I am a Liberal Because….

I liked this expression of what it means to be a liberal. Can anyone supply me with the equivalent for what it means to be a conservative in a similar exuberant way, without putting the other side down? If not, I will have a go at it myself, though I will be thinking of my late conservative family, and its small business values, rather than what I see of conservatism in the USA today.


About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
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19 Responses to I am a Liberal Because….

  1. TonyGee says:

    I am a Conservative Because….

    I believe no one should go without food, shelter, medicine or an education.

    I learn about about my world through science, spirituality, open inquiry, and constant sense of wonder.

    I am open to all possibilities; and dogmatically behold to none.

    I believe every human’s right to speak their mind, read what they will, and marry the one they love.

    I believe in wealth and abundance, up to the point it is a detriment to my society.

    I believe in the enlightenment, and the noble course of humanity to improve its condition.

    I want to see more concert halls, museums, and libraries, and less weapon factories.

    I believe in the inherent dignity and value of every human being.

    • @TonyGee. That is the most encouraging thing you could have posted because it means the sort of conservative my late family was, my Mum and Dad and my extended family of small businesses, butchers mainly, is still going strong. Thank you. You have no idea how much this affects me.

    • louploup2 says:

      Can you articulate why you consider yourself a conservative and not a liberal?

      • @louploup2. I already had a verbal comment from another friend that in his view many conservatives and liberals do agree on these principles but they mean different things to them so I would be interested in Tony’s answer too. I wonder if Edmund Burke and Thomas Hobbes might even have agreed them, two of the founders of conservative thought? I will have a crack at a separate set of conservative principles myself when I have some time. Thanks for your comment.

  2. louploup2 says:

    Good thoughts. As a lifelong “liberal” I appreciate your effort to articulate what it means. Here are my notes what each of the eight points means in as few words as possible, followed by my attempt to boil the content down even more:

    1. Basic human right — safety net

    2. Intellectual curiosity

    3. Intellectual curiosity

    4. Basic human right – speech, discourse, sexual identity

    5. Equity (i.e., opposed to Inequity)

    6. What does this mean? It presumes “progress” and has a touch of human arrogance.

    7. Yes, but reality is humans are in population overshoot and reaching a number of resource limits (or “boundaries”), including peak cheap energy (and increasingly scary externalities like global warming). The net energy cliff (e.g., http://resourceinsights.blogspot.com/2008/09/net-energy-cliff.html) will make it extremely difficult to maintain the listed cultural values (and to the good, also make it difficult to maintain the war machine). IMO, in order to shift to the stated liberal values, society needs to reduce human population asap.

    8. Basic human right (includes/overlaps with 1 and 4).

    So, restated and combined:

    I am a liberal because:

    • I believe all humans have a right to dignity, including access to food, housing, medical care, education, a productive occupation, and entertainment.

    • I believe in intellectual curiosity, open mindedness, and lifelong learning.

    • I believe in the equitable use and allocation of resources, a democratic decision making process to attain that goal, and the greatest possible consideration of the rest of the biosphere in both.

  3. You might take a look at David Frum’s article on conservatism based on Edmund Burke: http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/06/opinion/frum-conservative-burke-today/

  4. louploup2 says:

    Somehow I got on the list for a self described “Fresh. Intelligent. Conservative.” magazine: https://magazine.townhall.com/

    An email from them today includes:

    “You may not know it – but you are at war with the hipster elite! They are all over, showing up as flannel-boy, latte-sipping, progressive politics-loving, pretentious citizens who look down on America and her ideals. Also recognized for their penchant for unemployment, living in their parent’s basement and excitement over being a recent Obamacare enrollee. …
    “The “cool” counter-cultural embracing people are everywhere – especially on Liberal arts colleges across the nation. Their hipsterism is a state of mind that rejects the traditional values our country was founded upon. Don’t let them change our country and all that enables our society to flourish! Gutfeld’s latest book is a must-read, entertaining and honest approach that exposes these phonies. …
    “Forget frothy coffee and skinny jeans – cool in America needs to mean something different! Cool should mean rewarding success, accountability for your actions, and protecting the values that made America great, both here and abroad.
    “If you want to win the culture war, don’t miss Greg Gutfeld’s newest book: Not Cool: The Hipster Elite and Their War on You! Order today and join the battle to reclaim America! ”

    Huh? “at war with the hipster elite!”? “win the culture war”? “values that made America great” without ever defining them? “reclaim America!”? For what purpose, to promote what specific values and actions?

    My question for Tony Gee and other self-defined conservatives: Do Townhall’s “values that made America great” as expressed in the language above reflect your values? If not, where in the American conservative movement are your values publicly expressed and advocated?

    • @louploup2. Thanks. Interesting questions.

