We Are Not Liberals

Townhall has posted a list of 10 Differences Between Conservatives and Liberals by John Hawkins. Reviewing his list of the ten beliefs held by liberals I found that I do not hold a single one of the beliefs he describes.

How shocking. I am obviously guilty of false advertising in the title of this blog. Based upon their list I couldn’t possibly be a liberal. Zero out of ten is a pretty convincing score. I’m sure conservative publications would never stoop to mischaracterizing the views of their opponents in order to make themselves appear to offer the only reasonable solution and to avoid real debate on the issues.

I’d provide examples here, but this list is well worth reading in its entirety to get the full effect of the descriptions of the beliefs. I will add a brief run down of their ten differences (along with a bonus item) to clarify the real differences, but these would be more understandable if read after the bogus claims at Townhall.

Bonus: Conservatives see judges as “activist judges” if they come up with rulings they disapprove of, but Republicans have been the most active at seeking judges who will back their ideology in their rulings. Liberals see judges as one part of a government with three separate parts which ideally might be used to preserve liberty and prevent infringements on our freedoms by the other branches.

10) Liberals aren’t concerned with taking guns from law abiding citizens, but are more likely to support reasonable restrictions such as background checks. Conservatives typically oppose any restrictions on gun ownership, and fail to see that there are disadvantages as well as advantages to guns. Many conservatives have taken this to the point of absurdity in advocating that college students carry concealed weapons in the hopes of preventing incidents such as the recent shootings at Virginia Tech. Liberals, unlike conservatives, recognize that the Bill of Rights includes more than just the right to bear arms.

9 ) Hawkins claims conservatives believe in a color blind society, except that their color blind society turns out to be overwhelmingly one color. Anyone really think that it is a coincidence that a map of the red states is virtually identical to a map of the former slave-owning states?

8 ) Being a business owner, I got the biggest laugh out of the line that, “Liberals are socialists who view successful business owners as people who cheated the system somehow or got lucky.” Republican policies to use government to benefit the large corporations which donate the most to them is not true capitalism. Support of a market economy is one of the basic principles of liberalism, even if a handful were seduced by socialistic economic principles which have largely died off.

7 ) Conservatives have a hypocritical and nonsensical view of the development of life. Generally they claim life starts at conception, failing to realize that we are dealing with a continuum of development, which justifies their opposition to a woman’s right to control her own body, as well as opposition to stem cell research. Not only are they absurd in failing to distinguish the difference between an embryo and “an innocent child,” they are not even consistent, as is more clearly seen in their views on stem cell research. The Bush administration opposes establishment of new lines for stem cell research and opposes federal funding, yet it is legal to perform research on certain cell lines, legal for research to be done with state or private funds, and it is legal for fertility clinics to discard unused embryos. Logically, either destroying an embryo is murder, and should be prevented in all cases, or destruction of an embryo is not the killing of “an innocent child.”

6 ) Liberals advocated action against al Qaeda well before 9/11, while conservatives opposed such action. Since 9/11 conservatives have tried to cover up their failings by promoting nonsense such as this. Conservatives responded to 9/11 by attacking the wrong country. Liberals support a combination of military action, intelligence, law enforcement, and diplomacy. While Hawkins ignores the benefits of law enforcement, to date this has been the most effective means of preventing terrorist attacks before they could occur. Waiting until after the attack, and then attacking the wrong country, only creates more potential terrorists.

5 ) Government spending and deficits have grown more under Republicans than Democrats in most recent administrations. Nobody likes taxes, but liberals understand, as conservatives used to, that the deficits being run up by Republicans erode our wealth. Conservatives see virtually all government spending as bad, while liberals recognize that creation of wealth is dependent upon an infrastructure which requires a certain level of spending and taxation. Claims that liberals will raise everyone’s taxes, like claims that they will take away their guns or bibles, are typical scare tactics of conservatives.

4 ) Conservatives see government as inefficient and power hungry, which is often true, but they wear blinders as to inefficiency and corruption in other sectors of society. While most things can be done best by the private sector, liberals recognize, and conservatives deny, that there are some functions which are more efficiently performed by government than individuals.

3 ) Conservative, like most authoritarian movements, hide behind false claims of being more patriotic. Liberals are the true patriots, in supporting the principles of liberty which this nation was founded upon. Liberals recognize the value of getting along with other nations, while the xenophobia of conservatives leads to delusions such as those described by Hawkins.

2 ) Liberals believe in freedom of religion, allowing everyone to worship, or not worship, as they please. Liberals recognize that such freedom of religion can only be preserved by strict separation of church and state, and was advocated by the founding fathers with the support of many religious groups which understood this. Conservatives seek to use the power of government to impose their religious views upon others.

1 ) Conservatives support policies based upon their ideology regardless of whether they have been proven to be unsuccessful. Liberals may be ideological in their support for freedom, but are far more pragmatic on economic issues. Conservatives ignore the consensus of scientific thought when it contradicts their ideology, including on biology/evolution and climate change. Many conservatives stick to claims that Saddam threatened us with WMD, or conspired with al Qaeda long after even the Bush administration gave up on these claims.

Finally, neither liberals or conservatives are monolithic groups. Other liberals might see these issues differently than how I described them–but no liberals would fit the description given by Hawkins. Even if pure liberal and conservative viewpoints could be defined, most people have a variety of viewpoints on different issues and aren’t so easily divided.

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2 Comments

  1. 1
    janet says:

    Terrific response to that ridiculous list. I know I certainly do not fit “their” definition of a liberal either–in fact, not even close.

    Wow! What a great counter list, Ron. This is worth printing out and pinning up somewhere.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Janet,

    Thanks. Perhaps the next list should be a real list of the differences between liberals and conservatives (without imititating Hawkins in resorting to such gross distortions of the views of the other side).

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