Must you be a Liberal or a Conservative?
Some people assume that all of us fall into one of two categories when it comes to political orientation: Liberal or Conservative. To many, these are as solid, immutable and binary as the colors black and white. There are even those who believe that we have no choice in the matter, and that using the terms “Liberal” or “Conservative” to describe others is hate speech, along the lines of ethnic or racial slurs. But did you know that not only are there other political orientations besides Liberal and Conservative, but they can be as varied as the spectrum of colors in the rainbow?
Below are the top ten reasons nobody has to be either a Liberal or a Conservative.
10. The Meanings Have Changed
The term “liberal” did not always mean what it means today. By the same token, the meaning of “conservative’ has also changed. So even if you used to identify as one of the two, chances are there have been changes in nuance that have crept into our public discourse that disrupt your original self-identification. A classical liberal was a person who believed in the rights of the individual to pursue life, liberty and happiness in his own way. The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were classical liberals. They were not “conservative” like today’s Conservatives, who want everything to always remain the same even if it is not good.
The positive values attributed to conservatism, which you and your parents and grandparents may have espoused in the Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan brand of conservatism have also been whittled away at, and today’s conservatives may not be anything like what made you decide you are Conservative. The result is that when people talk about themselves as being “Liberal” or “Conservative” they are often speaking at cross-purposes. Before getting upset with what someone has to say about Liberals or Conservatives, let’s first find out how the terms are being used.