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Us versus Them

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by Steve, Jan 21, 2003.

  1. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Conservatives and Liberals, of course.

    I recall reading somewhere, perhaps even in this forum, a comment to the effect that "A conservative asks 'why' and a liberal asks 'why not' ".

    I'll tell you "why not".

    Ever hear the old saw "If it ain't broke, don't fix it?"

    That, to me, is the difference twixt us and them.

    Generally speaking, liberals can't leave well enough alone.

    Now, before anyone starts throwing out ridiculous comparisons about how slavery would still be around if it wasn't for liberals, let me point out that I'm not talking about the "big issues". I'm talking about the little, day to day things.

    Things like the education system. It wasn't broken, but the liberals decided to fix it. Now, Johnny can't even spell "New Math", let alone do any of it!

    Things like the welfare system. There was a time it genuinely helped those who genuinely needed some temporary assistance. Now it's little more than a wealth-transference system.

    Things like the prison system. Seen any good, old-fashioned chain gangs, lately? 'Course not! That would "infringe upon the rights of the incarcerated citizens". BAH!

    There is a world of difference between fighting for genuine, needed reforms, such as civil rights legislation, versus fighting for change <u>just for the sake of change</u>.

    "Why not?"

    Because you're screwing things up that worked just fine, that's why not!
  2. Ugly

    Ugly Fish is Brain Food

    The truer difference is that Liberals hold all that is good and the fountainhead of righteousness is government, elevating this sometimes to the level of appearing a religion, while others, conservatives for example but not exclusively, may worship a higher, power or some other principle that sanctifies the rights of a/an/all individual(s) vs. the brute power of government.

  3. BigDeputyDog

    BigDeputyDog Straight Shootin Admin Staff Member

    Liberal: Give yours to me and I will redistribute it (after I get my cut)
    Conservative: I'll keep it myself and redistribute it as I see fit...

    BDD... :{)
  4. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Conservative is a liberal that was mugged.
  5. RRedline

    RRedline Veteran MMember

    When dealing with fiscal matters, I am very conservative. I would tend to agree with your statement, but wouldn't it be more accurate to replace "liberal" with "democrat?"

    If conservatives are unhappy with liberals for changing things, and they want things changed back to how they were, then aren't those conservatives actually liberals? To argue for change is to be liberal. And if liberals are happy with the changes they made, wouldn't they actually be conservatives(not wanting to change anything back to how it was before they changed it)?

    It's really silly when you think about these definitions literally and not about the groups who sling the terms around as insults and compliments.

    I think it is just as wrong to completely denounce liberalism as it is to denounce conservatism. Remember, nothing can be improved without change, and to change is to be liberal.
  6. yazdzik

    yazdzik Veteran Member

    Dear Friends,

    Well, as the last site libertarian, I sort of cringe at the thoughts of either of those groups, since government is supposed to be a simple contract, and no one can resdistribute anything, unless there is no cut at all for anyone.
    Apparently, the liberals never read Marbury, and the conservatives never read Charles River Bridge.

    There is little likelihood of good coming from two groups neither of whom espouses constitutional freedom.

    Funny but sad:

    Over the weekend, I was ranting(who me?) in Atlanta, and someone said something about private property being absolute, and I asked, " What about Charles River Bridge?" She answered, in dead seriousness, "You mean the guy in the pickup who has that tawdry affair with the Italian farmer?"(Didn't get the plot right, either)

    You all presume ditsy southern housewife? Illiterate redneck?

    Try law professor.....

  7. jfcjrus

    jfcjrus Veteran Member

    (I apologize for snipping just part of your thoughtful post, but it illustrated my gripe)

    Many of us are trying to correct decades of (liberal & conservative) policys, that we now believe to have done more harm than good.

    So, trying to change injustices is to be 'labeled' a liberal? Nonsense. We need to get over this 'party' crap.

    I'd rather hope intelligent folks would work to resolve issues, rather than point fingers or constantly try to politically 'label' someone's efforts to some 'party' affiliation.

    Sometimes, it seems such a waste of effort (not to mention, diversion) among the folks that can really help to resolve the issues.

    I understand the 'party' reality of it all. But, sometimes, it just seems like nonsense.

  8. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    Also sorry to snip, but I would take issue with this as well.

    To argue for change is not liberal, neither is it conservative, in my opinion. That is not how those political leanings are defined at all.

    Liberal to me means to approve of just about anything anyone wants to do, as in the word "liberal", anything goes, not some abstract meaning. Conservative means a bit more prim, to have old fashioned type values, live by a code of ethics and laws.

