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Conservative VS. Liberal Values and Ideals THREAD HERE:
Original post made
by amy, Bridle Creek,
on Jul 9, 2009
Is it possible that we can have a constructive discussion about our values and ideals here in THIS thread, without attacks?
How about telling us what YOUR values and Ideal are and what that means for YOU?
THIS IS NOT THE THREAD TO BASH OTHERS, FOR THEIR BELIEFS!
Let's TRY to get an understanding of one another, so perhaps we can gain valuable insight.
Posted by Randy
a resident of Castlewood
on Jul 9, 2009 at 3:20 pm
This pretty much sums up my values and belief system:
Some basic questions answered.
What do neoconservatives believe?
"Neocons" believe that the United States should not be ashamed to use its unrivaled power forcefully if necessary to promote its values around the world. Some even speak of the need to cultivate a US empire. Neoconservatives believe modern threats facing the US can no longer be reliably contained and therefore must be prevented, sometimes through preemptive military action.
Most neocons believe that the US has allowed dangers to gather by not spending enough on defense and not confronting threats aggressively enough. One such threat, they contend, was Saddam Hussein and his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. Since the 1991 Gulf War, neocons relentlessly advocated Mr. Hussein's ouster.
Most neocons share unwavering support for Israel, which they see as crucial to US military sufficiency in a volatile region. They also see Israel as a key outpost of democracy in a region ruled by despots. Believing that authoritarianism and theocracy have allowed anti-Americanism to flourish in the Middle East, neocons advocate the democratic transformation of the region, starting with Iraq. They also believe the US is unnecessarily hampered by multilateral institutions, which they do not trust to effectively neutralize threats to global security.
What are the roots of neoconservative beliefs?
The original neocons were a small group of mostly Jewish liberal intellectuals who, in the 1960s and 70s, grew disenchanted with what they saw as the American left's social excesses and reluctance to spend adequately on defense. Many of these neocons worked in the 1970s for Democratic Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson, a staunch anti-communist. By the 1980s, most neocons had become Republicans, finding in President Ronald Reagan an avenue for their aggressive approach of confronting the Soviet Union with bold rhetoric and steep hikes in military spending. After the Soviet Union's fall, the neocons decried what they saw as American complacency. In the 1990s, they warned of the dangers of reducing both America's defense spending and its role in the world.
Unlike their predecessors, most younger neocons never experienced being left of center. They've always been "Reagan" Republicans.
What is the difference between a neoconservative and a conservative?
Liberals first applied the "neo" prefix to their comrades who broke ranks to become more conservative in the 1960s and 70s. The defectors remained more liberal on some domestic policy issues. But foreign policy stands have always defined neoconservatism. Where other conservatives favored détente and containment of the Soviet Union, neocons pushed direct confrontation, which became their raison d'etre during the 1970s and 80s.
Today, both conservatives and neocons favor a robust US military. But most conservatives express greater reservations about military intervention and so-called nation building. Neocons share no such reluctance. The post 9/11-campaigns against regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrate that the neocons are not afraid to force regime change and reshape hostile states in the American image. Neocons believe the US must do to whatever it takes to end state-supported terrorism. For most, this means an aggressive push for democracy in the Middle East. Even after 9/11, many other conservatives, particularly in the isolationist wing, view this as an overzealous dream with nightmarish consequences.
How have neoconservatives influenced US foreign policy?
Finding a kindred spirit in President Reagan, neocons greatly influenced US foreign policy in the 1980s.
But in the 1990s, neocon cries failed to spur much action. Outside of Reaganite think tanks and Israel's right-wing Likud Party, their calls for regime change in Iraq were deemed provocative and extremist by the political mainstream. With a few notable exceptions, such as President Bill Clinton's decision to launch isolated strikes at suspected terrorist targets in Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998, their talk of preemptive military action was largely dismissed as overkill.
Despite being muted by a president who called for restraint and humility in foreign affairs, neocons used the 1990s to hone their message and craft their blueprint for American power. Their forward thinking and long-time ties to Republican circles helped many neocons win key posts in the Bush administration.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 moved much of the Bush administration closer than ever to neoconservative foreign policy. Only days after 9/11, one of the top neoconservative think tanks in Washington, the Project for a New American Century, wrote an open letter to President Bush calling for regime change in Iraq. Before long, Bush, who campaigned in 2000 against nation building and excessive military intervention overseas, also began calling for regime change in Iraq. In a highly significant nod to neocon influence, Bush chose the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) as the venue for a key February 2003 speech in which he declared that a US victory in Iraq "could begin a new stage for Middle Eastern peace." AEI the de facto headquarters for neconservative policy had been calling for democratization of the Arab world for more than a decade.
