I am just full of bull, but here was a question someone posted on Yahoo Answers, and my response:
we used to say that france is a liberal state. wikipedia write that liberalism “refers to a broad array of related ideas and theories of government that consider individual liberty to be the most important political goal”so french have more invidual liberties?
Some say france has a socialist government, how could it be socialist AND liberal? help me I don’t understand….
A: Liberalism and conservatism are words the are seldom used correctly, and their meanings differ in so many contexts. Not to mention that nothing is apparently liberal or conservative, but they can also be schemas that people use to make decisions.
1. Liberalism / Conservatism not used correctly: Country democratization. Many South American countries developed socialist practices in the late 1960’s to give some of the wealth back to the people away from foreign corporations. These were done with representative democracies, but it can be perceived as conservative because it isn’t “liberating” or enslaving the resource markets for producers. Since the wealth goes back into the state, a “free-market” advocate may be against it because it doesn’t “liberate” it’s wealth for investment or selling.You can then perceive these states ( Chile, Argentina, Brazil pre-coup) to be conservative with the market. They might also be considered conservative in disallowing the “free-market” advocates a choice in the countries’ economics. The liberalism may reside in the fact that they provide provisions for the working class & poor, but that is perceived liberalism if you believe liberalism means welfare state and helping poverty. But isn’t liberalism also giving people the right of individual freedom? If you are forced to pay wage taxes to keep these programs up, are you losing your liberty? Maybe, or maybe not.
The “democratization” of these markets occured after heavy coups were stage to oust these developmentalist ( Allende etc.), thereby freeing the markets so that foreign corporations ( Boston Fruit, Ford etc.) can invest. Business in this country are viewed as republican, and now it somehow correlates with conservatism.
But business in the Latin American countries during the 70’s were invited to the free-market turnover, which is considered a “neo-liberal” view of economics brought to you by our great friends at the University of Chicago ( Friedman, Strauss).
Going into the ethics of what was taught there, you could say from the list of students/professors that went there ( Wolfowitz, Friedman, Strauss, Coase, Hayek) that they are all free-market advocates. Against the restraints of government and entitlement spending (aka welfare state), you would call these men to have conservative ideas. McCain is right now talking about cutting out the government spending on domestic programs, and Ron Paul is very high on deregulation.
But these ideas of deregulation and priming a free market attitude in a nation-state are considered to be neo-liberal. And in the word liberalism, there is liberty. So are neo-liberals actually liberals? Or are they Neo-conservative? If these words mean the same thing, how do you know which one is pro-business? Maybe they all are I guess.
Businesses free from restraint and democracy go hand-in-hand? Lower taxes, less government oversight, these are elements that neo-liberals / neo-conservatives have tried to implement in this country and abroad. Democracy and capitalism are always considered feedback pathways of each other. More freedom, more capitalism, more democracy. This works right? Milton Friedman thought so in his book Capitalism and Freedom.
Democracy and Conservatism go hand-in-hand, or is it liberalism? Is Neo-Liberalism the same as liberalism? After the coup was made in Chile in the early 70’s, many people tried to protest against the new regime. It wasn’t democratic ( although the markets were free for development, which in theory should make more jobs); no one voted Pinochet in. He sent an army to Santiago and placed the state in martial law. Martial Law isn’t democratic. But it went hand-in-hand with “liberating” the market and giving people thr freedom to develop ( you can only develop if you have money, so some people are out of the loop). A decent amount of wealth was deregulated and sold to corporations. Anyone who was against this new ecomomic style was disappeared, some forever. The death toll was very high, and last time I checked, we didn’t invade Chile for democracy ( unlike Iraq ). Last time I checked, Pinochet died in his 90’s, never persecuted for his crimes against humanity and the thousands killed under his watch. Is justice liberal, conservative. Or in this case overlooked? Did the death of all those people mean anything to anyone? One would say this is a digression, but all of this interplays with the freedom of the people, the democracy of the people’s needs, and the economic policies of that country’s development.
How could a free-market turnover become so anti-democracy? Was it because people were so against it? Were so many people for it? Why did anyone have to die during this transition. Is forcing people to a certain economic policy a form of freedom? Is holding resources a way from development anti-business? Isn’t that impeding the freedom of development? Is any of the changes considered from a liberal or conservative thought process?
