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Thread: Honest, serious, mature discussion: Is the United States TOO democratic?

  1. #26
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    While what you say is technically true, the social conservatives bring up such issues in reaction or as a reaction to social progressives' actions or stated intents.
    This sounds a bit like the "she hit me first" arguments I get from the back of my car. I don't think this is fair to say. Social Conservatives have at the heart of their ideology the preservation of "traditional social values" as the primary outcome. At least that's my reading.

    From Wikipedia:
    Social conservatism is a political or moral ideology that believes government and/or society have a role in encouraging or enforcing traditional values or behaviors based on the belief that these are what keep people civilized and decent.
    From that perspective, economics and politics are the means to achieving these social ends, but there is no real consensus among Social Conservatives about which strategies would be best.

    Again, from Wikipedia:

    There is no necessary link between social and fiscal conservatism; some social conservatives are otherwise apolitical, centrist or even arguably left-wing on economic and fiscal issues. Social conservatives may support a degree of economic intervention. Many Social Conservatives support the fair market i.e. a free market with labor, social and environmental considerations.
    The result, from my perspective, has been advocacy for legislation like the Defense of Marriage Act which attempts to integrate social issues into law - by DENYING people rights. Its not about the marketplace or politics at all. Its about people being uncomfortable with something and willing it away (or trying to) through legislation. No law will stop people from being gay or wanting to form committed partnerships, however. If, it seems to me, one were to view it form an economic perspective, I think support of gay marriage (or just marriage in general between any two consenting adults) would make more sense. A formalized, legitimate household solidified and stabilized through legal marriage is a more stable economic force in society. And the laws that govern the rights of married spouses help protect this economic stability in the event of death, injury, divorce, etc.

    On another note, I was recently reading an article about Holland and the way they structure their "social value" system. Rather than an emphasis on a particular religion, set of behaviors, etc., they lay emphasis on a broader set values like "tolerance" which I think is a crafty way of avoiding, or riding above, the particulars of specific behaviors. When you have an ever-changing population, focusing on specific behaviors as "American" (or Dutch or whatever) becomes very difficult to do. I think at least in part the anxiety some people feel about trends in our society is the result of this ever-changing set of behaviors. I'm not convinced that the core values have really changed, but specific behaviors have and that's what people tend to focus on. People wearing different clothing, speaking different languages, behaving in a certain way, or hanging out in certain places. These things can upset people, even when they don't really understand why. But if we emphasize tolerance, diversity, and a healthy cultural mix as our societal values, some of this stuff becomes a little easier to deal with. IMHO...
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  2. #27
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    This sounds a bit like the "she hit me first" arguments I get from the back of my car. I don't think this is fair to say. Social Conservatives have at the heart of their ideology the preservation of "traditional social values" as the primary outcome. At least that's my reading.
    I think it's very fair to call social conservatives "reactionary". My whole point was that people would be surprised to find out how tolerant conservatives are if you abandon social progress theory as a platform issue (which often includes creating rights that aren't there, in the same light as you view social conservative legislation denying people rights) and embraced liberalism. Let civil society address social progress how it may. The point of U.S. government is to preserve and encourage liberty, not legislate social progress (or regress, for that matter).

    Quote Originally posted by wadhay View post
    I think at least in part the anxiety some people feel about trends in our society is the result of this ever-changing set of behaviors. I'm not convinced that the core values have really changed, but specific behaviors have and that's what people tend to focus on. People wearing different clothing, speaking different languages, behaving in a certain way, or hanging out in certain places. These things can upset people, even when they don't really understand why. But if we emphasize tolerance, diversity, and a healthy cultural mix as our societal values, some of this stuff becomes a little easier to deal with. IMHO...
    Yes, that is the progressive talking point on this issue... "celebrate diversity", "tolerance", "coexist", and any number of misleading bumper sticker slogans based on a premise of a utopian ideal, as Duke pointed out.
    Last edited by TexanOkie; 17 Dec 2009 at 1:05 PM.

