A Conservative Ideology vs. A Liberal One: Two Personal Essays

 

I’d be lying if I said my parents didn’t influence my political ideology. I believe any young man or woman our age would be lying if they said that their parents didn’t have any sort of influence on their political ideologies. However, how much influence our parents have on us obviously varies.

I for one am not going to try to say I had as little influence from my parents as possible. My parents are Republicans, and have instilled Republican and conservative ideologies on me growing up in my 20 years on this Earth. While I guess I’m considered Republican, I did however register myself as independent.

One of my more liberal beliefs is that I am pro-choice. I’d say something that separates me from being very conservative is my belief in separation of church and state. I don’t believe religion should be involved in politics, and certainly it should not have a say in whether a woman must have a baby or not. Clearly there are times where a mother just can not properly care for a child or situations where a woman became pregnant from rape. I’m not going to go on about my abortion beliefs, but yes I am pro-choice, and come to think of it I don’t even know what my parent’s position on this is, but oh well, I know my position.

One Republican ideology I strongly believe in is protecting our country. No I’m not pro-war, and no I’m not fully in support of the Iraq War, however, I do believe that something needs to be done in the fight against terrorism, and I do fear that we can be attacked at any moment. This was probably the main reason I voted for John McCain, I just believe the man would do a better job of protecting our country.

I also support border control, and do not agree with Obama’s plan for higher taxes on people with incomes over $100,000. Many hard working Americans spent years of their lives trying to earn that kind of money, and now should they basically be punished for their hard work? I support capitalism and believe it is one of the main reasons that America is the land of opportunity. While I won’t go as far as saying Obama’s economic plan is socialism, I do feel that it goes against some features of a capitalist economy and do not feel this is right. Sure the economy is down right now, but it’s not the first time. This country will bounce back, and I hope that our capitalist ways will prevail. Right now I’m a struggling college student with about $1,000 to his name, but I want to earn my way to a higher income, and once I make it there, I don’t want to be punished with higher taxes because of it, this is just my personal feeling.

So all in all, I guess I could say that my parents have had a very strict influence on my political ideologies, but I certainly have a mind of my own, and my feelings are my own. I don’t like to call myself republican, but I guess if you had to categorize me that is the best way to do it. I really think that anyone that leans too far to either the right or the left needs to take a step back and wonder…is this really best for our country or am I just going with my crowd? There is no reason not to be moderate, to take a step back and look at every issue and ask your self– how do I feel about this? I guess that’s where my political ideologies are born from.

By Rich Arleo

Government should always protect the freedom of the individual and, in some instances, go as far as to promote these freedoms. Consequently, the role of government is to promote equality and individuality simultaneously, all for the benefit of society. Stressing individual freedoms is very central to my beliefs and the tenants of my personal political ideology—liberalism. This makes sense because epistemologically liberty is at the heart of liberalism. The rights, needs, and wants of individuals should be the focus of governments. I contend that some people must be helped to live better lives and fulfill their individual potential, and they believe such assistance can work. The purpose of government is not solely to protect its citizens, but to actively provide for them. When the government is hands on, the citizens are growing and able to constructively contribute to society. John Stuart Mill said it best in On Liberty:

“The worth of a State, in the long run, is the worth of the individuals composing it; and a State which postpones the interests of their mental expansion and elevation, to a little more of administrative skill…a State which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands even for beneficial purposes—will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished; and that the perfection of machinery to which it has sacrificed everything, will in the end avail it nothing” (Mill).

Our country needs to reverse its current patterns. Housing assistance for low-income families is decreasing. As a result of my ideology and the current state of the nation, I find many welfare programs, like low-income housing for the needy, very necessary. I support most liberal policies because they put trust in human nature to promote and improve the human condition. While I understand that there is a lot of corporate, upper-class, and middle-class welfare, the welfare I advocate is for those that need it. There will be abuses in almost all government welfare programs, but if everyone in society is given the chance to succeed, the benefits strongly outweigh the weaknesses.

My liberal ideology is largely based on my view of people. A liberal ideology alludes to a trust in society and human nature. Taking an idea from Adam Smith and applying it to society instead of the economy, I believe that once the government provides the catalyst for change that people will be guided by an “invisible hand” to take the initiative to help better society as well. In fact in his Wealth of Nations, Smith said, “No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.”

Political ideologies really boil down to philosophy. It is not possible to subscribe to liberalism without believing that humans are essentially good because otherwise there would be no motivation for the government to help its citizens. One of the biggest problems I have with conservatism is there seems to be a hierarchy as to who reaps the benefits of government and who is to say that a rich, white man is more worthy of a high place in society than a poor, inner-city, black, female. It goes without saying that some people abuse the government and what it offers, all people were created equal, but everyone was does not have an equal chance at the American Dream.

Our American government has the means to help its citizens, and I believe that when government helps the individual and the individual will help the government and society. Call me an idealist, but I believe in the power and goodness of human nature.

By Andrew Overton

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