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The Liberal-Conservative Dichotomy is an illusion

superstition

Platinum Member
Feb 2, 2008
2,219
216
101
Our current two-party political system has programmed people to think that there is a mystical "liberal" and "conservative" basis for all human thought, as if people are born with "liberal" or "conservative" stamped on their foreheads and there are "two sides to everything".

There is no "conservative" or "liberal" melting point for gold. It's a singular truth.

Every truth is singular in a rational reality. We have science to help us get as close to an understanding of reality as possible. There is no "liberal" scientific law and "conservative" scientific law. There are an endless number of opinions, scientific and otherwise, but all opinions are fundamentally quantifiable by their closeness to reality.

How true an opinion (also known as a hypothesis) is is not arbitrary. Our limitations in understanding reality don't create multiple realities. The melting point of gold, in reality, doesn't change if person A calls himself a conservative and gives it a number and person B calls himself a liberal and gives it a number.

So, please... please please please stop parroting this liberal/conservative nonsense! It's a complete waste of time and energy.

Sometimes I yearn for the days when there were three parties in the USA... Someone please bring back the Whigs. Maybe people might actually have to think for once:

"Those liberals... blah blah blah"
"Those conservatives...blah blah blah"
"Those... uh... non-conservatives... uh... non-liberals... uh.... error error does not compute!"

It's tempting to suggest that the liberal-conservative dichotomy is a manifestation of the binary 0 and 1, but that isn't the case. What matters is how accurate an opinion is.

 

Farang

Lifer
Jul 7, 2003
10,921
3
0
Unfortunately it is a fundamental pillar of our politics that many self-proclaimed liberals and conservatives see politics as nothing more than a game that they must run up the score on. However, this dichotomy also offers a valuable opportunity to write-off the idiots in a discussion as soon as they start throwing around such labels as if they provide any sort of backbone to an argument.
 

superstition

Platinum Member
Feb 2, 2008
2,219
216
101
Unfortunately it is a fundamental pillar of our politics that many self-proclaimed liberals and conservatives see politics as nothing more than a game that they must run up the score on. However, this dichotomy also offers a valuable opportunity to write-off the idiots in a discussion as soon as they start throwing around such labels as if they provide any sort of backbone to an argument.
Yes, it's a distortion mechanism - a way to obfuscate reality. If truth can be hidden by two mirror image "truths", who needs reality? I suppose it's the man behind the curtain. Keep the little people fighting while those in the know fill their pockets...
 

Farang

Lifer
Jul 7, 2003
10,921
3
0
Originally posted by: superstition
Unfortunately it is a fundamental pillar of our politics that many self-proclaimed liberals and conservatives see politics as nothing more than a game that they must run up the score on. However, this dichotomy also offers a valuable opportunity to write-off the idiots in a discussion as soon as they start throwing around such labels as if they provide any sort of backbone to an argument.
Yes, it's a distortion mechanism - a way to obfuscate reality. If truth can be hidden by two mirror image "truths", who needs reality? I suppose it's the man behind the curtain. Keep the little people fighting while those in the know fill their pockets...
No need to complain. You've found the secret, now fill your pockets ;)
 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
38,584
345
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In ways, it is a false dichotomy, and in other ways, it's not and reflects some real differences in views.

I'd considered writing a post recently explaining a view that parties are really the tools of powerful groups who use them for their own benefit for a few, but need to get power through a majority of the vote, and so they're mainly about appealing to the masses - and that's why their 'real' policies are rarely discussed, where the discretionary billions go, but they make a lot of noise about populist issues affecting opinion.

It's especially easy to see with the Republican party, with the two top domestic priorities of Bush's first term being a tax cut for the very rich, and a corrupt drug bill that gave a $150B windfall to the GOP's top donor industry, how they don't talk about where all their big spending is going, but they will talk all day about 'gun rights' and 'right to life' and wear their flag lapel pins and such.

Any attempts by the media or others to point out the 'real' policies they don't talk about is scorned as some sort of commie propaganda. Back to Obama's preacher!