  3. #28
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    I think it's very fair to call social conservatives "reactionary". My whole point was that people would be surprised to find out how tolerant conservatives are if you abandon social progress theory as a platform issue (which often includes creating rights that aren't there, in the same light as you view social conservative legislation denying people rights) and embraced liberalism. Let civil society address social progress how it may. The point of U.S. government is to preserve and encourage liberty, not legislate social progress (or regress, for that matter).
    This is a very backward view. You say "let civil society address social progress as it may" yet social conservatives continue to push for legislation that prohibits civil society from addressing that social progress.
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  4. #29
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    This is a very backward view. You say "let civil society address social progress as it may" yet social conservatives continue to push for legislation that prohibits civil society from addressing that social progress.
    This isn't backwards at all. Government (whether it's referendum, legislation, judicial proceedings, or executive mandates), even if it's actions are popularly supported, is not civil society. Both sides always tend to look for government action to solidify their position, and both sides do so largely in reaction to each other. I say let it be. For things that absolutely must be addressed by force (government), let federalism take it's hold. Everything else be left alone.
    Last edited by TexanOkie; 17 Dec 2009 at 1:21 PM.

  5. #30
    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia View post
    UTOPIAN!

    The interesting thing about us planner types is that each one of us is a UTOPIAN! Any attempt at UTOPIA ends in disaster, hence the development of DISTOPIA.

    I realize that there really is no such thing as perfect; however, I do think we should strive for a society and a world that is as close to perfect as we can possibly get. Why wouldn't you want less problems, less strife, less death and destruction? And who else would be capable of fixing our world other than us human beings?


    Quote Originally posted by Duke of Dystopia
    I for one, would be in favor of pounding on the south again if they try to secede. Fortunately, this will not happen. The south thinks they were cute in luring so many non-union jobs. People go where the jobs are. Thus, as northern states have lost population, the south and west have gained. This is the really good part of the joke on those in the south and west. People don't leave their politics or beliefs behind when they move. Thus Colorodo, has become more democratic. Demographics are against the south, west (not the coastal states), and southwest. Changes are coming to you weather you like it or not. The more you resist, the worse it will be when the changes do happen!

    HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHa


    I can't help but think of the George Carlin bit where he talks about southerners who do Civil War reenactments and he says, "could you do us a favor and use live ammuntion next time, asshole?"

  6. #31
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    .....
    Yes, that is the progressive talking point on this issue... "celebrate diversity", "tolerance", "coexist", and any number of misleading bumper sticker slogans based on a premise of a utopian ideal, as Duke pointed out.
    Understand that the social conservative viewpoints of some kind of ideal past is also utopian.

    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    Let civil society address social progress how it may. The point of U.S. government is to preserve and encourage liberty, not legislate social progress (or regress, for that matter).
    Your quote above is incoherent. You can not preserve and encourage without having an ideal about what is just, ethical, and moral. The US government has preserved and encouraged liberty and social conservatives claim it is legislating social progress. The government with a backing of a majority of its citizens has cast doubt on the justness, ethical, and moral persuasions of Social Conservatives with its legislative ratification of societal change. It is the purpose of the government and politicians in specific to mitigate between groups of people with beliefs that may not be compatible. That means that occasionally the government will have to act to adjust to changing beliefs and conditions. Its the job of the government to legislate and specifically to protect and expand as many rights as possible to its citizens.

    Social conservatives stand for what was acceptable in the past such as Jim Crow laws, segregated societies, denial of the right of women to vote, denial of almost anything that could improve peoples lives in numerous ways. Its the essence of being conservative. What is good is what we did in the past. A rejection of progress or movement away from what was. By the very term Social Conservative conotates a religious state and that is antithetical to the very foundation of the nation. Rights were to be (should be) construed liberally.

