most interesting thing in politics in a long time. It is bringing out a lot of new people and candidates. I'll admit to being slow to wake up to things myself but I am bothered by career politicians and practices like earmarks.


eovery profile image

eovery 6 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

Dahoglund, YOu became wise in your years.

I used to think in a manner like a liberal, trying to do good, but I realize the only way to help people is to help them help themselves.

I tried to be more of an independence, then I see all the crap going on in the Democrat party and I have decided I will never, never, never vote democrat.

The Democrat party have been infiltrated by socialists and communists. I will fight them until the end of my day.

I am not happy with the republicans, however, but a vote for a none republican is a 1/2 vote for a democrat. I have to vote republican to cancel out someother person vote for a democrat. If I try to vote for someone else, who does not have a chance of winning, I do not cancel out the vote for the democrat.

I am on the republican butt to make them do the right thing.

Keep on hubbing!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I appreciate the compliment. Part of teh problem is that most people do not really keep up with what is going on. I had a Political Science professor who said he didn't know how the average person could keep up with all that is going on. It was his full time job and he found it hard to keep abreast of everything.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

We also have to register with a party in Texas but when it comes to the voting booth we can split votes and vote for individual candidates. I quit giving money to any one party years ago because I seldom agree with an entire platform. We need to have balance in government and for that reason I hope that things change with this next election. One party and their agenda cannot totally dominate.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I agree with your opinion. I think the Tea Party a good thing. Fresh people in congress will help, but we should never let The politicians become entrenched and self satisfied as they are now.Thanks for commenting.

I was going to comment on your Pear Tree hub but there was no "Comment" capsule.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

"Parties" have their place: mine place or yours?

Given the political system, the party does not represent always the best person for the position. Therefore, one must "split" their votes... I never vote per "party."


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

True. The party system is not ideal but it is the practical reality for now.Thanks for your comment.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

Someone else told me that I had neglected putting in the comment section on the Bradford Pear hub...so it is now there. Thanks!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

You've pointed out glitches to me on mine, so it happens. I did go back and leave a comment.


kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago

This is the first political discussion I've "heard" in a long time that didn't get ugly! Thanks for the philosophy lesson, dahoglund. I wondered about the philosophical roots of the parties.


Jeremey profile image

Jeremey 6 years ago from Arizona

Good, Good and more good, the hub presented a point of view worth taking into consideration and brought out a series of calm and collected honest comments. Great hub! Thanks.....up and awesome!..........and John Adams was right like Robwrite said, Adams is quite an interesting historical figure, well worth researching!(had to throw that in there)


Simone 6 years ago

Thank you for such a thoughtful and calm take on this subject. As somebody who has tried to make a non-partisan film on the subject of the differences between conservatives and liberals (American Feud: A History of Conservatives and Liberals - www.americanfeud.org) I know how rare such an approach is and salute you for it.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

kimh039

Thank you for your comment. It is a subject I have thought about for a long time. I have tried to define it as best I could, so I am glad you found it informative.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Jeremy,

Thanks for your comment. John Adams is worth knowing about. I read a biography of him a few years ago. It was also made into an a TV miniseries, that got good ratings.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Simone

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I appreciate your comments.


TheManWithNoPants profile image

TheManWithNoPants 6 years ago from Tucson, Az.

First time reader and now a follower. I enjoyed this piece, and quite frankly it makes plenty of sense. I read another of your Hubs and you, like me, understand the value of Common Sence. It's almost a thing of the past, and due for a come back. I also like the high road you take with your hecklers.

I'm going to drop a shameless plug in the form of a link. I'd like to cross link you to some of my material, but wouldn't do so without permission. Great Hub my man.

jim

http://hubpages.com/politics/Im-Running-For-Presid...


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for commenting and being a follower.I appreciate your compliments. actually my biggest heckler, I think, is a best friend since high school, but with differnt views.

You are welcome to cross link.Although I link to other hubs, I am not sure if it works both ways.I'll take a look at your hubs.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 6 years ago from Southern Minnesota

Good neutral information and education on politics. didn't know the background philosophies...interesting. Although I think they are both a little messed up presently.


Tom T profile image

Tom T 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

You hit a home run with this one. It is one of my believes that most people who are democrats live their lives as conservatives.

Take almost any platform of the democrat party advocates and the people who vote for democrats don't live that way. For instance, using one of your examples, the ones who want to rehabilitate prisoners and set them free. They don't invite those prisoners into their homes. They lock their doors at night to keep them out.

As for the party system...unfortunately we have a binary system. I live in California. I'm not a big fan of the Republican candidate for governor. If ever there was a time for the Democrats to get my vote it would be now... unfortunately, the democrat candidate scares me more.

