It is amazing that, for every issue, liberals and conservatives line up on opposite sides. There are a few issues for which a few people don’t fall in line with their compatriots, but for the most part, if you ask a person their views on issues, you can tell within a few questions whether that person is a conservative or a liberal.

Why is that? If you ask people, they will invariably say something like, “it’s because we are good and they are bad.” There is a certain tribalism at work. But it’s not like people consult their side’s umpire to find out the “correct” point-of-view. It’s innate.

Let’s go through a few issues.
• Abortion: conservatives think it’s murder, while liberals say the fetus is not a person, so it’s up to the woman to decide if she can and should continue a pregnancy.
• Death Penalty: conservatives think some people “deserve” to die, and the state has the right to do the deed; liberals say it’s murder, and there are plenty of examples of innocent people being convicted.
• Euthanasia: conservatives say it’s murder in any case; liberals say when people no longer have a quality of life, and they want to go, we should make it painless.

Then there’s
• Foreign Aid. Conservatives say it’s a waste of money, making foreigners weak and dependent on us; liberals say we owe it to our less fortunate brothers and sisters to share our wealth. Then, there’s
• Military Aid. Conservatives are all for arming “friendly” countries—so they can help us fight the bad guys, but also because our arms manufacturers can make a profit. Liberals say we are just increasing violence by shipping weapons of destruction abroad.

The United States has been
• “The policeman of the world.” That used to be the conservative view (except for libertarians); while liberals said we should not be meddling in the affairs of others. This is an area in which Trump planned to throw a wrench into things. He condemned Bush for the Iraq War, for example, and said we should not be trying to control the world. That was always the liberal ideal. On the other hand, he became involved in Syria and other places, so his stance has weakened.

Likewise, things have changed regarding
• Free Trade. Conservatives, primarily the business community, have been all for projecting our economic power. They felt that our overwhelming economic energy would overcome any foreign challenge. And, of course, if businesses are allowed to use cheap foreign labor, they can rack up profits without having to pay American workers. Liberals, on the other hand, were split. One group, primarily labor unions, feared free trade, precisely because it weakened their bargaining power; but other liberals felt that it was right for foreigners to begin to improve their living standards through jobs from free trade.

• Gun Rights are a powder keg (so to speak). Conservatives feel that the Second Amendment means there should be no limits—of any kind—on gun ownership or usage; while liberals feel that guns are the problem—in themselves—noting that most gun deaths are from suicide or domestic violence.

As for the
• Environment, conservatives say that if there is global warming, there’s no evidence that “little ol’ us” are the cause; liberals say we know the earth is warming so if we can slow it down, shouldn’t we try? Conservatives counter that it’s too expensive.

When it comes to
• Freedom of Speech, liberals are all for it—unless it offends someone. So they are more interested in the individuals who can be hurt that those who do the hurting.

• Gay Rights. Conservatives cite the bible verse, and justify limiting gay rights by saying such people should be discouraged. Liberals accept gays, lesbians, queers, bisexuals, transsexuals, asexual, and non-binary as being different, but equal.

• The Legal System. Conservatives are rugged individualists, but talk about the right of society to defend itself from individual criminals. Liberals say the economic system turns individuals into criminals by limiting their economic opportunities.

No matter what the issue, conservatives line up on one side and liberals line up on the other. It’s just automatic. Is it just because we like to fight, or is there some innate reason for the differences? Part of it is how we live. Liberals tend to live in bigger cities, while those in rural areas tend to be conservative. Thus, liberals are around people of all kinds, all the time, while conservatives tend to be suspicious of strangers, and of different ideas.

• Religion is a factor. While liberals used religion to push civil rights in the 1950s, conservatives have claimed ownership of religion since Reagan brought the religious right into his coalition. Many liberals stupidly reacted by rejecting religion. But most Americans profess to be Christians, whether or not they have any idea of the tenets. So if liberals reject religion, they are rejecting what the majority clings to (so to speak).

And at the risk of offending, I think, as a rule, we could say that conservatives are Old Testament, while liberals are New Testament. Conservatives are all about responsibility and rule of law. “Justice” means punishment for infractions. “An eye for an eye.” So conservatives are more responsible, more self-sufficient. They like to win, and tend to be “winners.”

Liberals, on the other hand, are more likely to “turn the other cheek” when wronged, and are more concerned with fighting for the underdog than for themselves. They’re also more likely to be willing to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,” while conservatives distrust and may even hate government.

When it comes to
• Health-Care, liberals say “it’s a right.” That gets under the skin of conservatives, who don’t believe people are “entitled” to anything. What liberals should be saying, more in keeping with the New Testament ethic, is that health-care is a “duty”—that we owe it to our brothers and sisters to make sure that they have reasonably good health. Some go further and say that we should all have a monthly financial allowance, as Andrew Yang is proposing.

If you go through the issues, you’ll see that conservatives line up with an Old Testament—fairness–attitude, while liberals have a New Testament—mercy—approach. That’s why liberals see conservatives as mean, and conservatives see liberals as sniveling weaklings. George Bush’s “compassionate conservative” was an attempt to bridge the gap, as was his father’s hope for a “kinder, gentler world.” While liberal John F. Kennedy said, “we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty”—and—“Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.”

Our problem is that we refuse to see—or acknowledge—that the other side is sincere and believes it’s just as right as we are. We just think differently.

