By Chuck Marshall
This is six brief paragraphs and around 3 minutes time, but it's worth the read!
*The political labels of our times and why they need tweaking.
I've always been annoyed with name calling, group think, and any assumptions about a group of people. I think it's simple minded to go through life thinking everyone in any group thinks and acts in a specific way and to not consider the complexities of a people or an issue. Today we live in a day and age where everything is left vs right. Conservative vs Liberal. Republican VS Democrat. There has even been a movement that works to make liberals "progressives" which in its very name alienates anyone who's not progressive as being "regressive". Hardly a productive name ! As a political moderate, all of this drives me nuts.
The title "conservative vs liberal" is used for the purpose of conversation but it inaccurately jumbles citizens into categories that they may or may not belong. The media loves this because it enables them to label groups of people with one word and if there's anything most of today's media appreciates it's a simplified version of the reality we live. Mostly this is because they're lazy, but I do understand the need for a simplified reference to the two political frames of thought.
I contend that the terms used today are no longer valid. Today it's "conservatives vs liberals", but to more clearly define what it is we're referring to this won't work anymore. The word conservative implies "one who does NOT want change" and the word liberal implies "one who DOES want change", but that's hardly the case today. In reference to the government it could easily be argued that "liberals" tend to want a lot to stay the same ! Witness how they've been fighting to keep Trump from removing the "powers that be" in Washington, DC. Love him or hate him, he is no friend of anyone with power in our nation's capitol. (This, IMHO, is why so many "conservatives" support him, regardless of his appalling personal habits). Conservatives want to see a lot change. They see the government's power as out of control and in need of great change.
So what do we call them then ? "Liberals" want to enable government to fix things more. They are much more likely to see the government as the solution to problems. They feel the government can "level the playing field", and that it can "redistribute wealth" and it can effectively enact laws that forbid bad things like discrimination. "Conservatives" think the government is the cause of most problems. They see it as inept. They see it as tax & spending machine. They see it is a dangerous entity that is fully capable of taking away individual rights in the name of "fixing things". So if you boil it all down and remove all the innuendo, hatred, and false assumptions then you have two groups of people that want things to get better, they just see a different path to get to the goals of making things better. The "liberals" see the government as the solution. The "conservatives" see the government as the problem. In my mind I think of it as "Stateism" VS "Individualism" or perhaps "Stateists and Individualists".
I've always considered my political leanings to tend towards the "Individualism", but as I read a lot of the policies of JFK and reflect on his Presidency (personal flaws, not withstanding) I'm really pretty close to his opinions and approach to governing for the early 1960's even though he was more of a "Stateist". Why ? Because he tended towards the middle in the grand scheme of things. Also, the things he wanted to change back then- civil rights is one example- were things that DID need to change. Being a "stateist" meant something else back then.
For most citizens of any political persuasion, I think and firmly believe they want what's best for all of us. Their anger is towards the "powers that be". They feel passion for the "little guy", whoever that might be in their mind. I have those same feelings. I can't stand the idea of anyone, through government or through free enterprise getting an unfair advantage or ill gotten favor just because of their position and inherited power. So there you have it, the "Stateists" and the "Individualists" fighting for the right cause. If the two can come together and compromise- understanding and sincerely believing the other has their heart in the right place, there is nothing that can't be accomplished. I love the quote JFK made shown above in this blog "Forgive your enemies but never forget their names". We do have an enemy today lurking amongst us in the United States of America, but it's neither the stateists 'nor the individualists. Can you guess who it is ?