Applying Concepts of Conservatism and Liberalism
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Applying Concepts of Conservatism and Liberalism
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Discussion Thread: Applying Concepts of Conservatism and Liberalism THREAD: First, visit the website for National Review Online. This is a leading conservative magazine and articles are written from various points on the conservative spectrum. Occasionally, it may disagree with a point on the lecture outline of liberal and conservative views. Select an article to review. You may select an article from Real Clear Politics. Select an article that is at least 800 words. The article may not be more than six months old. Provide the author, title, and complete url address of the article. Second, review the Reading & Study concepts on conservatism and liberalism. You must refer to the Reading & Study materials to receive full credit. Third, identify the key themes of the article. Compare these with what you have learned about conservatism and liberalism in the video presentation. What conservative ideas are expressed in the article? Why do you call them conservative? What liberal ideas are expressed in the article? Why do you call them liberal? Fourth, your thread must consist of 2 paragraphs. In the first paragraph, summarize the content of the article and identify the thesis. In the second paragraph, give the analysis, explaining why the article should be considered conservative or liberal based on the presentations. Remember: Do not simply summarize the article. Instead, analyze its main ideas. Demonstrate that you can apply the conceptual material provided in the presentation outline and your textbook to actual writings you might encounter outside of this course. Client: Part of liberalism and conservatism Part 1: Hello. Today we’re going to develop a topic which is the basis of your assignment for this week, but is really not covered in your textbook. And so it’ll be a little bit longer presentation that some of the others we’ll have to do this in breaking it down into parts. But we’re looking at the idea of what’s the difference between a liberal and a conservative? And when I do this in class on the campus of liberty, I always begin by giving the students the disclaimer or warning if you wish, that the outline you’re going to see that will differentiate liberal and conservative is my own. I’m defining the terms by the process known as enumeration of the parts. In other words, I’m listing an outline and giving you topics with a liberal and conservative take on either side. That is, one less that’s out there. But one of the problems with this topic, liberal and conservative, is that there are different people who understand the term differently. There are varieties of conservatives and varieties of liberals. If you go to a convention of conservatives, you’ll often find them arguing amongst themselves. And likewise, if you went to a convention of liberals, they may argue amongst themselves. But the outline that I’ll give you today is a fairly common breakdown of the differences between liberal and conservative. And the majority of points would be accepted by the majority of people, both from liberal and conservative perspective. And it’ll be our guideline for what we use for this course. Now, let’s take a look at the first topic. I chose to begin with the idea of law. I call the nature of law. Where does law come from? And when I say law, I want to be clear that I’m not talking about the speed limit or I’m not talking about how much you have to pay in income taxes. I’m talking about broad moral principles. What’s right and what’s wrong. If you’re a conservative, the odds are, you’ll say that law is discovered rather than made. And of course that sentence implies something. If laws discovered, that means we found it. It must exist already before we come upon it. So law exist before men. That introduces what is often referred to as doctrines of higher law were natural law. In other words, there’s a law higher than anything that man is made. We seek to discover it and apply it to our circumstances. It also carries the implication that there are such things as moral absolutes. And these moral absolutes are not going to change from time to place. If something is wrong, it will be wrong. Nail, it was wrong 1000 years ago. It will be wrong in the future, regardless of what place you are in the world. If you’re a liberal, the odds are that you feel that law is made rather than discovered. That would imply something to, that would imply that law is a human creation. Now, if he take the point of view that laws a human creation, then it follows that there are no such thing as moral absolutes. Moral principles are changeable. And that helps to explain some of the controversies that we have today. In my lifetime. I’ve seen certain things change. For example, when I was growing up, there really was no dispute over the issues that are hot-button issues today. For example, abortion. When I was an elementary school, the topic was never raised. It was not debated among political parties. It wasn’t argued about because there was a consensus view. Abortion was wrong. During my lifetime. I’ve seen that consensus break down. Now, if, if you believe there are moral absolutes, you would say, well now that can’t change. But if you believe that laws made rather than discovered, it’s not inconsistent to say that. Well, perhaps it was wrong 50 years ago because most people didn’t accept it, but they changed their mind. And today it is okay because a majority does accept it. So there’s a fundamental divide there. These moral principles, are they changeable or the absolutes? Where did they come from? Do we make them, or do we discover them? And that’s a fundamental divide that will separate liberals and conservatives. Second that I’ll take a look at is, what about people? What are we like in the area that we refer to as