Democracy is a form of government where power originates with the citizens, the citizens then either rule directly or delegate power to representatives.
Liberalism is the ideology of liberty and equality, conservatism is the ideology of authority, hierarchy, tradition, and order.
Liberalism is a political philosophy based on the principles of liberty and equality that grew out of the Age of Enlightenment.
If you don’t want the King or Church taking your life, liberty, and property, if instead you believe you have “the right” of “consent”… you might be a liberal.
Likewise, conservatism is the opposition philosophy of liberalism. It is the check that balances liberalism.
both liberalism and conservatism come in classical and social forms and speak to issues of state, social issues, and economics. In terms of economics there are also classical and social forms of liberal and conservative economics.
There are a number of different forms of liberalism and conservatism which each denote differing ideologies, but they generally all share core principles (like all liberal ideologies share basic liberal and left-wing planks and all conservative ideologies generally share basic conservative and right-wing planks).
With the above said:
- Liberalism is generally understood as an ideology containing the principles of democracy, republicanism, separation of powers, popular sovereignty, free speech, free trade, freedom of religion, and other general ideologies that favor human rights and the liberties and the well being of individuals and groups.
- Conservatism is the ideology of governmental, cultural, and economic order, tradition, hierarchy, and authority that seeks to keep to the old ways and use authority to ensure order.
- Somewhat confusingly, in the social forms, social conservatism tends to want to conserve back to some classical liberal values and social liberalism tends to embrace the authority of the state to ensure social welfare. Thus their left-right ideologies are somewhat mixed in the social form.
Factoids tagged with "Liberalism and Conservatism"
It is a myth that the estate tax hurts poor and middle class Americans, only the richest Americans (0.2% of families) pay the estate tax.
Lord Byron said something like, “the Jewish people gave mankind their first major religion, Christianity, and their second, Capitalism.” That isn’t too far off from the truth (as Milton Friedman also noted).
Generally speaking, a modest increase to the minimum wage will increase household spending and thus stimulate the economy. However, this can be offset by job loss or hour reduction, inflation, and other factors.
Although we can consider Jeremy Bentham the founder of modern Utilitarianism, and his successor John Stuart Mill the one who popularized it, early Greek philosophers like Aristotle, Aristippus and Epicurus presented the original Utilitarian / Consequentialist / Greatest Happiness theories.
Mozart’s the Magic Flute is largely a metaphor about the Freemasonry and the Enlightenment augmented by crude jokes.
Extreme equality and an extreme inequality are both equally as dangerous in a democratic society. In both cases it corrupts the government.
Historically, Protestantism is like classical liberalism (individual liberties and rights) and Catholicism is like social liberalism (state enforced social justice).
We know liberals and conservatives think differently, however science suggests differences not only in thinking process, but in brain structure as well.
The United States is both a Republic and a Democracy. Specifically, the United States is a Constitutional FederalRepublic with a strong Democratic tradition and many democratic elements especially on a local level. Despite the democratic elements and traditions, the U.S. is not however a “Direct Democracy” (where people vote on laws directly*).
Blog Posts tagged with "Liberalism and Conservatism"
Most political positions can be described using a limited set of political terms related to classical and social liberalism and conservatism.
Social Conservatism is the ideology of social hierarchy and tradition that mixes liberal and conservative views. It comes in political and economic forms.
Classical Conservatism is the ideology of authority, hierarchy, order, and tradition (like classical aristocracy). It comes in political and economic forms.
Social liberalism is the ideology of collective liberties and rights that favors social welfare and justice. It comes in a political and economic form.
Classical liberalism is the ideology of liberties, rights, individualism, reason, and tolerance that comes in a political and economic form.
Neoliberalism is an economically-minded evolution of classical liberalism focused on deregulation, trade, and the private market. It is a “middle way” or “third way” between liberalism and conservatism.
Reason and logic are two closely related forms of thinking involving the comparison of terms that can be studied in terms of mathematics or philosophy and can be considered together as well as apart.
