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Old 10-09-2013, 03:45 PM   #1
Rohirrim
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Default Liberalism: Boogeyman to the Right

If you're going to attack a boogeyman, you should at least know what you're talking about. Here's a good write up:
http://www.princeton.edu/~starr/arti...alismWorks.pdf

Liberalism is notoriously difficult to define. the term
has been used to describe a sprawling profusion of ideas, practices,
movements, and parties in different societies and historical
periods. Often emerging as a philosophy of opposition,
whether to feudal privilege, absolute monarchy, colonialism,
theocracy, communism, or fascism, liberalism has served, as
the word suggests, as a force for liberation, or at least liberalization—
for the opening up of channels of free initiative.


-----------------------------------------------------------------

Modern democratic liberalism developed out of the more
egalitarian aspects of the tradition and serves as the basis of
contemporary liberal politics. The relationship between liberalism
in these two phases has been predominantly cumulative: While rejecting laissez-faire economic policy, modern liberalism
continues to take the broader tradition of constitutional
liberalism as its foundation. That is why it is possible to speak
not only of the two separately but also of an overarching set of
ideas that unites them.


-------------------------------------------------------------

In describing these changes, I do not mean to suggest that
liberals from the start had a clearly developed theory guiding
reforms, much less all the right answers. Rather than formulating
policy from speculative axioms, reformers beginning in
the mid-19th century increasingly devoted themselves to the
gathering and analysis of socioeconomic data. In America, the measures adopted during the Progressive era, New Deal, and
Great Society were often ad hoc and experimental, and many
failed. But partly through better knowledge, partly by trial and
error, liberal governments discovered that certain forms of limited
state intervention could help bring the promise of a free
and just society closer to fulfillment while reducing the waste
of human and physical resources and improving economic
performance. Modern liberalism has never been ruled by a
theory in the way that free-market conservatism and Marxian
socialism have been. A pragmatic emphasis on experience and
evidence—on how things work in practice—has been critical in
making liberalism work.


-------------------------------------------------------------------

Conservatives and liberals have also responded differently
to a phenomenon that did not exist in the 18th century when
constitutional liberalism took shape: the modern corporation.
While conservatives have treated private corporations as
analogous to individuals and deserving of the same liberties,
liberals have regarded corporations as a phenomenon of power,
needing control like government itself.
The discipline of power that constitutional
liberalism imposes upon the state modern
liberalism attempts to impose on the corporation,
albeit not in the same way.


-----------------------------------------------------------------


Against all these reasons for redistribution, the liberal project
has to weigh other values. Liberalism is egalitarian in the sense
that it seeks to achieve a more equal distribution of income and
well-being than would otherwise be generated in the marketplace.
But it is not committed to achieving a perfect equality in the distribution
of goods. Equity requires that those who work harder,
take greater risks, or develop their talents to a higher degree be
able to recoup a return from their efforts. This incentive is critical
to innovation and prosperity, which redound to wider benefit.
Liberalism regards the well-being of the least well-off as a central
criterion for a just society, and it seeks to provide individuals with
some degree of protection against risks beyond their control; but
it accepts inequalities insofar as they are to everyone’s long-run
advantage, and therefore aims for sustainable growth with widely
shared gains. The pragmatic disposition of liberalism also implies
that policies cannot be derived from moral principles alone, without
regard to empirical realities. Experience shows that governments
can bring about some results more readily than others.


--------------------------------------------------------------

Shrewd as they were in achieving political power, the
Republicans of the Bush era have shown little of that genius
in using it. A conservatism that does not want to hear about
inequality or the sinking fortunes of the middle class, or about
dangers to the global environment, or about unsustainable
fiscal policies, or about gaping flaws in plans for war, may prevail
in the short run, but the realities will sooner or later make
themselves felt, as they did in 2006. A great nation cannot long
be governed by wishful and simplistic thinking, denial, obfuscation,
and deceit. Costs mount, grievances accumulate, and
there comes a reckoning.