It's why one of my favorite political sayings is, "Politicians have to LOOK good to voters, and DO good for donors".

'Liberal' and 'Conservative' have their place in identifying some common and real differences, but they are very abused terms and often counter-productive for discussion. I do think it's often useful to avoid them when discussing issues. It also helps to avoid the brainless, emotion-based auto-response of ideologues, as recent research shows happens when they are presented with partisan information.
 

Capitalizt

Banned
Nov 28, 2004
1,514
0
0
This is a ridiculous post. Human behavior is not an exact science...The way government influences our lives is not an exact science, so there is no universal RIGHT way of doing things..There is no hard FACT about which system of government is best. It's all a matter of perception, and the fact is that people generally divide into two seperate groups with opposing visions of the world. Neither can be said to be 100% right all the time...There is no hard truth or certainty in politics as there is with the melting point of gold.
 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
38,584
345
126
Originally posted by: Capitalizt
This is a ridiculous post. Human behavior is not an exact science...The way government influences our lives is not an exact science, so there is no universal RIGHT way of doing things..There is no hard FACT about which system of government is best. It's all a matter of perception, and the fact is that people generally divide into two seperate groups with opposing visions of the world. Neither can be said to be 100% right all the time...There is no hard truth or certainty in politics as there is with the melting point of gold.
Actually, there's a spectrum of truth vs. opinion. Some things are hard facts, some are opinion, and some are some of each.

For example, whether Saddam was involved in 9/11 is a hard fact. Whether a 'war on terror' is a good policy is a matter of opinion. Whether removing Saddam was worth it is some of each.

Each party has facts - Republicans talk about how many unborn children were murdered with legalized abortion, and Democrats talk about how many are lacking health insurance.

Each party has opinions - Republicans may explain why social programs are counterproductive, and democrats may explain why affirmative action has a place.

Parties are a big mish mash of not only these facts and opinions, but many things - and are filled with inconsistencies, partisanship, hypocrisy in many cases.
 

sandorski

No Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
68,206
3,256
126
Liberal or Conservative Parties are alright, but people who adhere to them exclusively show poor judgment. Neither has all the answers or solutions, but together they give good solutions depending on the issue at hand. That said, a strict 2 Party system is a bad idea no matter how you slice it. Political parties eventually lose touch with the People and the only way to keep the Will of the People at the forefront is to allow the Creation and Destruction of Political parties in a never ending cycle of renewal.
 

Thump553

Lifer
Jun 2, 2000
11,866
1,193
126
Personally I don't think either of the two major parties in the US are liberal or conservative. The GOP, at least for the last decade or so, is primarily authoritarian with a secondary emphasis on traditional conservative values (mostly applicable to cutting income tax rates). The Dems? Almost impossible to pin down as they have so many divergent viewpoints under their social umbrella. The Dem Party is more of a coalition of (sometimes) compatible interests than anything else.

And I agree with the OP that the conservative/liberal dichotomy is pretty much a waste of time. All of us have some of each in our makeup. What we are all looking for, when it boils down to it, is the most efficient solution to society's problems.
 
May 16, 2000
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The biggest failure isn't the attempt to categorize, it's the attempt to do so using only a single axis of distinction. By expanding our conceptualization to a second, or better yet a third axis we can far more accurately begin to define political leanings. It's also necessary to do away over-encompassing axes theories. Liberal/conservative isn't properly descriptive. Ideally we'd choose the three most important concepts of government and use those as the axes. What those are would be a matter of fascinating debate, and the result would be a party system that could accurately represent the citizens.
 

Lemon law

Lifer
Nov 6, 2005
20,991
2
0
If nothing else, the OP on this thread put his finger firmly on the contradiction without quire defining it. But step one in the OP model is to invent this uni dimensional yard stick with reactionary conservative on one end and ultra liberal on the other end. Never mind that the definition of conservative or liberal is not clearly defined, get thee onto the yard stick and place your self where you belong on that continuum.

