It seems to me….
“Political conflicts distort and disturb a people’s sense of distinction between matters of importance and matters of urgency. What is vital is disguised by what is merely a matter of wellbeing.” ~ John Grierson.
Neither conservative nor liberal extremes provide solutions to difficulties in areas where the U.S. is experiencing challenges. Both provide valid insights but, unfortunately, consider opposing beliefs mainly with derision and automatic rejection. In reality, both perspectives are beneficial. Politics is dependent upon compromise where neither side gains all they originally wanted but which ultimately results in something better than either side had initially proposed.
Now, the chasm separating the opposing parties frequently appears too broad to span. There are many implications to the rising disagreement between liberal post-nationalism and conservative historical orientation. It is time to set aside the narcissism of small ideological differences. Both conservatives and liberals supposedly seek the same thing – what is best for the country. If so, why should their different outlooks be so difficult to reconcile?
Most people belong to the same religious denomination or political party as their parents but both, similar to all institutions, evolve and change over time. Independent choice is not supported by facts; we have freedom of choice but not objectivity. The beliefs of most people are primarily dependent upon party leadership; not objective independent consideration; most merely unquestioningly accept what they are told.
While some refrain from making a choice between either political party preferring to remain independent, others identify not strictly based on either a liberal or conservative basis but rather as dogmatic Republicans or Democrats supporting whatever ideology their respective party is promoting at that time. The Republican party platform had never been consistent or compatible with Trump’s campaign claims until following his victory in the 2016 Presidential election. Much of the general public are like sheep willing to accept whatever they are told to believe rather than impartially thinking for themselves. Many strongly support their respective party’s ideology and change only when told something different.
There are many parallels between the current political environment, especially under the Trump administration, and the dystopian novel 1984 by George Orwell. For example, the repeated attempts by Trump to claim that what he said as proven by recorded video was in fact not what he had said. “… at just this moment it had been announced that Oceania was not after all at war with Eurasia. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Eurasia was an ally.” The “fake media” had substituted fake banners – “THEY” were subversives attempting to undermine the government. “Past events, it is argued, have no objective existence, but survive only in written records and in human memories. The past is whatever the records and the memories agree upon. And since the Party is in full control of all records and in equally full control of the minds of its members, it follows that the past is whatever the Party chooses to make it.” Frighteningly prescient of what is obviously being attempted.
Many people frequently attempt to paint someone of a differing political perspective using too broad a brush. While extremes exist on all sides of the political spectrum, all are somewhat necessary in that they aid in delineating mainstream party ideology. Though frequently adversaries, compromise normally effects superior results: liberals are the idealists and impractical creative dreamers; conservatives initially reject anything new but are practical and can make those dreams successful.
More specifically, liberals, rather than accept the world as it is, tend to entertain utopian fantasies of a better world, of better people. They are unduly optimistic trusting that the government is able to accomplish practically anything. They always find the good fight to be fought, the righteous cause to support, the injustice to be righted. The world is not perfect and never will be. Rather than accept this, they somehow seem to find solace in the belief that everything would be better if only those damn conservatives would be more cooperative.
Liberal policies generally emphasize the need for the government to solve problems. They believe in government action to achieve equal opportunity and equality for all and that it is the duty of the government to guarantee that no one is in need, to alleviate social ills, and to protect civil liberties and individual and human rights. That there are natural rights that belong to all people. They have faith in and support the human rational potential. They believe there is a compact between the people and their government in the right of revolution if that compact is violated. They believe in majority rule tempered by minority rights and that the government only has limited powers. They support change in society as it constantly continues to evolve.
It is difficult to speak of either a precise “liberal” or “conservative” ideology as it means something different to each person. Additionally, each of us is more liberal or conservative depending upon the specific topic being considered rather than an all-encompassing political ideology. Conservatives are normally more resistant to change than liberals exhibiting a greater need for order, structure, and closure than liberals and are inclined to be more dogmatic and intolerant of ambiguity.
Contrary to some liberal’s perceptions, conservatives do actually have some valid perspectives. Given that conservatism is relative and not able to be precisely defined, there are some principles general accepted by many of its supporters. Still, there is no single set of policies universally regarded as conservative, conservatism is basically a political and social philosophy that favors retaining traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization. The meaning of conservatism therefore depends on what is considered traditional in a given place and time.
Generalizing, they do tend to believe in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty, traditional American values, a strong national defense, and that the role of government should be to provide people the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals. Conservative policies generally emphasize empowerment of the individual to solve problems. There is an acceptance of human inequality and the attendant consequence of social hierarchy.
Conservatives believe in what may be called the principle of prescription; we, as moderns, are unlikely to make any brave new discoveries in morals, politics, or taste.
Conservatives tend to place a high value on existing institutions based on custom and tradition. They are more likely than liberals to express faith in some supernatural force that guides human affairs necessitated by mankind’s essential base and irrational nature. They are guided by a principle of prudence; that an enduring moral order exists made for man and that man is made for it: human nature is a constant and moral truths are permanent.
They feel affection for the proliferating intricacy of long-established social institutions and modes of life, as distinguished from the narrowing uniformity and deadening egalitarianism of radical systems. The conservative adheres to custom, convention, and continuity believing it is the old customs that enable people to live together peaceably.
Conservatives recognize a need for a sense of community among individuals that will bind them emotionally to their society. They uphold voluntary community, quite as they oppose involuntary collectivism. In a genuine community, the decisions most directly affecting the lives of citizens are made locally and without coercion.
Conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked; that economic leveling is not economic progress. The conservative perceives the need for prudent restraints upon power and upon human passions.
Conservatives understands that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society. Still they frequently insist on striding backwards towards a glorious past that never was; to never let an actual fact stand in the way of ideology. Republicans are never happy even whenever Democrats propose anything positive or beneficial. Democrats, on the other hand, would be philosophically happy if Republicans proposed anything they felt worthwhile.
Democrats propose numerous measures but sometimes misrepresent facts, the numbers do not always add up and emotional appeal tends to take priority over actual policy analysis. There already is one political party that routinely twists facts, disregards evidence, ignores serious policy analysis, and makes stuff up. There isn’t any need for still another.
Change is inevitable in society, in governmental arrangements and relationships, in leadership, in public policies and throughout the political world. Ideologies of the moderate varieties seek change at a pace that enables progress to occur but neither so fast that the destruction of stability and order in society becomes more likely, nor so slow as to foster stagnation and status quo permanence. Clearly then, there is considerable room for disagreement and dispute over what is the proper balance in all of these concerns.
I was a registered Republican for most of my early life. I did not leave the Republican party, they left me in the years following President Eisenhower in their shift toward the extreme right – a move that still continues today and now borders on neofascism. Though Republicans falsely shout “socialism” to denigrate Democratic policies, the Democrats have also shifted toward the right and now advocate positions once advocated by Republicans. There effectively is no longer any actual liberal U.S. political party in its most traditional sense. Both political parties have abandoned their traditional constituents with Democrats now backing policies proposed by Republican in the not too distant past.
Perhaps an improved collective sense of national benefit based on historical beliefs would help in diminishing the mutually antagonistic perspective in how each party views the other. Progress has stagnated for too long; it is time to return to addressing the concerns of our nation.
That’s what I think, what about you?
 John Grierson CBE was a pioneering Scottish documentary maker often considered the father of British and Canadian documentary films.