There was an episode of the original Star Trek (“The Enemy Within”), in which a transporter malfunction accidentally divided Captain Kirk into two beings. One was conservative, the other liberal. Conservative Kirk was strong and determined; liberal Kirk was well-meaning, but indecisive, and thus, ineffective. The moral of the episode was that we need both sides of our personality to function properly. And I propose that it is—“logical”—that we, as a society—as a nation, would be far better off if we listened to each other—and accepted as honest, even things we could never agree with.

Compromise is not necessarily surrender. If done right, both sides get what they really need, and give in on matters that are not as important to them. Amen.

12 COMMENTS

  1. I disagree with your black and white divide on certain issues because I think it is more nuanced, for example with war there is a growing group of isolationist support within the Democratic Party who would not support it, however the Neo liberal and neo con would support war. Same with the death penalty the bible teaches us to let god decide and also to aid refugees (reason why the pope opposes trumps wall) which is against conservative values. I agree with your ending to the article however I think the divide between us is not so clear cut and we borrow more similarities from each ‘side’ than we realise.

  2. Compromise only works if both sides are acting in honesty. It doesn’t work when one side is entirely reactionary and will make sudden 180 changes to their platform just to conform to the current narrative. We don’t currently have two parties that can compromise with each other, since the GOPs number one principle is to never compromise and to always base their policy on what is viewed as the polar opposite of the Dem platform. (Remember when Republicans were opposed to running up debt, for example?) When Dems offer a compromise, the compromise itself will now be viewed by Republicans as a radical liberal position, and will only drive the GOP further to the right. This is why Biden’s campaign promises are the most unreasonable in the field of candidates. Biden promises that if he becomes President, Republicans will suddenly become reasonable adults. Well, I’m willing to bet Republicans will remain toddlers no matter what.

    • Well, as the article says, both sides are “honest,” but they are also committed to what they believe. When Republicans were in control, it was the Democrats who were the “obstructionists.” And that’s what the Founders intended.

      My real concern is having one-party control, as in the first two years of Obama and Trump. When you have Congress and the Presidency, you can twixt the very essence of America. That’s scary.

      • Wrong. Republicans don’t have a political ideology at the moment, other than to enrich themselves and stay in power at all costs. That was the entire point of my comment. You can’t compromise with someone who has made a pledge never to compromise, and whose opinions can change on a dime to always reflect the opposite of your own.

      • the founders NEVER intended closure rules that in fact require EVERY leglisation a super majority to pass.. this is intentional.. congressional (majority can change) rules that require a super majority for anything.. thus they can sit there collect their perks.. blame the other side (when it’s their own fraud) for stagnation.. closure rules turn our govt in to a sham govt.. intentionallyl.. so they can do NOTHING for hte people.. blame others.. and pass only what their corporate lobbists want them to pass. require auto closure within 30 days.. AND require a full vote on every peice of legislation .. so we can see who’s screwing us by their votes.. instead of their excuses.

    • meanwhile the dems policy is to cave.. and pass republican (kills FDR New deal) tax cuts for the rich.. burdens the people with corporate republican welfare like romney care.. screws the nation with it’s regime change wars that only profit the war profiteers at our absolute horrific expense.. withoout any wars the last 40 years we could have had free universal health care.. free education.. instead we got the debt from the wars. insanity.. greed corruption and fear tactics enabling it all. face it our nukes on submarines will prevent any armed invasion of the usa.. everything else is a fraud to steal the wealth.

      • Exactly. The conservative Dem idea of finding compromise in the middle is doomed, since Republicans aren’t interested in the middle. Any rightward move by Dems is answered by an even sharper rightward move by Reps. That’s why the Dem mainstream is conservative, and the GOP mainstream is neo-nazi. By the same token, there is no risk involved for Reps to refuse all compromise, since Dems will still move to the right without getting anything in return. Conservative Dem policies being enacted is in itself not a bad thing for Reps, since they are Republican policies and ideas to begin with.

  3. “They’re also more likely to be willing to ‘render unto Caesar what is
    Caesar’s,’ while conservatives distrust and may even hate government.”

    Your use of Jesus’ brilliant riposte suggests you may have misunderstood him. The unavoidable corollary is this: “If you have nothing belonging to Caesar, give him that: NOTHING! And since no one in the Roman Empire ever had anything belonging to Caesar in their possession, Jesus was obviously telling those who have ears to hear that they ought to resist paying Caesar anything.

    • Weird interpretation. General understanding is that Jesus was supporting separation of Church and State.

      John 18:36–“My kingdom is not of this world.”

    • in that particular work of fiction.. written by man for man.. the lesser god (son of god?) meant that you still need to pay your taxes and follow the law.. but your morality belongs to the authors of this book.

  4. i voted for country not party last time.. yep i voted against clinton.. in the only choice she allowed us.. yep.. President Trump. and i still have no regrets. The dem establishment has been screwing us for decades.. promising us obama like promises.. and delivering bush like agenda.. The dems even helped unravel FDR new deal.. screwing the middle class to death. The only solution is to not vote dem.. ever.. till a true champion of the people emerges.. steals the election away from the corrupt rigged corrupt corporate controlled DNC. This means if biden.. (same as bush clinton obama kerry romney etc) gets the dem nomination i will vote again for trump. Hopefully there are enough patriots to undermine the corrupt DNC and cause it’s death or demise and replace itself with a party for the people. biden wrote the patriot act.. he’s a traitor to the constitution.and this republic.

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