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Conservatism versus Liberalism

Updated on July 6, 2013

A bastion of both conservatism and liberalism is possible

It's always a compromise, the result of the ongoing conflict between 'change' and 'no-change.'   But change is inevitable.  It is a law of life.
It's always a compromise, the result of the ongoing conflict between 'change' and 'no-change.' But change is inevitable. It is a law of life.

There are none so blind as those who will not see

I’ve recently started to re-read Many Lives, Many Masters, by Brian L. Weiss, MD. He’s a famous American psychiatrist who’s upset the medical fraternity with his research into the subconscious minds of a number of his patients. The theme of the book was not new to me, for I’ve been reading this sort of stuff since the late 1960s. However, I thought I’d look him up on Wikipedia and, sure enough, it said that he’d upset many of those who practice medicine. So I decided this might be a good introduction to something which occurs to me from time to time: Conservatism versus Liberalism.

None so deaf as those who will not hear

If you are ever looking for examples of Conservatism in life the best place to look is at those great institutions which seek to hold power over the way others think and behave. You’ll find them in Law (man-made law) in those that administer the law, and just about any person in any organization who wishes to hold others in check or some sort of constraint. Lawyers uphold Laws. That is they interpret – and sometimes endeavour to bend the meanings to meet their particular ends – and they are bastions of it. The same goes for the police forces of the world. They enforce the law. There is probably no organization more ‘conservative’ than a police force.

To the superior commander the troops are but numbers

An officer and a gentleman.  Enlisted ranks didn't quite make the grade in the conservative opinion of military organisations even as late as the last century...and maybe that's still the case.
An officer and a gentleman. Enlisted ranks didn't quite make the grade in the conservative opinion of military organisations even as late as the last century...and maybe that's still the case.

Still so many see power as the control of others

There many organizations which advocate strong adherence to laws. We have the armed forces. They control their people with an iron fist. Everything that could be controversial has to be vetted by those in charge. The same could be said of the Church. Big corporations fall into the same category, as does big government. Even large-scaled voluntary agencies take on the same way of thinking. If a change is to be introduced it has to meet the approval of those at the top. This is how life works.

Or how it did work for a long time.

Little is harder to change than a really conservative organization

I recall, for example, way back in 1975, whilst working as a civilian radio operator for the NSW Police Force, I spent a whole year researching, writing and finally presenting a critique on the Police Service’s Telecommunications system. It ran to 172 pages and contained scores of recommendations for changes. This wasn’t written by someone new to Telecommunications. The desire was to make the system more efficient. But, to be quite candid, I was hoping it would raise my credibility with my employers. How mistaken was I!

There is no more conservative an organization than a police force

In a case of Conservatism versus Liberalism the former generally wins hands down with these guys.
In a case of Conservatism versus Liberalism the former generally wins hands down with these guys.

Who are you to suggest such an idea...

At that time I had twenty years practical experience in the Telecommunications field behind me. I’d expected my work would be welcomed, or at least evaluated on its merits. Instead, I was chastised. Who the hell was I, a person who’d only been working with the police for around a year, to have the temerity to come up with so much? Didn’t I realize I was embarrassing those who held key positions and had done little to change the status quo? “You’re putting noses out of joint, son.” (At forty I was still a boy, it seems)

For a long, long time the creative have had to be careful not to 'rock the boat.'

But as I said earlier, this is how things did work for a long time. We had to get approval. We had to salve egos. We had to ‘fit in’ and ‘not rock the boat.’ Now we have the Internet. We have Social Media. We have something now which we never had before. So what is happening because of it? We have countless thousands, millions of people out there who no longer have to go ‘through the system’ to have their ideas sighted by the many. Many in authority are upset by this. It even upsets people as powerful as top politicians and world leaders. Wiki Leaks would be one glaring example of this, and I’m sure there are others.

So what does all this mean?

Excathedra statements by such clergy generally conserve

Are we really sheep that need looking after?  And can we really trust these shepherds with our wellbeing?   Their answer would be a conservative, 'Yes.'
Are we really sheep that need looking after? And can we really trust these shepherds with our wellbeing? Their answer would be a conservative, 'Yes.'

Biggest democratic breakthrough in Human History

Everyone would have their own views on this, of course, but I think that the World Wide Web is just about the best thing that has happened to Humankind since we stopped slaying wooly mammoths and moved out of the caves. For the first time ever we are moving towards a point where authority will be given to those who earn it through their contributions to the common weal rather than those who have made their way to the top through something less than their good character. Nepotism and inheriting power might also find itself in decline.

Right livelihood - We're now all under observation

This is not to denigrate ambition. But we’re now looking to reward those ambitious people who do actually contribute to making the world a better place in which to live for the many rather than themselves alone. It is becoming increasing clear who practice – to use Gautama the Buddha’s phraseology – right livelihood and those who do not.

So what has this to do with the thrust of this essay: Conservatism versus Liberalism?

A tool which is bringing about the ascent of Liberalism

We do not HAVE to accept the interpretations of others anymore

It means those that desire to force on others their beliefs, their ideas of how things should be, are losing ground to those who say: “This is the idea I’m offering. Take it or leave it as you will.” It is opening up humanity’s range of choices. We can say “Yes” to more things. We’re being encouraged to have an open mind, to question the status quo. We do not have to accept the interpretations of anyone else unless we want to. We are, in actuality gaining in freedom. As both an individual, and as Humanity Itself, we are now increasingly accepting that which we feel is right and rejecting that which we feel is not.

Conservatism will continue, of course. But it will now increasingly conserve what is good, allowing liberalism mushroom. Each new discovery will be integrated into the whole to become a conservatism that does not hold us back from our personal and collective greatness anymore. What we conserve, we will be happy to conserve, and the freedom which liberalism allows will continue to expand – hopefully forever.

Comments

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  • Tusitala Tom profile image
    Author

    Tom Ware 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

    Thank you for your comments Pennypines and ladydeonne, it's always good to get some feedback.

  • ladydeonne profile image

    Deonne Anderson 4 years ago from Florence, SC

    One of the greatest freedoms that we have is that of choice. We can choose to think and decide for ourselves. We can determine and do those things that we find are in our best interest. We do not blindly accept anything as gospel. We evaluate and dissect it before making our decision to follow or do it. Thanks for the spark that causes us to think and focus on our personal freedoms.

  • Pennypines profile image

    Lucille Apcar 4 years ago from Mariposa, California, U.S.A.

    I hope and pray you are right, Tusitala Tom, and if ever we need a beacon to look up to this is the time. So much unrest in the world, so much suppression of human rights, so much misery. Yes the Internet is bringing about change but I sometimes wonder if it is too much, too soon.

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