No. of Recommendations: 119
For too long, I've read liberals bashing conservative beliefs as if they are somehow backward, mean-spirited, and evil.

I wouldn't say that. I think those adjectives only really apply to the really reactionary, wingnut types. Like the ones who took over this board, and have made it so unpleasant for anyone rational to visit. Just look at the sort of posts that routinely make "Best Of" from this board, if you're in any doubt about the nature of this board. "Backward and mean spirited" are apt adjectives for most of them.

The only problem is I've never heard them actually state what they believe in.

Probably because you're not listening. I think most liberals are pretty vocal about what they think should be done, and why.

When I've asked before, they tend to skirt the issue and not answer the question.

Yeah, right.

When they get perilously close to actually espousing their beliefs, they tend to sound like socialists or even communists.

Only when you filter it through your "anyone to the left of me is a commie" glasses.

I'm really curious as to how civil this thread will be from that side of the spectrum.

Given how you poisoned the well with your very first post, I doubt you'll get a lot of civility. Next time, when you want civility, try being civil yourself.

1) What beliefs and morals they truly believe in, and

I believe that all reasonable morality descends ultimately from the Golden Rule. Determining whether something is moral or not ultimately depends on who it hurts.

If you think that is in any way related to Socialism, there really isn't any help for you.

However, I'm pretty sure that's not the question you actually meant to ask. Since Socialism is not about "beliefs and morals," it's an economic system, any straight answer to that question is going to be unrelated to Socialism.

So, let's talk about the issues that generally separate Conservatives from Liberals. We're more likely to get close to "Socialism" there.

First, I believe in individual rights. For example, I believe that what goes on in the bedroom between consenting adults is not government business. I don't have any moral objections to drug use, though I don't use drugs myself and think they're self-destructive. I do have some concerns about their indirect costs to other people, but I'm convinced at this point that treating drug users like criminals is an ineffective way to address that.

Socialist states tend to be very iffy about the rights of individuals. Which is very much at odds with what Marx was thinking, at least as far as I understand it, but in practice every state that has labeled itself "socialist" has championed the "rights" of the State over the individual. It's a smokescreen for totalitarianism, a rhetorical device. I can't think of any that weren't anything but dictatorships that cared very little for Socialism as a philosophy, but didn't hesitate to use socialist rhetoric to justify their actions.

If you actually read Marx, he really wasn't a bad guy. Just a little simplistic and myopic in his solutions to economic injustice. Sort of like Ayn Rand that way, he proposed a lot of silly rules that would never work in reality.

Economically, I'm in favor of whatever works best. I don't believe in welfare, universal education, or universal healthcare for moral reasons, I believe in them because I think they're the smartest solution for a wealthy society. I've seen enough of what happens in countries that don't provide safety nets and education to understand what a huge drag on the economy abject poverty at the lowest levels is.

I certainly don't believe in abolishing private property or total central control of the economy, both of which are hallmarks of Socialism.

I think that regulated Capitalism and regulated markets are a good thing. In short, the sort of system you see in most Western nations.

I think we need regulations because, left unchecked, people and companies lie whenever they think it's to their best advantage. We need government to keep them honest, which is why we have things like the SEC and the FDA. We still have "supplements" touting completely unfounded benefits because they "don't treat any illness," and thus can't be kept honest by the FDA.

Government is also handy for certain large-scale investments, such as infrastructure and education, which greatly benefit everyone directly or indirectly. Was the construction of the Interstate systems "socialist" because we paid for it collectively, rather than hoping it would magically be constructed by private companies?

I don't see it as any more Socialist that a mutual fund. Taxes are the price you pay for a real benefit, much like a homeowner's association, co-op board, or similar organization. If you don't like it, you can always move to a country with little or no government, like Somalia. No one is stopping you, we don't restrict emigration like the old Soviet Union.

I don't see any problem with the mechanism, the real issues surround the details of implementation. It's a constant struggle to make sure the money is spent on things that really do provide a large scale benefit to more or less everyone who has paid taxes for it, rather than say a $200 million bridge to Nowhere.

There are times when it would be nice to have a little more control over how the money we invest in government is spent. I sure didn't want to buy a war in Iraq, for example. But we muddle through because we haven't thought of anything that works better.

- Gus
Print the post  


When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.