What does a neoconservative dream world look like?
Neocons envision a world in which the United States is the unchallenged superpower, immune to threats. They believe that the US has a responsibility to act as a "benevolent global hegemon." In this capacity, the US would maintain an empire of sorts by helping to create democratic, economically liberal governments in place of "failed states" or oppressive regimes they deem threatening to the US or its interests. In the neocon dream world the entire Middle East would be democratized in the belief that this would eliminate a prime breeding ground for terrorists. This approach, they claim, is not only best for the US; it is best for the world. In their view, the world can only achieve peace through strong US leadership backed with credible force, not weak treaties to be disrespected by tyrants.
Any regime that is outwardly hostile to the US and could pose a threat would be confronted aggressively, not "appeased" or merely contained. The US military would be reconfigured around the world to allow for greater flexibility and quicker deployment to hot spots in the Middle East, as well as Central and Southeast Asia. The US would spend more on defense, particularly for high-tech, precision weaponry that could be used in preemptive strikes. It would work through multilateral institutions such as the United Nations when possible, but must never be constrained from acting in its best interests whenever necessary.
Posted by Brian
a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2009 at 3:26 pm
I stumbled upon this blog and though I would give some input.
I have this piece I wrote on my hard drive, so here it goes:
Seems these days Conservatives have convinced themselves, and some of the American public, that being a Liberal is akin to being a card-carrying member of the Communist Party. While this may be a great smear tactic for an election year, to believe such a notion proves that the believer is uneducated in the fundamentals of the American political system. Our nation was founded on Liberalism. Embodied in the Declaration of Independence are its three tenets: "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." The very term, itself, is taken from the same root as the second of these precepts. To be a Liberal is to defend the freedom - the Liberty - of all people who make up our great nation. To be a Liberal is to trust individuals and families to run their own lives as they see fit. To be a Liberal is to create a nation where anyone can excel if they are willing to do the work.
In order to understand the true nature of Liberalism, and to dispel the misconceptions fomented by those whose agenda is counter to our freedom, I will detail the tenets of Liberal thought and dispel the misconceptions so often put forth by Conservative rhetoric.
Liberalism is "Life." It is freedom from physical dangers that can kill or disable us. The Liberal believes it is a nation's job to protect its citizens from physical harm, whether from external sources, such as hostile nations, or internal ones, like crime, disease, or hunger. Without the solid ground of physical wellbeing, our nation and its citizens cannot enjoy the benefits of being free. Liberals believe in a strong military, well suited to defend the nation. Liberals believe in good laws, hard-working police, and a just legal system to protect its citizens from crime. Liberals believe in affordable health care for everyone, to keep our people strong. And Liberals believe in the availability of food and shelter for its needy, not as a hand out but as a reasonable step in moving all Americans toward self-reliance and the freedom that comes with it.
Liberalism is "Liberty." It is the freedom to do as your conscience dictates without impeding another's rights. Fleeing oppression in mother Europe, our founders established a nation where personal belief and self-determination are protected, not persecuted, where hard work is rewarded, not demanded, and where each person is bestowed with the ability to better his or her life because of citizenship, not class. Liberals believe in freedom of speech to protect us from political oppression. Liberals believe in sound regulations to protect us from economic oppression. Liberals believe in just laws to protect us from social oppression. And Liberals believe in quality education to protect us from the oppression of ignorance.
Liberalism is "The Pursuit of Happiness." It is the freedom to create an environment where the individual can excel. What is freedom if it cannot be used to better our lives? A truly free society must be one where its members can rise above their limitations and expand their futures. We call it "The American Dream," and it's alive and well in the heart of the Liberal. Liberals believe in equal opportunities for all to rise above our means. Liberals believe in equal opportunities to rise above our education levels. Liberals believe in equal opportunities to rise above our social status. And Liberals believe each and every family should have an equal opportunity to make this world better for their children.
