liberal vs. conservative – what’s the difference?

Aaron Montz wrote a blog post about something that has bothered me for a while. He asks the question: What is the difference between a “liberal” and a “conservative?”

my response:

I learned in a biblical theology class that the terms “liberal” and “conservative” refer to one’s interpretation of the bible. Those terms are the same when it comes to politics only they refer to one’s interpretation of the constitution.

This is why those terms today have so little actual meaning. A conservative would be someone who holds very tightly to the actual words of the constitution and a liberal would be someone who affords powers to the government not given in the constitution.

This being said, our current culture doesn’t allow us to be super-conservative (though Ron Paul’s entire campaign was about returning to a constitutional government).

In all actuality, nearly all government officials are liberal.

For example, it is “liberal” to suggest that the government can legislate whether or not homosexuals can be married. It is “liberal” to take up taxes to provide food for the poor. It is “liberal” for the government to regulate pretty much anything. It is “conservative” for the government to keep there hands out of as much as possible.

This being said, i think that many of today’s usage of the terms “liberal” and “conservative” are only used for name calling.

Sadly enough. I’ve had so so so many conversations where the words conservative and liberal end the discussion. I’ve really enjoyed bringing up the idea that, in actuality, all politicians today are “liberal” and continuing on from there.

People don’t know how to continue on once there “bubble” has been shattered.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Definitely the line between liberal and conservative seems blurred. But if you look closely at the two sides’ dialogue, there is still a discernible difference.

    There is a false argument in your logic when you insist that conservatives that tout an anti-gay marriage law is actually liberal. Conservatives are about traditions, preserving status-quo as much as possible. Doesn’t mean they don’t see flexibility in constitutional law. Slavery is a good example. Even many of the founding fathers knew it was a violation of the principles of their ideas – individual determination and equal rights under the law. Hence 10th and 14th amendment.

    And the thing is, conservatives do tout adding to the constitution’s bill of rights as a remedy to liberal excess. Liberals are exactly the opposite. They choose to let unelected judges misinterpret the law in order to effect change. Like you, these judges use false reasoning (citing European law, as one example).

    The failure of present politicians, left and right, is that none are true statesmen. They choose to retain and grow their power by alluding less and less to the ideas and principles behind the constitution’s founding. A shame, really.

    But mark this, liberty is dead. It’s in its death-throes. Elect Obama and his use of fascist control under the guise of communism/marxism will end it quick.

    McCain’s appointment will ensure a slower death, perhaps more time for someone from among us to reconnect us to the principles that laid the foundation for the individual’s right to self-determination.


  2. I am not suggesting that the republican and democratic parties are the same, i am suggesting that they are both technically “liberal,” just over different issues.

    Oh, and thanks for the Obama warning. That sounds very much similar to every republicans argument during every single election year.

    You write “liberty is dead” on a blog which allows you to voice your opinion (no matter what that is). It can be read by anyone who wishes (aside from those in China and other places) and you get to vote in a legit election.

    I find these things very contradictory to “liberty is dead.”


  3. And we aren’t even getting into how the meaning of words can change over time. Liberal and Conversative, like Republican and Democrat, aren’t representative of the same platforms as they were 200 years ago.

    I used to be a big believer in Constitutionalism, which is sometimes a form of idolatry, as is the Nationalism that sometimes goes with it. The status quo sometimes needs to be challenged. The status quo is sometimes not even really traditional. Seems to me Jesus questioned the status quo quite a bit. Prophets questioned the status quo. The idea of protecting the status quo seems rather unbiblical to me. I prefer truth.


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