      Actually my other question is why is it that relatively un-influential, low resource liberals are the hipster elite, and the people who run Wall Street, large corporations and much of the GOP who are highly influential and resource rich and wealthy are somehow not elite? I don’t ever recall recently seeing conservatives calling themselves elite; elite is a word they reserve for liberals, which is surprising, as when used for special forces in the military elite is a positive word. Indeed the dictionary definition of elite is: the pick or best of anything. When they talk of the liberal elite are conservatives conceding that liberals are the pick or best? And of course I don’t like ad hominem arguments which don’t address an argument but just say liberals are awful people therefore don’t bother to refute any points they make. I love to argue with conservatives and where I come from to argue with someone is to respect them enough to listen to and contest their views. Otherwise you are not taking them seriously.

      • louploup2 says:

        IMO, many if not most self-described conservatives today are not “Edmund Burkian” at all. They are Ayn Randian, and very difficult to have a rational discussion with. Ironically, many of the urbanists I deal with claim to be “liberal” but are in fact promoting a neo-liberal agenda (e.g., free market for developers will solve affordable housing problem) and when you scratch their arguments, you find libertarianism again. But they would never consider themselves “conservative.” The cognitive dissonance boggles my mind.

      • @louploup2. Yes the sociopath in conservative clothing is a hard one. I think a lot of the prominent conservatives like Ayn Rand, her acolyte Alan Greenspan and Ted Cruz etc fundamentally don’t understand humanity or the core conservative value of affiliation. Instead they use in group bonding to exclude their views from serious interrogation by conservatives against the criteria of traditional conservative values.

  5. TonyGee says:

    To: Creative,

    You requested a “Conservative equivalent…with out putting the other side down….”

    What better way but to agree because we do….

    To: Creative and louploup2,

    To repeat a well coined phrase I love, “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”

    The quote that you posted is…America. I don’t know any one who would disagree with it as written. The post is a painting on a large canvas using a wide brush and long strokes.

    When an individual reads, the words go through our filter or prism and is refracted the details of what it means to us personally onto a video screen in our minds. There is as many different movies as there are readers. If we all could merely turn off that HD screen we can read the statements in it’s simplistic context.

    Just look at the first statement;

    “I believe no one should go without food, shelter, medicine or education.”

    Who would believe the alternative, I believe everyone should go without food, shelter, medicine or education. None would. The problem comes in the form of the word, “should”. Here is where the prism reflects differently between readers. The video starts to to play…..some would see the word “right” or “God/god given right” or “constitutional right” or “based on ability” or “free” or “entitled.” As a reader reads so goes the HD screen….. showing people demonstrating in the streets protesting (kinda like we see in Europe) and others see themselves dying because of the violent rioting in the streets and fear overcomes them. Others see themselves as not having to worry about it, Uncle sugars got my back. Yet others see their bank account going down less income because they paying for lazy-ass, or that lady is in contempt of society knowing the act she is performing will/can produce a child that she knowingly can not afford. Need I say more… My point is based on what we think “should” is and it can be different, and even a word that you or I put in it’s place the theatrical show will once again play in or minds.

    The post is more correctly titled, “I am a sane human because….”

    Go down the list of statements and turn off the TV of your mind and…. Be enlightened and let the noble course of humanity improve it’s condition. I am serious. We as Liberals and Conservatives need to stop with the political BS and find common ground, fully understand each others ideology. Then and only then can we truly make headway into the serious problems that face our nation.

    “Wanting to see more concert halls, museums and libraries and less weapon factories.” Can you relate? Who wouldn’t?

    There is so much more to say but I’ll let you chew on this and I do have time restraints.

    • @TonyGee. Just had a busy time. Will take another look tomorrow. Thanks.

    • @TonyGee. I finally had a bit of time to go back to this post of yours. I especially like your comment: “Go down the list of statements and turn off the TV of your mind and…. Be enlightened and let the noble course of humanity improve it’s condition. I am serious. We as Liberals and Conservatives need to stop with the political BS and find common ground, fully understand each others ideology. Then and only then can we truly make headway into the serious problems that face our nation.” That is very much the spirit of this blog, though I often state a position to encourage some dialogue.

      As for conservatives, based on my family. I guess if I had followed my late British Dad’s views I would say something like:

      “I am a conservative because I think you need to be careful with your own money, save as a matter of habit, and be careful with other peoples’ so government, while a good thing in many ways, should be a tight wad. I think people should take responsibility for themselves and their education and getting on in the world and teach their children of the importance of this. I think government should be a safety net as a last resort for the long term seriously sick and in times when jobs vaporize in a recession. I think education should be demanding and that we shouldn’t feed false self esteem into people who don’t try their best. Not everyone is a genius but everyone can try at school. I think the country’s security is very important and we should deal with other countries fairly but firmly when our interests are at stake. I think everyone should have decent healthcare. I think that the economy tends to go up and down and the government has a role to keep some order and also to ensure the financial sector does not bet the farm and have to be bailed out. I think the state is vital to keeping law and order and it is the job of the citizens to help the police do this. It is the job of the police to serve the citizens and keep the peace. I think you cannot be a secure successful country without strong manufacturing industry and ensuring that should be a priority for government. Science is vital to any country’s prosperity and security and government has a role to ensure good science education and research is happening, funding it if need be. We cannot destroy the planet we live on; we need as conservatives above all to conserve that.”

