You Are Neither “Liberal” nor “Conservative”

fatAmerican

The political parties in this nation are twisted and mixed up with their associated ideologies.  It’s pretty clear that political polarization happens along two lines in this country: Democrats and Republicans.  Democrats are socially liberal and economically conservative, whereas traditional modern Republicans are socially conservative (often due to religious influences) and economically liberal.

I don’t truly believe that anyone is fully “liberal” or “conservative,” just like no one puts 100% of their investments in one stock on the market…  However, the closest you can get to fully “liberal” is probably a libertarian or anarcho-capitalist.  This is someone who believes the government should stay out of almost all affairs because it’s more efficient for a market of humans to compete in order to solve solutions.  However, even these folks believe in the classic concept of “property rights” which means property is the right of the person who values it the most.  Your run of-the-mill hippie believes that the planet belongs to all human beings, so he would most likely be considered more “liberal” in regard to property.

The point I want to make here is that people are wrong about placing labels to their ideologies.  As a Republican, you are not fully “conservative.”  An addition concept that has been pushed endlessly by mainstream media, is that being “liberal” is somehow morally superior to being “conservative.”  They somehow evoke images of a conservative being your old grandpa who is stubborn to change, whereas a liberal is your hipsterscool DJ friend who lives in Brooklyn and supports “progressive” issues like eating locally and rallying at Occupy Wall Street (both of which are conservative stances).  Both of these stereotypes are absurd.  Whether you are liberal or conservative on a topic doesn’t actually matter.  What matters is your ability to think rationally and critically and examine what would provide the best utility for all parties affected and involved.  Think about that carefully, and apply it to every issue you confront.  This is far more effective than taking one of two extreme views on an issue.

One great example is the idea of globalization and economics.  I think almost all Americans would favor “American-made” products if they were of excellent quality.  Americans want American-made products because it means they would have job security in their own country.  This is not some far-fetched populist idea, but rather a natural and protective
response to foreign competition that could lead to unemployment.  Someone who is irrational would claim we should impose tariffs on all imported products.  This achieves the intended purpose, but it makes society worse off than if we were to allow imports.  A rational person realizes that it is simply impossible for everything to be produced cheaply in America.  Certain countries have advantages in terms of the resources and intellectual property they have developed over the years.  Saudi Arabia, for instance, produces the cheapest barrel of oil out of anyone in the world.  Therefore, the rational person realizes that the optimal solution would be to focus on an American comparative advantage (likely multiple) that would allow us to provide the best and cheapest product in the world of its kind.  This would provide a stable base for American jobs to continue thriving in the country as long as we continue to maintain that dominance and examine upcoming technologies.

This is an example of the correct way to examine political, economic, and societal issues.