In my life, I have read several theories supposedly explaining what it is that makes one a conservative or a liberal. While some show some promise, they all fall short. Recently, I came across a new variation on an old theory...
At this website, I read that the difference between liberals and conservatives is a difference of emphasis when it comes to certain family traits. Conservatives favor "tough love" to teach self-discipline and self-reliance. Liberals favor nurture and empathy. By extension, they both treat the nation as a sort of "superfamily" and therefore favor different public policies.
I'm not sure that this theory quite cuts it. First, I tried to see if it explained my beliefs. By the given definition, I would probably be considered mostly conservative (some exceptions), but I don't think I have an especially conservative family view. More importantly, I in no way assocciate the family with the state. The two are parallel institutions, such as the corporation, the labor union, the church, and the bowling league. The family is not the state in miniature. There exists a certain authority of parents over children that has no analogue in the family-state relationship. The authority of the state over the family is much much less than the authority of the parents over the children, as the authority of the federal government over the states is much less than the the authority states have over families.
As for regulation, I do not oppose all regulation. Some is good. I do not oppose regulation on the grounds that it interferes with the building of character and self-reliance. I oppose many regulations because they're stupid. Often, there are better ways to do things, with less harm, and with greater benefit, than the way I'm told to do things.
Finally, I am not convinced that different family ideals explains all the apparent contradictions I see on the liberal side (as defined on the website). To a conservative, being pro-life may be somewhat about "tough love", but how is being pro-choice about anything other than tolerance for murder? How does this represent a "nurturing family"? This is what I still fail to understand. Somebody help me.
Hi, I'm Dan. I like chocolate, hiking, and politics.