Have you ever noticed that the majority of the activist movements in this country are almost always about liberal causes?   While I am not aware of any empirical evidence on the matter I believe it’s because the left sees government as the vehicle to implement societal improvement, and looks for political answers to the ills of society.   Meanwhile, the philosophy of right is that change lies with the individual.  Note, I use terms such as, left, right, liberal, conservative rather than republican or democrat, which are political parties, not ideologies.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe both liberals and conservatives want what’s best for the country, what differs however is the means to that end.  Since the Founding, the right as a political philosophy has taken the position that the best way to improve society is ‘almost always’ through the moral improvement of the individual.  Meanwhile, the left ‘almost always’ focuses on the moral failings of society as a whole, failings such as racism, sexism, homophobia and other varieties of social intolerance.

The thing about the left is they want things to happen quickly, and would say too quickly for their own good.  Recall the words of then candidate Barack Obama, who declared just days before his first election in 2008; “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”  And today democrat presidential candidates such as Elizabeth Warren talk of “fundamental change” in our government.  There is no question we are and have been an imperfect society, and few will argue that America can’t be improved.  Nonetheless, I’m compelled to ask why anyone would want to “fundamentally transform” what has been the most prosperous, generous and decent (I didn’t say perfect) society in the history of mankind?  

Our second president, John Adams, said: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
And in the words of Benjamin Franklin: “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.”  The Founders weren’t religious fanatics, nor were they trying to create a theocracy, quite the opposite in fact.  They said what they did because freedom requires self-control.  It’s axiomatic that the freer the society the more self-control is necessary, and its only when the citizenry doesn’t control itself, that the state must step in and do it for them.

No political ideology can be defined in a sentence.  But as a general statement, the difference between liberals and conservatives is that the liberals want government to make the necessary improvements in society while conservatives believe improvement and change must originate with the individual.  The left – right ideological debate will continue.  But what this debate really boils down to what is the best way to address the problems of society—is it by government fiat or by individuals making choices freely?

Quote of the Day:“Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.  He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue…”—Samuel Adams