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Liberals and Conservatives (My Response to Rich Collins)

Over at First State Politics Rich Collins has put up a rambling document about the difference between liberals and conservatives. The gist of the piece was that liberals are stupid, naïve, ruled by emotion and that conservatives are logical and smart. Does this mean that Rich has pointy ears like Spock? J Anyhow, as a life-long liberal, I thought I’d answer back. I think Rich makes a few valid points, but most of his document just really shows why sometimes liberals and conservatives just don’t get along J

First, I really believe that, in order to tackle some of the problems that we face, these labels we use just make discussion harder. Instead of actually listening to one another, we tend to dismiss someone’s argument because they aren’t in the club. So, in that vein, I’ll list the things I think Rich got right.

Rich mentions age as a contributor to whether one is a liberal or conservative. Although I don’t believe that is completely true, it bears some scrutiny. For myself, I am a 45 year old liberal. I’ll give you the biggest example of one view of mine that has really changed over the years and that is the Death Penalty. When I was younger, I took the typical liberal view that the death penalty was wrong for moral reasons. Now, after working at a jail for eight years, my view is a bit different. I ran into many inmates that just didn’t seem to be part of the same human race that I was. But still, I’m against the death penalty. Not for moral reasons, but for pragmatic reasons. When we start executing rich white males (yes I mean you Capano), then I’ll sign on. Until then, I’m against the death penalty.

Another change in my worldview is the right to choose. As I’ve gotten older, although I still believe in the right of choice, I’m much less strident about it. I’ve come to realize that this particular issue has many valid points of view.

So I do believe that as one gets older, their views may change. Not necessarily one way or the other, but views change as you learn more and get more experience.


  • We (Greenpeace) have been bitching about Global Warning for at least 20 years. And we just now agree it’s a problem?
  • Health Care has been an issue for almost equally as long. Again, just now discovering it?
  • It is in fact the government’s duty to intervene when there are market inefficiencies. Health Care, Pollution, etc

In any case, I’ll finish up so that I don’t ramble on too much. If Rich feels that my beliefs are emotional, GOOD! Life is about emotion. We are human. Emotion is part of the human experience.


One Response

  1. I think your are not giving much credit to your younger liberal self when it comes to the death penalty. You are still against it on moral grounds. You just have a more nuanced view of morality. That’s what is supposed to happen.


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