When we meet new people throughout our life whether it be at work, family functions, shopping, school or any number of public opportunities, we don’t look at them and say, “They are a liberal, conservative or moderate.” That doesn’t come until we happen to start up a conversation about personal political views and beliefs.
Until that point, we are all just “people” living in this world together. However, what is most interesting about this, until we discuss issues of politics, we get along just fine.
Sharing our opinions on hot topics such as gun laws, abortion, racial equality, illegal immigration, tariffs, our national economy, etc., unfortunately tend to change our view of an individual if we don’t agree with them.
Another part that I feel is quite interesting happens when we begin branding someone as a conservative, liberal or moderate based on a single conversation.
So how are these labels defined?
Conservativism is a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization. Conservatives seek to preserve a range of institutions such as religion, parliamentary government and property rights, with the aim of emphasizing social stability and continuity.
Liberalism is a political doctrine that takes protecting and enhancing the freedom of the individual to be the central problem of politics. Liberals typically believe that government is necessary to protect individuals from being harmed by others, but they also recognize that government itself can pose a threat to liberty.
Moderate is someone who is, politically speaking, in the center. If you get moderate rainfall, it’s not too much and not too little. Goldilocks was known for her moderate tastes. As a verb, it means “to temper,” or “to reduce from the extreme.”
Looking back 20, 30, 40, even 60 years ago, it was easy to define an individual in their political views. Today, this is not the case. For many, views cross the political definition.
Individuals that deem themselves conservatives may strongly agree on some liberal principles where liberals will do the same with some conservative principles.
Where do you fall on the below examples?
Conservative View — The free market system, competitive capitalism and private enterprise afford the widest opportunity and the highest standard of living for all. Free markets produce more economic growth, more jobs and higher standards of living than those systems burdened by excessive government regulation.
Liberal View — Favor a market system in which government regulates the economy. We need government to protect us against big businesses. Unlike the private sector, the government is motivated by public interest. We need government regulation to level the playing field.
Conservative View — The Second Amendment gives the individual the right to keep and bear arms. Gun control laws do not thwart criminals. You have a right to defend yourself against criminals. More guns mean less crime.
Liberal View — The Second Amendment gives no individual the right to own a gun, but allows the state to keep a militia (National Guard/Armed Forces). Guns kill people. Guns kill children.
Conservative View — Support legal immigration at current numbers, but do not support illegal immigration. Government should enforce immigration laws. Oppose President Bush’s amnesty plan for illegal immigrants. Those who break the law by entering the U.S. illegally should not have the same rights as those who obey the law by entering legally. If there were a decrease in cheap, illegal immigrant labor, employers would have to substitute higher-priced domestic employees, legal immigrants, or perhaps increase mechanization.
Liberal View — Support legal immigration and increasing the number of legal immigrants permitted to enter the U.S. each year. Support blanket amnesty for current illegal immigrants. Believe that regardless of how they came to the U.S., illegal immigrants deserve: U.S. government financial aid for college tuition. Visas for spouse/children to come to the U.S. Families shouldn’t be separated. Illegal immigrants do the jobs that Americans do not want to do.
Conservative View — Oppose long-term welfare. We need to provide opportunities to make it possible for poor and low-income workers to become self-reliant. It is far more compassionate and effective to encourage a person to become self-reliant, rather than keeping them dependent on the government for money.
Liberal View — Support welfare. We need welfare to provide for the poor. Conservatives oppose welfare because they are not compassionate toward the poor. We have welfare to bring fairness to American economic life. Without welfare, life below the poverty line would be intolerable.
War on Terror:
Conservative View — The world toward which the Militant Islamists strive cannot peacefully co-exist with the Western world. In the last decade, Militant Islamists have repeatedly attacked Americans and American interests here and abroad. The terrorists must be stopped and destroyed.
Liberal View — 9/11 was caused by America’s arrogant foreign policy. America needs to stop angering other countries. The threat posed by terrorism has been exaggerated by our government for their own political advantage.
I believe it’s important to ask ourselves these questions because, although many of us believe we are of a specific political belief, we may be more moderate than we think. It’s not just conservatives are Republicans and liberals are Democrats. We may be more moderate than we think.
Thus, allowing us to become “We the People” again. Demanding better of the elected officials put in office to represent us, not their personal views.
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
This is who we are.