A conservative liberal, or liberally conservative?

I am strongly opposed to anything labeled conservative. To me, the word does not describe traditions, but anything I don’t want the society to be like. Traditions are something positive, for the most part at least, but conservative to me, makes me think of something which stagnates societal developments, or even undevelops a society. If anyone asks me where I stand politically, I’d say liberal and forward thinking. It is not necessarily the same as being socialist, although most political parties in Norway have socialist elements due to our very ingrained socialist culture. So I can’t entirely escape from being a socialist which is ok. I am a socialist though I’m not of the red hot kind. On the surface of things, I’d say that liberals are more accepting than conservatives. But is that necessarily the case? Am I, as a liberal, not being just as conservative as a conservative by not liking the majority of what the conservatives stand for?

What got me thinking about this issue was an episode of the radio show This American Life which was released two days before this year’s elections. In case you are not familiar with the show, it is a show which comes out of Chicago, broadcast on Public Radio International, and each week presents a theme and gives you stories on this theme. They can be all kinds of things from fictional stories and interviews, to theatre performances and investigative reports. The themes also vary each week and can be anything from what goes on inside middle school, to stories of people who almost died, but came back to life. Anyway, this episode was among other things, talking about how the red (democrat) voters had no understanding for the blue coloured (republican) voters. No matter how much some of them discussed, the biggest agreement they seemed to arrive at, was that they had to agree to disagree. I would, like 93% of Norwegians, have been a Democrat had I been American. Because I don’t just dislike what the Republicans stand for, but, and I think a large majority of Europeans would share my sentiments on this: the Republicans are so blue coloured that it’s hard to grasp how they can have any supporters at all. I could immediately understand therefore, how the two sides couldn’t or even didn’t want to understand each other.

When I one day have children and when they grow up, I will be fine if they’re gay, choose to marry outside their race (they may themselves even be mixed), choose their own faith or religion, although that is a very sensitive topic for me. I would let’s say, pretty much accept anything except if they became Republicans, or the non-American equivalent. What does that make me? A conservative liberal, or a liberal conservative?

3 thoughts on “A conservative liberal, or liberally conservative?

    1. That did cross my mind, although one of the main things I don’t like about the Republicans and/or other conservatives is that they often tend to have prejudices. I guess we’re all prejudiced to different things in our own different ways. Having said that though, I could still be friends with a conservative as long as we agreed to disagree. 🙂

  1. My sense is that Europeans are more comfortable with socialist parties, more socialist leanings than are Americans, even Liberal Democrats. Living in the United States it is easier to understand the split between Democrats and Republicans. Republicans typically believe that everyone should take care of themselves without social supports from the government. They would prefer to privitize long standing government social supports such as social security payments for those over age 65 and in fact, have raised the age when payments can first be made. I, for example, will only receive full social security payments at age 67, not 65. Republicans focus on the individual taking care of themselves. Democrats are more confortable with having governmental social support programs, but not even close to the extent offered by countries like Norway. When I walk around New York City where I live, it is difficult to understand how society allows people to be homeless, to sleep outdoors in the cold weather or swelter in the 90 degrees fahreheit heat in the summer without easy access to water. I don’t know how many small communities around the United States see the lack of social supports in this same direct way.
    Alot of what factors into a person becoming Demcrat or Republican is how you were raised and where you were raised. New York City residents tend to be liberal and Democratic. But travel around the United States and encounter small communties where evangelical Christians have a strong base sometimes excluding those who do not conform to their beliefs. For eaxmple, as a Jewish person, I would not feel likely feel very welcome living in such a community although I am sure that we all share the same beliefs in due process of law and other basic moral and legal rights. There are many things which make us different from one another and coming together is often hard on both sides.

    I forwarded this blog entry to a good friend who lives in Chicago, loves politics and is a regular follower of the NPR show “This American Life”.


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