    I do not buy the argument that states should be left to handle citizen rights on state by state basis. For instance, it is a silly notion that one state might not recognize the marriage status of a couple from another state. Or a drivers license, birth certificate, or possibly the citizenship of a person from another state.
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

  7. #32
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia View post
    UTOPIAN!
    I for one, would be in favor of pounding on the south again if they try to secede. Fortunately, this will not happen.
    Don't you also think much of the south is backwards? If so, why would you want to keep it "in the union". To me this is like a girlfriend that wants to leave because you have substantial philosophical differences. Are you going to beat them because you think it's better you're together and have the muscle to prove it?

    On another topic, it's not fair to anyone to stereotype conservatives or liberals as much has been done in this thread. No one fits neatly into the preconceived molds as neatly as we think they do.

  8. #33
    Quote Originally posted by Duke of Dystopia
    I do not buy the argument that states should be left to handle citizen rights on state by state basis. For instance, it is a silly notion that one state might not recognize the marriage status of a couple from another state. Or a drivers license, birth certificate, or possibly the citizenship of a person from another state.

    This was the same argument used by southern states to fight against civil rights legislation in the 1960s - they claimed it was a "states' rights" issue.

    Seems to be a common thread throughout our history. Whenever the rest of the United States tries to make progress, southerners protest in the name of states' rights. When we tried to do away with slavery, they claimed that they should have the right to retain the practice because of "states' rights". They use the same line today with the gay rights/marriage debate, and I even heard a congressman or two (from the South, of course) invoke this same idea in opposition to healthcare reform this summer.

    Seriously, maybe the South should secede. About the only thing I like about being down here is the football and the weather.

  9. #34
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia View post
    Understand that the social conservative viewpoints of some kind of ideal past is also utopian.
    I do, and agree.


    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia View post
    Your quote above is incoherent. You can not preserve and encourage without having an ideal about what is just, ethical, and moral. The US government has preserved and encouraged liberty and social conservatives claim it is legislating social progress. The government with a backing of a majority of its citizens has cast doubt on the justness, ethical, and moral persuasions of Social Conservatives with its legislative ratification of societal change. It is the purpose of the government and politicians in specific to mitigate between groups of people with beliefs that may not be compatible. That means that occasionally the government will have to act to adjust to changing beliefs and conditions. Its the job of the government to legislate and specifically to protect and expand as many rights as possible to its citizens.
    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia View post
    Social conservatives stand for what was acceptable in the past such as Jim Crow laws, segregated societies, denial of the right of women to vote, denial of almost anything that could improve peoples lives in numerous ways. Its the essence of being conservative. What is good is what we did in the past. A rejection of progress or movement away from what was. By the very term Social Conservative conotates a religious state and that is antithetical to the very foundation of the nation. Rights were to be (should be) construed liberally.
    Correction: "stood". And,at the point in time of the specific cases you mentioned, the social conservatives of the day were in the wrong. I am not defending conservatism for conservatism's sake. Going back even further, the American Revolution was opposed by (not necessarily social) conservatives. It's like I pointed out earlier in this thread, the notion of American conservative and American liberal are distorted. Social conservatives know no political ideology. In fact, they're oftentimes quite progressive economically. Your notion of religious connotation inherent in social conservatism is flawed, but I doubt I'll convince you otherwise. Rights should be construed liberally. I wholeheartedly agree. That notion is not antithetical to religion. Religion should (and I concede it's practitioners in this country aren't true to this fairly often) augment it.

    I do not buy the argument that states should be left to handle citizen rights on state by state basis. For instance, it is a silly notion that one state might not recognize the marriage status of a couple from another state. Or a drivers license, birth certificate, or possibly the citizenship of a person from another state.
    Reciprocity aside, I'm not going to hijack this thread into a discussion on federalism.

  10. #35
    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    I do, and agree.

    Reciprocity aside, I'm not going to hijack this thread into a discussion on federalism.

