What's the difference between a Conservative and Liberal?

Curious - basic question:

What's the difference between a Conservative and Liberal?

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Chris, check a dictionary or Wikipedia. Check also for Progressive; it’s out to the left of Liberal.

Also, different nations define these terms differently.

Tom, I know! "Different nations define these terms differently!" Chris (Plinius) told me "right wing" is liberal in The Netherlands. As if I weren't confused enough. 

Chris, my over-simplified definitions:

Liberals = able and willing to consider change. 

Conservatives = strong feelings of opposition, antipathy, repugnance, opposed to change. 

Progressive = advocating or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas.

I agree totally, Tom. Many in America want to view our progress and problems through these terms. It's time to ignore party affiliations as they define the masters and not the public.

I've been recommending that article to people as well! Greta Christina explains philosopher and MacArthur fellow Rebecca Goldstein's thoughts on the core values prioritized by liberals and by conservatives, and how they relate to the philosophical underpinnings of ethics.

Greta Christina’s ignoring the quality of the human gene pool implies that it’s less important than ethics (or whatever else she’s not ignoring).

(Please excuse my shouting that point; I touched the B in the style menu and inadvertently learned how to use that menu.)

Our technologies, tools, social structures, ideas, and memes coevolve with us. Human well-being isn't all about the ability of an individual to survive naked and alone in the wilderness.

Long before insulin, long before eyeglasses, textiles allowed people to survive and flourish in colder climates, independent of the availability of animal skins.

(And yes, they changed the editing buttons and menus on AN; to me it's not an unqualified improvement.)

Thanks Bertold,

I forgot the point  from Greta Christina.

"self-described liberals strongly tend to prioritize fairness and harm as the most important of these core values -- while self-described conservatives are more likely to prioritize authority, loyalty and purity.

Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear.
-- William E. Gladstone, 1866

Maybe a bit clichéd, but it strikes me as being on point.

Thanks Loren,

Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear.
-- William E. Gladstone, 1866


That's what I was thought it might be.

It seems to be a fundamental difference in peoples attitude or personality across culture and time.

Leave it to a liberal (Gladstone) to speak well of liberalism.

“... a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question.”

Bert, I question JS Mill’s thinking, and who (besides yourself, of course) will say that I, like Julius Caesar, am not honorable?

Today’s GOP establishes beyond doubt that conservatives are cruel, especially the xians.

I’m not persuaded that liberals are thinking clearly about the dollar cost of their enthusiasms.

Jeez! Tom, you can be snarky! 

Take note, fellow atheist, Tom can be snarky with the nicest people!

How come you aren't snarky with me? 




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