Left, Right, Up and Down
I though I should write a little about politics, but I've spent the last couple weeks trying to figure out what to write about. As a follow up of sorts to my last entry, I'm writing about political terms, specifically labels.
There are three diametric label pairs used in U.S. politics today. Democrat & Republican, Left & Right, and Liberal & Conservative. Most of the time laitly, these terms are used interchangeably. They are different however, and have important distinctions.
Democrats and Republicans, are teams. They have no allegiance to any ideology other than their own existence. They redefine what they are going to stand for based largely on what the other team chooses to stand for. That's how the Republicans freed the slaves in their yesteryear, while the Democrats tried to secede from the union over it. Contrast that with their modern incarnations; the Republicans are doing everything they can to prevent the descendants of those slaves they freed from voting, while the Democrats are offering them at least lip service to everything minorities could dream of.
Left and Right are generic terms, co-opted to describe how extreme a person is in their political opinions. What ever those opinions are is less important than the fact that they again, are defined by being the opposite of each other. Today that mean mostly the superiority of the individual vs the society. They however aren't on a line but a circle. Both paths come around eventually to authoritarianism on the on the far end of their extremes. Somehow the end up being very much alike while trying the achieve their own very different versions of utopia.
Liberal and Conservative are different than the other terms. Generically they could be used to mean wild and reserved, or reckless and cautious. When describing political views they break down to two simple tendencies. When faced with something new, Conservatives tend to ask "Why?" while Liberals tend to ask "Why not?". Liberals are typically open to exploring new ideas in the hope they could improve things. Conservatives are typically cautious and wary of new ideas for fear of the unknown consequences they could bring. Liberals tend to be optimistic in the face of the new, whine Conservatives tend to be pessimistic to the same.
Each of these dichotomies have been roughly aligned for the last generation or so, but that is in the process of changing. The Left and Right don't like being associated with the Democrats or Republicans anymore. That's how we got the Tea Party, and Black Lives matter. The Liberals and Conservatives are looking at the others wondering why nobody can compromise on anything.
Please stop using one term when you are referring to another. I know it's easy to generalize, but it's really clouding and obfuscating important and meaningful conversations.
Liberal Left-wing Democrats don't exist. Neither do Conservative Right-wing Republicans. Lots of people will fit into one or two of these labels on ether side. None really fit into all three.