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LeftWing

vs.

RightWing

Conservative vs. Liberal

Diffen Economics

Theepithetconservativeorliberalisusedtodescribepoliticalandeconomic
viewsandaffiliations.Themeaningofconservativeorliberalcouldbe
differentindifferentcontextssocial,economicandpolitical.Theyalsodifferin
usageindifferentcountriesandovertime.

Comparison chart
Conservative

Liberal

UserRating(2085):

UserRating(2090):

PoliticalViews Rightwing,antifederalist.Prefer
smallergovernment,less
regulation,mostservicestobe
providedbytheprivatesectorin
afreemarket,andaliteral
interpretationoftheConstitution.

Leftwing,federalist.Prefermore
regulationandserviceslikefree
universalhealthcaretobe
providedbythegovernmentto
allcitizens.

EconomicViews Governmentshouldtaxlessand
spendless.Cuttingspendingto
balancethebudgetshouldbethe
priority.Higherincomeearners
shouldhaveanincentiveto
invest(credits).Charityisthe
responsibilityofthepeople.

Governmentshouldprovide
moreservicestotheless
fortunate(likehealthcare)and
increasetaxesifnecessary.High
incomeearnersshouldpaya
largerpercentageoftheirincome
astaxes.

SocialViews Opposedtogaymarriage,
abortionandembryonicstemcell
research.Supporttherightto
beararms,deathpenalty,and
personalresponsibilityasan
individual.

Gaycouplestogetequalrights
likeeveryoneelse(e.g.marriage);
abortionshouldbelegal;support
embryonicstemcellresearch.
Supportrestrictionsand
regulationaroundtherightto
beararms.

Personal Individualsshouldexercise
Responsibility personalresponsibilityanditis
thegovernmentsroletohold
themaccountableevenwith
severepenalties.Lawsare
enactedtoreflectthebestinterest
ofthesocietyasawhole.

Thepeopleshouldlooktothe
governmenttoprovidea
structure.Lawsareenactedto
protecteveryindividualforan
equalsocietysometimesatthe
expenseofeconomicfreedomif
neccessary.

GO

Contents: Conservative vs Liberal


1SocialIssues
2EconomicIssues
3Politicalviews
4Psychologicaltraits
5Libertarians

Social Issues
Intermsofviewsonsocialissues,conservativesopposegaymarriage,abortionand
embryonicstemcellresearch.Liberalsontheotherhand,aremoreleftleaningand
generallysupportiveoftherightofgaypeopletogetmarriedandwomensrightto
choosetohaveanabortion,asruledbytheU.S.SupremeCourtinRoevWade.
Withregardtotherighttobeararms,conservativessupportthisrightasitappliesto
allUScitizens,whereasliberalsopposeciviliangunownershiporattheveryleast,
demandthatrestrictionsbeplacessuchasbackgroundchecksonpeoplewhowantto
buyguns,requiringgunstoberegisteredetc.

Economic Issues
Thedifferentschoolsofeconomicthoughtfoundamongconservativesandliberalsare
closelyrelatedtoAmericasantifederalistandfederalisthistory,withconservatives
desiringlittletonogovernmentinterventionineconomicaffairsandliberalsdesiring
greaterregulation.
Economicconservativesbelievethattheprivatesectorcanprovidemostservicesmore
efficientlythanthegovernmentcan.Theyalsobelievethatgovernmentregulationis
badforbusinesses,usuallyhasunintendedconsequences,andshouldbeminimal.
Withmanyconservativesbelievingintrickledowneconomics,theyfavorasmall
governmentthatcollectsfewertaxesandspendsless.
Incontrast,liberalsbelievemanycitizensrelyongovernmentservicesforhealthcare,
unemploymentinsurance,healthandsafetyregulations,andsoon.Assuch,liberals
oftenfavoralargergovernmentthattaxesmoreandspendsmoretoprovideservices
toitscitizens.
SomegoodexamplesofthispolicysplitaretheEnvironmentalProtectionAgency,
whichliberalsthinkisvitalandsomeconservativeswanttoabolishorscaledown,and
theMedicareandMedicaidprograms,whichliberalswanttoexpandand
conservativesbelieveshouldbepartiallyorcompletelyprivatizedthroughavoucher
systemconnectedtoprivatehealthinsurers.
Intheearlypartofthetwentiethcentury,liberalsespeciallythoseinBritainwere
thosewhostoodforlaissezfaircapitalism.Inmorerecenttimes,however,the
nomenclatureseemstohavereversed.TheexceptiontothisisfoundinAustralia,
wherethemainstreamconservativepartyiscalledtheLiberalPartyandthe
mainstreamnonconservativepartyiscalledtheLabourParty.