And so on...



We've had thirty years of conservatism. Look around. See the smoking ruin?
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Old 10-09-2013, 03:49 PM   #2
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Really you guys should abandon the word "Liberal" so it can have its good name back.

Maybe something more apt like "Fairitans" or something.
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Old 10-09-2013, 03:49 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by BBII View Post
Really you guys should abandon the word "Liberal" so it can have its good name back.

Maybe something more apt like "Fairitans" or something.
In other words, "Didn't read. Will post anyway."
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Old 10-09-2013, 03:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Rohirrim View Post
In other words, "Didn't read. Will post anyway."
I read it. Pretty consistent with wishful stuff I've read before.

In reality, the only thing today's "liberals" have in common with the classical liberals of the nation's founding is the use of that word.

But they stood for individual liberty in the face of royal privilege.

The modern liberal stands for ethereal equality and fairness even if at the expense of individual liberty. Which is why they should relinquish the word. They defy it.
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Old 10-09-2013, 04:40 PM   #5
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I read it. Pretty consistent with wishful stuff I've read before.

In reality, the only thing today's "liberals" have in common with the classical liberals of the nation's founding is the use of that word.

But they stood for individual liberty in the face of royal privilege.

The modern liberal stands for ethereal equality and fairness even if at the expense of individual liberty. Which is why they should relinquish the word. They defy it.
You didn't read it all, or as usual, read it but didn't understand any of it. As the writer pointed out, classical liberalism didn't concern itself with inequality. For modern liberalism, that became a fundamental principle. And certainly not "...at the expense of individual liberty" which is just another Right Wing lie.
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Old 10-09-2013, 04:42 PM   #6
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Rohirrim View Post
You didn't read it all, or as usual, read it but didn't understand any of it. As the writer pointed out, classical liberalism didn't concern itself with inequality. For modern liberalism, that became a fundamental principle. And certainly not "...at the expense of individual liberty" which is just another Right Wing lie.
You're failing to connect the dots here.

Equality is not Liberty. At times they align. But at times they conflict. This can't be denied.

If you choose equality over liberty, you are not a liberal in the classical sense at all. And for that reason you can draw no line from today's liberals back to those.

The resemblance boils down to name alone. And only because common definitions tend to change over time.
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Old 10-09-2013, 08:37 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by BBII View Post
You're failing to connect the dots here.

Equality is not Liberty. At times they align. But at times they conflict. This can't be denied.

If you choose equality over liberty, you are not a liberal in the classical sense at all. And for that reason you can draw no line from today's liberals back to those.

The resemblance boils down to name alone. And only because common definitions tend to change over time.
Do me a favor, read the article or don't comment. Just bypass the thread.

Liberalism is egalitarian in the sense
that it seeks to achieve a more equal distribution of income and
well-being than would otherwise be generated in the marketplace.
But it is not committed to achieving a perfect equality in the distribution
of goods. Equity requires that those who work harder,
take greater risks, or develop their talents to a higher degree be
able to recoup a return from their efforts. This incentive is critical
to innovation and prosperity, which redound to wider benefit.
Liberalism regards the well-being of the least well-off as a central
criterion for a just society, and it seeks to provide individuals with
some degree of protection against risks beyond their control; but
it accepts inequalities insofar as they are to everyone’s long-run
advantage, and therefore aims for sustainable growth with widely
shared gains.


And just to clarify, unequal economics can certainly determine a person's sense of their own liberty, and not only just their sense of it, but the reality. What is liberty to a starving man?

Last edited by Rohirrim; 10-09-2013 at 08:46 PM..
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:49 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Rohirrim View Post
Do me a favor, read the article or don't comment. Just bypass the thread.