Thanks for the hub. Keep up the good work.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Tamjaro,

People very seldom live up to the ideal model.I was only trying to show what concepts drives them.Most people are not purely one or the other. They pick up their ideas from sources such as teachers, the church, friends and so forth. I agree that things are not going well. Thanks for adding to the discussion.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Tom T

I myself used to be a democrat and considere myself a liberal when I was really a conservative in terms of the things I believe in. It is partly that the terms have shifted and partly that some politicians and others try to keep us confused. Thanks for your thoughts.


Judicastro profile image

Judicastro 6 years ago from birmingham, Alabama

Very good hub and well written. You have a wonderful way of presenting the facts without offending and that takes talent. I grew up in the 60's but my views have always been conservative. I don't want the government to mess in my business or tell me how to run it. What disturbs me now is that it seems that the phrase "by the people and for the people" no longer applies. Thanks for writing this.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Your comments are appreciated. I am glad that you found this hub worthwhile.


tony0724 profile image

tony0724 6 years ago from san diego calif

dahoglund, I salute you. This is a very thoughtful and well articulated hub. I used to be a Democrat as well. But the modern Democrat is to far left and I realized there was no room for a more moderate Democrat like myself. I am now a registered Independent who I feel tends to lean more conservative in many areas. I do not support abortion on demand.And the healthcare bill did have a provision in there for that. But I also believe we do need a degree of regulations on Banks, Wall Street, and the Healthcare HMOs as they do tend to exploit the unfortunate and the sick. That being said I also subscribe to the Idea of personal responsibility as I think the many that have exploited our social services are also those who have contributed to the deep hole we are in.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I believe it is the role of the government to regulate certain things, but it should not over regulate or try to micromanage. Part of the problems with the BP oil spill, as I understand it, was the failure of the government to enforce the regulations it did have.


Jason R. Manning profile image

Jason R. Manning 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

These are very insightful conversations. We must understand that political parties and members are holding to what they would like to represent, but unfortunately, they want to keep a well paid job, and that means representing what they are told to. Were not ready for third party votes, it is very clear three way races only screw up what should be course adjustment. This year gave us very useful data on how a libertarian vote keeps Democrats in power. Like wise, green party votes keep Republicans in power.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

According to the political science professor I had years ago the real function of third parties is to influence the policies of the other parties. If they get enough votes the other parties will tend to consider their views.Thanks for your insightful comments.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

da, this is a fascinating hub. I appreciate the way you defined the parties, though I tend to agree with your first comment person, I am an Independent because I see all the hypocrisy in the parties and don't trust traditional definitions. The Tea Party has really skewed so-called Conservatives!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I love the Tea Party movement.Parties certainly have faults but it is the system we have at the moment. I have thought of registering as an Independent but figure it doesn't matter too much as I will vote as I please anyhow.Thanks for adding your opinion.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

I appreciate this HUB very much though it is obvious, to me, that your bias is towards the conservatives. Not sure if this is your goal, and I don't think it tainted your treating of the subject. I grew up in a home with extremely conswrvative parents. While I still admire Ronald Regan, I find myself more andx more liberla as I get older and i would saym without the excewption of abortion, I am very liberal on social issues and a free market capitalist on economic ones. I believe in small government that has as little do with my daily life as possible. I also believe we should have a flat tax or a sales tax only. In the last election i voted for libertarian BIB barr, as McCain annoys me and Barak scared me. Before that, I'd voted repubican in every other presidential election that I voted in.

Thansk for sharing. Voted up!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

PDXKaraokeguy,

You are right that I am a conservative and a former liberal. My attempt was meant to be philosophical to show the roots of belief.Your description of yourself is more conservative than liberal.At the moment Republicans are more conservative than democrats but we do not have liberal and conservative parties.MCCain seems liberal on many issues, as was Bush.I used to consider myself a liberal in the classic sense of the term.

Thanks for commenting.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

My biggest social issue right now is drugs. I think all drugs should be legal so our jail space can be used to house real criminals. I don't think any of the candidates running in 2012 are willing to address this issue, so I don't know yet how I will vote.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

PDXKareokeguy,I think "decriminalizing" drugs might be a good thing if done right. A disaster if we don't do it right.If done right it will be controlled somewhat like alcohol is . Taxes would be collected.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

ya. Milt Freidman had some good ideas ont he subject. My sister in law is a police seargent and she has never arrested anyone for simple drug possession. She thinks it's a waste of resources and contributes to the overcrwoding of jails.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Certainly the present method does not work too well.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

i agree. and it results in jail overcrowding and early release of violent criminals


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

It seems so.


