Monday, February 18, 2008

Conservatism Versus Liberalism - One Man's Perspective

I have spent some time recently reading the blogs of self-described liberal women. I have once again been reminded of the definite similarity between the internal perspectives of their values and my own. They want people to be well cared for, and their fellow man to do well. They want to see injustices in the system reduced or removed, and they want to take care of their own needs while still not stepping on others to accomplish it. In short, all of us of care about the world around us a great deal, and we want to make a better world for our children to grow up in. The difference, in my opinion, comes in the outward projection of those inward designs.

For the most part, I find liberals prefer to mandate compliance with laws to affect a change in the world. They want the government to force corporations to do what the market will not. They want the government to supply insurance (and thereby health care) when the insurance agencies will not. They want to give those who are less fortunate a government handout - derived from taxing others - to help those who don't make enough to take care of themselves and their children. They look to the government to create logical retirement solutions in programs like Social Security and Medicare. In short, they prefer government regulations and government programs when the time comes to solve a problem.

As a conservative, I prefer to find solutions that encourage private entities and individuals to solve problems. I prefer to change the world by increasing opportunities for education and employment to encourage people to take care of themselves. I would rather cut taxes and regulations on employers (most often, corporations) to allow them to employ people at more suitable wages and charge prices more reasonable for all. I would like to give insurance companies tax breaks as an incentive to offer broader coverages to all people. I would rather the government allow people to save their own money for retirement in lieu of paying for Social Security. I can concede that mandating they put money into a retirement account to avoid payroll taxes would be a suitable first step, but I again prefer not to force people to take care of themselves through taxation. I believe the government has created numerous programs that hamper the market's ability to meet more people's needs. I believe excessive regulations and corporate taxes have driven jobs overseas, when removing the corporate taxes would likely promote an influx of jobs to this country.

I think liberals and conservatives both want to help their fellow man. They just go about it in very different ways. Liberals want the government to handle the job by taxing the haves and sharing with the have nots. Conservatives want to help people learn to take care of themselves, and for the government to primarily provide for the safety of individuals from criminals and foreign threats but otherwise leave people alone. I know I have oversimplified the arguments and viewpoints of both sides. My point is to look for common ground - the desire to help others - and to work toward that common goal with solutions that will work. I am willing to listen to both sides, with the understanding that I want to be listened to when I make my suggestions. The time has come that we forget the tension the media builds up for the sake of a good story and move forward as one people. Otherwise, we'll continue to be mired in the growing problems of economics, health care, national security, and individual rights. I want to start building a better tomorrow now, instead of waiting for catastrophe. Who's with me?

-- Robert


le35 said...

I'm all about building a better tomorrow. I'm all about getting the problems solved. The thing is: I think that it's the people's responsibility to solve the problem. The government is not supposed to be strong enough to solve these problems. It's not their job. If I could choose to give my own money to charities instead of paying taxes to pass on in place of charities, I would do it. I donate quite often, and I always donate more than just my tithes to a church with a HUGE humanitarian effort. I believe it's the charities' job to take care of people and not the governments job. However, I agree that we just plain have to find a solution based on helping people want to take care of themselves.

Robert said...

I absolutely agree that I do not want government involved in solutions to our problems if at all possible. My preference of government solution is always a reduced regulation or a tax break over a payout. Tomorrow's post on health care will show what I mean when it comes to health care, but the same applies to other programs. Want to help the poor? Cut corporate taxes to allow them to hire more people. Want to help people retire safely? Get rid of Social Security for anyone who asks to get out. Want to help fuel research? Cut taxes on companies researching fuel sources. Want to help the consumer deal with the rising price of gas? Make the federal tax on gasoline flat, or elminate it, or at least cut the percentage basis down. Tax cuts work, and they help more people than increased taxes ever can. Taxes take money out of the system, which slows growth. Tax cuts keep more money in the system, which promotes growth, which promotes more job opportunities, home purchasing opportunities, and investment opportunities.

All that said, I still see a place where people can receive help. I obviously agree with what groups my wife likes to give to, as we both contribute to our church who has a world-class reputation for helping people get out of tough situations, helping people get educated, and responding to disasters.

Hopefully tomorrow's post will spark more interest from dissenting, or at least different, points of view. Thanks for the contribution.

melissa said...

A little oversimplification, but not too far off the mark. I just wish that others were more interesting in working with the similarities and not magnifying the differences. It would make a huge difference in what could actually be accomplished.

Robert said...

Wouldn't it, though? I suppose when I examine how peacemakers like McCain and Lieberman are villified for working across party lines, I can begin to understand why more people are unwilling to do it. I can also understand, though, why Washington so often becomes a club of sorts, where people forget the politics and enjoy the relationships. Unfortunately, not too much gets accomplished in their club. I could probably deal with McCain or Obama fairly well as the next president simply because they both seem the most interested in working across party lines to accomplish their goals. Clinton just plain scares me, and Huckabee is unelectable, even though his biggest single issue (originally) was one of my most important: the FairTax.

Without a huge groundswell of grassroots voters who move outside of the party infrastructure, though, I'm not sure what can get done. I just hope to start the ball rolling here.

Julie Pippert said...

I think you're right that the goals and values are similar, but the difference is how to achieve times.

Robert said...

Yes, there are still worlds of difference in some actual issues, but too many other issues are lumped in to "partisan politics". Conservatives don't love pollution and hate the environment automatically, nor do liberals automatically agree with legalized abortion. There can be common ground, but the media wants none of it, and the political parties want none of it. I would just rather move past partisanship and toward progress in solving real problems.