Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What Liberalism and Conservatism Really Are

Often, I hear of Liberals and Liberalism being compared to Progressivism, Socialism, Communism, etc. They are not related. Otherwise, only one term would be needed for them all.

Liberalism is a viewpoint that generally puts an importance on liberty and equality, hence the word "Liber," which is Greek for "Free". A person who is a Liberal typically considers constitutions, Liberal Democracy, free and fair elections, human rights, Capitalism, free trade, and the separation of church and state high values. Even with these general ideals, there are still differing opinions within the Liberal circle, much like any other.

Conservatism is simply the viewpoint of following tradition, keeping things the way they are, or were in the past, hence the word "Conserve," which essentially means to save or hold onto something. This means that it can cover a variety of different opinions, and not just the stereotypical ideology that is thrown out there, even by Conservatives themselves (and even by me, heh heh). One may be a supporter of the Constitution, another may be a supporter of the mentality present in the Dark Ages.

So yes, Progressivism is typically looked down upon by Conservatives, which makes sense, but Liberalism is not synonymous with it. Sometimes a Progressive viewpoint is needed to attain certain Liberal goals, but this is certainly not always the case.

Personally, I am not a follower of the Conservative philosophy because I don't believe in supporting something just because it's been that way, or has worked for a while, since things that work at one point in time do not always work at another. "This is the way we've done it before" honestly sounds more like an excuse than an argument. Also, a lot of old viewpoints have often been freedom-limiting before Liberalism stepped in and changed a few things around, such as slavery and women's rights just to name a couple, to give American citizens more freedom; to put things in line with the Constitution and make it more of a non-contradictory document.

I am a Liberal because I believe social equality is essential for freedom, and I'd like for our country to be more free than it already is. Nearly three hundred years have passed, and America still has problems with freedom, a country which was founded on that very concept. Not just the big things, but also the little things that quite a few people haven't noticed, such as supporting conformity in the workplace or within society otherwise (whether they realize it or not). Not that much can be done about that, but I'd like for it to be noted and have someone be influential in changing that atmosphere for the betterment of our society.

And quite frankly, I'd like to get married.

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