This is the perfect debate to have when it comes to American politics, not necessarily the two perfect people for this debate. Even though I doubt the Right can produce anyone better than Bill Buckley, but this is the perfect debate to have. Because that’s what American politics tends to be about, Liberal vs Conservative not that they aren’t the only political philosophies in the United States.
Because of course they aren’t and I’ve blogged about other political philosophies on this blog as a Liberal. But these are the two mainstream political philosophies unless you want to consider FDR/LBJ progressivism as well. Which is different from liberalism, but even todays so-called Progressives have moved away from that progressivism. But depending on how you define liberalism and conservatism, these two political philosophies represent around sixty percent of the American public. With Socialists, Libertarians and whoever else in America representing everyone else.
I’m a Liberal because I believe in individual freedom and that it’s government number one and only job to protect the individual freedom of all Americans. So they have that opportunity to live in freedom as well. I’m not a Libertarian, or a Socialist, I’m not anti-government, or believe in the state to do most if not everything for me. And I mention that because if you say you are a Liberal today and you believe in individual freedom, people automatically assume you’re a Libertarian.
A lot of people will say, “oh you must be a Libertarian instead because you believe in individual freedom.” Or if you say you are a Liberal many times people will assume you believe in the welfare state. And you want high taxes and all sort’s of government programs to take care of us. But neither one is liberalism. The first thing I mention about liberalism is the first thing. The belief in individual freedom and that all Americans should have the opportunity to live in freedom. Rather than just a special few because of who their parents are and the type of money they can expect to inherit. Or the access to great schools and so-forth, or working for their father’s company or whatever the case is.
And if you are a Conservative you believe in individual freedom as well and that all Americans should have that freedom. You differ with Liberals on how best for people to achieve that freedom, but you have similar goals. Rather than liberalism vs conservatism being about which side can give you a better big government. The one coming from the Left that would seriously restrict economic freedom. And one from the Right that would seriously restrict personal freedom. Which is why I’ve argued that Liberals and Conservatives have plenty in common. But what makes us different is the role we have for government to protect our freedom and expand to others.