Now we can take some other variable, as I recall the OP was mumbling something about gold, so why not use gold. So I can ask, where must I put myself on this liberal conservative line to have the most gold. All things else held equal. And in a simple one input one output model, I can have my charts and graphs, write mathematical equations, and in the case of liberal conservative predicting gold, it most likely won't have much predictive value. But the point is, there are many examples of one input one outputs systems having almost exact predictive value.

Now lets make things more complex. Lets try a two variable system to try to maximize gold. It gets a lot harder and more surprising. How much salt must you use in the stew may have to be limited to a narrow range while the stew itself can vary all over the place. And therefore be worth gold people will pay for. And we can add more input variables and measure more output variables. And very soon it defies the human mind to maximize much of anything.

And in the end it degenerates into-------you guessed it.

conservatives saying liberals are ninnies
and
liberals saying conservatives are ninnies.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
66,969
3,757
126
Suppose you had this discussion among people who were brainwashed, or who were drunk or had taken drugs or who were completely insane. Would you take seriously anything said?

You certainly would if you were one of the participants.
 

CADsortaGUY

Lifer
Oct 19, 2001
25,162
1
76
www.ShawCAD.com
Originally posted by: PrinceofWands
The biggest failure isn't the attempt to categorize, it's the attempt to do so using only a single axis of distinction. By expanding our conceptualization to a second, or better yet a third axis we can far more accurately begin to define political leanings. It's also necessary to do away over-encompassing axes theories. Liberal/conservative isn't properly descriptive. Ideally we'd choose the three most important concepts of government and use those as the axes. What those are would be a matter of fascinating debate, and the result would be a party system that could accurately represent the citizens.
I agree for the most part. I think people think like the OP have lost sight due to over generalization. I am a Conservative - not as defined by party, but by ideology. I think some people here have totaly missed the boat when it comes to defining what they believe in so it's no wonder we gets posts like the OP and the parroters.
 

superstition

Platinum Member
Feb 2, 2008
2,219
216
101
I think people think like the OP have lost sight due to over generalization. I am a Conservative - not as defined by party, but by ideology. I think some people here have totaly missed the boat when it comes to defining what they believe in so it's no wonder we gets posts like the OP and the parroters.
I see no specifics here to support an argument.
 

superstition

Platinum Member
Feb 2, 2008
2,219
216
101
But step one in the OP model is to invent this uni dimensional yard stick with reactionary conservative on one end and ultra liberal on the other end. Never mind that the definition of conservative or liberal is not clearly defined, get thee onto the yard stick and place your self where you belong on that continuum.
I didn't invent the dichotomy, and I'm certainly not suggesting that people buy into it. What a reversal of what I was saying!
Now we can take some other variable, as I recall the OP was mumbling something about gold, so why not use gold. So I can ask, where must I put myself on this liberal conservative line to have the most gold.
That is not what I was doing with the gold example at all.
But the point is, there are many examples of one input one outputs systems having almost exact predictive value.
?
Lets try a two variable system to try to maximize gold. It gets a lot harder and more surprising. How much salt must you use in the stew may have to be limited to a narrow range while the stew itself can vary all over the place. And therefore be worth gold people will pay for. And we can add more input variables and measure more output variables. And very soon it defies the human mind to maximize much of anything.
What are you talking about? Maximizing gold? What does that mean?
 

CADsortaGUY

Lifer
Oct 19, 2001
25,162
1
76
www.ShawCAD.com
Originally posted by: superstition
I think people think like the OP have lost sight due to over generalization. I am a Conservative - not as defined by party, but by ideology. I think some people here have totaly missed the boat when it comes to defining what they believe in so it's no wonder we gets posts like the OP and the parroters.
I see no specifics here to support an argument.
Uhh... I guess I'm not surprised...

