- On Debate
What do conservatives, liberals, and libertarians believe is the hidden agenda of the other two political philosophies? From Quora.
Conservatives believe in a meritocratic hierarchical society where a) there are as few ‘cheaters’ living off the efforts of others as is posible, b) that enfranchisement should be earned, c) that government should resolve conflicts not direct society d) that civic duties should be preferred to administrative bureaucracies. e) They believe a good society can best be created by norms, rather than laws. f) They view all property as individual, but wich we must put to collective ends. Jonathan Haidt has shown that conservatives treat all six moral codes equally. (liberty, care-taking, hierarchy, loyalty, purity, fairness)
Libertarians believe in a meritocratic non hierarchical society where there are as few cheaters as possible living off the efforts of others and that enfranchisement should be earned, and that government should be limited to resolving conflicts over property. They believe civic virtues will emerge from this society, and the government bureaucracy (correctly) is the source of all bad government, so that privatization should be used rather than public bureaucracy, whenever possible.
Progressives believe in an egalitarian non hierarchical society where people produce what they can and that we redistribute from one another to one another as needed by way of the government. They believe all property is community property and that individuals are just temporary stewards of property in order to achieve what is best for the common good. They believe civic egalitarianism is best achieved through expansionary government that intervenes wherever possible in order to ensure equality of ends and means. Jonathan Haidt has shown that progressives (liberals) care only about two of the moral codes, and ignore the other four: fairness and care-taking.
What may not be obvious to the average person is that these three groups represent a spectrum that expresses the different reproductive strategies of the genders, and that liberals on one end and conservatives on the other each skew toward gender lines. In fact, if women were not to vote, we would never have had a progressive government in our history. The female reproductive strategy is to give her child every opportunity to rise above his abilities. The male reproductive strategy is to ensure the competitiveness of the group by promoting the strongest. While these are generalizations, when we are talking about genders we are in fact, making very broad generalizations. And the data supports those generalizations.
Our Institutions Could Not Tolerate The Change
Our political sentiments are largely inherited, largely a function of gender and class. Or political system was invented when the church was the authority of all moral teaching, when our voting classes were all some version of protestants, when the state was restricted to the resolution of disputes. And when we were all small business people (farmers and shopkeepers) and so we were all market participants and there were very few ‘leeches’ in the system. The political system was originally structured by social class with the senate appointed from influential people, the house elected from business people (land owners) and the proletariat was uneducated if not illiterate. Our constitution was designed to limit the government to resolution of conflicts and to avoid prescription.
And that political system did not survive the Louisiana purchase, the civil war, the inclusion of women, and the rapid immigration of non-protestants into the country as a means of filling the newly acquired continent, and as new citizens, their inclusion into the voting pool. The industrial revolution and the world wars that threw England’s empire into our hands was an opportunity for profit that we could not pass up .
Each Ideology Fails
So, that is why conservatives fail. Because they are attempting to recreate a political system that is insufficiently complex for the society we live in today.
Liberals fail because the population disagrees with their economic and military program — justifiably so. But more importantly because they do not understand the relationship between the nuclear family, the military requirements of the empire, and the unique property of western civilization: non-corruption.
Libertarians fail because their ethic is antithetical to both conservatives and liberals. WHile libertarians have the best grasp of economics, liberals wil disagree with the libertarian economic program and conservatives will disagree with the libertarian social program.
All people reject cheating. Liberals see individualization of profits as cheating. Libertarians and conservatives see the redistribution of profits as cheating. Conservatives see immorality as cheating. We can try every permutation, but it’s all the same.
In simple terms, liberal=society unified by law, libertarian=society unified by commerce, conservative=society unified by norms. The problem is that we are materially different in our desires and permanently so. So the problem is inventing new institutions that can accomodate the different factions now that we have expanded enfranchisement beyond market-participating males. And we know the lefts economic program is impossible. we know the conservative normative program is impossible. We know the libertarian normative and institutional program is impossible. So we devolve into moralistic banter rather than attempt to solve the problem of creating institutions that allow us to cooperate despite our differences.