human nature? What are people basically like in terms of their, their moral makeup? I’ll take liberal first this time. And liberals typically believe that people are good nature. Now that raises an issue and you say, Well, if people are basically good by nature, Arthur, murders aren’t their child abusers, aren’t there all kinds of criminals in the world, and that’s undeniable. We look at perhaps a drug dealer who sells drugs to young people. And you say, Well, how can a person like that have a conscience and how could they be good by nature? An answer that’s often given as well. People are good by nature, but they may be corrupted by their environment. And I realize here I have to pause and say now what I mean by environment. I’m not talking about what, the way we use it today, that they breathe too much carbon dioxide or something. I’m talking about the circumstances under which they grew up. Maybe a person is good by nature, but he grew up, I grew up in poverty. He grew up on a boat, broken home or dysfunctional home, or perhaps his parents were alcoholics or drug addicts or whatever. And he didn’t have the kind of upbringing that would instill moral principles in him. And so he went off in the wrong direction. So a person is good by nature, but corrupted by the circumstances in which he finds himself. And this has implications, and it has an implications for the political process because what you’ll find is a person’s good by nature. And then you say, well, if they’re good by nature, how can we combat these, these harmful effects? And you say, Oh, well, if the corrupted by the environment, maybe we should just change the environment. And who would be the we? Well, of course we’re talking about the government. The flip side. Conservative. Conservatives tend to believe that people are basically flawed by nature. And I gave a couple of biblical verses that you’re most likely familiar with. And in the outline here, I’m sure you understand that, that, that’s something that has a Christian origin to it. Particularly, the essence of this goes all the way back to the beginning of the human race Genesis Chapter 3, the story of original sin. And the idea that we still bear the effects of that original sin and how it affects our character. Now, if you believe that human nature is fallen and corrupted, then the logical conclusion is that, yes, we would like to see everyone grow up in a good environment. But that’s not going to solve all our problems because the problem ultimately is within us, not outside as in the environment. So conservatives tend to be pessimistic as to what can be accomplished by government programs related to this. And I think these things often develop in a logical pattern. And if you’ve followed through, you can see how one builds on another. What about the size of government? How big should government be? All right, I’ll go with liberal first here. And the idea, What would a liberal think of government? Well, people are basically good. Government is essentially a group of good people who were trying to do good things for us. That sounds desirable. And so therefore, what we want is bigger and better government, why it can do more good things. And especially this comes up in the area of economics. Government can help meet all our economic needs and it’s going to do good things for us. So let’s expand it. And people are basically good. So therefore, the people who were in government can be trusted. They can be trusted to do good things for us. All right, we’ll flip the coin again and we’ll look at conservatives. Conservatives take precisely the opposite point of view. That government is best which governs least. Why? Well, the essence of what, what conservatives want to do is limit government to its basic constitutional functions. And behind that is the view of human nature that people are flawed. It doesn’t make any difference if they’re in government. They still bear the marks of original sin and maybe are not completely trustworthy. The idea might be, what is the government going to do today rather than what will they do for me? And I like to throw out the, the joke that Ronald Reagan used to use frequently he would say, What are the most frightening words in the English language? And as a joke, he would say, the most frightening words are, hi, I’m from the government and I’m here to help. Now to a liberal, they would say, Well, that’s wonderful to a conservative, they would say run for cover. So there’s a fundamentally different view on what you think the government should be doing. If you’re a conservative, you think that people are basically flawed and we can’t trust the government with too much power. Now what about, I’m going to go to the next one that the Constitution. What do liberals and conservatives think about the Constitution? Take conservative first. And that will say that conservatives value the Constitution. Okay? But the dividing point comes in that conservatives typically take a literal interpretation of the Constitution. By literal, I mean, they read the document to mean what it says. And think that we should follow precisely what it says. If we can’t, then we use the amending process and change it. If we don’t understand what the Constitution means in a certain place, we go back to what it meant to the people who wrote it. We call that original intent. How do we know? Well, they left enough writings that we can study those and understand what it meant to the people who wrote it. So we follow the Constitution as it’s written and by what it meant to the people who wrote it. If it becomes a problem and we can’t do that, we use the amending process and we change it. The flip side here, the liberal, we would say there, yes, a liberal values the constitution as well. But they understand it in a fundamentally different way. Namely, that they take a less literal interpretation of the Constitution. By that, we mean that they don’t necessarily feel that you have