Morality and The Liberal and Conservative Worldview

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  1. profile image0
    Justsilvieposted 11 years ago
    After reading a large number of Hubs and forum threads and what seems at times like the clash of civilization my need to know the whys of it kicked in.

    In his book Moral Politics - How Liberals and Conservatives Think George Lakoff analyzed the unconscious and rhetorical worldviews of liberals and conservatives, discovering radically different but remarkably consistent conceptions of morality on both the left and right. (I am working my way through the book) if you want to check it out here is an excerpt:

    There have even been studies that suggest our political leanings hard-wired into the brain.

    What do you think makes you a liberal or a conservative? Your Geographical location? Parental Views? Life Experiences? etc…
    Would love some feedback and it would be cool if we could discuss this in a logical and friendly manner.

    Also can check out the Moral Foundation Questionnaire here and see where you stand.

    1. Al Bacon profile image61
      Al Baconposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I think that there should be no one thing that makes a person liberal or conservative and that it should depend upon the circumstances you are considering and your position on that issue should be based upon your life experiences and philosophy.  Once you put a title on something, it is often restricted to what that title describes rather than a function it can do. 
      For example, a tire can be restricted to keeping a car off a road but thinking creatively, we can use that tire as a boat bumper, a child's swing, or even fuel to burn a stump out of a field somewhere, but which definition of that object would be liberal and which conservative?
      Too often, our position can be caused by external sources as in the case of a court ruling that causes us to form an opinion or take a position based upon decisions by others.  A law against cruel and unusual punishment can cause a liberal or conservative position based upon our philosophy, for example, whether we consider the recent ruling that required prison authorities to provide transgender surgery to be a good decision or an abuse of judicial powers to make prisons, and tax payers, pay for that surgery.
      A decision to be liberal or conservative has to be a philosophical decision based upon our values regardless of the source of those values or our position is a corrupt one and causes more problems than it solves but that requires making sure our decision is the right one.
      At this moment, we can be conservative and allow only those who achieve certain goals to be included in the upcoming presidential debates, basically the democrats and the republicans, or we can be liberal and make it easier for a third party candidate, such as Gary Johnson, to take part in those debates and whether we take a liberal or conservative position will depend upon how open minded we are and whether we are willing to consider different options and opinions.

    2. Credence2 profile image78
      Credence2posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Hi, Silvie, this is COOL, I have often wondered how two people can look at the same thing and one says it is blue and the other red? I want to follow the investigation and inquiry closely.

    3. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image84
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      This is really a great forum question, and I find I am totally conflicted about so many political things.  I am a registered Democrat who is married to a registered Republican, but both of us feel exactly the same way about politics.  We both have always voted for the person and never just for the party.  Frankly, I think anybody who always votes along party lines, no matter the party, just isn't thinking clearly!

      The political parties have changed so much over the years from what they were, and there are people and ideas in both that I do not like.  However, if I had to sum up my views, I'd say I am totally conflicted about the issue of abortion, I believe in helping those in need but not giving them help forever to the point where they form generations of takers, I staunchly support Social Security and Medicare and do not see them as entitlements but rather as programs into which people have paid and around which people have planned their senior years, I strongly support Obamacare because it gets rid of the pre existing healthcare clauses and removes caps on insurance coverages, I favor the right to bear arms but not to the point where people can buy ouzi's and other rapid fire arms, I am against sending money, aid and jobs oversees unless our own economy is strong and our own people are thriving, and I think that if our leaders were the ones who had to fight our battles, there would be no wars...see where I'm coming from?  So tell me, what am I? 

      Can you label me?  I think if most people evaluated their political positions, they would find as I have that they really are neither one nor the other...but just Americans who want to have a decent life and live in a strong country.

      Those who latch on to one or two big issues and only use them to determine their politics aren't really thinking...they're just buying rhetoric.  This is never a good thing.

