2/16/17

My Political Post

It seems all anybody can talk about these days is Trump-this, or liberals-that, politics, politics and more politics. I don't quite understand everything that's going on, but it definitely doesn't feel right. So here's a brief summary of what I think about this political season, and what I just don't get.

What is liberalism, and what is conservatism these days?

I was raised in a very conservative home and taught basic principles of right-wing philosophy, so generally that is what I espouse. But the weird thing I'm seeing these days is that what most people think of as conservatism is not what I think of as conservatism. 

So what is conservatism, really? Well, a quick dictionary check will tell you: "the holding of political views that favor free enterprise, private ownership, and socially conservative ideas." (from Merriam-Webster). I believe conservatism means that the power of the government should be very limited to what only the government can do (i.e. pass laws, run the military, keep the peace, etc.) The basic power and control over people though is only through individual responsibility and natural market balances. 

Now there's another narrative I keep hearing, that conservatism means you are bigoted, hateful, white supremacist, nationalist. In other words, many people today think that if you take conservative ideology to a far extreme you get fascism and Nazism. Extreme nationalism. I don't know why that's conservatism, because it means a very powerful government that has control over you. Especially if you're in some minority it likes to persecute (e.g. Jews, gypsies, etc. during the holocaust *shudder*). 

So here is the point that I would like to make:


Conservatism ≠ Authoritarianism.

To be fair, on the left side of the argument you could make the case that taking liberalism to the logical extreme results in communism, which is also a brand of authoritarianism. 

So no matter which way you go, if you keep going to the extreme it loops up to authoritarianism.

My concern is that we're harmonically oscillating between the two extremes, and we've just hit the resonance frequency. I predict America is going to get more and more and more authoritarian in the next few decades, but I'm not sure which flavor of authoritarianism will ultimately win.

So I made this neat-o infographic that explains political ideology:

The Political Spectrum - It's two axes, not one.
More and more I've been leaning towards Libertarianism in my politics, because, even though I personally hold "socially conservative" beliefs, I seriously doubt the government could or should do anything about some social and cultural problems. So as a Christian I believe that many, many social problems can only be ameliorated by an active and caring local church community. But I'm a little wobbly in my position, and am open to hearing arguments about it.

This may be something where in 10 years from now I'll happen across this old post and just smack my forehead at my gross naivety. Or maybe not.

So what are your political beliefs? Where would you plot yourself on the Cartesian coordinates above? Let us know in the comments below!

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