to follow the exact meaning of the words in the constitution. We can reinterpret those words, make them mean what we want them to mean today without the bother of having to amend the constitution. The constitution is often called a living document, which means, well, it might have met one thing to one group of people and another thing to another group of people. And so hence, the constitution means whatever the Supreme Court says, it means today. One of the famous judges of the Supreme Court. About a 100 years ago, Oliver Wendell Holmes said in one of his books that the constitution should reflect the felt necessities of the times. In other words, it means whatever we feel like we need it to mean. And that can mean one thing to one generation, other thing to another generation. Conservatives would then say, well then you don’t have any fixed constitution, and that’s an area of a battleground. Alright. Take a look also at the issue of equality. What do we mean by equality? Both liberals and conservatives accept this principle because it’s in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal. But what do we mean? Certainly, we don’t all have the same abilities, the same talents. We don’t all have the same ambition. So we’re not equal in every sense, but in what sense are we equal? That the conservatives take a little bit more limited view on us. And some of the things that they do think are in the area of equality would be equality of opportunity. That is that every person should have the opportunity to develop their talents and do as much as they’re capable of doing without government interference. We’ve never been completely successful in attaining this goal, but it’s a goal out there that people work towards its goal we’d like to see achieved. There’s also another dimension. It comes from the Bible. In Genesis 126. We read that the concept of imago Dei, that we’re all created in the image of God. And while we don’t fully understand what that means, we know that every human being in some way fundamentally reflects the image of their creator. And hence, they’re worthy of honor and dignity based on that principle alone. And then we would also say that people share the idea of equality. In a sense, they should be treated as equal before the law. Once again, we have an always attain that goal. But it’s a goal out there which people share in which we try to work towards. Okay, we go to the liberal side and liberals, except perhaps some of what the conservative said, but go further in some cases. And they take a less limited view of equality. Often they feel that equality of opportunity is not enough because some people will start out with an opportunity to develop, but they’ll fall behind. And some people will move out ahead. And what troubles liberals is that we end up with some people in better circumstances than others. This is particularly true when we’re talking about money and economics. So in some cases, liberals argue that we shouldn’t just have equality of opportunity, but also we should have equality of result. And that would mean that you would have not only everyone starting out at the same point, but the government would then intervene to allow people to end up as close as possible to being equal. In other words, the question becomes, should the government take the role of Robin Hood and try to equalize people out. And if you believe this, then probably you take the liberal point of view. If you feel that no equality of opportunity is enough than probably take the conservative point of view. Now, we’ll break at this point and then cover the remaining points of the outline in the second section of this lecture. PART 2: Hi, We’re picking back up on the lecture with the outline. And it was too long to fit in one segment. So we’re in part 2, but it’s still the same topic and we’re on Roman numeral six. And I’m taking the, the, the topic of private property. Now following through, we’ve already discussed the concept of equality. And to what extent do people believe in the importance of private property? I put liberal first here. And I say that to liberals, private property is less important and we’ll less than what. And the idea that you hear very often is that human rights are more important than property rights. Now of course, we know that private property has no rights. Your car doesn’t have any rights, your computer doesn’t have any rights. But do you have a right to own a car or a computer? And the idea is that the concept Human Rights is more important than the right to own property. And why would that be? Well, remember, if you believe in equality and you realize that redistribution may be necessary to achieve the goal of property. What’s going to be redistributed your property. And so therefore, equality becomes more important than right to own property if you are a liberal. One. The other hand, if you’re a conservative, the right to own private property is important. It’s, the conservative would say the right to own private property is a basic human right. And so there’d be a fundamental conflict there. Now, sometimes you’ll hear people say, Oh yes, But you know, if you’re a Christian, you can’t believe in private property. You have to be a socialist. And really there’s no biblical justification for that. In fact, if you asked, does the Bible say that we should honor the concept of private property? I would say yes. Now, there’s certainly nowhere in scripture that I know of that says you have to own private property. You can be poor and still be a very godly person. But a very fundamental passage if we go back to the Ten Commandments, were told in a negative sense concerning private property. Two things, don’t steal it and don’t covet it. If we put that in a positive light. You could say, summarize though too, by saying respect other people’s private property. And that’s expanded to chapters later in Exodus where there’s a long list of, of breakdowns of that. And in