There were no individual liberties under the Chilean liberal market. Or is it neo-liberal? The socialist state before it didn’t have blood on its hands. Its provisions allowed for the working class to receive benefits from the government, and the allowance of voting. But was that system liberal? What about the system in Poland? Does anyone remember Solidarity? Or what about Russia? Boris Yeltsin was considered a democratic hero against the old communist guard in Russia when Parliament was trying to keep him from taking over the country, but he blew up Parliament to do it. He blew it up. Was that a liberal gesture? Maybe conservative, since he sold most of the state’s resources for next to nothing ( Yukos Oil= 2 billion per year revenue, sold for less than $200 mil). Conservatism is business, right? You seldom would see any democrats ( and we consider them liberals, right?) calling for deregulation. Yeltsin was a master at deregulation. Even Clinton continuously endorsed what he was doing. But with unchecked powers. If a man has unchecked powers, you can’t call that a democracy. Not giving people individual freedom; that is not liberal. But Clinton isn’t a liberal. But we call him one. So maybe he is. Or he just loves globalization. Totally forgot about globalization. Let’s not get into that right now.
Nixon was considered a hard-line conservative, but when the country was in a recession, he introduced wage & price controls to make sure people could afford goods and services. So does that mean republicans care about helping people through the welfare state or the free market? Or is it just conservatives? Or was Nixon a liberal? Or was he a softy, and conceded his party’s criteria of being a republican? He campaigned as a republican. He even was an advocate for cutting social programs. But even he said at one point during the creation of price controls that, “We are all Keynesians now.”
Any expert on geopolitics and economics knew how great or insane ( depending on which side you were) this statement was coming out of a republican’s mouth. Keynes was one of the architects & cheerleaders of the New Deal. The New Deal is socialist? Government providing jobs and assistance? Government-oriented transportation services with contracts given to the working class. Anti-free market. This is liberalism, right?
2. Nothing is apparently liberal or conservatism. Like Chris Rock had said, be your own person!
3. Utilizing liberal schemas and conservative schemas together work a lot better in everyday life decision-making. And these patterns of thought change based on your position and your ability, and less about your ideology about having a liberal or conservative mindset. Out of the element of politics, lets go into my fav: Sports.
Liberal means of playing basketball over the years was a testament to the street-ball style that begin to permeate into basketball in the early 80’s and flourished under the influence of Jordan, Magic, & Thomas. The approach to playing was “liberal” because the “conservative” style was a complete antithesis to what they liberal style creates for a game.
These three players were liberal to the conservative ( aka the way it has always been) in three ways: Thomas created the playmaker point-guard, not just starting the plays but creating them the likes that will produce future players like Iverson & Kidd. Magic was the poster boy for the prospect of creating hybrid forwards; huge guys who can handle the ball, run plays, and break down defenses. And Jordan showcased that he can singe-handedly take over an entire game.
These liberal elements began to be incorporated into the game, and these superman styles culminated into tow gold medals. But they also became part of some nasty Olympic defeats.
Why? Because these styles that became incorporated into basketball play became the norm. 1-on-1 matchup superceded the pick & roll, and the high-post up. The game was in the hands of singular players, and with it, they controlled the game. In the span from the mid-80’s up until current the normal approach to basketball is to produce mis-matches so that the better player can score easier. Plays are still called, and there is a direction to implementing a style that your team can benefit best, but the mindset of the game is the singular player. Is Kobe going to win it tonight? Why is Iverson missing key shots? Garnett is the reason for the Celtics success?
The game now played in the Olympics can probably be considered an uber- liberal system. The make-up of the style of these teams are more team-oriented & committed to open shots away from the hoop. There are amazing players that come from these European systems that have a combination of great talent, athletic ability, NBA IQ, and passing intelligence that converges the traditional basketball style with the current American style. Yet the style (although never proven, allow me to hypothesize) creates more fluidity, thereby allowing these players to excel because of their teamwork skills.
This system can be called “European”, but it is this liberal system that has beaten the former, now mainstream conservative NBA 1-on-1 system. In the last two Olympics, the European system embarks more on teamwork and quick passing than mismatches. It generates more of a team concept, shooting abilities keep zones out-of-whack, and the most talented players make their play when it counts. Since NBA has reliance on the best player, when that player struggles, it creates a negative dynamic that can hurt the entire team. The Olympic team never had a team-oriented style; they never have played together, but even with their respective teams they barely had any experience. There are exceptions ( Garnett, Nash, Paul, Kidd etc.), but the overall mentality of the NBA can now be approached as conservative: The man-to-man play has become the norm, and the adoption of European-style play is still in its infancy and only held by a few players.
I am getting out of hand, so I will leave you with the condition of liberalism & conservatism working together in matrimony:
4th and 2.
Sometimes you punt it ( conservative ), and sometimes you go for it ( liberal ). It all depends on what one thinks is the play that can be best utilized to reach their goal. That is it. You would be a softy if you punted it all the time, and you would be an asshole if you went for it all the time. And you would lose your job if you stayed in the middle, or tossed a coin. It isn’t about picking sides of liberalism or conservatism; it is about picking a schema that can best describe your situation at that given moment. It is about having intelligence, a work-ethic, and the ability to see beyond the decisions that you make. Hopefully, you can make the right one using the schema of good will, faith, and positivity.