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Let us all define "liberal", let us all define "conservative", shall we?

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anarchy1999 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 12:24 AM
Original message
Let us all define "liberal", let us all define "conservative", shall we?
I'd really like to see others definition of the above. Just what does it mean to be a "liberal"? What does it mean to be a "conservative"? Any one out there tonight that can help with some perspective?

My own opinion is the "labels" have become twisted. The labels are being used against us all.
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 12:29 AM
Response to Original message
1. I'll try to be succinct
liberal: us

conservative: them
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anarchy1999 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 12:31 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Well now, that was helpful. Thanks so much.
n/t
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:33 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. oh. you wanted the L-O-N-G answer
I'll try in the morning.
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 12:33 AM
Response to Original message
3. Do you want the real meaning, or what it seems to be now?
Liberal used to mean caring about people, and cosila ills, and how the Government could help. Conservative meant small Government and low taxes, and everyone should be on their own.

Now, it seems to be liberals are thought to be total socialists (like Communism) who thing the Gov't can cure everything, and Conservatives think that personal wealth is the ultimate goal, taxes should be almost non-existant, and any social problems can be taken care of by charities.

You're right, they've become very twisted.
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libhill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 12:37 AM
Response to Original message
4. It`s like this -
Edited on Mon Jul-19-04 12:37 AM by tx.lib
Liberal: you care about your world, it's environment, it's inhabitants, you feel that we all have a responsibility to make the world a better place for everybody. Conservative: Take care of #1, and fuck everybody, and everything else.
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countmyvote4real Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 12:38 AM
Response to Original message
5. Why do basic human rights, fairness and just plain ole democracy
Edited on Mon Jul-19-04 12:42 AM by countmyvote4real
have to be labeled as liberal? To me, It just sounds normal or at least the decent way to approach things.
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Norquist Nemesis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:47 AM
Response to Original message
7. Just to name a few...
Conservative: tax-cuts to the point of eliminating government, privatizing government operations, anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage/homophobia, extreme evangelical views, and support of Isreal at any and all costs, suck up and prop up evil regimes to overthrow other regimes not falling in line then turn on them when they try to take care of themselves, promote liberalism in the name of spreading democracy at the expense of the taxpayers.

Liberal: Lifting up others by providing opportunities, Jobs, pro-choice, understanding and tolerance of differing views, freedom to practice your religion of choice, freedom to make a choice about things that affect your future (e.g. birth control, abortion), a balanced foreign policy (Isreal/Palestine), recognizing that one size does not fit all (diversity).

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NightOwwl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:59 AM
Response to Original message
8. I like Webster's definition.
Liberalism: a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties; the principles and policies of a Liberal party

Conservatism: a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change; the principles and policies of a Conservative party

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Pushed To The Left Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 02:03 AM
Response to Original message
9. It has to do with power
Conservatives tend to side with the people in power and support ideas that are considered traditional. Liberals stand up for people who aren't in power and support new ideas to move society forward.
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Donkeyboy75 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 02:07 AM
Response to Original message
10. I'll give it a go:
A liberal follows his/her conscience, even when it's not always best for him/her personally, and works to make the world a better place than it was thirty years ago. A liberal uses his/her brain.

A conservative follows his/her greed, and doesn't care if he/she steps on people in the gutter to get ahead. A conservative turns off his/her brain and spouts one-liners heard from Rush to personally justify their selfish behavior.
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rlev1223 Donating Member (593 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 02:18 AM
Response to Original message
11. simplest
In the simplest terms, the modern definitions of conservative and liberal have to do with views on the proper role of centralized government. Generally, a liberal would have a wider definiton of "things individuals can't do for themselves' which are appropriately the responsibility of the community through elected government and its agencies -- pollution regulation, zoning, drug approval, social security, etc.

Both conservatives and liberals generally agree that national defense is an appropriate role for the federal government (though levels of funding are always in dispute)...from there on down, it gets devisive.