      I kinda agree with much of that in the same way you commented but I think there is value in both liberal and conservatives with somewhat different takes working together on shared problems.

  6. TonyGee says:

    Why no response?

  7. TonyGee says:

    Ok, I can respect that.

    Thank You,

    I trust all is well with family.

    I can understand busy times.

  8. TonyGee says:

    Thank You,

    I can agree with most of that as generally speaking big picture.

    We have two problems, One is that we the people have this 25% on both sides who are on the far right and far left that will not budge one bit. That leaves the rest of us to be able to have a responsible debate and hope to find middle both can agree. Most in media is in this percentage.

    The second problem is our elected politicians. Many are just in for self-serving reasons and not in it for love of country with the humbleness to actually serve the people who elected them. To serve with humility, for one is not make it a “Career.” This was never intended to be a “Job” with better benefits then those whom they serve. Those in office where in my opinion to have worked and done well in the privet sector and now want to give back and serve these true servants would not need pay healthcare nor retirement package…..That just is not what is happening….Can we Change that? sad thing is I think no…..so we are doomed as a leader in the world. What scares me the county just behind us is China and if they take over as the strongest and largest economy they will hold the keys as the new powerful leader policing the world. To me that’s scary those guys in China have more military troops then we and are allies combined. Their ability to put boots on the ground in Mexico or Canada would be devastating. I don’t even want to think about it.

    This is VERY Serious stuff ……Dam-it I’m thinking about it now….Let me start painting a picture for you….Russia keeping Europe occupied…adding some more brushes of paint….If this administration or the next is able to squeeze and dismantle or weaken the 2nd Amendment we could be toast. More strokes of color… China moves into North Korea to help any unrest of it’s ally Kim Jong-un then South Korea then to Japan then Alaska then Canada closing all oil flow…then the juggler the USA. By no means am I suggesting actual boots on the ground or a time frame the steps could be years apart and or economic ones, all depends on what else is going on in the world stage…..No one should think it is NOT plausible, remember the good phase something like “Pride comes first, before the fall.” When people say, “Oh that will never happen.” They are speaking in pride of self-strength-wisdom-wealth-understanding of history… That’s not a pretty picture at all. It is my belief that, We the USA must remain as the Super Power defind as Economy, Militarily and Real Leadership so we can be the Police-Dogs of the world because as of NOW no one else can be trusted…Our leadership now is only in title not in action….I don’t think we have much more time…..time is not on our side…..Time for the, “We The People” to wake the Heck UP….

    • @TonyGee. It seems like only you and I worry about the rise of China. Everyone else is blind to its implications. I don’t take such a dark view of what they are up to. There are looking after their own interests and I would probably do pretty much the same in their situation after b 200 years of other countries pushing them around. But the US has its interests and needs to look after them too. Actually Russia and China are the most likely adversaries for each other. Not many people know that in 1969 the Soviet Union planned to start a nuclear war with China over their boundary disputes which given Siberia is almost empty of people and China is right next door and overcrowded, needs the minerals, is going to continue to be a big issue. Anyway, Nixon told the Soviets that the US would back China in such a war and the Soviets backed off. Nixon got nothing for this from China then or afterwards.

      The Second Amendment is a red herring. No bunch of individualist gun owners have ever stood a chance against an organized army. Not in WW2, not in the American War of Independence and the modern weapons would make mincemeat of lone gun men as the Germans showed in France in 1870.

      The real issue is to ensure the US has strong manufacturing as in a war you can’t order steel from your enemy. The US military is hugely wasteful and not spending money on the right new weapon systems. The F-22 is already inferior to the Russian Su-35S. Most Russian missile systems (and sold to China) are now superior: air-to-air, ground-to-air and anti-ship. The US is totally asleep about this, thinking that defeating 1980s era Soviet defenses twice in Iraq means all is well. The Russians and Chinese have learned and move on fast. The Chinese have 2500 miles of underground tunnels to put their airforce, missiles, even navy in so they are invulnerable as no one knows where in the tunnel system stuff is.

      I think the US squandered its resources in Iraq and Afghanistan which are side shows. $4 trillion better spent on new weapon systems or at home on our crumbling infrastructure or on scientific research and education which is what the Chinese pour money into. And the US has not really kept tight with its allies round the world. The only hope of containing China is strong alliances with India, Japan, Phillipines, Vietnam, South Korea, Taiwan and Western Europe. Not to attack China but just to let her know that she has to be a lawful player. If Putin weren’t running Russia, Russia would be part of the alliance as they are far more threatened by China than the US. And always remember the US has many more nuclear weapons than China. China is not coming our way in my lifetime, but we have to think long term and the key to that is to strengthen the US economy and that needs strategy. Leaving it to Wall Street and the big corporations is insane, as the latter are the ones that built up China and outsourced jobs there. Not much sign of Republicans or Democrats getting this issue. Thanks for your comments.

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