The Secret Of Western Civilization
But I will let you in on a secret. This conflict is ancient. And can be answered by one question: why is it that a woman has a right to bear a child that she cannot on her own support? If you can answer that question you can solve the conflict between the conservatives and the liberals. because that one question is what drives it.
The western manorial aristocratic economic system that is our heritage required that men demonstrate their fitness in order to gain access to land, and delayed childbirth so that women could work in the crafts. This process suppresses the breeding rates of the underclasses. The church likewise banned inbreeding which encourages early reproduction. THese two factors led to the advancement of western civilization as much as did the rule of law, science, and the division of powers.
Conservatives are attempting still to restrain the breeding of the lower classes to those who can afford to support their own. Liberals are doing the opposite:they are encouraging all the breeding that is possible. These are just the masculine and feminine reproductive strategies of our distant ancestors writ large. Nothing more.
So when you ask the question, what is it that separates the different political ideologies, almost everything you will hear is an elaborate form of justification: a ruse to distract you from this one underlying difference: should we allow everyone to breed if it means that the middle classes must suppress their breeding so that the lower classes may advance their breeding?
Now if someone told you that this is the single most important factor in raising a civilization out of ignorance and poverty, and that it is impossible to build an egalitarian civil society otherwise, how would that affect your answer?
How you answer that question is how you define your political preference.
It’s really that simple.
Moral Foundations Theory:
1) Care/harm: This foundation is related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. It underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.
2) Fairness/cheating: This foundation is related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. It generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy. [Note: In our original conception, Fairness included concerns about equality, which are more strongly endorsed by political liberals. However, as we reformulated the theory in 2011 based on new data, we emphasize proportionality, which is endorsed by everyone, but is more strongly endorsed by conservatives]
3) Liberty/oppression: This foundation is about the feelings of reactance and resentment people feel toward those who dominate them and restrict their liberty. Its intuitions are often in tension with those of the authority foundation. The hatred of bullies and dominators motivates people to come together, in solidarity, to oppose or take down the oppressor.
4) Loyalty/betrayal: This foundation is related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. It underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. It is active anytime people feel that it’s “one for all, and all for one.”
5) Authority/subversion: This foundation was shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. It underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.
6) Sanctity/degradation: This foundation was shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. It underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way. It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants (an idea not unique to religious traditions).
Seattle, WA, United States
I am an independent theorist of Political Economy in the Conservative Libertarian tradition. And as a methodological Propertarian I attempt to complete the work of Rothbard and Hoppe by suggesting post-democratic political solutions for heterogeneous polities.
"De Philosophia Aristocratia"
Anglo Conservatism is the remnant of the European Aristocratic Manorial system and the Classical Liberal philosophy of the Enlightenment, combined with our ancient tribal instincts for group persistence and land-holding. It currently consists as a set of sentiments rather than as an articulated rational philosophy. And without that rational articulation, conservatives lack the ability to create and promote a plan that is a positive and rhetorically defensible alternative to the hazards of accidental bureaucracy and purposeful socialism.
This lack of an articulated philosophy leaves conservatives vulnerable in the public debate with Schumpeterian public intellectuals whose advantage in both volume of production, and simplicity of argument poses a nearly insurmountable challenge.
Libertarianism by contrast, is a rational philosophy of an articulate but permanent minority. It is based upon a solid, rational and critical methodology, even if it is flawed in its initial assumption: the principle of non-violence.
Unfortunately the Rothbardian Anarchist movement has appropriated the term "Libertarian", and left Classical Liberals and Conservatives alienated from the only system of thought with which they need to articulate their political sentiments in rational and empirical rather than moralistic and sentimental form.
By repairing the flaws in Libertarian philosophy we can use its methodology to provide a rhetorical solution for conservatives - a language which in turn may become an articulated philosophical body of argument and advocacy for the frustrated conservative majority.
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- Kinsella’s Criticism of Locke, and My Explanation of Locke’s Reasonable Mistake, and What To Do About It.