Sebastian Zearing

how to be progressive without being a stupid liberal

First Post and Introduction

This post was originally published at liberateandconserve.wordpress.com.

I’ve found that my thoughts and beliefs become more vibrant and real (and I daresay more organized and rationally sound), when I write them down. And since I’m going to write them down, why not share them with the world?

I do not identify as either a liberal or a conservative–nor, perhaps surprisingly, as a libertarian, but that’s a topic for another post. My purpose in this blog is to identify and dissect liberal and conservative attitudes, understand how they behave in the ecosystem of American society, and how they are affected by changing beliefs. I am interested in primarily American society, since that is the one I am most familiar with and since it provides plenty of fodder for discussion. I am also only interested in modern society. Modern and past uses of the terms “liberal” and “conservative” are not coextensive, and I don’t think it is useful for my purposes to dissect those differences. My goal is to enlighten both myself and the reader as to the interactions between widespread beliefs, values, and policies as they play out today on American soil.

In this first post, I plan to give as concise and yet accurate a picture as to the core ideas inherent in liberalism and conservatism as I can. The picture I give is primarily of modern America. Still, it may be applicable to decades or even centuries past or even other societies, but it should be noted that these attitudes would probably not have been described by the terms “liberalism” and “conservatism.” I’ll finish by giving a description of my own worldview which melds and assimilates various aspects of both worldviews.

The liberal worldview, as currently conceived in America, holds that humans, in their natural state, are equal in character, virtue, intelligence, beauty, aptitude, and worth, and that actualizing that equality constitutes the noblest political pursuit. Entwined in the worldview is the perspective that the natural is essentially good, and that actions to change the natural constitute corruption, and not improvement.

The conservative worldview, as currently conceived in America, holds that humans, in their natural state, are basically savages. This perspective holds that the natural is essentially suspect, and that the noblest political pursuit constitutes advancing and strengthening those social structures that enable man or woman to overcome, restrain, and master nature and become stable, civilized, and content.

The liberal worldview views conservatism as the reason for the failed ushering in of the liberal utopia, where equality reigns, and the natural is prized and respected.

The conservative worldview views liberalism as the clamoring of the base instincts, as the voice of those natural impulses which are conservatism’s goal to overcome.

Finally, my worldview (as regards politics) holds that humans, in their natural state, are objectively unequal, being subject to the whims of evolutionary population genetics, which has no place for essentialist fancies; but that worth, being subjective, does not have to hold humans as being unequal. In point, the objective inequality of humans can feed a zeitgeist where personal interpretations of human worth are encouraged; but personal interpretations, being eminently subjective, have a very ripe potential for abuse, and merit interdiction by government fiat. My worldview holds that humans are neither essentially good nor bad, but that they behave in good and bad ways depending on the situation they are in (in particular their accountability via future interaction), and that the primary government interest is to organize societal structure to maximize good behavior vis à vis bad behavior. My worldview holds that the natural is difficult to change, and that any change is intrinsically fraught with uncertainty due to novelty. My worldview holds that the natural should be respected, yet not prized, and that the natural should consent to the unnatural when it suits the purposes of society and reaches its standards of quality.

My worldview obviously took a little longer to characterize than either the liberal or conservative. This should not be surprising given that my worldview is not the kernel of similarity distilled from millions of worldviews. It should also not be surprising given that any straight-ticket worldview will naturally be less complex than one that tries to capture nuance. That will be my greatest goal in this blog: to treat the subject matter carefully, and to treat both sides fairly in an attempt to synthesize an accurate portrayal of American political thought.

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2 responses to “First Post and Introduction

  1. Pingback: Compare & Contrast: Genetically Modified Organisms | Sebastian Zearing

  2. Pingback: Welcome! – [sticky] | Sebastian Zearing

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