    But that's part of the problem - many conservatives, particularly in the South, decide to walk away from the democratic process and try to revert this country into a sort of confederacy - again, by invoking "states' rights" they essentially tell everybody that even though they're still a part of the United States, they don't have to play by the rules that everyone else in the country has democratically agreed upon. By invoking the idea that states have rights that they apparently believe supercede federal power, they are implying that the United States is a nation of only loosely tied together states that ultimately have more power and more rights than the federal government in Washington - the very definition of a confederacy.

  11. #36
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia View post
    Social conservatives stand for what was acceptable in the past such as Jim Crow laws, segregated societies, denial of the right of women to vote, denial of almost anything that could improve peoples lives in numerous ways.
    This is incredibly offensive. I feel sorry for you if you actually believe this.

  12. #37
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    This is incredibly offensive. .
    Yet entirely true.
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  13. #38
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    Yet entirely true.
    As more socially conservative than socially liberal I can tell you first-hand that is absolutely ridiculous. You're saying all social conservatives want to deny women the right to vote, segregate schools, and basically bring back slavery. Wow.

  14. #39
    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    This is incredibly offensive. I feel sorry for you if you actually believe this.

    Not only is it true, but it's necessary for understanding the dichotomy of the two-party system as it currently exists today in the U.S.

    Republicans, when defending themselves against charges such as these, like to remind everyone that they are the party that ended slavery. That is true, and for that they deserve credit. However, keep in mind - the Democratic Party was the party of social conservatism up until the 1960s, when southern Democrats opposed to civil rights legislation got so disgusted with LBJ that they jumped ship to the Republican Party and haven't looked back since. These southern Democrats-turned-Republicans went on to found such conservative organizations as the Moral Majority.

  15. #40
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    As more socially conservative than socially liberal I can tell you first-hand that is absolutely ridiculous. You're saying all social conservatives want to deny women the right to vote, segregate schools, and basically bring back slavery. Wow.
    The definition of a conservative - from Websters, is "wanting to preserve established traditions and institutions and resisting any changes to those".

    I'm not saying everything that you said- but social conservatives by their very nature resist changes that improve equality.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  16. #41
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jazzman View post
    Not only is it true, but it's necessary for understanding the dichotomy of the two-party system as it currently exists today in the U.S.

    Republicans, when defending themselves against charges such as these, like to remind everyone that they are the party that ended slavery. That is true, and for that they deserve credit. However, keep in mind - the Democratic Party was the party of social conservatism up until the 1960s, when southern Democrats opposed to civil rights legislation got so disgusted with LBJ that they jumped ship to the Republican Party and haven't looked back since. These southern Democrats-turned-Republicans went on to found such conservative organizations as the Moral Majority.
    To say that all social conservatives (of all ages) today support segregation, removing the right of women to vote, etc. is a reason communication problems exist.

    I was unaware that because I am pro-life that I support slavery, confining women to housewives only, among other things. The way you've framed your opinion is that ALL social conservatives support ALL the things you've mentioned, and that is out of line.
    Last edited by stroskey; 17 Dec 2009 at 3:37 PM.

  17. #42
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    The point of U.S. government is to preserve and encourage liberty, not legislate social progress (or regress, for that matter).
    For me, and maybe I am not thinking of the same examples as you are thinking of, I don't really see a distinction between "encouraging liberty" and "social progress." Encouraging liberty for slaves was social progress. I believe full rights and recognition for LGBT folks to marry, be free from discrimination (or at least to have legal recourse under something like "hate crimes" legislation) and so on in the same light. In the same way that black people and white people should be able to marry and that Jews should have the rights of protection under the law and legal recourse against those that target a particular group for intimidation and violence.

    Back to the issue of Social Conservatism and the definition I quoted, it seems that, contrary to some of the things you are saying (about letting civil society sort these issues out), SC's ARE concerned with the role of "government and/or society have a role in encouraging or enforcing traditional values or behaviors based on the belief that these are what keep people civilized and decent." Maybe its that you fall on the "society" side and not "government," but do you consider yourself a Social Conservative?

