Liberalism and conservatism have greatly influenced the American politics, culture, and governance. Each of the ideology has a contrary opinion on key issues about American culture, namely political liberty, human nature, and the purpose of government. The two ideologies have an opposing end in the political spectrum by influencing people’s opinions and perceptions in a wide range of issues in society (Andriyenko, 2018). The difference in the two ideologies has been given attention, especially in the field of politics, since different groups have expressed opposing views in regards to the future of countries. Liberalism’s view is opposed to the foundation system of beliefs that are held by conservatism. In this paper, I will discuss the difference between liberalism and conservatism, as well as whether the ideology makes a difference in the current US.
Difference between liberalism and conservatism
Conservatism believes that the main purpose of a government is to give necessary freedom for the people to enable them to seek personal objectives. Conservatism’s perception of the future of a country is focused on individual responsibility, personal freedom, partial government involvement, free markets, the existence of free markets, and historical values of the US (Johnson, 2017). Conservatives are considered to be part of a right-learning movement and believe that progress ought to be controlled, and traditional values should be preserved. In the US, the Republicans are believed to be conservatives since they worry about the changes coming from progress. They depend on tradition and experience as an efficient indicator of a good life.
Contrary to conservatism, liberalism believes that the primary role of a government is to achieve equality and equal chances for its people. The government is supposed to protect the civil rights of people and freedom, eliminate social problems, and offer equal opportunities for its people. The perception is that the main purpose of any government is to offer important services for its people. Liberalism’s ideology began as a platform to enhance reason, freedom, individualism, and rights to life (Andriyenko, 2018). The central belief is engraved in the laws of nature. Liberalism ideology was modified to incorporate the government as the main player in solving social challenges as opposed to personal initiatives. In the US, the Democrats are considered to be liberals. They usually strive for a social change where the main objective is to change the existing social models.
The two ideologies have different views on aspects such as freedom, government, and human nature;
In regards to freedom, liberalism believes that a person should be able to seek self-interest as driven through rational means. They believe that everyone has a right to freedom and life that is given by God by nature. The rights are perceived as rights to a person and not just to humankind. On the other hand, conservatism believes that the pursuit of individual interests should not go against the aspect of virtue (Johnson, 2017). Whereas liberalism promotes human reason and pursuit of personal interest as a measure of quality liberty, conservatives are opposed to this, especially when it goes against the social values. Based on this, conservatism does not give room for immoral actions even in pursuit of freedom.
Liberals believe that the main objective of a government should be to protect people’s lives and freedom, which are God’s gifts before the formation of different models of any government. The government was set to aid protect the rights of people hence the term protection service. Everyone with natural rights, such as a right to life hires, would seek ways for adequate protection. Thus, the government is perceived to be a means to achieve and safeguard the rights of people, while the policies are servants to individual interests. The government exists to safeguard the rights of its people using the policies set to achieve the same.
On the other hand, conservatism believes that the main purpose of a government is to enforce the set laws and regulations and discipline those who violate them (Johnson, 2017). According to Liberals, people established government rationally, to protect the rights of people more than what nature could offer. On the contrary, conservatives believe that government was established through a rational act; however, people exist to be subject to the authority and continues to be under the same power. In regards to this, the people have the power to set how they should be governed by choosing the government they want and getting rid of the government they do not wish to have.
The liberals promote people’s rights in disciplining wrong doers when they go against the set policies. However, conservatives majors on the significance of disciplining the people who violate the set laws and regulations. Thus, according to conservatives, the main purpose of a government is to enforce law and order instead of safeguarding the rights of its citizens (Johnson, 2017). Conservatives believe that the government should major in the aspect of law enforcement to make sure there is order. Thus, rather than focusing on the individual right, the government on law enforcement.
Liberalism believes that an individual should be considered rational in decision-making. Because of attributes, a person can be trusted to seek his or her interests rationally. People should be free when seeking their interests in economic space with minimal government control. Based on this, the government should not interfere in the process of individual pursuit of objectives so long as the person does intrude on the rights of others in the country (Feldman & Johnston, 2014). Liberals believe that a person should be entrusted to make decisions in an environment with reduced government involvement. Thus, liberals believe that a person does not require dictates of tradition as well as government involvement to make a decision.
