What is the inherent divide between Liberalism and Conservatism?
We are both products of the Christian West and we both see the world through that prism. We share a belief in the special nature of man, that man is more than an animal and that he can achieve great things and that the individual person is important. But after that we start to get quite divergent opinions.
The nature of Man
We disagree on the nature of Man, Liberalism believes that Man is flawed but fixable, in fact perfectible. Conservatives agree that Man is flawed but we in no way believe we are perfectible. We might improve for a time but the inherent nature of Man guarantees that the improvement will rarely last. We are not perfectible because we are too changeable and we have desires. We lust after flesh, money, possessions, security, fame as well as many other things. We want more than we have and we are not always as fussy as we think we are in getting them. We are guilty of being human. If Liberalism were ever to be right and we were perfected, than we wouldn't be human.
The best Society
We disagree on the nature of society and on what constitutes the best society. Liberalism believes that the individual is the basic unit of construction when a society is built. Conservatives very strongly disagree, we believe that families are the basic unit of construction when a society is built. That individuals are born into families and that families create communities and that communities create nations. Liberalism believes that only the individual is real, that families, communities and nations are artificial. That the individual creates through their presence families, communities and nations. That a random group of people can proclaim themselves to be a family and they are. They create their own reality. Conservatives reject this, families, communities and nations are not artificial, they are organic. They come to life because they are alive, they are made up of living people. Now you might think that sounds like the individual creates through their presence as Liberalism believes. However the individual is only ever an individual within Liberalism. Conservatism believes that we are greater than our parts, that we are better by belonging to families, communities and nations. But these things are regarded as artificial by Liberalism, you are not great, you are not part of something better than yourself, something timeless, under Liberalism you are a lone individual and thats it.
The best Government
We disagree on the nature of Government, Liberalism believes that as people are perfectible, so is society and so is Government. That while Government is artificial, it is acceptable because it frees up the individual to do what they like. Families, Communities and nations are not acceptable as they put obligations upon the individual. So does Government of course, but Liberals get around this Unprincipled Exception by saying that Government creates better Liberals and therefore better people. Conservatives, you guessed it, reject this. Government is of Man and by Man, as Man is flawed so will his Governments be flawed. All Governments and all forms of Government, even a genuinely Conservative one. Of course if you believe that Government is perfectible and it isn't, that sets you up to fail and failure is on the bad side of flawed. A Government that accepts that governing is about managing often competing issues is on the good side of flawed.
Liberalism believes that all things relating to Man are changeable and perfectible. Conservatism believes that man and his institutions are flawed and that we must learn to manage as best we can with these flaws.
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