      1. Credence2 profile image78
        Credence2posted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Time Traveler, I bet if you quiry most conservatives on your POV, they would identify you as a liberal democrat. It would be nice of them if a few would comment as to how they find your position...But it certainly seems reasonably moderate to me,,,,

  2. profile image0
    JaxsonRaineposted 11 years ago

    My beliefs originally trace back to my upbringing. Basically everything my parents taught me fit with what I saw in the community and what I learned in school.

    Once I left home, I started to see different things, and some of my beliefs changed.

    I would say that your ideology is originally rooted in what you are taught as a child. Whether or not your ideology remains consistent your entire life depends on you.

  3. gmwilliams profile image84
    gmwilliamsposted 11 years ago

    Even though my parents were Democrats, they were conservatives on some issues such as abortion and fiscal responsibility.     I classify myself as a liberal Democrat,   I am a feminist who is stauncly prochoice and anti-death penalty.     I believe that there is too much religious inferences in social issues such as abortion and women's reproductive rights from conservative Republicans.     

    However, while I am liberal regarding women's issues, racial issues, and  related issues,  I am conservative when it comes to social class and monetary issues.   I am a stauch capitalist who believes that success is possible if one is only willing to take the necessary steps to become successful.   I believe in the bootstrap socioeconomic philosophy but am quite liberal regarding women's reproductive rights, gay marriage, and religious issues.   

    I believe that there is not enough separation between church and state in the United States as religion is oftentimes a component which determines the feasibility of political candidates.    Candidates who have no and/or alternative religions are seldom considered to be deemable political candidates.   Religion also is invasive regarding the teaching of evolution in our schools and in types of advanced scientific research.     Evolution is an undeniable fact of life and stem research is necessary to cure many diseases and ailments.      Religion is a personal and individual thing between a believer and his/her Creator, that is all.   Religion should never be the be and end all regarding educational and social policy.

    1. Credence2 profile image78
      Credence2posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Well, GM, conservatives want to blur the line between church and state in societiy, most interesting.
      As a progresive, I seek fairness and have an inate fear of those entities and groups that are not willing to play by the rules and who despise the referee as much as the opposing side.

      I am all for winners and losers as long as the game is not rigged and the losers are not onsigned to a gulag as a result. Vote yes for free market captatilism with as much or as little government regulatory authority as needed to make sure that objectives not reflected in the profit motive are figured in to the outcome.

  4. wilderness profile image95
    wildernessposted 11 years ago

    A short story may be in order here. 

    Overall I am a fiscal conservative and have never understood the liberal views so when I had the opportunity for a good discussion with a young (very liberal) graduate from a California college I took advantage of it.  I could not seem to understand his point of view and finally asked him if he thought he had the right to take from me what he wanted, to do with as he pleased.  His answer was "Yes".  I then asked if I had the same right to do the same thing (take what I wanted from him to do with as I pleased) and it set him back for a minute but he was honest enough to finally answer "No".  In other words, he has the right because only he can make the "right" decision as to what should be done; his morals are better than mine.

    I am also a social liberal and participating in these forums find the same thing from the conservative side in social matters.  An attitude that their morals are better than mine and thus only they can make decisions as to what is right and wrong in the lifestyle and day to day actions of everyone else (gay marriage for instance).  That the conservative social morals generally come from the Christian bible is immaterial - they are right and everyone else must conform because they are wrong.

    IMHO both concepts are deeply flawed.  When it comes time to actually force others to conform through use of law, neither cares about society in general or the country as a whole.  Only that they are "right", everyone else is "wrong" and must therefore be forced to conform.  Freedom of choice is cast aside in favor of personal concepts of "right" and "wrong" that others must accept or face the strong arm of the law. 

    I don't get along very well with either side as I find freedom and personal choices more important than what others think I should do.