    If so, how do you see the difference between what you are saying about the role of civil society and what others that are seeking to legislate, say, marriage are saying?

    Personally, I think that there are issues where the government must step in to protect peoples' rights against other harmful interests. We are all supposed to be entitled to "equal protection under the law." If a group is experiencing hostile discrimination within the context of civil society (say, black people being turned away from restaurants or a gay couple that kisses and is attacked), what recourse do they have if the government is absent? Again, maybe I am not understanding your position, so I'm not trying to flip about it.

    As for the pursuit of Utopia in my comment about appealing to higher social values like "tolerance," I would agree that it is a sentiment unlikely to be reflected in reality. That does not, however, mean that we should not hold it up as a goal. If you shoot for the moon, you might break the earth's gravitational pull, but if you are just interested in reaching the top of the tree, your aspirations will not take you as far. Or something like that.

    Our constitution talks about rights that are "self-evident" and we protect them with the belief that by doing so all citizens can realize their full potential. But do they all? Of course not. Does that mean we should change those beliefs to something more realistic? I don't think so.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  18. #43
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Back to the issue of Social Conservatism and the definition I quoted, it seems that, contrary to some of the things you are saying (about letting civil society sort these issues out), SC's ARE concerned with the role of "government and/or society have a role in encouraging or enforcing traditional values or behaviors based on the belief that these are what keep people civilized and decent." Maybe its that you fall on the "society" side and not "government," but do you consider yourself a Social Conservative?

    If so, how do you see the difference between what you are saying about the role of civil society and what others that are seeking to legislate, say, marriage are saying?
    By all means, social conservatives are just as likely to push for government recognition of their views as social progressives and social liberals. I don't deny that. My beef is with everyone. I do not consider myself a social conservative, despite the fact that I, personally, have a conservative lifestyle. I'm a social libertarian.

  19. #44
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    To say that all social conservatives (of all ages) today support segregation, removing the right of women to vote, etc. is a reason communication problems exist.

    I was unaware that because I am pro-life that I support slavery, confining women to housewives only, among other things. Are you saying I support those things? The way you've framed your opinion is that ALL social conservatives support ALL the things you've mentioned, and that is out of line. You know that's not true yet you continue with the stereotype.
    Calm down a bit Stroskey, this has been quite a good thread up until now. As usual, a single subject has direct and very important links to other subjects that are touchy.

    In this last exchange, what is coming out, is that a confederation style view of government works to the benifit of what can be lumped together with today's conservative viewpoints. Federalism works for the rest of us in the same way because we see it as a way to deliver vital services and improve lives by legislating protections to people.

    There may be no very good way to actually bridge that gap. Again, this points to realignment politics. I can definitely agree that to much federalism and regulation can happen the same that I see that conservatism has run amok. We have shown pretty decent judgment in this country about what the pace of change should be to be honest. To fast for some, not fast enough for others, and definitely messy but we have had only 1 civil war. Our government coups tend to be bloodless and the revolutions tiny and therefore more successful. The next realignment is not going to go the Social Conservatives way.

    That is not to say we should abandon those good folks in the south that would shuck of the yoke of social conservatives. That is why we should not let the south secede. By force, again, if necessary.

    Nobody is saying you think that women shouldn't be allowed to vote or be chained in the kitchen, or are presently defending slavery. However, Social Conservatives show a great compunction to do such things based upon established past behavior patterns (Thank you Jazzman for pointing out how Republicans and Democrats flip floped on that).

    That pattern of defending the status quo for a romanticized past has continued to this day. The future may not be as great as we want, but the past is definitively and provably not as nice and romantic as conservatives wish it were.
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

  20. #45
    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia View post
    The future may not be as great as we want, but the past is definitively and provably not as nice and romantic as conservatives wish it were.

