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American Liberals and Conservatives-the way I see it in Cave Allegory
Plato's allegory of the cave
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.
Link to Student News Daily
William F. Buckley
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.
What is your political 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.