Based on these tenets, we can see that Liberalism is not the monster it's made out to be by the opposition. It is pro individual and pro family. It is pro community and pro country. Liberalism is, by its very definition, the heart and soul of what it means to be an American. It stands against tyranny of any kind, whether international or domestic. It works to remove abuse and fight crime. And it strives to eliminate the idea of a wasted life by not wasting resources and opportunities.
By this time someone might ask, "if that is a Liberal, then what is a Conservative?"
Liberals and Conservatives received their names for good reasons. Just as Liberals get their label by standing for Liberty, Conservatives get their label from the desire to "conserve" a style of living. They, too, claim they are fighting to conserve our personal rights and our economic opportunities, but they do it with a different ideal than the Liberal. The term they use for the difference is "values." Values are norms or codes by which people live their lives. While most Americans share some common values, such as the right to own property and the right to protect our families, we also have many divergent values with which we raise our children. So if we try to impose values into the political framework of the nation, we are forced to ask, "whose values?" And in the search for such absolutes, we must also ask, "which generation's values?"
As the nation ages and new generations take over leadership, the values of its population change. Where once a woman was valued for how well she cooked, cleaned and entertained, today's women are gaining recognition that they offer as much, if not more, to the work force than men. Where once African Americans were forced to live as second-class citizens, now they have a legal status equal to that of whites, even if we still have a ways to go in actual practice. Changing values brings confusing times for many - especially for those who believe that America was better with an older set of values. These people want to "conserve" a style of American living they believe once existed, what they call, "traditional family values." They want to conserve the system that they believe made America wealthy and strong. Unfortunately that also means they want to force all of us to live according to their values.
Conservatives don't really fight for our rights - they fight for what they think our rights should be - putting limits on our freedom of speech in order to "conserve" an older, more traditional norm of what should be said. Conservatives don't really fight for our family values - they fight for what they believe our family values should be - putting limits on our behavior, even behavior between consenting adults, in order to "conserve" an older, more traditional view of acceptable personal activity. Conservatives don't really fight for our income - they fight for little or no regulations - putting limits on our ability to be treated fairly by large companies, who if left without restriction, can form monopolies that choke out competition and drive down wages.
Conservatives are willing to curb our freedom of speech if it clashes with their interpretation of "traditional" values, values from an older time where woman were in domestic servitude to men, where child abuse, sexual abuse, wife abuse, and homosexuality were all kept locked in closets, where minorities were second-class citizens and discrimination was free from incrimination, and where the inability to plan a family's growth meant an explosion of mouths to feed - a population explosion that today threatens to bankrupt our nation's retirement funds. The Conservative position, therefore, is inherently contradictory. You cannot be for legislating away freedom in the name of "family values" and also claim you are protecting individual and family rights.
As new generations have placed their own values into the laws that govern our land, Conservatives have sought to fight back by limiting the size and power of the government. Conservatives are willing to give away the very power needed to protect our liberties in the work place. Their idea of a smaller, less-intrusive government means a return to the days where business decisions and profits were more important than clean air and clean water, where a business could abuse its employees without incrimination, and where minorities and women could be passed over for jobs or paid less then white males for the same jobs. Again the Conservative position is at odds with itself. You cannot claim you are fighting for families at the same time that you allow the family bread winner to be overworked and underpaid and allow neighborhoods to be overrun by non-regulated big business. The Conservative would effectively shift power away from the people, who can elect public officials to fight for their rights, and into the hands of private businesses, who need not answer to the public when making decisions that affect us all.
Because Liberals fight to protect every citizen from having other people's values imposed on them, Conservatives like to label Liberals as being evil. The following list shows what Conservatives like to say against Liberals, and then goes on to show why such assertions are false:
Conservatives say that Liberals are anti-family.
However . . .
Conservatives want to define what your family should be
Whereas . . .
Liberals put you in charge of your family
Liberals support your right to define what your family will be
Liberals fight for your family's rights against economic and political oppression
Conservatives say that Liberals are anti-business.
However . . .
Conservatives are pro-money, but that often translates into monopolies, which hurt small business and competition, which hurts us all
Whereas . . .
Liberals protect small businesses by regulating the larger ones and by breaking up monopolies
Liberals protect workers in order to create a healthy workforce that will help businesses grow
Conservatives say that Liberals are anti-religion.
