Sun Dec 2, 2012, 12:23 AM
YoungDemCA (3,700 posts)
The heart of the differences between conservatives and liberals
It's not "individualism" vs "collectivism" that distinguishes conservatives and liberals.
It's attitudes on inequality and hierarchy; social, economic, and political.
Conservatives identify with a hierarchical set of social relations; liberals believe in more egalitarian social relations.
Conservatives think that "economic freedom" means freedom for property holders, first and foremost. Liberals are more aware of the economic freedoms denied to those less fortunate.
Conservatives believe that politically, equality of opportunity exists for all Americans already, and that government can do nothing but make things worse for people in this realm. Liberals stress that equality of opportunity is by no means a given in American society.
These are the biggest differences, more than anything else, IMHO.
3 replies, 1214 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
The heart of the differences between conservatives and liberals (Original post)
Response to YoungDemCA (Original post)
Sun Dec 2, 2012, 02:49 AM
patrice (47,992 posts)
2. I agree that Conservatives are characterized by inequality & hierarchy, but I think there is a root
Last edited Sun Dec 2, 2012, 03:27 AM - Edit history (1)
cause that results in those 2 traits.
The root word in Conservative is conserve, to conserve the status-quo, that is to prevent change because the status-quo benefits conservatives somehow and that benefit is more important than anything and everything else, so conserving the status quo benefit/profit is the most important thing to conservatives and everything else about them unfolds out of that motive. For example, inequality and hierarchy are traits inherent to profit, so in the drive to conserve profit, inequality & hierarchy are conserved also, for if inequality & hierarchy are not conserved there would be either less or no profit at all.
The conservation of benefit/profit, and hence inequality & hierarchy of the status quo, NEEDS power to directly or indirectly coerce others into remaining un-equal and in low status within a hierarchy. Therefore, the conservation of benefit/profit above ALL else evokes the development of more and more power, first and foremost, in service to profit and it is by means of that power that others are excluded from benefit/profit, inequality is cultivated, and profit is thus maintained because of those exclusions. And it is also by means of power that hierarchy is maintained through class exclusions that help protect the status quo for benefit/profit.
The root of the word Liberal is libertas, which means freedom. The essential trait of Liberals is a passion for freedom, which love for freedom protects them from allowing themselves to be enslaved, dominated and controlled, by profit motives.
Because Liberals can CHOOSE to either take profits or to leave them, they don't NEED to conserve the status-quo. Without the need for profit they can be courageous enough to at least consider certain kinds of change, even to the point of facilitating changes that are the result of other people reacting to their own un-equal status by acting to redress the wrongs of inequality. In this tolerance for change, we see that Liberals are inclusive of other people's motives toward freedom.
Liberals even regard that drive toward change, coming from oppressed others, as liberating to themselves as Liberals, because Liberals know that the extent to which their own freedom DEPENDS upon the oppression of ANY others is the extent to which their own freedom is not, in fact, freedom at all, but is instead the slavery of DEPENDENCE/NEED FOR OTHERS TO REMAIN UN-EQUAL.
In this we see how Liberals actually abdicate some of their own personal power in order to help to end the inequality of others and to end hierarchy, even if Liberals occupy relatively good places within a hierarchy, because Liberals know that to do otherwise, to remain dependent upon the slavery of others, bastardizes Liberals' own freedom that they love so passionately, bastardizes that freedom with dependence upon slavery that maintains inequality and hierarchy.
So, to me the essential differences between Conservative and Liberal have to do with different motives: Conservatives are motivated solely by profit and will accept slavery, not only for others, but also for themselves in being dependent upon the slavery of others, in order to get, maintain, and increase profit above all else. Conservatives aggressively seek power in order to prevent change and to exclude others in order to conserve the status quo in service to profit that NEEDS inequality and hierarchy, so they protect both.
Liberals are motivated by freedom and, in order to reject slavery, will go so far as to abdicate some power so that change that serves liberation can happen and that's liberation not only of themselves, but also others liberating themselves too. One of the most important forms of change that serves freedom are those changes that are associated with those who are oppressed ending their inequality and telling the truth about fascist hierarchies. Liberals, thus, include others, they include the liberation of others, liberation from inequality and hierarchy, as an essential aspect of their OWN freedom, since dependence upon ANY slavery of others is abhorrent to a true lover of freedom because that dependence is the opposite of freedom. This is because even if they themselves are relatively free, Liberals recognize that "freedom" that DEPENDS upon the oppression of others is really ANTI-freedom, that is, it is enslaving not only to those already oppressed others, but also to their own not-so-oppressed Liberal selves and ultimately also even enslaving to those who are doing the oppression because of the oppressors' dependence upon oppression, that is the oppressors' own ADDICTIVE NEED for slavery, inequality, and power conserving fascist hierarchies of various kinds.