stoutde: (Default)
"Liberal" has been defined in two different ways by context in modern English.

a. tolerant of or favorable to change, "he has very liberal views on education and wants to see reform"
b. not sparring in resources, "he applied cheese to his nachos very liberally"

"Conservative" means the opposite.

a. intolerant of or unfavorable to change, "he holds conservative views on gun rights and refuses to vote in favor of changing them"
b. sparring in resources, "he conserved electricity by reprogramming his thermostat to not run the A/C when he isn't home"

Now, let's apply these things to our beliefs. Right now, our government is kind of bloaty. It's spending money on things we don't want it spending money on. Now, to be fair, what I think it shouldn't be spending money on is probably not _exactly_ the same thing you think it shouldn't be spending on, but I'm willing to bet there's at least some overlap. Let's consider this in abstract.

If something is costing us x$ right now, and we think that is too high and would like to see it be more like y$, that requires change and satisfies the first definition of "liberal". Anyone asking for less spending is being liberal.

If something is costing us x$ and we think that's fine, we're not asking for change but we're admitting that there is plenty of money available for the task to be done. We're still being liberal.

So how do we become conservative? By refusing to change a policy, we're being conservative. By refusing to fund something, we're being conservative.

Let's see how this comes together, since it looks to me like a series of odd contradictions...

To decrease spending (be conservative), we have to change policy (liberal).
To maintain or increase spending (be liberal), we have to either not mess with (conservative) or change policy (liberal).

/me scratches head

Sure seems to me that calling people or claiming the title of either "liberal" or "conservative" is just plain stupid, neither title really tells you anything. Now, if they say something like "fiscally conservative" or "socially liberal", now we're getting somewhere.

Think about that next time you call someone a liberal. You might be a liberal yourself, especially if you are championing fiscal conservativeness.

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Dennis Stout

May 2017

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