Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Few Thoughts on Liberals vs. Conservatives

Liberals tend to be more broadminded and socially-critical, thus open to change. This is why we see so many more go into academics and journalism, as well as be on the forefront of cultural change. Many intelligent conservatives are likely mistaken for fools because their stubborn attachment to tradition is see as non-intellectual. Argument from tradition is, after all, a logical fallacy - even if the idea itself is correct. I think in general conservatives tend to suffer from more cognitive biases and fallacious thinking. This critique comes directly from liberal social-critique, and applies much more to social conservatives, however economic conservatives tend to have similar intuitions.

For their part, conservatives do ad hominem differently. For them it is more a question of liberals as traitors, as whiners and sneaks, know-it-all snoots, do-gooders and freaks. Conservatives tend to embrace traditional social orders. This is why they are so comfortable with the pyramid shape of much of business, with its hierarchical class system and clenched fist. Getting ahead means following orders and pleasing authority. From a traditional vantage point the ground is more firm, less prone to disruptive or tangential thought. This provides great confidence, pride, and stability, yet less capacity for deconstructive analysis and free thought. Accordingly, liberals are not to be trusted, like rebellious children, always attacking foundations and nipping at the heels.

Interestingly, conservatives can rely on tradition to enforce their ideologies. Liberals, seeking change, must rely on legal enforcement. This seems to set up an endless dynamic of liberals getting bothered by traditions and changing them through law, and conservatives feeling threatened by new laws they disagree with.

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