Conservatives have staged a relentless attack on government as an institution over the past thrity years, blaming it for everything wrong in society. This is nonsense --- even they praise firefighters. But the rhetoric has stuck, and makes it easy to reduce any political arguents to one about taxes, which are always in their view too high. In fact, we pay a lot less in total tax than most western countries, but we pay all sorts of hidden taxes --- our health insurance premiums fund a terrifically bureaucratic health system, for example, but it's a private system so it's a-ok with the Right.

This doesn't take into account the social conservative movement which on the face of it seems at odds with the generally more libertarian, individualist tradition of American conservatism. However, since Nixon stole the southern democrats, the Repukes used the hayseeds to stay in power, giving them very little in reality; now, the yahoos have one of their own in office and the cultural right really does dominate, making civil discourse almost impossible.
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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 10:41 AM
Response to Reply #11
22. Great answer
That boils it down qwuite well.
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 02:41 AM
Response to Original message
12. progressive:
government in service of society
coporations in service of government
collective/public ownership and control
no child labor
worker benefits


conservative:
opposite of the above
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leftyandproud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 06:39 AM
Response to Original message
13. how bout this one
liberal = social libertarians, economic authoritarians

conservative = social authoritarians, economic libertarians (though this is increasingly NOT the case with today's corporate-welfare loving GOP)
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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 06:41 AM
Response to Original message
14. conservatives are mean assholes basically
capable of containing two utterly opposing viewpoints in their heads.
able to toss out logic and objectivity. always the first to say something nasty and mean and arrogant.

they hate blacks, gays, and anyone who does not think or look like them.

i think mean sums them up best.
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cleofus1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 06:45 AM
Response to Original message
15. why?
Why would someone named anarchy1999 want to "define" anything?

We are too diverse group to define.
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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:17 AM
Response to Original message
16. Pg1 WP, from LBN, "Truth, Consequences of Kerry's LIberal Label"
From the article, and my LBN comments:

"Several Democratic strategists say Kerry is wise to resist being tattooed as liberal, since only about 20 percent of national voters identify themselves this way, and the word evokes negative associations with big government and cultural elitism for many of the rest."

FDR and JFK were liberals. "Big government" = the New Deal, a social safety net, concern for fellow humans. "Cultural elitism," to me = people not being satisfied with a country-music version of life, in which no one aspires to a better education, a better job, a more sophisticated mindset, a broader worldview -- leaving all the goodies, and the decision-making, to the corporate elite that forced the Bush cabal into power.

Link to the article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A60419-20...
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 09:28 AM
Response to Original message
17. By Webster's definition, most modern right-wingers aren't conservatives...
Edited on Mon Jul-19-04 09:29 AM by LeftishBrit
NightOwwwl posted (quoting Webster):

Conservatism: a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change;


It's quite sobering to realize how much modern 'conservative' politicians, from Thatcher to GWB, have moved away from Webster's definition! For this very reason, I prefer to call them right-wingers rather than conservatives.

My brief definitions:

Right wing: Prefer to reward the strong in society, even if this means allowing them to trample on the weak.

Left wing/ liberals: Emphasize the rights of those in a weaker position to be protected from encroachments by the strong.

This basic attitude difference seems to be common to the right wing and left/ liberals in a variety of societies, though the details vary according to the nature of the society, and whether the strong in that particular society are for example, feudal lords, yuppie businessmen, Stalinist apparatchiks, spin-loving managers, religious leaders, or Army generals.


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NightOwwl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. I agree to a point LeftishBrit
However, as I read Webster's definition I saw 'philosophy based tradition and social stability' as the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, and 'stressing established institutions' as putting the welfare of big corporations first. So it does fit in some ways.

As for liberal being used as a dirty word by Rebugs, I think we should throw Webster's definition back in their face. I am proud to be a liberal and running away from the label only reinforces them.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 10:11 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. New Labour is now rejecting 'liberals'
Blair rejects 60s liberalisms

(historical note: Labour was the UK government from 1964 to 1970)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3905979.stm

In case there are still a few Tibetan yak farmers who haven't heard - David Blunkett doesn't like liberals.