Liberalism is egalitarian in the sense
that it seeks to achieve a more equal distribution of income and
well-being than would otherwise be generated in the marketplace.
But it is not committed to achieving a perfect equality in the distribution
of goods. Equity requires that those who work harder,
take greater risks, or develop their talents to a higher degree be
able to recoup a return from their efforts. This incentive is critical
to innovation and prosperity, which redound to wider benefit.
Liberalism regards the well-being of the least well-off as a central
criterion for a just society, and it seeks to provide individuals with
some degree of protection against risks beyond their control; but
it accepts inequalities insofar as they are to everyone’s long-run
advantage, and therefore aims for sustainable growth with widely
shared gains.


And just to clarify, unequal economics can certainly determine a person's sense of their own liberty, and not only just their sense of it, but the reality. What is liberty to a starving man?
Your problem is the same problem many (modern) liberals have with (modern) conservatives. You think we either don't understand what you want or want what you want. It's not that we don't understand what you want. Or want what you want. It's that we believe what you want isn't achievable by any artificial human construct.

And we believe that the effort to conform society to that artificial construct will do more harm than leaving each man (like your starving dude) to the pursuit of happiness, or ramen noodles, maybe some bread, or even a steak and baked potato.

Just as the Declaration worded it, and for good reason. Liberty frees you to pursue happiness. But it doesn't do free in-home delivery and setup.
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Old 10-10-2013, 06:55 AM   #10
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Your problem is the same problem many (modern) liberals have with (modern) conservatives. You think we either don't understand what you want or want what you want. It's not that we don't understand what you want. Or want what you want. It's that we believe what you want isn't achievable by any artificial human construct.

And we believe that the effort to conform society to that artificial construct will do more harm than leaving each man (like your starving dude) to the pursuit of happiness, or ramen noodles, maybe some bread, or even a steak and baked potato.

Just as the Declaration worded it, and for good reason. Liberty frees you to pursue happiness. But it doesn't do free in-home delivery and setup.
Once again, you misunderstand. It has nothing to do with what anybody "wants." It has to do with what is best.

BTW, there is no government you can conceive of that is not an "artifical construct." For the last thirty years, America has stumbled and fallen under the supply side/deregulation/tax-cuts-for-the-rich artificial constructs of the Right. Every time in history that this type of conservatism has been tried, it has not only failed, but failed in the same way, creating massive inequality usually accompanied by greed-based market crashes.

As the professor who wrote this paper points out, to expect perfection out of government is a fool's errand. What you can do is create a society that simply does the best for the most. This is called "enlightened self-interest." That is not going to happen, ever, in a conservative/libertarian model where the basic theme is king-of-the-hill. Rational self-interest, also known as greed, is fundamentally immoral. So is simple selfishness. To establish a society, or a government, on either of those premises is self-defeating. Why? Because at their core (and behavioral science has proven this over and over again), human beings are altruistic.
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Old 10-10-2013, 11:44 AM   #11
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Funny thing is liberals like to believe they are for equality, but even their own are sellouts to the big corporations they demean, but then turn around and do their bidding and make deals with them. Government is good, well only when democrats are in charge of course. War is bad, unless a democrat signs off on it of course. Today's liberals are more fascists than anything else.
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Old 10-10-2013, 12:26 PM   #12
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Once again, you misunderstand. It has nothing to do with what anybody "wants." It has to do with what is best.

BTW, there is no government you can conceive of that is not an "artifical construct." For the last thirty years, America has stumbled and fallen under the supply side/deregulation/tax-cuts-for-the-rich artificial constructs of the Right. Every time in history that this type of conservatism has been tried, it has not only failed, but failed in the same way, creating massive inequality usually accompanied by greed-based market crashes.