However . . .
Conservatives are often for one dominant religion, and are, therefore, against others
Whereas . . .
Liberals support complete freedom of religion and from religion so that all citizen are free to choose the manner in which faith is a part of their lives
Liberals strive to keep government completely out of a family's religious choices
Conservatives say that Liberals are anti-freedom.
However . . .
Conservatives want to stop homosexuals, stop abortions, stop the women's movement, and stop freedom of expression through the use of censorship
Whereas . . .
Liberals leave it up to the parents to teach such values to their children
Liberals believe each person or family should be free to choose how to behave as long as it does not interfere with another's rights
Conservatives say that Liberals are anti-morality.
However . . .
Conservatives are for one specific kind of morality
Whereas . . .
Liberals are for the morality of free choice, where each person or family decides their own values
Liberals want the government to protect our freedom to choose what is important to us rather than to impose the laws and codes of another's morality
Conservatives say that Liberals are anti-military.
However . . .
Conservatives see the military as a means to impose their values and standards on others
Whereas . . .
Liberals see the military as a vital protection of our freedoms and our liberties, giving us a space in which to pursue happiness
Liberalism's Stance on Specific Issues
With the desire to promote Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness as the central motivation, the Liberal always defends these tenets when deciding how to stand on a particular issue. The following will show why Liberals often take the stance they do:
Abortion/Contraception - Liberty means the freedom to control your body, your reproductive system, and your future.
Affirmative Action - Liberty means having fair opportunities for those in society who are discriminated against.
Education - Liberty means the freedom to learn in order to build a better future for yourself, your family, your community, and your country.
Environment - Liberty means the fair use of our nation's natural resources for all citizens. Where possible, without unreasonable restriction to private enterprise, the government should strive to protect our natural environment so all can enjoy its bounty.
Gun Control - Liberty means the freedom to protect yourself, your family, and your property, with deadly force if necessary. People have a right to keep guns for such a purpose. People also have a right to use guns in sporting activities and in the event that citizens should be called on to form a citizen militia. We do not, however, have a right to own all the latest people-killing technology. The People, through the government, can restrict some of the more deadly weapons being sold today.
Health - Liberty means the freedom to overcome physical limitations in order to better yourself, your family, your community, and your country.
Regulations - Liberty means the freedom to live and work in an environment that best allows individuals and families to grow in the pursuit of happiness. Bad air, bad water, bad living and working conditions only stifle that liberty.
Sexuality - Liberty means the freedom to share mutual intimate affection with the person of your choice, regardless of gender.
Substance Abuse - Liberty means the freedom to decide what you put in your body. Unless the use of a substance is a danger to unwilling victims, its use should be kept legal. In situations where use of a substance may or may not effect bystanders, regulations - such as in the case with tobacco - should be enacted to protect the bystander without denying the individual's choice to use the substance. Smoking and non-smoking areas in public places are a prime example of this.
Taxation - Liberty is found within a system. That system does not happen by itself. It is created and supported by us, the People, and it is funded by our labors. The money we pay in taxes is what allows us to thrive in Liberty and work in fairness. Reasonable taxation is necessary because without it, many of us would find it difficult to get paid even a fraction of what we are paid now. And those who benefit more from the system should expect to pay more to help support it.
Women's/Minority Rights - Liberty means the freedom to be valued and judged on talent and work, not on the physical characteristics over which we have no control.
In closing let me state that freedom sometimes brings situations we don't like. Some people will choose to use their freedom to engage in activities that go against our personal values. It is a great temptation to use our democratic rights to try and enshrine our own personal values - whether they come from religious or humanistic origins - in the laws of the nation. The inherent problem with this is that when Liberty is restrained by any one group's values, even if that group represents the majority of the population at the time, it can easily be changed from one generation to the next, meaning that you could be forced to live under someone else's values as easily as you might force someone to live under yours.
The only true defense of our values is the defense of our liberties.
If you don't want to be forced to live under a foreign set of values, don't force others to live under yours. Instead, fight for the freedom to believe as you want while others believe as they want. Freedom of choice, as long as it does not infringe on another's rights, is the foundation upon which this nation was built. Liberalism is the ideology that strives to defend that freedom for everyone. And for that reason it pleases me to no end to state that I am proud to be Liberal.