This former leader of the socialist republic of South Yorkshire - as Sheffield Council was then known - has no time for bleeding hearts, branding them the "Liberati".
...
And what do they blame for inflicting this curse on the land - a curse that has led to a breakdown in law and order, respect for authority and general nastiness? The 1960s of course.

The pair appear to have taken a leaf out of former Tory Chairman Norman Tebbit's book by declaring the decade of free love produced parents whose liberal, hippyish attitudes towards discipline and authority have bred a generation of feral yobs.

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Ravenseye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 10:21 AM
Response to Original message
20. Are Conservatives Evil?
For those that don't know, when you play D&D you have an 'alignment' thats like your outlook on the world. It's either Lawful, Neutral, or Chaotic, combined with either Good, Neutral, or Evil. (for instance Lawful Good, Neutral Evil, etc) I was going through my old books and found that the definitions in the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (1st Edition) Dungeon Master's Guide really strike me.

I haven't put in the neutral alignments (True Neutral, Lawful Neutral, and Chaotic Neutral) as I don't think many people are ever them in real life. Lawful Neutral for instance would be a person who doesn't care about what a law does other than promote order. Chaotic Neutral would be like an anarchist, no order, no laws, all freedom. Do whatever. The Good alignments and Evil alignments though are where most people lie.

What aligment are you? What alignment are conservatives?



Lawful Good: Creatures of lawful good alignment view the cosmos with varying degrees of lawfulness or desire for good. They are convinced that order and law are absolutely necessary to assure good, and that good is best defined as whatever brings the most benefit to the greater number of decent, thinking creatures and the least woe to the rest.

Neutral Good: Creatures of this alignment see the cosmos as a place where law and chaos are merely tools to use in bringing life, happiness and prosperity to all deserving creatures. Order is not good unless it brings this to all; neither is randomess and total freedom desirable if it does not bring such good.

Chaotic Good: To the chaotic good individual, freedom and independence are as important to life and happiness. The ethos views this freedom as the only means by which each creature can achieve true satisfaction and happiness. Law, order, social forms, and anything else which tends to restrict or abridge individual freedom is wrong, and each individual is capable of achieving self-realization and prosperity through himself, herself, or itself.



Lawful Evil: Obviously, all order is not good, nor are all laws beneficial. Lawful evil creatures consider order as the means by which each group is properly placed in the cosmos, from lowest to highest, strongest first, weakest last. Good is seen as an excuse to promote the mediocrity of the whole and suppress the better and more capable, while lawful evilness allows each group to structure itself and fix its place as compared to others, serveing the stronger but being served by the weaker.

Neutral Evil: Similar to the neutral good alignment, that of neutral evil holds that neither groups nor individuals have great meaning. This ethos holds that seeking to promote wealth for all actually brings woe to the truly deserving. Natural forces which are meant to cull out the weak and stupid are artificially suppressed by so-called good, and the fittest are wrongfully held back, so whatever means are expedient can be used by the powerfull to gain and maintain their dominance, without concern for anything.

Chaotic Evil: The chaotic evil creature holds that individual freedom and choice is important, and that other individuals and their freedoms are unimportant if they cannot be held by the individuals through their own strength and merit. Thus, law and order tends to promote not individuals but groups, and groups suppress individual volition and success.

So? What are you? I usually played as Neutral Good or Chaotic Good, because I identified with that, but the older I get the more I'm drifiting towards being Lawful Good.

What alignment are your favorite conservatives? Are conservatives evil by this definition?
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wyldwolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 10:26 AM
Response to Original message
21. well, if you listen to some on DU...
Edited on Mon Jul-19-04 10:31 AM by wyldwolf
...conservative is anyone right of Ralph Nader/Chomsky/Parenti and if you voted for or were in favor of one or more of a few pet issues, you cannot possibly be liberal.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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