Let's try it this way.
Political ideology DOES fall liberal/Conservative and there is a line between them. You can be close to the line for sure, but it doesn't mean you aren't one or the other. There are many other factors and left-right isn't the ONLY but it is a main one in regards to politics. Once people actually look at what they believe and why - they will know where they fall on the right/left scale.(again, this isn't the whole picture) But what I see, here especially, are people trying to claim they are neither or that they are this magical "independent" (which somehow is an ideology now??? ) Yes, there is a line and you do fit on one side or the other in terms of ideology. Some people have actually know where they stand but others seem to not want to know or just don't want to admit they know. I'm sorry but if you engage in politics - you know where you stand. I just wish more would man up and admit it instead of playing these games trying to say they are neither or that it isn't important.

Meh, some people won't understand...and I understand that...
 

Dissipate

Diamond Member
Jan 17, 2004
6,829
0
0
The only conclusion that one can reach of both liberalism and conservatism is that they both advocate hatred, jealously and strong arm tactics.

Liberal: "For your own good I'm going to take half your income to help the poor."

Conservative: "For your own good I'm going to take half your income for the military."
 

Thump553

Lifer
Jun 2, 2000
11,866
1,193
126
Dissipate: Your example of a conservative is in fact an example of an authoritarian. A true conservative is more akin to a libertarian, where we collectively raise just enough for the military for defense.

Your definition of liberal is a very old, and tired, punchline.
 

Dissipate

Diamond Member
Jan 17, 2004
6,829
0
0
Originally posted by: Thump553
Dissipate: Your example of a conservative is in fact an example of an authoritarian. A true conservative is more akin to a libertarian, where we collectively raise just enough for the military for defense.

Your definition of liberal is a very old, and tired, punchline.
Bingo! Exactly. They are authoritarians. That's what liberals and conservatives are. They both believe in the mythology of authoritarianism. Therefore, they are really just two different sects of the same church.

Both profusely pronounce their dedication to the 'American people.' But every where you turn, this 'dedication' requires more and more and more $$$. Now I'm not an expert on helping people, but if I go up to someone and I tell them that I need half their income to help them, I'm probably going to be arrested for being a con artist. If liberals and conservatives want to help people so much, why don't they start with stopping their rabid and incessant demands for tax dollars? Is this really 'helping' or is it more like enslaving? If you really love your fellow man, why do you want to throw him in jail for not financially funding your political views?

You can argue what 'conservatism' means, but in reality, 'conservatives' today are socialists. 99% of Congrease is filled with socialists. Two sides of the same coin.

 

Fern

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 30, 2003
26,917
173
106
Originally posted by: PrinceofWands
The biggest failure isn't the attempt to categorize, it's the attempt to do so using only a single axis of distinction. By expanding our conceptualization to a second, or better yet a third axis we can far more accurately begin to define political leanings. It's also necessary to do away over-encompassing axes theories. Liberal/conservative isn't properly descriptive. Ideally we'd choose the three most important concepts of government and use those as the axes. What those are would be a matter of fascinating debate, and the result would be a party system that could accurately represent the citizens.
:thumbsup:
 

superstition

Platinum Member
Feb 2, 2008
2,219
216
101
By expanding our conceptualization to a second, or better yet a third axis we can far more accurately begin to define political leanings.
Specifically, how would you do this?

It's also necessary to do away over-encompassing axes theories.
So, why expand/add in the first place?

Ideally we'd choose the three most important concepts of government and use those as the axes.
I thought we're doing away with axes theories? If not, what are those three concepts?

What those are would be a matter of fascinating debate, and the result would be a party system that could accurately represent the citizens.
If you haven't put the puzzle together, how do you know what it will be?
 

cKGunslinger

Lifer
Nov 29, 1999
16,363
36
91
Originally posted by: superstition
By expanding our conceptualization to a second, or better yet a third axis we can far more accurately begin to define political leanings.
Specifically, how would you do this?
At the very least, you need two perpendicular measures:

- Economic [Left (Communism) <---> Right ("Neo-Liberalism"]
- Social [Authoritarian (Facism) <---> Libertarian (Anarchism)]


With this, you can create a grid that better encompasses the variations of most political leanings.

And with this current grid in mind, I think many people would be surprised to see that 95% of all our candidates and politicians fall within the same quadrant (Authoritarian/Right,) and are just spinning their slight differences as being on opposite side of the spectrum.

 

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