Liberals vs. Conservatives: What Do They Have in Common?

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In American politics, there are left-wingers and right-wingers, the liberals and the conservatives, respectively. Coincidentally, many liberals tend to be Democratic, and many conservatives tend to be Republican. But what does it mean to be a conservative, or to be a liberal? What are the similarities and the differences between these two groups of people?

Submitted: August 27, 2013

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Submitted: August 27, 2013

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Liberals vs. Conservatives: What Do They Have in Common?

by Chanpreet Singh 

 

In American politics, there are left-wingers and right-wingers, the liberals and the conservatives, respectively. Coincidentally, many liberals tend to be Democratic, and many conservatives tend to be Republican. But what does it mean to be a conservative, or to be a liberal? What are the similarities and the differences between these two groups of people?

Even the word "conservative" hints who they are. Conservatives prefer things to be in the way they once were in the past. They support "family" values and admire free enterprise with emphasis on private ownership. They are strong advocates of "laissez faire." They are known for their belief that people should take care of themselves rather than expecting the government to take care of them on behalf of welfare. They believe that punishment, or the fear of it, is the most effective way of reducing crime. Conservatives are also the pioneers of the "devolution revolution," in which the federal government gives many of its powers back to the state and local governments. They are not "environmental extremists;" they believe more in the gain of wealth rather than preserving nature. Conservatives are likely to be very patriotic. They respect everything from the American flag to the military. They are strong supporters of military spending and giving generous benefits to war veterans. In terms of government, they believe that communism is evil. Ronald Reagan, a conservative hero and U.S. president, spoke of the USSR as the "evil empire." They are suspicious of foreign aid and of international organizations like the United Nations. They oppose abortion, and they want to see Christian prayers and artifacts (like the crucifix) back in government facilities.

Liberals, on the other hand, are strong believers of "change." They are also called "radicals," because they seem to quickly adapt themselves in any environment. They once viewed the federal government as dangerous, but today they see it as a tool for them to bring about equality of opportunity and ensure basic living, food and clothing for all. They have always kept the freedoms of expression before everything else. They are in constant battle to improve the public education system. They support remedial programs for students with behavior, language and physical disabilities. Liberals strongly oppose discrimination of all sorts. Back in the 1960's, they were champions of many civil rights programs for blacks, and in the 1990's, they pushed a few laws that punished businesses for discriminating against women, ethnic groups, homosexuals etc. Liberals believe that the rich can take care of themselves, and the government needs to protect the poor from the rich who can make them work long hours for low pay. They support unions and environmental protection laws. In contrast with the conservatives, the liberals are against praying and the hanging of religious artifacts in public and government facilities like schools, because they believe that religion cannot be forced on anyone. They support progressive taxes, in which the wealthy pay more taxes and the poor pay less.

In conclusion, the liberals have strong interests in helping the poor rise from their place, while the conservatives always further the interests of the upper class. Now that we know who liberals and conservatives are, shall we compare them? Identify one thing that they agree on. It may not be listed here, and please do keep in mind that this task may be impossible to perform. 


© Copyright 2019 Chanpreet Singh. All rights reserved.

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