I would like to share an observation.
Sometime last year, while I was still in student government and getting to hear the brunt of everyone's political philosophies, I decided to do some independent sleuthing. I wanted to throw off everything I had been told and led to and just evaluate things on my own, starting fresh.
So, I figured with this newfound staring point, I'd check out each party's website and give a good unbiased evaluation. I checked the DNC and the GOP, and skimmed through their party descriptions, foundational beliefs, and core values.
And you know what? When you trim off all the fluffings, and look at each party at it's most basic core -- You see THE SAME THING. I challenge you, visit both websites and start trimming stuff off, you'll see what I mean.
Both Democrats and Republicans want the same end, more or less. They just share different means.
So, now, I want to share with you what I observe to be conversative vs. liberal.
LIBERALS: Ideally, the liberal is the ultimate nice guy, loveable neighbor next door type. Liberals also capitalize on progressive thought and bringing change. More than anything, liberals seek to level the playing field so that everybody loves everybody, there is no war, no hate, and no inequality. Liberals seek tolerance as a key tool to achieving this.
My problem with liberalism is it's good in theory, but not practice. Mainly:
1) Liberals overemphasize equality to the point of blanket generalizations. Everyone is included in everything all the time. Liberals also make the grave mistake of often thinking all their opponents think exactly alike as if taken from the same conservative mold, another fatal flaw in their thinking. Liberals have overreacted to inequality to the point that they have cost themselves the ability to wisely discern.
2) Liberals more times than not are extremely hot-headed. They don't like their progressive though to be challenged, especially if that challenge is geared toward telling them they're a bit too progressive. Indeed, you can have too much of a good thing. This is merely from exprience -- many liberals I deal with fly off the handle when all you want to do is have a good debate.
3) Overcorrection. Liberals have some good ideas, but they go overboard. For instance, they tend to toss away all tradition simply because many traditions have become oppressive. Liberals have lost sight of where tradition can have its own place and serve a healthy purpose.
4) Overtolerance. Liberals have also overreacted to the narrow-mindedness of previous generations. This goes hand-in-hand with lacking the ability of discernment. This is why many liberals can't understand how racism is wrong while guarding against gay marriage isn't. A cruelly ironic side affect of history perhaps. Liberals accept tolerance to the extent it's starting to become "anything goes", when if such happens, we'll see a total collapse of our moral understanding.
I say they mean well, but with some issues, they just don't get it.
So, on to the elephants...
CONSERVATIVES: There's significant difference between the stereotypical conservative as seen by liberals and the true conservative as I believe it to be. The former is a narrow-minded stickler trapped in tradition, whereas the latter is someone who knows how think progressively on the cutting edge while at the same time maintaining the core values that have been well-established over the years and have served us well. A conservatie knows when to step forward and when to simply hold ground, wheras liberals seem to always be stepping forward no matter what, even if the next step goes right off a cliff.
The true conservative favors unbiased, open thought, for going against such noble traits is to betray the very foundation of our rebel country that we're trying to conserve in the first place. A conservative will keep his roots firmly planted while at the same time reaching far out into the wildly changing future with outstretched branches.
In short, true convervativism is about balance. Open mindedness without naivity, progressive thought without forgetting history. Moving forward while not forgetting what's in the rearview mirror. We keep the traditions and values that have made us strong (not those that have simply been without reason), and we pass them on so those who follow will share in the same strength.
But, in fairness, there is a dark side to conservitivism that must be avoided:
1) Conservatives can easily become bitter, for one thing because liberals tend to look at them as lacking intellect and enlightenment. At times this bitterness makes results in closed-mindendess and an unwillingness to listen to the other side.
2) Conservatives can overkill and become too steeped in tradition, though this is usually more true with a small number of older, more bitter members and not representative of the whole. Nonetheless, some conservativies adhere to traditions without reason, simply because it's the way "things have always been".
3) Conservatives often make the same mistake liberals do by generalizing opponents, assuming each liberal thinks just like the next.
So, that's politics as I see it. I imagine conservatives and liberals alike could argue my points, so I welcome whatever input you can provide to widen my view. I am proud to be a conservative who knows why he thinks what he thinks, and is unwilling to sway merely for popular belief.
I admit because of the biases that have formed on both sides at times, I have considered becoming a conservative independent. I think the partisan bickering has become ridiculous. I'm as tired of Republicans getting unnecessarily dirty with Democrats as I am vice-versa. But as long as the Republican core values remain, I think that's what I'm going to stick with.