As the professor who wrote this paper points out, to expect perfection out of government is a fool's errand. What you can do is create a society that simply does the best for the most. This is called "enlightened self-interest." That is not going to happen, ever, in a conservative/libertarian model where the basic theme is king-of-the-hill. Rational self-interest, also known as greed, is fundamentally immoral. So is simple selfishness. To establish a society, or a government, on either of those premises is self-defeating. Why? Because at their core (and behavioral science has proven this over and over again), human beings are altruistic.
I'm glad you framed it that way because it boils down to one of the best descriptions I've ever read about the most common core difference between a Liberal and a Conservative. I'll have to find out where I read it someday, I've looked for it again before and couldn't find it.

Anyway, it comes down to what you believe about humanity and human nature.

Liberals tend to believe in the possibility that society (and mankind with it) is on a journey towards perfecting itself. And that society released from the restraints of the past (ie tradition) will discover ever better ways to do things until eventually most of the problems today cease to exist, or at least dramatically improve. They tend to view tradition with skepticism, and often see them as plain mechanisms of social control.

Conservatives tend to believe human nature itself is flawed and that values and traditions often serve as a necessary check or balance on our innate flaws. Mankind released from the restraints of the past may well fall into the terrible consequence of his own ignorance. The traditions we have today are often based on the lessons hard-learned by those who came before. Venturing away from those traditions should usually be done with very careful caution and deliberation.

Now, as for the specifics about greed and immorality, you're right to say that there is immorality there. Unfortunately, mankind is always an ill-equipped judge. It's impossible as an individual for you to put yourself as the judge of your neighbor.

So you say we choose representatives, who should serve as the moral judges of society. Unfortunately, there are no truly objective judges. They're all human too. And given time and space, those judges will tend to find morality in their own interests, and immorality in the interests of those opposed to them. This is why socialist experiments always end in a favored political class. Trading the nobility for the politburo. It's the inevitable road.
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Old 10-12-2013, 02:43 AM   #13
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I'm glad you framed it that way because it boils down to one of the best descriptions I've ever read about the most common core difference between a Liberal and a Conservative. I'll have to find out where I read it someday, I've looked for it again before and couldn't find it.

Anyway, it comes down to what you believe about humanity and human nature.

Liberals tend to believe in the possibility that society (and mankind with it) is on a journey towards perfecting itself. And that society released from the restraints of the past (ie tradition) will discover ever better ways to do things until eventually most of the problems today cease to exist, or at least dramatically improve. They tend to view tradition with skepticism, and often see them as plain mechanisms of social control.

Conservatives tend to believe human nature itself is flawed and that values and traditions often serve as a necessary check or balance on our innate flaws. Mankind released from the restraints of the past may well fall into the terrible consequence of his own ignorance. The traditions we have today are often based on the lessons hard-learned by those who came before. Venturing away from those traditions should usually be done with very careful caution and deliberation.

Now, as for the specifics about greed and immorality, you're right to say that there is immorality there. Unfortunately, mankind is always an ill-equipped judge. It's impossible as an individual for you to put yourself as the judge of your neighbor.

So you say we choose representatives, who should serve as the moral judges of society. Unfortunately, there are no truly objective judges. They're all human too. And given time and space, those judges will tend to find morality in their own interests, and immorality in the interests of those opposed to them. This is why socialist experiments always end in a favored political class. Trading the nobility for the politburo. It's the inevitable road.
That's a load of old codswallop, as our U.K. friends say.

Life goes forward - not backward.

Change is the only constant.

Point to any step forward in human evolution, in any arena, and some conservative or other has invariably opposed it.

The conservative mindset is fundamentally opposed to life on life's terms.
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Old 10-12-2013, 03:22 AM   #14
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That's a load of old codswallop, as our U.K. friends say.

Life goes forward - not backward.

Change is the only constant.

Point to any step forward in human evolution, in any arena, and some conservative or other has invariably opposed it.

The conservative mindset is fundamentally opposed to life on life's terms.
Sorry man

The Survival of the Fittest highway does not end in Utopia. Hate to break that to ya.

Anyway. What I'm saying is that this is a fundamental difference in how you and I, liberal and conservative view the world. Its the point where debate is pointless because we'll never come to truly understand one another.

