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How Conservatives and Liberals Argue Their Case

November 6, 2010

Let’s examine how conservatives and liberals argue their respective cases. In this study, I’ve got some great videos for your consideration. 

First, the conservative approach. Below is a 3-part video series about the intellectual basis of conservatism. While more can be said, it is a super introduction. It shows how conservatives use reason and evidence to defend their ideas. Each video is about 10 minutes long. Yes, it’s a long time to invest! But if you are serious about studying this stuff, the series is outstanding:

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLD6VChcWCE

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0MESB6VZM4&feature=related

Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkXI-MNSb8Q&feature=related

Next, the liberal approach. Here are are 2 videos. The first one is about 4 minutes long. It shows how the left is using law to try to shut up conservatives (hate crimes, net neutrality, fairness doctrine, etc.):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWHgUE9AD4s

And here is the second,  in animation. It shows how leftists use ad hominem attacks (name calling), and how they ignore the evidence, and they avoid the issues. It is about 7 minutes long:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGwtG8nVpUU

These approaches by liberals should be terrifying to any thinking person. This is exactly how every totalitarian despot gets control of people.

Of course, conservatives are also occasionally guilty of name-calling. But with the left, it is a way of life. The latest such attack by the left is to call tea-partiers racist. In reality, it is the liberals who are inherently racist. This is because liberals divide people into groups: rich-poor, black-white, women-men, etc. Conservatives see people as individuals. Christian conservatives (the ones who take the Bible seriously) especially see every person as being made in the image of God, which is a biblical concept. So every life has true and unique value. As the Declaration of Independence states, ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL, ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR WITH CERTAIN UNALIENABLE RIGHTS. This is a conservative statement, taken from a Christian worldview.

So, there you have a 41 minute course on politics and worldviews. You spend a lot of wasted time watching TV. Why not take a little of that TV time and learn something important? Watch the videos. Then pay attention to these concepts when you hear each side in public debate.

And why not send a link to this series to your liberal friends. You might say something like, “Hey, Joe. We have had some discussions about political philosophy in the past. Here is a link to some thoughts about how each side argues its case. I would be interested in your thoughts on this video series.”

4 comments

  1. This post is really a waste of everyone’s time. While the Bill Whittle YouTube videos are a genuine attempt to articulate Tea-Party libertarianism (not very smart, for reasons I offer below), the “representative” samples of liberal arguments are bogus, stupid, and nowhere near a fair representation of how “liberals” “argue” (as if we all argue the same way – a REALLY stupid place to start.
    On Whittle and the TP videos: they’re pretty naive, if you know anything about economics. Chapter 1 stuff from a standard undergraduate textbook. Good as far as they go, but he completely ignores (1) public goods and how to provide them, (2) the importance of regulation to the functioning of a free market, (3) the fact that his arguments against a “liberal elite” or a “government elite” could be applied just as forcefully to (a) representive democracy and (b) any form of corporate organization. In other words, his arguments are facile and naive and they harm his position as much as they help it.

    As for liberals not arguing from facts… all I can say is that I constantly try to get my conservative interlocutors to acknowledge basic facts, like “lowering taxes will increase the deficit,” but they refuse to admit these self-evident truths. What to do?


  2. Thank you, David, for the above comment. I think your comment helps prove our case; let the readers decide. (Note David’s ad hominem attacks, which is our point!) However, your comment deserves a response. First, Whittle is not arguing for anarchy, which your comment suggests. Secondly, one thing that Whittle left out in the video is the subject of compassion. This is important because liberals actually believe that they are taking a moral and compassionate position. We address this in another post below. Our thesis is that voluntarily administered charity is moral. But the forced redistribution of wealth by the heavy hand of the state is theft; it also institutionalizes indolence and poverty—and is thereby immoral. Further, ordered liberty is moral. But progressivism, socialism, liberalism, communism, Islam (and all other forms of aggressive statism) are forms of tyranny—which is immoral. Biblically ordered capitalism leads to economic benefits for society and is therefore moral. But statism is inherently inefficient, produces nothing, takes resources from the productive economy, and is therefore detrimental to growth—thus immoral.

    —Off Grid Blogger


    • Thanks for the response. I didn’t suggest that Whittle is arguing for anarchy; not at all. Merely that he doesn’t address two of the key justifications for government – one of which, the provision of public goods, requires taxation and at least some kind of redistribution of wealth. Then we have to agree on what things count as public goods. Then we get into education, health, etc. Pretty soon we’re talking about giving tax money to those that some people (yourself included?) would consider undeserving. And yet everyone benefits from such programs because society is more stable and, overall, more productive. Do you call for the dismantling of publoic education, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security? [I’m wondering how far you would go.]

      As for “biblically ordered capitalism”, I’d love to know what that means. Where does the Bible call for capitalism? If you point to the fact that people owned property, theft was outlawed, etc., I could point to many other ancient texts and societies just as easily. So why specifically the Bible? And how do you interpret “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”?

      Also, you assign moral value to policies according to their economic effects: something is moral if it “leads to economic benefits for society” and as immoral if it “takes resources from the productive economy.” Quite Marxist of you (that’s a form of economic fundamentalism). But a more telling critique is this: What if slavery created “economic benefits for society”? Would it then be moral?

      Also, it’s hard to say that “statism” (which you define to include all kinds of very different things) “produced nothing.” Not true. Can you honestly say that the Soviet Union produced nothing? That Mao’s China produced nothing? Of course, they were reprehensible, tyrannical societies, but they did create “economic benefits for society”. But if they did that, weren’t they moral, according to your definition?



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