    1. profile image0
      Motown2Chitownposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Hmmm.  Are you inside my head?  LOL  You say exactly the same things I do.  I tend toward fiscal conservatism and social liberalism.  I find myself incredibly unpopular with both conservatives and liberals because I THINK FOR MYSELF and believe that laws should only be made and enforced based on what is best for society.  I don't give a flying fig where the money comes from as long as it's enough so that everyone in the world can eat.  If those people are able to provide for themselves, fabulous!  If they are too young, too weak, disabled mentally or physically, elderly and therefore compromised in the amount of physical participation they can offer - they deserve for those of us who are able bodied to HELP them.  And, ultimately, none of that depends on whether a person is gay or straight, married or single, or any of that.

      1. gmwilliams profile image84
        gmwilliamsposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Amen to that!    I, too, am a social liberal and fiscal conservative.

        1. wilderness profile image95
          wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          I'm (slowly) coming to realize that there are actually quite a few of us around. smile

      2. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Motown, we may diverge a little here.

        While those in true need do deserve our help, I have a problem in demanding, through force of law, that others be forced to provide that help.  A contradiction as a few cannot provide for the many.

        My own thought is that those that can help should be required to do so, but ONLY to provide the help that is necessary.  Not to provide the luxuries to make life enjoyable, and not to provide indefinite support for those that could be productive citizens if they were just willing to do so.  Those that cannot, of course, do deserve a lifetime of help (at more than an absolute minimum), but the more typical welfare recipients must be weaned off the govt. teat as quickly as possible.  Generations of welfare Moms producing a string of babies to keep the income coming in is not acceptable; if necessary the state will raise those kids while Mom starves or works.  It is my opinion, based on what I see of those drawing govt. assistance, that very nearly all of them are drawing more than they actually need.  We provide food stamps because available money went to gas in the huge SUV in the driveway.  We give free school lunches because Mom is too lazy to make a sandwich for the kids.  We provide free cell phones because a landline is too confining.  These kinds of things need to stop for all but the truly disabled unless they are available from unforced sources.

        1. profile image0
          Motown2Chitownposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Nope.  We don't diverge even a little here.  I agree again, completely.  If I went into detail about how I felt about that, though, I could conceivably piss a lot of folks off.

          1. wilderness profile image95
            wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            I already have, and been accused of wanting people to die because I don't feel the need to supply luxuries for those that can't afford them and think it's wrong to force anyone else to do so, either.

            Why should you be any different?  Speak up! lol

            1. profile image0
              Motown2Chitownposted 11 years agoin reply to this

              Let's talk about the neighbors who borrow money for gas to get their kids to school, but never seem short when it comes to buying pot.  The folks with a big screen TV they're still paying for who are going to food banks because they don't have grocery money and are pissed that they don't get enough food stamps to eat for the month.  The same people who are borrowing money to pay their utility bills, but can afford to supply their friends with food and beer at a barbeque once every other week.  The ones who spend a $3500 tax return at the casino, while I take care of their children at my home, and then have to figure out how to get their gas turned back on the following week....and the ones who haven't paid rent or their electric bills in three months but drink beer, smoke pot, and manage to get their three year old new clothes on a weekly basis.  The other one who sells his food stamps for cash because they don't pay for his cigarettes and booze. As far as I'm concerned, unless it means that your baby can't eat, you don't deserve shit, especially if you're physically able to do so, and don't want to because you're just not interested in paying for day care.

              I've got lots of anecdotal evidence of the things that piss me off.  That's the tip of the iceberg.

              1. wilderness profile image95
                wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                I think we all know too many examples like that.  In my case it was a young family that bought a new 4 bedroom home, royally reamed the cable company because they couldn't get there the day they moved and cable was an absolute necessity for children, had to have a security system installed and signed up for, and bought a new car.  Then went on WIC and food stamps because they couldn't afford medical care for the kids or food.

                While another single Mom with 2 kids, working and going to school asks for help with the electrical bill but is turned down.  Instead is told that if she will quit her job welfare will pay for housing, utilities, school, food and more (she refused, kept her job and made it with the help of friends and family).