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Old 10-12-2013, 08:06 AM   #15
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Conservatism is mainly about rationalizing privilege, accepting Original Sin, and enforcing tradition because it's tradition. Nothing Beavis wrote contradicts those statements.
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Old 10-12-2013, 08:11 AM   #16
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Conservatism is mainly about rationalizing privilege, accepting Original Sin, and enforcing tradition because it's tradition. Nothing Beavis wrote contradicts those statements.
That's what I was thinking. Sounds downright OT.
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Old 10-12-2013, 01:17 PM   #17
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Conservatism is mainly about rationalizing privilege, accepting Original Sin, and enforcing tradition because it's tradition. Nothing Beavis wrote contradicts those statements.
Modern Liberalism is about unrelenting envy, blind naivety to the infinitely proven weakness of man, and popping a squat on tradition because it's tradition.

See how easy that is.

I didn't really want another one of your pissing matches, Wagsy. I'm just trying to point out that there's a fundamentally different perspective to have on the nature of the world. One that seems just as 'right' to the people who believe it as you believe yourself to be.

Which you of all people should know.

Anyway, there is a reasoning behind it more than just 'rationalizing privilege' Just as there's a reasoning behind liberalism beyond covetousness. We just believe different things. But there's no reason to hate people over it.

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Old 10-12-2013, 01:44 PM   #18
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Modern Liberalism is about unrelenting envy, blind naivety to the infinitely proven weakness of man, and popping a squat on tradition because it's tradition.

See how easy that is.

I didn't really want another one of your pissing matches, Wagsy. I'm just trying to point out that there's a fundamentally different perspective to have on the nature of the world. One that seems just as 'right' to the people who believe it as you believe yourself to be.

Which you of all people should know.

Anyway, there is a reasoning behind it more than just 'rationalizing privilege' Just as there's a reasoning behind liberalism beyond covetousness. We just believe different things. But there's no reason to hate people over it.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts.

Opinions without factual backing are worthless. Opinions substantiated by facts are worth considering.

One of the problems with conservatives is that they're too accepting of certain views and dismissive of others because the views they like happen to be old, and the ones they don't like happen to be new, or, alter the old views. I far too often hear conservatives excuse something that's wrong because it's always been done that way - as if that means anything.

Conservatives, oddly proudly, insist that they're the ones who say "Stop!" or "No!" when things change. Given the truism that change is the only constant, refusing to accept or accommodate change, just because it is change, is a flawed position to take. Now, I do not mean that change is always for the good. That's obvious. But to resist change merely because is it change is pointless. One has to look at the change and examine it to see if it's good or bad, before accepting or resisting it. Conservatives too often mindlessly resist change.
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Old 10-12-2013, 03:23 PM   #19
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Labels are usually a bad thing in politics.

I would vote either republican, democrat or independent.


We need policies to help everyone.

CEOs shouldn't make 400 times an employee.

Rich people don't need more tax breaks especially when we tried that over and

over and we have people starving.


In other words vote for whats right and moral and good for everyone.


I don't care for the religious right quoting the Bible and then voting

and lobbying to screw over the poor over and over.

That isn't moral or religious.
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Old 10-12-2013, 03:29 PM   #20
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Sorry man

The Survival of the Fittest highway does not end in Utopia. Hate to break that to ya.

Anyway. What I'm saying is that this is a fundamental difference in how you and I, liberal and conservative view the world. Its the point where debate is pointless because we'll never come to truly understand one another.

What he is saying is republican conservatives fought to stop SS and Medicare so no wonder they don't want healthcare.

Republican states get much more government money than democrat states on average.

Conservatives want you to work for minimum wage which won't pay the bills so all the conservative poor people need food stamps.

Force you to have that baby but won't help you feed it after.

Kinda conflicting, isn't it.

Conservatism seems to be no government unless it is government that helps that person specifically.