Political views
Politicalliberalsbelievethatpartiesmotivatedbyselfinterestarewillingtobehavein
waysthatareharmfultosocietyunlessgovernmentispreparedandempoweredto
constrainthem.Theybelieveregulationisnecessitatedwhenindividuals,
corporations,andindustriesdemonstrateawillingnesstopursuefinancialgainatan
intolerablecosttosocietyandgrowtoopowerfultobeconstrainedbyothersocial
institutions.Liberalsbelieveinsystematicprotectionsagainsthazardousworkplaces,
unsafeconsumerproducts,andenvironmentalpollution.Theyremainwaryofthe
corruptionandhistoricabusesparticularlytheoppressionofpoliticalminoritiesthat

havetakenplaceintheabsenceofoversightforstateandlocalauthorities.Liberals
valueeducatorsandputtheirtrustinscience.Theybelievethepublicwelfareis
promotedbycultivatingawidelytolerantandpermissivesociety.
Politicalconservativesbelievecommercialregulationdoesmoreharmthangood
unnecessarilyusurpingpoliticalfreedoms,potentiallystiflingtransformative
innovations,andtypicallyleadingtofurtherregulatoryinterference.Theyendorsethe
contractionofgovernmentalinvolvementinnoncommercialaspectsofsocietyaswell,
callingupontheprivatesectortoassumetheiractivities.Conservativescallforthe
devolutionofpowerstothestates,andbelievelocallytailoredsolutionsaremore
appropriatetolocalcircumstances.Theypromulgateindividualresponsibility,and
believeastrongsocietyismadeupofcitizenswhocanstandontheirown.
Conservativesvaluethearmedforcesandplacetheiremphasisonfaith.Conservatives
believeintheimportanceofstability,andpromotelawandordertoprotectthestatus
quo.
Liberalsbelieveinuniversalaccesstohealthcaretheybelievepersonalhealthshould
beinnowaydependentupononesfinancialresources,andsupportgovernment
interventiontoseverthatlink.Politicalconservativesprefernogovernment
sponsorshipofhealthcare;theypreferallindustriestobeprivate,favourderegulation
ofcommerce,andadvocateareducedroleforgovernmentinallaspectsofsociety
theybelievegovernmentshouldbeinnowayinvolvedinoneshealthcarepurchasing
decisions.

Psychological traits
JonathanHaidt,aUniversityofVirginiapsychologyprofessor,hasexaminedthe
valuesofliberalsandconservativesthroughpairedmoralattributes:harm/care,
fairnesss/reciprocity,ingroup/loyalty,authority/respect,purity/sanctity.Heoutlinesthe
psychologicaldifferencesinthefollowingTEDtalk:

Jonathan Haidt: The moral roots of liberals and conservatives

Haidthasalsowrittenabook,TheRighteousMind,basedonhisstudiesconductedover
severalyearsonliberalandconservativesubjects.NicholasKristof,anavowedliberal,
offeredanunbiasedreviewofthebookandcitedsomeinterestingfindingssuchas:
Moralityforconservativesincludesthreeattributesthatarenotashighlyvaluedbyliberals:
loyalty,respectforauthority,andsanctity.
Researchsuggeststhatconservativesareparticularlyattunedtothreats,withagreaterstartle
reflexinresponsetoloudnoises.Conservativesalsosecretemoreskinmoisturewhentheysee
disgustingimages,suchasapersoneatingwormsliberalsrespondlessemphatically.
Liberalspreferdogswhoareempathetic,notsubservient;conservativesseekdogswhoare
loyalandobedient.

Libertarians
Liberalsshouldnotbeconfusedwithlibertarians.Libertariansbelievethattheroleof
thegovernmentshouldbeextremelylimited,especiallyintheeconomicsphere.They
believethatgovernmentsarepronetocorruptionandinefficienciesandthattheprivate
sectorinafreemarketcanachievebetteroutcomesthangovernmentbureaucracies,

becausetheymakebetterdecisionsonresourceallocation.Liberals,ontheotherhand,
favormoregovernmentinvolvementbecausetheybelievethereareseveralareas
wheretheprivatesectorespeciallyifleftunregulatedneedschecksandbalancesto
ensureconsumerprotection.
Theprimaryfocusoflibertariansisthemaximizationoflibertyforallcitizens,
regardlessofrace,class,orsocioeconomicposition.

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Comments: Conservative vs Liberal


Anonymous comments (7)
May16,2014,3:12pm

Imbothatthesametime.IhavesomestuffImconservativeabout.
AndIhavesomethingsImliberalabout.Goaheadberatemeforit.
AtleastImbeinghonest.
64...94

October7,2011,1:59pm

Grantedtheyaredescribingthetwoextremes,theseareverynarrow
views.Honestlythough,Ibelieveveryfewpeopleholdthesesingular
viewssocompletely.Ipersonallyfallsomewhereinbetween.Sure,I
mayshareidealswithconservatives,evenpassionately.Butthatdoes
notmeanIamnotpronetomyliberalperspective.Itisjusttoohardto
limitanyindividualtosuchstringentrestrictions.Thatbeingsaid,the
mediaistryingveryhardtopullusintotheirstruggleforviewership
ratings.
99...163

May25,2014,11:57am

Thatisgovernmentsultimategoal.Tokeepusdivided.Cantaperson
becompassionateandfiscallyresponsible?
24...212

May19,2014,2:14am

Whosintherightthough?Surewhenyouareworkingyoustriveto
seemoreworkersearningtheirway.However,(whichIcanagree)I
havealsohadunemploymentfor6monthssoIunderstandhownice
itwastohavethemoneytogetby.Botharenecessary,sowhydont
wemergethebestofbothworlds?
70...91