Modern Liberalism and Modern Conservatism

The word ‘liberal’ often confuses students as it can have two very different meanings. When one hears the word deployed in today’s American political rhetoric, it signifies (sometimes disparagingly) someone who believes in big government, high taxes, is weak on defense policy, and is out of touch with traditional American values. Modern liberalism and modern conservatism are actually two separate branches grown from the tree of classical liberalism. An easy, if somewhat oversimplified, way of thinking about the difference is that the two variants are mirror images of each other.

Modern liberalism refers to contemporary inheritors of this classical tradition who have retained commitment to the values of individualism and limited government but adapted the meaning of these concepts to fit the circumstances of modern societies impacted by the implications of the Industrial Revolution and monopolistic capitalism. The modern liberal is still committed to the defining idea of the maximization of human freedom but recognizes that freedom must mean not merely lack of regulation but fostering everyone’s opportunity to exercise control over and responsibility for their own lives. Freedom means not mere license but empowerment.

Modern Liberalism is also known as positive liberalism as distinct from the negative liberalism. In the nine¬teenth and the twentieth century’s, some of the notions and theories of classical liberalism were progressively revised so as to make it suitable to the changing requirements and perceptions. The positive aspect of liberty was highlighted and viewed as an opportu¬nity to form and accomplish self-appointed goals. Modem Liberalism has been given a new interpretation in terms of absence of ‘restraint’, that is, non-interference of the state in the sphere of industry and commerce, modern liberalism does not accept non-interference by the state as a panacea for all the ills from which society suffers. The ultimate aim of the public policy is protection and promotion of each person’s equal opportunity to develop his potentialities as fully as possible.

Modern liberals believe the government should actively intervene in the economy to correct market failures and promote fair outcomes (higher minimum wages, higher taxes on the wealthy, more regulations protecting worker safety and the environment). However, the government should refrain from interfering in an individual’s social or moral choices. Conservative and liberal are both ideal types. Many Americans fall somewhere between the two or appear to be closer to one or the other depending on the issue in question. As a generalization, however, Republicans are more likely to be conservatives and Democrats are more likely to be liberals.

Abortion is the deliberate killing of the weakest and most defenseless among us. Unfortunately, for the last few decades, the practice has been recognized as a fundamental human right by the highest court of the land. American culture has become increasingly accepting of traditional values and principles being compromised. Political correctness now replaces ethics, self-reliance is replaced by dependency, and crudeness now takes the place of knowledgeability. Today’s culture is corrupt and morally depraved, and there is no other topic that demonstrates this better than abortion. Many liberals support the argument that a woman has a right to choose what she does with her body, even if that means killing her unborn child.

It also contradicts their standpoint, because a woman also has the choice of whether or not to become pregnant in the first place. She should accept the consequences of her risky behavior instead of killing an innocent child that cannot speak for itself, for her convenience. Abortions have become a form of birth control instead of a last resort, and taxpayer dollars are paying for women’s irresponsibility and lack of morals. Conservatives believe that the government should only provide the people the freedom that they need to pursue their own goals and emphasize the importance of the individual to solve their own problems, which is part of the reason I do not support abortion.

Modern conservatives believe the government should refrain from excessive intervention in the economy (keep taxes and regulations of business low, restrain the growth of government welfare policies and public employment). The term ‘social conservative’ is often used to describe those conservatives who believe government should actively promote social and moral, usually traditional, values and regulate immoral conduct. They are more likely to support prayer in school, and oppose abortion, same-sex marriage, and flag burning. The term ‘libertarian’ is used to describe individuals who favor government non-interference in both economic and moral matters.

A Modern Conservative often takes the position that government often is too inefficient to handle societal problems and should not be relied upon in society. While no Modern Conservative would argue that government should be entirely be eliminated and take the position that there should be a basic social safety net, they argue that government should not get overly involved in societal problems and that the private sector should take a larger role in society. Conservative politicians love to celebrate states rights, using a rhetorical commitment to local control as an excuse for blocking progressive policies. Standing behind the idea that states should have the final say has become an almost mechanical response of Republican members of Congress when they are pressed on social issues. Conservatives emphasized on states rights when it came to slavery and Jim Crow, and they continue to do so with regard to hot button issues such as gay marriage, abortion, and separation of church and state.

Reagan and his supply-side vanguard saw a way to break the jam or, more precisely, two ways. First, some argued that tax cuts would so energize the economy as to pay for themselves. That claim was widely controversial, even among Republicans and it proved mostly wrong. Less controversial, but in the end more important, was the claim Reagan lobbed at Anderson. Often called the Starve the Beast hypothesis, it held that tax cuts shrink the federal Leviathan by starving it of funds. Tax cuts need not await spending cuts because they would cause spending cuts.

Traditionalist conservatism, also known as classical conservatism, is a political philosophy emphasizing the need for the principles of a transcendent moral order, manifested through certain natural laws to which society ought to conform in a prudent manner. Shortened to traditionalism and in the United Kingdom and Canada referred to as Toryism, traditionalist conservatism is a variant of conservatism based on the political philosophies of Aristotle and Edmund Burke. Traditionalists emphasize the bonds of social order and the defense of ancestral institutions over hyper-individualism. Traditionalist conservatism places a strong emphasis on the notions of custom, convention and tradition.

Theoretical reason is derided over and is considered against practical reason. The state is also seen as a communal enterprise with spiritual and organic qualities. Traditionalists believe that change if it does happen is not the result of intentional reasoned thought and it flows naturally out of the traditions of the community. Leadership, authority and hierarchy are seen as natural products. Traditionalism developed throughout 18th-century Europe, particularly as a response to the disorder of the English Civil War and the radicalism of the French Revolution. Classical Liberalism provided political rights and economic freedoms to the new middle class, consolidated their position in the society as a highly privileged class. This class was successful in concentrating economic and political powers in its hand to the exclusion of the peasants and the workers, who suffered extreme poverty and led a miserable life.

Economic planning, state based trade, social and class-based hierarchy, no individual property rights, state-based religion, protectionist, nationalist, no separation of church and state, limited freedom of speech, limited freedom of assembly, no right to a fair trial. They stand against Human Rights not found essential to the state or social structure. From the traditional structure of governing entities from families to kingdoms to the rejection of liberalism to Gilded Age Cronyism and Monopolization. The ends are order, hierarchy, and tradition by means of authority. Like the father protects his children, or the Monarch protects the citizens, the classical conservative is the archetype of a patriarch. If the restraints used are seen as necessary but judged “negatively” by the other members of the family when they limit equality and liberty, that is opinion, not specifically a statement on the effectiveness of the families rules in-action.  

Did you like this example?

This paper was written and submitted by a fellow student

Our verified experts write
your 100% original paper on any topic

Check Prices

Having doubts about how to write your paper correctly?

Our editors will help you fix any mistakes and get an A+!

Get started
Leave your email and we will send a sample to you.
Thank you!

We will send an essay sample to you in 2 Hours. If you need help faster you can always use our custom writing service.

Get help with my paper
Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. You can leave an email and we will send it to you.