Full Version: Left/Liberal vs Right/Conservative root cause
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I’ve often thought that at the heart of many political debates lies a core issue which explains the schism of opposing opinions among intelligent people. There is no shortage of long winded essays on this subject, but I’m hoping to summarize it down to a few sentences or less. I’m primarily interested in the modern American definitions version of Left/liberal and Right/conservative, and I also don’t want to get too caught up in technical nuances of terms. For brevity, I also may use the terms interchangeably, though some may scream in horror. I’m also trying to come up with a definition that acceptable by both the Right and the Left. So far, the best that I’ve come up with is:

At the heart of the Left and Right philosophies is the fairness in our society and the role that our government should take in making it a fair society. The right tends to believe that an individual’s economic destiny and well being is largely determined by their own hard work and good decisions. The left tends to have less faith in the free market to ensure a proper amount of fairness, and prefers a larger role of government to ensure various aspects fairness in our society.

Does anyone have any improvements? Does that definition seem fair to both sides?
To me the above definition seems a little limiting. For example I'm sure there are many people on the left who may believe that a person's economic destiny is largely determined by their own hard work and good decisions. I think the left/right divide is merely a question of degree. i.e. how much control and trust should society give to the government vs. free enterprise. As a general rule, those from the left tend to give more trust the government to do the right thing for society, while those on the right will tend to trust market forces of the free enterprise a little more.

Do you think the above adds anything to your definition?

IMHO many of those on the left and right would likely be surprised to see how closely their values align with the exception of this one critical point. Who do you trust more?
I think that you are correct on all issues that you mentioned. The question of degree is probably a more accurate way to define the issue.
The wrinkle is that, in the USA at least, many on 'the right' are far more sympathetic to government controlling social aspects of people's lives ... drugs, prostitution, etc, while remaining all for economic freedom. I easily fit Jason's definition of 'the right' but apply the same principle of the social sphere.
Social leanings are, I believe, a separate topic. The initial topic as I read it was to come up with a definition of left/liberal and right/conservative politics that would be agreed upon by both sides. I would think that most would agree with the definition as it stands, but if you try to bring in the social dimension to the equation then there will be disagreement.
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