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Old 04-21-2016, 09:56 PM   #1
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Central Dogma of American Conservatism

Do you believe in it?

Actually, let me back up a bit.

More fundamental to conservatism than any superficial issue - that is, religion, abortion, guns, etc. - is a philosophical divide between conservatives and liberals involving personal responsibility.

That is, it seems to me that conservatives, by a large, believe that every person has the ability to "pull themselves up by their own bootstraps" as it were. It's an idea that one can succeed at anything with enough effort and faith. If you fail, it was because you were lazy or some other personal failing that lead to it.

Liberals, by contrast, believe that people might need to be coerced by force to do things that are good for them. Expecting people to solve problems by themselves isn't moral, since a good number of them won't be able to.

I'll go through some examples:

Drug Users

Conservatives wouldn't support any programs that promote drug rehab, and would instead support "war on drugs" style preventative measures, like attacking drug traffickers at sea. This is because they believe that people who rely on drugs are weak, and if they can't will themselves off the drugs, they deserve to suffer any consequences of addiction without help.

Liberals would force the drug addict off and throw rehab/detox efforts at them to coerce them off the dependence.

Affirmative Action

Conservatives are against affirmative action as it comes across as rewarding people for undue effort. They're being rewarded for something they didn't do or earn - being born a minority. Being poor is a challenge they should overcome if they were destined for great things - the government is only putting un-qualified people in positions to take away jobs from the qualified with affirmative action policies.

Liberals recognize that minorities have been historically discriminated against culturally and economically, and while not all minorities will be successful with resources, resources empowers a lot more minorities who otherwise would never get a chance at a better life due to the hardship they were born into.


I could go on. Welfare, taxes, abortion. Most issues lead back to this central philosophy regarding "personal accountability/responsibility" as it were. It's pretty darn fundamental for explaining how many honest conservatives think.

So, UPNers. Do you lot believe in it? Don't? Give me your thoughts. I know from convos before posting this that there's quite a divide on this forum already!
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Old 04-22-2016, 02:10 AM   #2
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I do beleive that each person has their own responsibility. However, in a lot of cases it's basically impossible to "pull yourself up" unless you're freaking superman. Liberal policies are there to help those people who face impossible odds. (Like getting bankrupt because your husband got cancer).
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Old 04-22-2016, 01:19 PM   #3
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That's not quite right and sort of a feel-good way to go about it. In reality, both central dogmas have very strong merits and most people would agree with at least a few tenets of each. This is entirely separate from the Republican and Democratic parties, which don't fall exactly down left/right lines.

I could go on and on about the party system and the political lines drawn in the Congressional sand. I have a well-paged copy of the Federalist Papers with more ink in it than a tattoo convention. But I won't, because it is actually deadly boring and this is the Debate forum and not the Force-Fed Fun Facts Forum.

Everything in this post is highly simplified and does not draw from any sources or political theories beyond what I can scrape up from my memory. This thought is the reason I consider myself to be a highly centrist moderate rather than a liberal or conservative.

Conservatives care deeply about the laws that pass and making sure that they fit into established power structures and systems. While they do not hesitate to seek the destruction of structures and systems they don't like (Obamacare is a great example), they strongly dislike anything that upsets a perfectly comfortable and orderly existence. Conservatism is like a game of jenga - careful elimination of things that don't work combined with the addition of things that do elevates the entire country skyward, brick by brick.

On the other side of the coin, liberals care deeply about the systems and structures that the laws represent and ensuring that everything is accounted for. Liberals are concerned with fairness and equality, and are always seeking action and further growth for the country. While they do operate in systems and structures in the same way conservatives do, they don't care for stifling hierarchies acting in lockstep and are eager to tear down things they see as oppressive or corrupt. Liberalism is like a game of i don't fucking know i'm not gonna do a fucking game analogy for every political philosophy. it's like a painting, there. you put more paint on and cover shit up and then everything's all pretty and every part of it has a purpose.

If your Congress gets too conservative, nothing happens. If your Congress gets too liberal, chaos happens. Conservatives don't want anything to pass that doesn't get along with what they believe, and liberals are desperate to solve the problems they see in the world. You need a healthy blend of both to grease the wheels of your governing bodies and keep your country moving forward surely and steadily.

But Shuckle, you whine, why do modern conservatives believe XYZ? Because life is complicated and you're not 100% liberal in the same way as nobody likes ice cream 100%. It's physically impossible to reach a 100% level of ice cream enjoyment. Many people get into the high 80s as ice cream testers or producers, but it's just not realistic to assume that anyone has ever reached that level of devotion to a frozen dessert.

The thing is, people here on UPN consider liberalism to be adherence to a surprisingly limited set of core beliefs! A political philosophy is more than just a list of your opinions on civil rights, economics, and elected representatives - it's a baseline understanding of the world that underwrites everything you think about the ideal direction of the country.

Hopefully this helps you understand a little bit more about why the world is so fucking huge and complicated. :)))) Attempting to properly classify a realistic political classification system is a bit like going to your local animal shelter and attempting to guess the dog breeds and mixes based on the way they bark. It's even more complicated than personality research! Which is already really complicated, using 16 different categories based on 4 different sliding scales. Even the most complicated political models only use 3!

So in conclusion: this isn't an easy topic to discuss even without argument. Better to just figure out what you think and move on.
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