Purveyor of Truth
Differences between people are a part of life, and, since political ideologies and governments are defined by people of differing convictions and philosophies it seems reasonable that those who govern should seek out rational resolutions that result in the greatest benefit for all. In fact it is exactly what our enlightened Founding Fathers were able to achieve and the framework for their remarkable accomplishment has survived for over 225 years.
Conservatives and liberals in 2015 are light years apart and the likelihood of rational compromise benefitting the nation seems remote. Both conservatives and liberals blame the "other side" and neither appears to be willing to give an inch. Frankly the reality is both sides share some responsibility for the ineffective and dysfunctional governance of the past seven years. Although most, including this writer, would place the majority share (whatever anyone may believe that is) at the feet of conservatives.
Looking for something that reasonably defines conservative core beliefs and liberal core beliefs the following excerpt from a 1990 paper by Dr. Jim L. Riley of Regis University Denver, CO fairly sums them up.
In summary, liberalism has embraced several fundamental but imprecise elements. Moreover, at different points in history the liberal ideology has emphasized different aspects of its basic principles. Those elements which have appeared as fundamental to liberalism may be seen as:
1. the idea of a compact between the people and their government
2. the right of revolution if the compact is violated
3. natural rights as belonging to all people
4. faith in and support of human rational potential
5. limited powers of government
6. majority rule tempered by minority rights
7. support of change in society
In summary, conservatism does contain basic beliefs and values beyond a mere mistrust of change. Certain core concepts remain throughout the long spectrum of the conservative ideology. They may be seen as:
1. high value on existing institutions as produced by custom and tradition
2. a belief in mankind's essential base and irrational nature
3. faith in some supernatural force guiding human affairs
4. acceptance of human inequality and the attending consequence of social hierarchy
5. recognition of the need for a sense of community among individuals that will bind them emotionally to their society.
It has been said that no one who has a heart can resist being a liberal and that no one who has a brain can avoid being a conservative. Like most aphorisms this one contains a trace of truth wrapped in a maze of misperceptions. These two political ideologies offer to government leaders, policy makers, and thoughtful citizens a set of guides permitting some semblance of coherent conclusions regarding compelling social, economic and political issues.
Their common features include rejection of radicalism and its attending violent uprooting of established institutions and practices, acceptance of the need for restraints on the powers of government, advocacy of balance in society regarding individual rights and societal powers, and ultimately some root concerns for individual dignity. Most certainly disagreement abounds between the two ideologies when the outlines of such values are given clarity, but support of such basic principles enables supporters of each doctrine to work within the same governmental framework. This agreement to disagree in a civil manner surely constitutes one of mankind's most noble political achievements.
The preceding is offered as both a teaser and as food for further thought. Anyone, liberal or conservative, who really is concerned for the continuing welfare of this yet great nation would do well to read the full text of Dr. Riley's article on moderate political ideologies.