    To me, the biggest downfall of the far left liberal is running roughshod without insight. Demanding change with a big mouth without an application of common sense. To me, it's shortsightedness at it's worst.

    Life is like a chess match. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a pawn in order to win, and for certain, you have to think way ahead in the game. To me, liberals don't think ahead. They whine about how we made Saddam, how we made Usama, they wind up with stupid ideas like ebonics, anti-war teach-ins to high schools, protests with toddlers holding pickets, etc, and <B>no real solutions</B>. Not everything can be solved with a feel-good quick fix.

    Now on issues of things like abortion and religion in schools, I don't really think those are true liberal / conservative issues, but ones adopted by the parties who espouse those leanings.
  9. Coriolis

    Coriolis Bob's your uncle

    Them versus Us

    The problem with the education of old is that many kids were being left behind, gasping in the wake of the smarter kids. A sense of "failure to achieve" plays heavy on the mindset of youth, which may have contributed in no small way to the rise in youth crime in intercity culture. Something needed to be done. What was done, however, failed. The failure of our current education system is largely due to the failure of outcomes based education (OBE) that, in concept, is based on a socialist ideal that given equal opportunity, all children can achieve an education standard that will enable them to enter the work force. While this system seems to work well in some European countries, it turned out to be major failure here -- all we've accomplished is dumming down our schools. The OBE system can work well when there is a motivation on the part of the kids to work beyond the outcome targets. This requires incentives be made available, and exceptional effort be exerted, on the behalf of educators <i>and</i> parents. This is where the system is failing. We have a population of educators who barely have the credentials to teach anything beyond kindergarten. We have parents who are more concerned with climbing the economic ladder than attending to their kids' educational needs. We also have parents who are all consumed by digging themselves out of the poverty trap, and losing, to pay attention to their kids' educational needs. And, we have a society that places far too much value on professional athletes, movie stars, and bubble gum pop stars, than on achieving higher education. Just compare the combined salary of every teacher in your kid's school, to the salary of one popular "sports hero", and tell me we've got our priorities in order. Blaming "liberals" for the failure of our education system is lame. Perhaps we can blame liberal thinkers for trying a system that goes against the grain of our superficial culture, but I'm still waiting for our "education president" to do something about it.

    I'm not sure where you get this idea. If anything, welfare reform has done just the opposite. The Welfare reform act of 1996, signed by Clinton (not without some reservation to some of the items, I might add, as he vetoed it twice) set strict guidelines on welfare recipients, setting a five-year lifetime benefit limit, a requirement to work after two years of receiving benefits, and also denied assistance to legal non-citizens. Among critics, the problem with the bill (largely sculpted and supported by Senate Republicans) is that it did not provide the mechanisms to create jobs. Without the creation of jobs, the bill was touted by many to be destined for failure in the face of a recession. We are now teetering on the brink of a recession, and the current welfare system may not be able to weather the storm. Many are still convinced that forcing single mothers, the biggest losers in the game, to work goes against the grain of conservative ideals of "family values". Interestingly, however, welfare rolls are down, with still fewer people returning to welfare. So, I'm not sure where the failure is, but if anything, it will be the failure of a crummy job market to place all these people coming off the welfare system. Bush's economic stimulus package may be desperately needed, but may already be too late.

    I have little say on this except ask: who started the so-called "War on Drugs" that ultimately filled the prison systems to point of overflow, and created more criminals by providing millions of minor offenders with that good old prison "education"? Chain gangs are way outdated and would do little to deter crime. I'll assume you were being facetious about this one. ;)
  10. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Not facetious at all. Put the bastards to work, hard work. Make them pay for their crimes in sweat and toil. It's called punishment, not deterrence. Stupid people can't be effectively deterred; they're too stupid to understand the consequences. But they can be punished. Besides, an exhausted man is a docile man.

    How nice of you to concentrate on the Republican-driven welfare reforms of the last six years while ignoring the decades of waste, fraud, and abuse that spurred that very same reform.

    And, yes, OBE was a colossal mistake and I do blame the liberals for trying to apply it a fix to a system that wasn't broken.

    Frankly, children who do poorly in school need to feel the consequences of that performance. They need to be given more one-on-one teaching, but they need to be held accountable. Altering the entire educational system because some children "failed to achieve" (conservatives just call that "failed") is exactly the sort of wrong-headed, misguided thinking that characterizes the "why not" mindset. Rather than concentrating on the narrower issue of poor-performing children, the entire system was altered, resulting in the train wreck we have to live with, today.
  11. Coriolis

    Coriolis Bob's your uncle

    There's barely enough jobs for people <b>not</b> in prison. What do you propose?