fact, even in the Book of Deuteronomy, There’s another reference to not moving the boundary stone. Boundary stone being what? That’s the marker of the edge of your property. If you wanted to have more land. And you snuck out at night and move the boundary stone marking the end of your property. You’d be stealing your neighbor’s land and adding to your own. And there’s a curse on that placed in the Bible in Deuteronomy, Chapter 19, in Chapter 27. Okay, From there, let’s expand that to the economy overall. If you’re a conservative, you probably support the idea of capitalism and free enterprise. In fact, you probably trust the private sector more than you trust the government. Why? Well, is General Motors better than the government? They’re both run by flawed people. Yes, but on the other hand, General Motors can’t put you in jail or execute you. The government can. And more fundamentally, capitalism has been successful in raising people’s living standard. I often tell my students, what about your ancestors of 1000 years ago? I don’t know anything about genealogy. Don’t know anything about my ancestors the 1000 years ago, but most likely all of our ancestors 1000 years ago were poor. Probably farmers. They probably had very little chance of bettering themselves with the Coming of Capitalism and the Industrial Revolution that all changed. And today one of the biggest challenges for college students is not, can you do anything else? But what will you do with your life? You have so many opportunities and we take so many things for granted. All flowing from the idea of capitalism. Liberals though, are often very critical of capitalism. They feel like businesses a threat to US, business might cheat US, business might pollute the environment. And so what they want is more government to regulate business and. Fact that they sometimes feel like capitalism has failed. Well, why is it failed? There are some poor people. Now at one time before capitalism then you know, everybody was poor. Now most people are middle-class in the United States, but still some people are poor. And so since not everybody is wealthy, now, capitalism is at least partially a failure. Okay, let’s take a look at the idea of what government does. Now if government has to do something, what level of government would you like to have do it? If you’re a conservative? Probably you prefer local government. Why? Local government? Closer to us? You may even know some of the elected officials in your town or your county. The likelihood that you know, the elected officials in Washington is much less. And we view the local government is having less danger to our liberty. I mean, who do you fear more of? The county commissioner of revenue or the Internal Revenue Service? So likely if you’re a conservative, you trust local government more and you stress federalism. Precisely the opposite. If you’re a liberal. If you’re a liberal, you probably prefer central government. And why? Well, if people are good and you want the government to do a lot, Let’s be efficient, which is better having 50 programs and 50 states or one program throughout the whole country. And it might be more efficient to do one program. So federalism is not a popular topic. If you’re a liberal. Take it up one step higher. National sovereignty. Sovereignty is very important word. When we say something is sovereign, we need It’s the highest power to say we have national sovereignty. We mean that the nation, the United States, is the highest authority and there’s no authority over us that tells us what to do. If you’re a conservative, you stress that idea. Conservatives tend to be Nationalist. What conservatives don’t like is world government. After all, if you prefer a local government and you’re worried about the government in Washington being too far away from you. Imagine how you feel about the United Nations. The United States has one vote out of about 200 and the United Nations General Assembly, and we don’t even get to pick who that one person is. There’s a real disconnect there. So conservatives feel that for safety sake, we must protect our national sovereignty, not surrender it. And that’s the way to protect the rights under the Constitution. Flip the coin over to liberal. And liberals tend to be internationalists. That is to say, that they typically like world government. The United Nations as an example. And they see that as something that should be encouraged or developed. The, the reason that drives that is that liberals look at problems and say, well, people are basically good if, if centralizing works at the national level, Let’s go one step beyond that. And what about problems that can’t be solved by one nation? If you’re worried about whether the whales are going to go extinct, the United States can’t pass a law to forbid that because Japan or some other country may haunt the whales, even though we don’t. World government could solve that problem and we could make whale killing illegal in the entire world. So sovereignty gets in the way of solving world problems in the view liberals related to that is the, the idea of national defense. How do we protect our country? And if you’re a conservative, you’re a nationalist and you want to protect our national sovereignty. You believe that it’s up to us to do it. That is to say, we need to rely on strong military power. Why? Because if we are strong, other people would not be likely to attack us. We can live in peace and safety. And that’s the true path to peace. Keeping a strong military. Everybody loves piece whether you’re a liberal or conservative, but how do we get there? And conservatives think peace is achieved through strength. A liberal, we’ll take the other side of the coin. And they feel that peace is achieved through disarmament. What’s the problem? Conservative would see the threat to the United States has been an aggressive nation threatening us. Liberals feel that it’s not another nation. The threatens