    I think this is an important crux in the liberal-conservative debate - at the end of the day, what is a conservative? By definition, one who believes that things ought to remain as they are, right? And by definition, a liberal is someone who wants things to change because they seem some fault with the way things currently are. So ultimately almost any debate on any social issue between liberals and conservatives boils down to "Are things fine the way that they are now?"

    No stroskey I am not saying that conservatives generally believe slavery should be reinstituted or women should stay at home in the kitchen (although believe it or not, I have met some people who actually DO believe those things). I was simply trying to make a point about the history of "conservativism" in the United States. If I offended you personally, then I do apologize, as that was not my intent. However -

    I can't help but seriously wonder who looks at the way things are honestly believes that they are fine and dandy. The logical answer would be those who have it made right now. The people who are NOT homosexual, therefore do not suffer from anti-gay discrimination. The people who are wealthy/affluent enough to afford health insurance, and wonder why can't everybody just go out and get their own. A classic case of the haves versus the have-nots, except in this case it doesn't necessarily pertain to economic status, but social status as well.

    On a related note, I find it almost amusing (if not sad) that in popular American culture, the 1950s are revered as a time when things were "right" in America, as a time that was almost idyllic and perfect, when the truth of the matter is that millions of Americans were denied the right/opportunity to vote, and government-sponsored racism, segregation, and discrimination were still in full effect. I don't mean to make this racist or otherwise inflammatory, but quite frankly only white people (and straight, conservative, Christian white men at that) view the 1950s and previous time periods as ideal or as a time that we need to revert back to. Everybody else in America can't help but think about all of the rights they didn't have back then.

  21. #46
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    By all means, social conservatives are just as likely to push for government recognition of their views as social progressives and social liberals. I don't deny that. My beef is with everyone. I do not consider myself a social conservative, despite the fact that I, personally, have a conservative lifestyle. I'm a social libertarian.
    I can agree that based on your past posts in this thread (and others), that you are a social libertarian, but do you really believe that most American conservatives are social libertarians? Earlier you mentioned something about American liberals talking about social issues 90% of the time and American conservatives talking about political and economic issues 90% of the time, and I just don't see that at ALL. For you personally, sure, but social libertarians seem to be quite rare amongst conservatives in the US, and have only gained a decent amount of exposure over the last year or so.
    Last edited by CJC; 17 Dec 2009 at 4:30 PM.
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  22. #47
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jazzman View post
    By definition, one who believes that things ought to remain as they are, right? And by definition, a liberal is someone who wants things to change because they seem some fault with the way things currently are. So ultimately almost any debate on any social issue between liberals and conservatives boils down to "Are things fine the way that they are now?"
    Don't you think people put their best self-interests first and if their lives are going fine then why go to bat for changes? Not saying I am that way but in general if life is good why would you spend the time and energy to change it when it doesn't affect you (or changes may negatively affect you). We're not talking about a human-rights issue here like slavery, so please don't equate the two.

  23. #48
    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    Don't you think people put their best self-interests first and if their lives are going fine then why go to bat for changes? Not saying I am that way but in general if life is good why would you spend the time and energy to change it when it doesn't affect you (or changes may negatively affect you). We're not talking about a human-rights issue here like slavery, so please don't equate the two.

    People DO put their self-interests first, and although that is a necessary thing to do in a situation where your very survival is on the line, it becomes a serious problem when it comes to living in a civilized society with other human beings. Yeah, life may be good for you but do you not care about your fellow American for whom life may be hell thanks to the lack of laws/public policy that ensure that person has basic civil rights/human rights s/he is entitled to? That is exactly the point of the argument I'm making. Many conservatives beileve that since life is good for THEM, why bother worrying about someone else? If you're a Christian, then your faith calls upon you to care for the least of these as Jesus said. If you're not, but still claim to have some sense of morality and what's right/wrong, and still claim to be a proud American, then how can you sit back and watch your fellow countrymen be denied basic civil rights?