Posted by Nosy Neighbors
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jul 10, 2009 at 11:28 am
It has almost come to the point now where the term Conservative is immediately to Republicans & Liberal the same to Democrats. Quite possible but let me offer this.
The modern "Republican" party has very little in common with the roots of the Conservative Movement that trace back to the late 50's & 60's but were given their true identity when Barry Goldwater began to define the US's role as a superior military force to defend against Communist aggression & socialist "infiltration" of our government. Remember this was during the cold war & we were either scared poopless of the Russians (chickens), were determined to defeat the Russians (hawks) or were ready to bow down & appease the Russians. (doves)
I believe the three primary & base tenants of Conservatism that Barry Goldwater laid down in his early political career & during his run for the presidency in 1964 were personal freedom, self-determinism & the individuals right to pursue their life in a manner that will further themselves & their families lot in life. A strong military & national defense. Finally, a weak central government that does not legislate social issues, overtax it's citizens, create obstacles & burdens to business & the states & local governments role in creating legislation that conforms to the immediate needs of the citizenry.
So yeah, while old Barry thought it would have been appropriate to bomb N. Vietnam & Cambodia into the stone age & arrest communist sympathizers here in the US, he also defended his own daughters right to have a (then illegal) abortion, citing that the government has no right to legislate a personal & morale decision. While Goldwater himself was against abortion he realized the Pandora's Box of sorts of what would happen if the US government were to step into our homes, our bedrooms & our private lives.
So while Barry lost it big time to LBJ, the conservative party could have rolled over & played dead but they had a good looking ex-actor from California waiting in the wings. It took over 10 years & a peanut farmer from Georgia but the rest is history.
Love him, hate him or revere him Ronald Reagan definitely put a face to the conservative movement. A strong military, check. Financial freedoms & limited taxation, check. Personal freedoms & governments lack of social control...no check. This is where most TRUE conservatives will tell you that the party itself was highjacked by the so called "christian right." While barely christian & never right (IMHO) this group of evangelicals were able to insert their hatred of homosexuals, abortion rights groups, the music industry (rock n' roll will kill ya you know) into Republican dogma. Note this is when I also stop referring to Conservatives as Republicans as it is where I also contest that during the 80's the Conservative movement lost it's sole & was sold out to the christian right & the emergence of what "Randy" termed the Neo-Con movement. This is where we can start arguing on whether the Trilateral Commission, CFR, World Bank, The Freemasons, Skull & Bones & the happening at Bohemian Grove have to do with holding the true keys to power in the US. I'll leave that up to Oliver Stone.
The Republican party that GWB vacated from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. with is a mere shell of it's former self. A spend & spend, strong federal government. Strict social legislation. Strong military but a total lack of "REAL" protection of it's citizenry from illegal immigration, religious persecution & denial of personal freedoms. Hell, John F.Kennedy has more in common with the Conservative/Republican party of 2008 than John McInsane ever did!
Both parties current philosophies differ greatly & have been distorted by their willing counterparts in the media. Rush Limbaugh is NO CONSERVATIVE!!! He is a mouthpiece, a puppet & a knee-jerk reactionary for the Republican party. Same goes for most of your Fox faces. The same also applies for almost every NBC, ABC, CBS (& god forbid...PBS!!) mouthpiece too. Utter shills for the Democrat party. How else on the face of earth could have Barrack Hussein Obama could have ever been elected? A one term senator from the most corrupt state governmental machine in the US, a "social organizer", a slew of shady past acquaintances & the most left-minded, socialist leaning senator in the senate. Granted, after 8 years of Bushy the Democrats could have dug up & re-incarnated Adolf Hitler, shaved off his mustache, dressed him up in khaki's a blue blazer & red tie, called him "Addy" & still would have waltzed into the white house. The media gave B.H.O. a total hall pass though & criticized, mocked & maligned McCain the whole way.
So are all Con/Repubs' greedy, capitalist, christian, war mongering, hateful, checked pant wearing country clubbers?
Are Lib/Dem's all pro-gay, abortion, tax, peacenik, Grateful Dead listening, dope smoking, Prius driving social do-gooders?
I guess I'll let Brian & one of his (almost as long as my) diatribe decide that for you.
Peace out P-Town, see you on the green, glass of wine in my hand for Rock Explosion tonight!