us, It’s weapons. If there are no weapons, There’s no threats, so we just get rid of weapons. And the way we solve our problems is by trusting and larger units, world government, more power to the UN and US diplomacy, not strength. We’ll talk our way into solutions of problems rather than deterring a threat by using strength. And so national defense is a fundamental divide between liberal and conservatives. And then the one that is our end point here, I call it cultural struggle. I’ve added this point to my outline over the years because I’ve seen it develop. And conservatives take the position of traditional moral values, I guess you would say they would argue that the Judeo, Christian tradition is the correct one. They also hold that there still are absolutes. Now, if you want to be a true rebel, if you want to go against conformity, all you need to do is be in a state university and say you believe in moral absolutes, or to say that you believe in biblical morality, or to say that the Christian rid, religion is superior to any other religion. And you will be a true nonconformist. But that, that’s a challenge that’s more difficult every year when I was in college to say something like that, which I did, resulted in being laughed at. Today. You say something like that. Sadly, you’ll often be hated and be targeted. So it takes a great deal of courage to be a conservative today if you want to have those values. And then I put in there to say that a constitutional republic is superior to any other kind of government. For example, ns law mic, Republic to say that our model is better in their model. We’ll start a lot of controversy. So this is the tough point for a person who wants to implement the Christian tradition in politics. You have to have courage to be a conservative at this point. The liberal side of the coin. There are no absolutes. We’ve already mentioned that. Therefore values are relative. And you can say, yes, I have certain values. You may have different values. Your values are good for you. My values are good for me. You can take that position and very little controversy will develop. As long as you’re willing to say that I, I accept anything anybody else does because their values are different. Then you’ll be popular and you’ll be able to get along with people. But you have to accept that proposition. There are no absolutes. And you have to also implement this idea that we often refer to diversity. It’s not enough to say there are different traditions and different cultures, but to say that one is no better than the other. On other words, there really is no point in Christians being missionaries because every, every tradition is of equal value. And so we can have our system of beliefs and traditions. Somebody else has their system of beliefs and traditions, but we can’t say that any one is better than the other. And so therefore, although there are no such things as absolutes, the liberal position and cultural struggle is typically that no, there are no absolutes except toleration and diversity seemed to become absolutes. And that, that’s sort of a, an unusual type of end to the US. But if there are no absolutes, you have to accept whatever another person has for a value system. And hence, toleration is raised to the highest level. Now that the concluding thing to take away from this is that as I stressed, this is the conflict that’s raging across our country today. And depending on how you position yourself, if you want to take the position that there are absolutes, you have to accept the idea you’re going to be unpopular. And it does take a lot of courage. If you’re willing to accept that the point of view there are no absolutes. Well, then you’ll be able to get along much better and much easier. But if you take these points, the 11 points that I’ve given you, add them all together. It goes back to what I said, the idea of definition by enumeration of the parts. And hence a good roadmap of the difference between liberal and conservative in today’s American political culture.
The background and significance of the problem and a clear statement of the research purpose is provided. The search history is mentioned.
The background and significance of the problem and a clear statement of the research purpose is provided. The search history is mentioned.
Content is well-organized with headings for each slide and bulleted lists to group related material as needed. Use of font, color, graphics, effects, etc. to enhance readability and presentation content is excellent. Length requirements of 10 slides/pages or less is met.
More depth/detail for the background and significance is needed, or the research detail is not clear. No search history information is provided.
Review of relevant theoretical literature is evident, but there is little integration of studies into concepts related to problem. Review is partially focused and organized. Supporting and opposing research are included. Summary of information presented is included. Conclusion may not contain a biblical integration.
Content is somewhat organized, but no structure is apparent. The use of font, color, graphics, effects, etc. is occasionally detracting to the presentation content. Length requirements may not be met.
The background and/or significance are missing. No search history information is provided.
Review of relevant theoretical literature is evident, but there is no integration of studies into concepts related to problem. Review is partially focused and organized. Supporting and opposing research are not included in the summary of information presented. Conclusion does not contain a biblical integration.
There is no clear or logical organizational structure. No logical sequence is apparent. The use of font, color, graphics, effects etc. is often detracting to the presentation content. Length requirements may not be met
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Applying Concepts of Conservatism and Liberalism