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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I like most ballet music but I hope you see more meaning in the dancing than I do. 

I like this idea. Individuals I know who don't make sense to me very often turn out to be conservative. 

I'll write my response before I read any of the others to avoid contamination.  Or copying.  

A liberal is looking for ways to make things better.  For self, family, friends, like-minded people, but ultimately for everybody.  The most logical way to do this is through government.  It has access to money, and power, to provide for people's needs.  

So we pass laws doing away with slavery, with child labor, with sixty hour work weeks, with slave wages, with dangerous working conditions.  We demand that food be produced and transported in ways that protect the consumer from disease.  We insist that measurements be accurate and contents be revealed.  We allow labor to organize and bargain with management.  We require wages to meet some minimum standard.  Health care must be of good quality, and affordable to everybody.  All this and much more.  And we pay for these benefits with taxes.

We believe that we're all in this together, so we need to look out not just for ourselves, but for everybody.

Conservatives stand up for the individual.  If you feel that a job site is unsafe, refuse to work there.  If you aren't offered enough pay, demand more and leave if you don't get it. If a company sells unsafe products, don't buy their offerings and if enough do this they'll shut down.  If your child is allergic to peanuts, don't buy food containing peanuts.  How will you know?  That's up to you.  And a pure conservative wants taxes as low as possible to provide some government structure and a strong national defense.  You have to protect yourself from those others.

You may notice that neither philosophy is totally represented by a political party, but that each is pretty much aligned with a party.   Currently, the conservative philosophy is dominant, with some adjustments: the rich must become ever richer.  This is not specifically a conservative belief, but it is compatible with conservatism.

Note that nowhere in describing belief systems did I mention religion.  That's because neither is aligned with any religion, though one may be more compatible with some than the other.  But religion is not inherently part of a political belief system.

That rings true for me.

Jerry, your responding before you read others’ responses is one of the dichotomies of politics; it may be courageous or foolish.

Both liberals and conservatives are looking for ways to make things better, liberals want them better for liberals and conservatives want them better for conservatives.

But that’s rather abstract until there’s agreement on what is “better”.

Consider, for one instance of many, universal health care.

Providing it, a liberal/progressive position, is humane but will weaken the human gene pool.

Withholding it, a conservative position, is inhumane but will strengthen the human gene pool.

The debate will not soon end.

Liberals want life to be better for everybody, inasmuch as it's possible.  But if feeding the hungry requires that somebody can't install the second auto elevator in the garages of his fifth house, so be it.

To a liberal, "better" would mean to lower the world's total level of suffering.  That would include doing away with involuntary hunger, curing diseases and repairing hurt, increasing the safety of everyday life for all.  

Interesting concept that curing my daughter-in-law's cancer weakened the gene pool; she had completed her reproductive time before contracting the cancer.  Allowing a premature infant to live might, I suppose, "weaken the gene pool," but I don't see allowing an infant to die unnecessarily as humane.  And at this point in time, strengthening the gene pool is not among my one thousand most needed improvements.

Jerry, though my ancestors were German, not Dutch, I hope you see the following as the words of a dutch uncle.

Your exaggerating a need and not seeing an implication weakens your case, not mine.

1) The second auto elevator in fifth house garages?

2) Cancer cured after your. daughter’s reproductive time?

In politics the terms “better” and “selfish” have tribal application.

Some of my ancestors were German, often referred to as Deutch, or Dutch.

Mitt Romney, not the richest of the rich, had a car elevator installed in his fifth house, of seven.  When first asked, he couldn't give the number of houses he owned.  If I exaggerate, it's not by much.

Our daughter-in-law was diagnosed with cancer in her fifties.  Whether she survived the cancer or not had no impact on her lifetime reproduction.  She'd already had her two daughters.  Fortunately, she defeated the cancer.

As usual, I stand by what I said.

Tom, is the goal of universal health care to improve the health of all or weaken the human gene pool?

If the goal is to strengthn the human gene pool, it seems to me that witholding universal health care will surely kill off the sickly poor but does nothing with the sickly rich.

Joan, I’m sure you know the goal of most human action differs from the effects.

The GOP assumes that wealth and health are positively correlated.

As for the sickly rich, we all know they can buy the health care they want.

Yes, I know! The rich can buy anything they want 

Yes, the rich can buy anything they want.

Few of them care if the poor or the middle class can buy health care.

A nickel says wealth is positively correlated with sociopathy.

Make that a dollar.

Yeah, a dollar says wealth is positively correlated with sociopathy.

Make that five dollars.

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