Friday, April 11, 2003

Back and forth

Jimmy and I are having a blog debate today, which is fun. if you're interested, read his blog first, then mine, then his again, etc.

I do feel that, for the most part, attitude towards change is what defines the difference between liberals and conservatives - both in the classical sense and today. Liberals are, as a rule, more open and accepting towards societal change. Conservatives are not. Most major societal trends are spearheaded by liberals. The short list over the last 50-plus years goes something like this:

The end of racial discrimination. Equality for women. Increases in legal immigration. The acceptance of gays in society. "Domestic partnerships". The environmental movement.

On the other hand, conservatives have mainly opposed these, plus they've championed things like Trickle-down economics, mandatory sentencing, increased criminalization of drugs, and increased restrictions on abortion.

The biggest problem with liberals in that sense is that they have a fringe that pushes things out too far (in my opinion). For instance, the desire to eliminate discrimination turned into racial quotas and the PC movement.

From a religious point of view (I wrote my original statement as a deliberate generalization), there are secular conservatives out there. But the mainstream conservatives I'm familar with (including the ones running the country right now) come at their philosophies from a strong religious point of view that colors their thinking and also helps form their attitudes. Witness Education Secretary Rod Paige's recent comments, and the current fuss over them.

All in all, it's an interesting debate. These discussions rarely convince anyone of anything new, but it's always fun to unload opinions in a relatively protected space.

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