Larry Wall 4 years ago

Your Hub revealed one important thing--you think for yourself and no one should be bothered by that. I do not belong to any political party. When I was 18 and registered to vote, I registered as a Democrat because at that time in Louisiana, every local and state election was decided in the Democratic primaries. The general election was just a joke. Louisiana later switched to an open primary system, where all candidates regardless of party ran together. It has flaws. Usually the two candidates with the most extreme views got into the runoff. It was still a good system. We went back to party primaries and are now going back to open primaries. At least we know how to change our mind.

The important thing that people think for themselves, as you obviously do. Get the information, filter out the useful from the trash and make your decision. We may not agree, but I will always respect you for putting thought into how you vote and do not blindly follow some party line.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Hi Larry, To me there is no higher compliment than your saying I think for myself.I am not thrilled with either party but we seem trapped into a party system.I grew up in Minnesota which has never quite conformed to the system.They have the Independent Republican Party" and the Farm-labor party if I remember right.They do line up with the republican and democrat parties on the national level.


ib radmasters profile image

ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

dahoglund

The bottom line for liberal and conservative is that they mix to be beneficial to the people. It has been shown empirically over the last one hundred years, that they are just oil and vinegar and they haven't mixed to be pleasing to the people.

Over these years control or Congress and the Presidency have been exclusive by one party then the other party, and then in various levels of control by the parties. The end result however is what we see today.

While the control of the country has gone left and right, it rarely goes forward, but it favors backwards over forward.

The end result is no forward or beneficial motion for the country or its people. Much of that fault is the voter, and their failure to hold politicians accountable.

Great hub


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for commenting.It seems to me that the differences are more stark since the 1960's.In 1960 I voted for Kennedy but I could have voted for Nixon and rather wish that I had. But that is hindsight.I was in college at the time and my professors at that time felt there was not much difference between them.


ib radmasters profile image

ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

dahoglund

You bring up a good point about college professors.

Education and educators shouldn't make the conclusions for their students, they should bring to them the information so that the students can make their own conclusion.

The same is true for religion.

Thanks


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

ib radmasters,

I have no problem with professors giving opinions as long as it is specified as such. The ones I had in mind were in American History and Political Science. We wanted their points of view. In those days the students were assumed to be adults and we couldn't vote until we were 21.


ib radmasters profile image

ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

dahoglund

I understand what you are saying, but at the same time, when children are learning sometimes the lessons last a life time.

We are born into a religion, and a political party for the most part. Many people grow up and die without ever changing their birth defaults. Others have their opinions changed while they are in school, and not on the basis of their own conclusions but the persuasion of their teachers ideology.

I changed my birth default based on my own conclusions and independent thinking, but many people today act more like sheep than people. They let the media form their opinions on many subjects.

It is one thing to adopt someone elses ideology, it is better to perfect your own. Unfortunately, when cable TV took hold, it replaced the news with opinions, and conjecture. The viewers however still think that they are listening to the UN-distilled accounting of events. They interpret these accounts as facts, but they are really opinions.

Thanks


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Unfortunately some people are going to act like sheep no matter what. I grew up in a working class family. My father was strong union and a Democrat. My brother always argued in favor of conservative and republican. Now I am a conservative and he seems more of a liberal and union supporter. Actually my son converted me to the conservative side.His school experience is different from mine.My professors usually would give an opinion but as a matter of information. His professors gave opinions a facts. He never finished college as a result.My children are possibly more independent thinkers than I am.

The ideal when I was in college was to learn to think. That is what education meant. Today, I fear, it is more like indoctrination.

I personally like opinion shows and editorials. If I want just the facts, I think radio is best or at least used to be.

Much of my life I took government schools for granted but now I see them as a danger. Home schooling and religious schools are probably a reaction against the government controlling education.


ib radmasters profile image

ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

dahoglund

Thanks for the reply,and I agree there will always be sheep.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thank you.


wba108@yahoo.com profile image

wba108@yahoo.com 4 years ago from upstate, NY

Great hub, I'm going to bookmark it! Terrific descriptions of conservative and liberal thought! I actually agree with Plato, in the sense that there exists a higher reality than what we see with our natural eyes and that we can actually change the atmosphere around us by our words, thoughts and attitudes provided they line up with God's words, thoughts and attitudes, but I thoroughly reject the liberal solutions to societies problems.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

wba.thanks for commenting. I probably hold the same views as you but I attempted to keep the article as objective as i could. I learned these views in college more in regard to religion tha politics. The Aristotelian view being attached tp St Peter, Thomas

Aquinas, whereas the Platonic view being associated with St Paul, Augustine and Luther.

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