The Illusion of Liberal vs Conservative Values

This posting is a public letter, made in response to an article: Conservative Values vs. Liberal Values, by Star Parker for WND (World Net Daily), a conservative news website. The author prefers anonymity at this time.

Hello Star Parker,

I read your article outlining the difference between liberal and conservative, published back in 2006. Maybe I misread the intent of your comparisons. However, I thought I’d share my own positions as a progressive independent. And deflect some of the assumptions, made in the press about what is presumed to be liberal. The divisions you discussed, when you published your article, are even deeper now. The rhetoric has become more desperate and slanderous.

The assumption that liberals live in an “anything goes” frame of mind is a mischaracterization and absurd. If anyone presumes, all progressive/liberal people are secular or hedonistic, it’s a gross inaccuracy. What they’ve done is promote a stereotype. It’s like they have never met a rural heartland progressive.

Like conservatives, many of us had a Christian upbringing. We went to school in rural, predominately Christian communities. We’ve been vicariously exposed to quality principals and values—but not exclusively Christian—which have soaked in to fabric of our local societies. We can recognize degenerate behavior when we see it. Which includes, us being disgusted with rapacious business practices that exploit American workers and consumers. Sound values of respect and responsibility are not in the exclusive domain of conservatives.

I would say, when it comes to religion, progressive/liberals tend to be a little more syncretic when embracing other world religions and philosophies. It’s easy for us to recognize their value and integrity. There is not only one way to see things.  Around the world there are many ways to say God.  Just like there is as many ways to say wind or rain. Regardless, they each have the same intrinsic ingredients.

For me personally… I’m a stark contrast to your big city liberal stereotype. I’m a retired carpenter and business owner, use guns to hunt, drink beer not wine, embrace many of the same social and economic values that conservatives do.  Yet, at the same time, come from a long tradition of progressives.

During the revolutionary war it was liberals that promoted the idea of building a new nation. Conservatives, at that time, were still loyal to the British crown. During the civil war liberals were abolitionists, at that time, we were the republicans.  Again fighting on the side of righteousness and positive change.  My family members, who became democrats, were actively affiliated with a labor movement that raised standards for working conditions in America.  I was… and still am an active participant in the civil rights movement, as a progressive independent.  Civil rights go far beyond the needs of the Afro-American communities. It’s time to deal with all cultural and ethnic diversity like open minded adults… not scared children.

I come from a long tradition of progressive entrepreneurs. We pursued educations and built business. Another self reliant value, presumed to be only conservative.  We were all active in our communities.  Little league, boy scouts and girl scouts, charitable fund raising, etc.  Activities that conservatives appear to presume exclusive ownership. Like in the days that they touted themselves to be the champions of family values and American values—presumed to be exclusively conservative values.

I would say that a striking difference between rural liberals and the conservative ideology is this. Conservatives want no regulations that control the excessive abuses of capitalism. They show little regard for the environment or the health of working citizens.  Yet, at the same time, want to regulate and legislate morality. They want the freedom to promote their religious doctrine in every public place like imposing creationism in public schools and posting the Ten Commandments on our courthouse walls.  A total disregard for cultural diversity. On the other hand, liberals understand that there is no one size fits all ideology that can serve the dispositions of nearly three hundred million people.  We’d come a long way as a civilization if we all accepted this reality.  This assessment is possibly an over generalization. But, quite often the shoe fits well.

None of us are ignorant to the fact that there are many problems to solve in a nation as large as the United States. It will take a lot of critical thinking on the part of all of us. The issues are extremely complex and can’t be solved with simplistic assumptions about the nature of our problems. We all share most of the same values. The difference is in what priorities we hold to be impotent, as we proceed to find solutions. We can compromise enough to respect each other’s purpose and motivation without compromising our principles.

I’d like to conclude by saying, liberalism is NOT antithetical to the American way of life. We have and still do contribute our energy, our integrity, and our service to country. It’s a damn shame that Barry Goldwater, in effect, spawned the idea of a separate and divided society by demonizing a large segment of our citizens, making liberal a dirty word, synonymous with totalitarianism and communism. Sometimes, conservatives have attacked liberals with the fervor of a lynch mob. Sometimes I think they would justify any atrocity in order to protect what they deem to be sacred.

Fact is… the culture war is an illusion, it’s a growth industry. Polemics on both sides are millionaires. Their toxic rhetoric is just noise. Their self-serving nonsense is what has exaggerated the manufactured consequences of human diversity, and distorted all of our intentions.  We can design a common destiny or share the consequences of an undesirable fate. The illusion of our differences and the rancor in our discourse is the biggest threat to our national security.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


PS Once again, I know this a very late response to an old article. But, the discussion is still relevant and more intense than when your article was published. It’s something that still needs examination, with open hearts and minds. Please grasp my intent and excuse my grammatical clumsiness. Thanks again…


Comments that contain intimidation, personal insults, threats, vulgar language, or name calling will be deemed inappropriate and incoherent.  They will not be postedIf you think smart… talk smart.

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