    A good friend of mine (a Christian, no less) once said that there are basically two ideologies in the United States - those who believe that people should fend for themselves and get everything for themselves, and those who believe that government/society should try to help out those who are doing without, whether that be without food/shelter/clothing, or without basic human/civil rights. I have never forgotten that statement, because it's so true.

  24. #49
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CJC View post
    I can agree that based on your past posts in this thread (and others), that you are a social libertarian, but do you really believe that most American conservatives are social libertarians? Earlier you mentioned something about American liberals talking about social issues 90% of the time and American conservatives talking about political and economic issues 90% of the time, and I just don't see that at ALL. For you personally, sure, but social libertarians seem to be quite rare amongst conservatives in the US, and have only gained a decent amount of exposure over the last year or so.
    Perhaps the 90% numbers were a bit exaggerated. I do still think that American liberals and progressives bring up social issues a lot more often American conservatives. After all, social change is a key to their platform and represents new ideas that need to be initiated. In that regard, American conservatives tend to have platform positions targeted against progressive social goals. That what I had originally meant when I said that conservatives really only bring up social issues in reaction to liberal/progressive positions and goals. Of course, one could argue that the dominant social culture is conservative, so that means that the liberals' agenda is a reaction against social conservatism. And that is what I tried to do when I pointed out that I think liberals would be surprised at the number of American conservatives who would or are tolerant of people living so-called "alternative lifestyles" - they are okay with it being around; they just don't want it shoved in their face. Once one culture, whether it's the social conservatives or the liberals, start pushing their lifestyle on others (there's a difference between tolerance and acceptance, and between acceptance and full-fledged promotion and encouragement), it reverts to a war mentality. Case in point: as someone brought up the 1950's example - beatniks. The beat movement was tolerated and largely accepted by 1950s America. It wasn't lived by most of them, but people accepted its existence. However, after the free speech movement and the hippies started to push their ways of life on people, the social conservatives at the time reacted somewhat harshly, and there's been a "culture war" (both sides seem to think so) ever since. I'm not saying we go back to the 1950s, because there was a lot of problems back then with the distribution and access to liberty. But it shows that conservatives can be much more tolerant than liberals give them credit for, and this perpetual "war" mentality does nothing to actually solve anything. It only exacerbates the problems.
    Last edited by TexanOkie; 17 Dec 2009 at 5:42 PM.

  25. #50
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    Don't you think people put their best self-interests first and if their lives are going fine then why go to bat for changes? Not saying I am that way but in general if life is good why would you spend the time and energy to change it when it doesn't affect you (or changes may negatively affect you). We're not talking about a human-rights issue here like slavery, so please don't equate the two.
    I think this is a good point, but to be cliche about it - no (person) is an island. If people have children, for example, then suddenly the perspective of "personal interest" gets expanded because you start considering what kind of life you are creating or leaving for the next generation. Its still self-serving to a degree (they are YOUR genes you want to ensure has unfettered access to all society has to offer). If one starts to consider that their own children might be gay, or want to convert to Islam or marry someone from a different background, then the sphere of protection one seeks becomes much wider. At least I tend to view it that way.

    What about the impact of curtailed civil rights for people we care about, whether relatives or friends. No, its not you personally who suffers, but if its someone you care about, that is a motivator. I think this is one reason the issue of Gay Marriage (IMO) will eventually win. So many people know and care about someone in their life that happens to be gay. So, this is an issue that potentially touches lots of people who themselves may stand to gain essentially nothing from allowing same sex couples to marry. But they still have to look those people in the eye and, if its someone they respect, that's a hard position to maintain.

    So, to a certain degree, I think one has to consider what different people define as "self-interest." There may be circumstances or arguments to be made where self-interest and society's interest overlap and those are issues that will have the widest appeal.

    But I think you are generally right in asking what the motivation is for the "haves" to consider and change the way we do things in order to give a hand up to the "have nots." The strongest argument is one that shows that a particular change benefits everyone (including those for whom life is already good). That's not easy in all circumstances, though.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

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