Thursday, March 10, 2011

Liberal and Conservative and the Political Sphere

First some definitions..

Liberal:  Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.

Conservative: Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change.

I don't think either of these words best describes the people labeled as one or the other these days.

The political climate in the US on both sides is a battle of "us versus them" without tolerance or openness for ideas from the other side.   A true liberal wouldn't base their plan for "reform" primarily to reward loyal political constituencies.  However one describes the left wing, I don't think the word liberal works very well.  They can be just as cognitively resistant to facts and reason as their political foes.  If there were any genuine liberals on the political scene, my guess is that neither party would want them.  You couldn't necessarily count on their vote every time and the party leaders don't like rogues.

As for conservatives, well, no political figure in my lifetime did more to kick over the tables and the status quo than George W. Bush did in the Middle East with the Iraq War. The dominos are still falling and  regional unrest will get worse before it gets better and we're all going to be affected by it.  Not a very conservative approach to geopolitics if to be conservative means to oppose change.

Further, the conservatives have agenda items that climb the wall of separation between church and state.  No real conservative would support legislation hostile to the constitution. These same people always complain about activist judges who twist the words of the constitution.  Now they want to flat-out pretend the words aren't even there.

I would also add that modern conservatives don't seem very interested in conserving much of anything either.  Looking at the staggering debt we've accumulated, you can't really say they want to conserve money.  And they typically think its their God-given right to waste as much water and energy as they damn well please and that climate change science is hooey. So the word conservative is doubly wrong for them.

Instead of a 2-dimensional line to describe the range of political views from far left to far right, I think its more like a 3-dimensional sphere.  The equator line would have rational at one side and crazy at the other side.  The crazy people from both the right and the left meet up on the other side of rational at the moronic convergence point.  The Meridian line normal to the equator would have political apathy at one side and political engulfment at the other side.  That range points out how some people care little about politics and others are consumed by politics.  And this variance exists for the right and the left as well.  So, the opposite of a rational intense person is a crazy apathetic one. 

Basically everyone occupies a spot on the political sphere.  Your position has both longitude and a latitude. I like to think I'm rational and about 1/2 intense.  Call me a liberal I guess.

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