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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Conservative Liberalism-

I have Internet friends (and even friends in real life) who are Conservatives. I have Internet friends (and even friends in real life) who are Liberals. Some are so clear and well defined in their beliefs that it seems they have gone to some kind of school where they learned the proper vocabulary and concepts. Perhaps some of them did.

I really don't know if there is a title for what I am. Sometimes I agree with what conservatives say. Sometimes I agree with what liberals say. Often I don't really agree with any of them. Generalities make creatures such as lawyers, real estate agents, cops and many others seem to be a bunch of bad guys. It is not a particularly good thing to work with generalities. The bad press and  tendency of people to speak critically about generalized entities makes knowing anything useful about them difficult.

I can't imagine that this country could run even as well as it does if all politicians were the crooked and self-seeking creatures I see in my mind when I hear the word "politician." Not all cops are corrupt, that I know. I was one of that clan, though only a lowly correctional officer. I knew a lot of cops. They were people, regular folk with a difficult job that most of them did as well as they could. A few were not the best of people, but hardly the corrupt monsters portrayed in story and film.

I know my own heart and mind. I don't like a lot of regulation. I think it is needlessly complex and expensive, and a good crook can easily find a niche in which to dwell in a needlessly complex system. Yet I also recognize that an unregulated society is dangerous and life in such society would be difficult. Where is the balance? Nobody can really agree. Everyone has their own preference for a balance point, and it is rarely the same as everyone else's.

Take taxes, for example. Taxes don't bother me. Not if they are used well to meet real needs. Some complain that taxes are too many, too much. I don't really think so. I think that the resources gathered by taxation are very poorly managed, however, and so in that sense the tax burden is great. What is taken from me as my fare share is wasted and abused. I would gladly contribute to a well managed system. As it is, I am robbed and the money is poorly distributed and badly used.

Maybe taxes do bother me.

In the country I call home, the United States, we have a two party system of government. Oh, there are other parties, but two parties dominate and vie for control in every election. I don't like either party. The seem to me to be two flavors of vanilla, and not a premium vanilla. Two bland and uninteresting flavors of vanilla. Swap one for another, and you still don't have much.

Is one party conservative, and the other liberal? Which, then, is better? Must I choose between them? What shall guide my choice? I am not conservative, at least not so in everything. I don't think I am liberal, at least not all of the time. Perhaps I practice Conservative Liberalism. Or maybe a Liberal Conservativism. How can I know?

I recently read an article (or most of an article) on a possible genetic factor in being liberal or conservative. That would certainly be easier. I could have a test of some kind done, which would tell me which camp I belong in. Then I could buy the right t-shirt, and learn to shout the proper slogans.

If it was like grade school, back in my day, we could all line up. The Liberals and the Conservatives could take turns picking us. Then I could have the same angst as a consequence of being picked last, and one team or another would get stuck with me. I suppose I am glad it isn't like that. I don't ever want to do that kind of thing again.

In those days I chose to not even line up at all. I would just go out to the far end of the field and stand under a big tree, gazing through the chain link fence and wondering what might be out there beyond the horizon. Part of me is still under that tree, gazing through the fence at the horizon.

What might be on the other side of that horizon? I wonder...


Anonymous said...

Being uninvolved in politics isn't necessarily a bad thing. I have a former employer that grew up Amish (now he's a staunch, Conservative, Tea Party Republican) but his father had an interesting concept. "I do not vote. I am an ambassador of a heavenly kingdom. What ambassador do you know that has voting rights in his country of residence?" I may join you under that tree looking to the horizon...
-Dan Mann

Jerry said...

I suspect your position (or unposition) reflects where a lot of us are. A little of this, a little of that, and maybe a lot of neither. And it seems more and more that we don't fit in the system.