Conservatism is kinda selfish, huh ?

Greedy too...............
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Old 10-12-2013, 09:17 PM   #21
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The Survival of the Fittest...
A concept conservatives use to justify greed, selfishness, abuse of power and a sociopathic indifference to the plight of those less fortunate than themselves.

A rationalization that refuses to set the moral or ethical bar higher for humans than for other animal species.

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Utopia.
Not present in the language used by the framers or founders/proponents of democracy. In fact, just the opposite is true, i.e., democracy is always acknowledged as a fledgling idea and a recent experiment in human history.

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Anyway. What I'm saying is that this is a fundamental difference in how you and I, liberal and conservative view the world. Its the point where debate is pointless because we'll never come to truly understand one another.
Conservatives aren't hard to understand.

They are simply selfish, greedy people who resist change, i.e., the natural order of things.
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Old 10-12-2013, 09:22 PM   #22
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What he is saying is republican conservatives fought to stop SS and Medicare so no wonder they don't want healthcare.

Republican states get much more government money than democrat states on average.

Conservatives want you to work for minimum wage which won't pay the bills so all the conservative poor people need food stamps.

Force you to have that baby but won't help you feed it after.

Kinda conflicting, isn't it.

Conservatism seems to be no government unless it is government that helps that person specifically.

Conservatism is kinda selfish, huh ?

Greedy too...............
Yep.

And I'm not just talking about modern conservatism in America.

Name practically any advancement in human civilization, arts, sciences, culture, etc., and conservative forces have almost invariably opposed it.
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Old 10-12-2013, 10:41 PM   #23
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Yep.

And I'm not just talking about modern conservatism in America.

Name practically any advancement in human civilization, arts, sciences, culture, etc., and conservative forces have almost invariably opposed it.
Change does not equal Progress. Ask Chairman Mao. Oh wait, he was a "progressive."
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Old 10-13-2013, 03:41 AM   #24
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Liberals tend to believe in the possibility that society (and mankind with it) is on a journey towards perfecting itself.
Objectively, it is. This is not to say that we will achieve perfection (fat chance with an inherently flawed starting position), but do you deny that modern Western society is better than those societies that came before and those societies that still cling to "traditional" ideas like monarchy and theocracy?

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And that society released from the restraints of the past (ie tradition) will discover ever better ways to do things until eventually most of the problems today cease to exist, or at least dramatically improve. They tend to view tradition with skepticism, and often see them as plain mechanisms of social control.
You are correct here. What you describe is, again, exactly what has happened throughout history. The only way to improve ourselves is not to stick to things dogmatically, but to always be examining, testing and striving to improve based on evidence. Saying you won't break with tradition simply because it's tradition is foolhardy.

This does not mean we should reject tradition simply for being tradition either.

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Conservatives tend to believe human nature itself is flawed and that values and traditions often serve as a necessary check or balance on our innate flaws. Mankind released from the restraints of the past may well fall into the terrible consequence of his own ignorance. The traditions we have today are often based on the lessons hard-learned by those who came before. Venturing away from those traditions should usually be done with very careful caution and deliberation.
Conservatives tend to stick to idea not because they can be objectively shown to be better, but simply because they are viewed as traditional. The proof is in the pudding on this. Take marriage for example. What's the argument against gay marriage? That traditional marriage is better. Why? Because God said so.

Nevermind for a moment that the modern form of marriage in the U.S. is anything BUT historically traditional, nor does it resemble what the Bible laid out, nor does God exist. Conservatives latch on to the one man+one woman definition of marriage simply because they believe it is traditional, which is what they really mean when they say "because God said so".
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Old 10-13-2013, 05:38 AM   #25
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Change does not equal Progress.
But if and when it does, you can always count on some conservative to oppose it.

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Ask Chairman Mao. Oh wait, he was a "progressive."
Odds are you believe Hitler was a socialist as well.

Thanks, Fox News.
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