All nations have some sort of class system or class structure, generally based on wealth, birth, or status. We explain modern and historic social class systems and the general logic behind them to see to what extent they are natural and what extent they are convention.
We discuss the importance of individualism and the complexities involved in balancing the spirit of Individualism with collective responsibility.
Conservatism is the ideology of governmental, cultural, and economic order, tradition, hierarchy, and authority that generally comes in classical, social, and economic forms.
In his Republic, Plato examines how Democracy can lead to Tyranny in a republic. We explain Plato’s theory as it pertains to democracy and tyranny.
The problem with unsubstantiated information is that it is unverified as true, and often leaked by sources with plausible deniability, which is confusing.
Thomas Jefferson is credited with having said, “equal rights for all, special privileges for none,” a slogan that other progressive Democrats like Williams Jennings Bryan embraced.
We explain the meaning of Democrat, Republican, Whig, Federalist, Anti-Federalist, Union, and Confederacy the political terms the major parties used for their party names.
We explain the different types of American progressivism from the founders, to the Reform movements, to Bryan and the Roosevelts, to the progressives and populists of today.
On this page we discuss the concepts of fairness, justice, morality, and ethics as they relate to Utilitarianism.
Reason is the application of “pure logic”, empirical evidence, experiment, and skepticism to find truths, facts, and theories (AKA “critical thinking”).
We present a simple guide to Marx, Marxian class theory, Marx’s theory of history, and Marx’s economic theories to help westerners understand what Marx was all about.
“Civil Religion” is the civic “religion” of a nation. It doesn’t describe the theological religion of a nation, but rather a quasi-religious shared identity built around national symbolism and customs.
Separation of Powers describes the way in which government is divided into different branches (ex. in the U.S., the legislative, executive, and judicial). Checks and balances describe the powers each branch has to “check” the other branches and ensure a balance of power.
We explain political duopolies by looking at the political duopoly in the United States of America and other historic duopolies.
We explain neoliberalism, globalization, nativism, and protectionism and the pros and cons of “neoliberal globalization” and “nativist protectionism.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s concept of the General Will roughly means “that which is in the best interest of the people” or “the public good”, and not just popular consensus.
“Hume’s fork” describes how we refer to Kant’s critique of Hume, who separated knowledge into two types: facts based on ideas and facts based on experience.
We explain liberalism and conservatism, including the different social and classical types of liberalism and conservatism.
We explain the political terms conservative, moderate, liberal, progressive, and radical and how they are used in different contexts.
Collectivism describes ideology (political or otherwise) that favors the collective, like-wise Individualism describes ideology that favors the individual.
The modern usage of the political terms left and right comes from the French Revolution of 1789 when supporters of the king stood to the president’s right, and supporters of the revolution to his left.
Classical liberalism arose in opposition to state-imposed religion and aristocracy in the 1600 – 1700’s during the Age of Enlightenment in Europe and America.
The United States is a Federal Republic with democratic values that some claim contains a growing oligarchy (or corporatocracy). We look at those claims.
Political Correctness (politically correct or PC), describes how much tolerance, sensitivity, censorship, and freedom of expression “is correct” in a given setting.
We explain economic inequality from a historical perspective, and then consider the effects of wealth inequality and income inequality in America today.
We explain “the left-right political spectrum” by applying the terms “left” and “right” to a number of “left-right paradigms”.
Blog Posts tagged with "Liberalism and Conservatism"
The Philosophy of Governments It can be very attractive to have a list of government types, but yet that list may teach a person very little. Here instead is a look at the philosophy behind the government types that create that list. For a simpler list and look, see our page on “the types of . . . read more
Book Reviews tagged with "Liberalism and Conservatism"
Below is the Federalist #10, written by James Madison, and reprinted in full. We explain, annotate, and offer context on the Federalist #10.
We Present the first chapter of Leo Tolstoy’s short story, There Are No Guilty People, alongside a short introduction and a link to the full work.
Below we present an annotated version of Andrew Carnegie’s 1889 essay Wealth (better known as the Gospel of Wealth).