Conservatives believe that individuals are linked to the society hence cannot live in isolation. Though everyone is unique from one another, they are linked to each other in one way or another. Conservatives view human beings as limited, dependent, security seeking, corrupt, greedy, and thirsty for power (Feldman & Johnston, 2014). In regards to this, they believe that people usually seek for security from the government they vote in. People depend on one another, creating a society that ought to be controlled using rules and regulations. They believe that people usually thirst for power. Thus, the reason for the perception is driven by the idea that people are limited and must lean on experience.
Does ideology make a difference in the United States today?
Today, the ideology does make a difference in the US. The US has experienced a lot of transformation in the political parties’ ideologies in the recent past. The role of political ideologies in the current political system is significant as the previous system because of the few changes experienced (Feldman & Johnston, 2014). In the past, though most Americans agreed on most of the political factors like liberty, justice, and equality, they show a range of political values, from conservatism to liberalism. Currently, despite the variations, US citizens share one political perception. Most of them are vital to politics and have high anticipation for their government.
The ideologies have helped shape US politics. The ideologies are reflected in various views held by the supporters of Democrats and Republicans regarding issues of concern. For example, the modern-day liberal believes that the US government should intervene in the economy and offer a broad range of social services to make sure there are well-being and equity in the society (Feldman & Johnston, 2014). The liberals, who are mainly supporters of the Democratic Party, believe that the government should not control private sexual or social behaviors such as abortion. For example, about 58% of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. It is worth noting that the perception of the liberals on issues such as regulation of social behaviors like abortion.
Moreover, some Americans believe that the government should operate at the state or local level, and allows the citizens to operate on their own. Due to the conservatism ideology, these people believe that there should be minimal government involvement, especially in the affairs that touch on people (Feldman & Johnston, 2014). The group anticipates that the government enforce traditional morality and restricts aspects such as the use of contraception, abortion as well as same-sex marriage. The ideology has influenced the support for government operations aligned to traditional moral concepts.
In the US, some of the Americans seem to supports the ideologies of liberals. First, they tend to favor the centralization of power. In regards to this, the US should abolish the local form of governance. Second, as opposed to the conservatives, liberals usually support the educational voucher programs and tuition tax credit. As the Democrats become firm in the ideology, one of the main issues addressed in their political rallies is integrity (Page, Bartels & Seawright, 2013). The issue of integrity has been the basis of politics in the US, with the two parties taking a side and framing their reasoning. Thus, the influence of this ideology in US politics is evident.
In President Trump’s administration, there have been cases of racist rhetoric towards immigrants and Muslims, hostility towards the press, and disdain for the rule of law. These aspects have polluted the country’s opinion and provided a platform to hate groups that are linked with the alternative right. However, the focus on division affects the views, which most Americans share, particularly when it comes to matters of economic concerns, protection of the environment, and a shift towards plutocracy (Page, Bartels & Seawright, 2013). The majority of US citizens are liberal when it comes to these aspects. Even some the Trump supporters who are believed to be conservatives have liberal views on most issues, especially on morality.
Most Americans are not happy with the rising inequality, the political influence of corporates, and a decline in the living standards. The public opinion is usually favorable in greater government activism, especially in solving issues around healthcare (Page, Bartels & Seawright, 2013). Besides, most American citizens believe that powerful and wealthy individuals have taken the government. For instance, about 83% of US citizens think that wealthy people in the country have too much power and influence in government operations. They need a government that would attend to the interest of the common people. The Americans want a reformation of the government to make it more responsive and accountable.
Influence on US culture, government, and politics
Liberal and conservatives ideologies have helped in shaping US culture, government, and politics. In terms of government, I think these ideologies led to the rise of the Democratic Party and Republicans, which are the two main political parties in the US. In terms of politics, the ideologies contributed to the emergence of groups known as the political spectrum. People who are liberals are placed on the right side of the spectrum, while people who are conservatives are placed on the left side of the spectrum. In terms of culture, these ideologies have contributed to the introduction of policies like the legalization of same-sex marriage in the US.
Ideology is a coherent set of views on politics and the purpose of government. The consistency of a variety of issues is the foundation of political ideology. For example, liberalism and conservatism are two ideologies that have shaped the US political system. The liberals view the government as a regulator of operations to achieve public interest to help the common people in the society. On the other hand, conservatives feel that there is excess government involvement, especially at the federal level. The liberals and conservatives have opposing views on aspects such as abortion and punishment for crimes, among others. Therefore, these ideologies have helped in shaping US culture, political inclination, and government formation.