Friday, February 19, 2016

Sample #3

Liberals and Conservatives

The word "liberal" means free-thinking, generous, tolerant, open-minded, innovative, progressive.  The word "conservative" means restrained, cautious, moderate, conventional, respectful, traditional.  The younger mind tends to be more liberal, reckless, open to adventure; and the older mind tends to be more conservative, cautious and safety-minded.  Heaven forbid that we had a political system that honored one stage of life and slighted the other.

In the American political sense, Conservatives have stood for Faith, Divine and natural law; Liberals for Reason and secular law.  Conservatives have stood for a natural hierarchy among men, Liberals for a philosophical equality of men and women.  Conservatives have stood for collective values, Liberals for individualism (this has changed hasn’t it?).  Liberals look toward an untried tomorrow, Conservatives to a safer simpler yesterday.

Liberals have championed Democracy’s promise that the little guy may better himself and is entitled to equality before the law; while Conservatives have stood for Law and Order, property rights, and an aristocracy based on wealth and merit.

The Conservative spirit is best imagined as the House of Lords, a body of polite feudal Aristocrats; the Liberal spirit as the House of Commons, an arena of rowdy Jacksonians.

A society that is pure Conservative stagnates from unquestioned values; one that is pure Liberal falls apart from a lack of definition.

Liberalism without Conservatism has no heart; Conservatism without Liberalism has no brain.  Or the other way around.

My political philosophy is really an amalgam of these two great impulses.  There are times that demand change; there are times that call for caution.  These times demand change (cautious change!) because the status quo is unconscionably unfair and because it is recklessly headed to disaster.  Not a resolution anyone wants, Liberal or Conservative.

from 2005

The liberal spirit says “full speed ahead.”  The conservative spirit says “first, do no harm.”  When the FDA steps in and makes sure a drug is safe before allowing it to be sold to tens of millions of Americans, that is conservative in spirit.  Anti-trust laws that break up companies that have become too big and too non-competitive are conservative in spirit.  Indeed, all regulation – regulation for the sake of public safety not the regulation that mega companies write into law – is conservative in spirit.  Yes, I understand that this flies in the face of our understanding of today’s political labels.  But today’s parties have degenerated into tents of special interests, often at war with each other; they surely do not represent consistent political philosophies.