    You were the one who said "<b>Now</b> it's little more than a wealth-transference system". Perhaps being more specific about your gripe would help others when they repond to your criticisms.

    The system may not have been broken, but it wasn't helping the vast majority of kids to get properly educated. I acknowledged that the replacement system has done more harm than good, but the blame should be placed on all of us, our society and what we value, and not on one segment of society -- "liberals". It is this kind of mud throwing that will lead to no real solutions, just more bickering and finger pointing.
  12. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    I did say now; sorry, I should have been more concise :[

    As for the prisoners, I see plenty of trash along the roads. Seems good enough, to me.

    The heart of the matter, though, can be found in the education issue. I do believe the failures we see now can be attributed to liberals. I don't believe for one second that the vast majority of children weren't getting an education. I do believe that a relatively small percentage were failing spectacularly and, in doing so, garnered attention out of proportion to the problem.

    But rather than addressing those students and their particular concerns, the entire system was trashed. This kind of "leap before looking" action characterizes the liberal mindset.

    Conservatives, by nature, do like to move slowly, make incremental changes, and think about consequences. Why?

    Liberals are the opposite. Why not?

    These are very real differences in the political philosophies of the Republicans and Democrats and also in the way people perceive and react to their environment. It is not finger-pointing to point this out.

    I admit I tend more toward the "why" side of things, as I am a cautious person. But when things go wrong, as in the examples I've used, we need to figure out why so we can avoid future mistakes...particularly when the futures of our children are at stake!
  13. Coriolis

    Coriolis Bob's your uncle

    Then I guess I must be a conservative, because I'm very much a "why" person in my approach to life. I'm very careful about the decisions I make, and always think through the consequences before I act -- my father taught me this, and I'm teaching this to my children. This, to me, is neither a liberal nor a conservative approach. It is how things should be. Yes, I'm more liberal than conservative with respect to my views on many issues -- it's not like I choose to think this way, it's how my brain thinks, thus I could not put it in such simplistic terms as "why" and "why not". I find your definition is not only inaccurate, but pigeon holing, and demeaning, because it paints all liberal thinkers as reactionary dolts, which somehow justifies the need of many conservative thinkers to lay the blame on liberals. Do you really believe there are no why not conservatives out there, that forge ahead with their agenda without thinking of the consequences? If I had to use your definitions, I would say that the far left <b>and</b> the far right are of the "why not" ilk, while those us in the center -- whether we lean to the left or to the right -- are of the "why" ilk.
  14. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    "I would say that the far left and the far right are of the "why not" ilk, while those us in the center -- whether we lean to the left or to the right -- are of the "why" ilk."

    Then we're in complete agreement!
  15. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    Sir, I take offense at your claim! (But I firmly defend your right to it....)
  16. Coriolis

    Coriolis Bob's your uncle

    We are? ok.... :huh:

    Don't get me wrong, I'd rather be in agreement, but why the change of heart all of a sudden?
  17. RRedline

    RRedline Veteran MMember

    Copzilla, I was unable to find any definitions of the term "liberal" that meant what you take it as. What you described sounds to me like "anarchy." Liberalism most certainly does include ethics and laws - just different ones! :)

    I consider myself just as liberal as I am conservative, and I am a little surprised that so many of you make such harsh generalizations about it. On the extreme ends, both liberalism and conservatism are bad to me. It is that happy middle that most of us want, but there are so many gray areas that people of both sides of each particular issue can fight. Slinging the terms around as insults isn't going to bring any compromise.

    There are many issues where I take a conservative stance, but there are many liberal causes that I will back. To be honest, I don't like to hear negative generalizations about either side, but if I had to choose to live in either an ultraliberal society or an ultraconservative one, I would not hesitate to choose the liberal one.
  18. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Coriolis, I almost always mean the "far left" and the "far right" when I talk about liberals and conservatives. I almost always forget to clarify that, too, in my discussions. Worse yet, I often fail to realize I haven't made that clarification early on.

    My rant against "liberals" is really against the far left-leaning liberals and applies equally, I will agree, to the far right-leaning conservatives.

    My apologies, I'm experiencing delays at work, getting backed up because of it, and taking out my frustration by ranting at whatever comes to mind.
  19. Coriolis

    Coriolis Bob's your uncle

    Then we are, indeed, in agreement. Thanks for the clarification. :)

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