Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Why is a “liberal” liberal”; Why is a “conservative” conservative?

I was having a discussion with some liberal and conservative friends this evening and posed the question:  What in our backgrounds, do you suppose, caused you to become liberal and caused me to become conservative?  Of course we could have each told the other that they grew up as a clueless idiot.  But we were polite.

In fact, liberals and conservatives are pretty much polar opposites of one another in our world/life view of most things that matter.

Liberals are suspicious of business/free enterprise; conservatives believe business/free enterprise is our nations best hope and creates the motivation that made our nation great.

Liberals favor more government programs and government spending which require bigger/more government; conservative are suspicious of big government and want it smaller with less taxes.

Liberals believe people need to rely on government and are often incapable of solving problems on their own; conservative feel that problems are best solved by individuals without government intervention.

Liberals tend to be for open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens; conservatives favor secure borders and enforcement of immigration laws.

Liberals tend to be amoral, live and let live, less spiritual/religious; conservatives tend to be more concerned about morality and tend to be more spiritual/religious.

This list could go on for several more feet.  Needless to say – we are very different from one another.

Why?  What caused us to be so different?

Certainly it couldn’t all be because of the way we were raised, could it?  We are all capable of independent thinking after we leave home.  Are the childhood biases we acquired so firmly implanted that we can’t escape them?

How much does our later education, college or otherwise, influence our basic world-view mindset?  Does one side or the other have better critical thinking skills?  Does it depend on what our career is – the special interests that we feel compelled to defend or promote because our livelihood depends on a given world view? 

Is it some significant life experience that turned us on or off to one set of views or another?  Were we influenced by who we associated with and respected the most?

In all likelihood it is a combination of all these factors that resulted in certain character traits that cause us to tend toward conservative or liberal.

My set of conclusions, given my world/life view are that the character traits each group develops are different in the following ways:

  • Conservatives are more engaged in learning the issues while liberals are superficially engaged and follow populist fads like global warming
  • Conservatives have better analytical skills and rely on facts while liberals are more gullible and follow whatever is popular sans facts.
  • Conservatives are more open minded and receptive to objective information; while liberals base their preferences on emotion.
  • Conservatives have a more independent spirit, tend to be more self-sufficient problem solvers  while liberals tend to be whiners and dependent on others and expect others to be the same.

So, do you think my analysis is spot on?

Other than that, we’re all the same.

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