                Or another that was laid off but turned down for stamps because he owned an old boat and motorcycle.  He had to sell the things he had worked for years to purchase rather than get a little help for a month or two while job searching.

                The whole welfare system is very seriously broken and all the money in the world won't make it work as is.  Let your gambler go cold for a couple of weeks while CPS takes the kids and he'll learn very quickly.  Or completely stop stamps for the one selling them, again while CPS steps in to take care of the kids.  He'll learn, too, and before he starves. 

                Until they HAVE to, all too many people simply won't take responsibility for themselves; it's up to the rest of us to simply say "No" and put an end to the handouts.  Give it to the people that really can't work and need help, give it to those that are temporarily in trouble but are more than willing to take care of themselves.  Give it to that single Mom who works 70 hour weeks and enable her to have a life beyond work.  Just don't give it to those that spend themselves into the poor house and then want free money.

                1. Josak profile image60
                  Josakposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                  I think most everyone agrees with that last paragraph the problem is it's incredibly hard to determine who fits into which group on a large scale, in a capitalist system anyway.

                  1. wilderness profile image95
                    wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                    It is difficult and the system will never be perfect.  Nobody expects that.

                    What we can reasonably expect is a much better job than is being done.  Much, much better.  It almost always requires a lawsuit to go onto disability - that's stupid.  We need more, not less, people on that, but at the same time we need to realize that "disabled" does not mean a total inability to contribute to society.  Unless you're bedridden (and sometimes even then) you can contribute something - do so!

                    Mostly, though, we need to understand that people don't need all the things that we give them (or allow them to buy by providing other things or services) and stop allowing the practice.  Without "encouragement" all too many simply won't take that responsibility on themselves.

                2. profile image0
                  Motown2Chitownposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                  That's my take on it too.  It just absolutely infuriates me to see how people do truly abuse the system.  My mother was that single mom who worked and needed a little help and was constantly turned down.  My husband and I can keep a roof over our heads, pay our bills.  Because he has a catastrophic illness, we struggle constantly with medical bills.  BUT, that's one area where they refuse to help us because our income is 'too high.' 


                  1. wilderness profile image95
                    wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                    That was the problem with the single mom working and going to school; her income was too high.  By $3 as I recall, but she couldn't get anything as long as she worked as a result.  Quit work and welfare would provide total support, but as long as she was willing to actually work and provide what she could for herself, nothing.  She even asked her boss for a $.50 per hour pay cut but it was the state and wages were non-negotiable.

                    Something's just very wrong with that picture.

                    You are to be commended, though.  You have to know that you could "work" the system to get medical help.  Quit work under the pretense he needs nursing at odd times and you can't work as a result, maybe.  Whatever.  That you continue to to support yourself rather than sponge off society for an easier life is to your credit.

  5. profile image0
    Motown2Chitownposted 11 years ago

    What it boils down to, for me, anyway, is this:  If you can work, work.  If it means you can have a roof over your head, food on your table, and the things that you need GREAT.  If it doesn't, someone will help you to make the ends meet.  But when you refuse to even grab a hold of the end and pull, it's no one else's responsibility.

  6. profile image0
    Justsilvieposted 11 years ago

    It is really interesting to read the replies and hear why people feel as they do and in a friendly manner smile

    Did anyone else do the Moral Foundation Questionnaire

    I found it somewhat on target for me but was a bit surprised.

    1. profile image0
      Motown2Chitownposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I did, silvie.  And I was pretty surprised in a couple of areas.  smile  I'm more liberal than I expected to be, actually.


  7. kathleenkat profile image83
    kathleenkatposted 11 years ago

    I believe I am more conservative because of my childhood. Here is an excerpt from a piece I am actually working on in regards to this very subject (too "Purely Personal" to be a Hub):


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