Liberal vs Conservative vs Libertarian

I actually just watched The Iron Lady yesterday, a movie about the life of Margaret Thatcher. Naturally since I do earn a humble profit from my writings and since I was really moved by the movie, I was thinking I should write about it. But then I realized that there's a lot of problems with the labels and semantics involved in different political philosophies especially since Margaret Thatcher lead the UK Conservative party.

Nowadays, people throw around the words like "liberal" or "conservative" and many times it becomes so out of context because the terms are really so general and at different uses could mean different things. It's really more complex that in it is.

The problem also arises because the words are used differently in the context of US politics, for example, as compared to when we use it in everyday conversations. Especially here in the Philippines, the word conservative would usually equate to social conservatism, or those who would want to legislate based on their own definition of morality. I noticed people use this term often to refer to those who are hardcore religious or would want lifestyle to be regulated by government supposedly in order to preserve "traditional" values. This is as opposed to being "liberal" that is mostly used to describe civil libertarianism that seeks to expand and protect personal freedoms and civil liberties but not necessarily support reduction of the size or spending of the state in spite of the word "libertarianism" being attached to it. 

Ron Paul talks about history of being anti-war in the Republican Party

The problem is, especially in US politics, the word conservative may refer to fiscal conservatism or those who want to shrink the size of government and cut government spending. Yes, most of you now hate the US Republican party because of the warmongering and social conservatism of the Bush administration. You must remember though that, as Ron Paul reminds us, the Republican Party was traditionally both fiscal conservative and civil libertarian, essentially being almost entirely libertarian, as proposed by their founders and recommended by their constitution. This is why the Bush doctrine of warmongering and social conservatism is championed by the neoconservatives

This is also why the Democrats are, again in the US context of the term, referred to as liberals or progressives mainly because they prefer to stray from the recommendations of their founders of a constitutional limited government even when some of them are social conservatives or score low on civil liberties. A good example from the video below would be that Dennis Kucinich (who scores high on civil liberties) is a totally different kind of democrat/liberal as compared to Barrack Obama. That's actually what makes this all complex is, as I have said, the terms are so general.

In fact, the term "liberal" was initially used to describe a political philosophy that were actually closest to the recommendation of a limited government by the the US founders and this is why now the proponents of liberalism then are now referred to as classical liberals.

By avoiding the fallacy of composition and division, we can say that all social conservatives are conservatives but not all conservatives are social conservatives. The same follows with all the terms I have mentioned so far. This is why when Ron Paul argues in the debates that "I am the most conservative of all of the other candidates" he doesn't mean he is a social conservative but more of a fiscal conservative. In fact, he scores highest on being both fiscal conservative and shrinking the size of government at the same time protecting the liberties of individuals. Ideally, that's what libertarianism is all about. It becomes more complex though as there are different kinds of libertarianism as talked about in this video:

What kind of libertarian are you?

As mentioned in the video as well, some of the people in the US Tea Party are also libertarian. Actually, Ron Paul started the whole Tea Party revolution type of philosophy way back in 2007 and essentially meant to be libertarian only big government warmongering social conservatives like Sarah Palin and Glen Beck stole this concept and made it their own. Again, to avoid fallacy of division, let us not generalize what a "Tea Partier" is as some of them may actually be libertarian.

It gets even more complex when politicians label themselves with either "liberal" and "conservative" but vote for legislation that goes against their supposed political philosophy. This is because many times, as expressed in The Iron Lady, politicians will vote for whatever makes them more popular or whatever it is that preserves or increases their power.

Okay, I have to stop there for now. It's really just so frustrating. I actually essentially hate many of Margaret Thatcher's policies only I didn't want people to misunderstand the real goals/platform of the UK Conservative Party. They have strayed away from it just as the US Republican Party is now ran by neoconservative establishment candidates.

The one thing I hate about being passionate about libertarianism is that I'm compelled to educate and spread ideas about liberty which means having to learn so many things and having to write articles such as this one. I mean, I could have been doing something fun instead of being so frustrated about writing this haha. 

Other Related Posts:
1. David Cameron of UK Conservative Party Talks About Post-Bureaucratic Age
2. The Government's Spirit of Christmas
3. Why I Decided to Create HarryLeaks

No comments

Powered by Blogger.