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compassionate conservatism


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A political philosophy that stresses using traditionally Conservative techniques and concepts in order to improve the general welfare of society.


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  • I definitely phrased it badly. I meant something along the lines of "abandon our biases", and was thinking about adding "using our knowledge of history".

    Pretty much everything we come across has happened in history, with the exceptions of things like global warming and thermonuclear war.

    October 27, 2007

  • If by "preconceptions" you mean "what was done in the past and did it work or not work," then I wholeheartedly disagree. One of the most remarkable features of the people of the United States is that we think nothing we're going through ever happened before, that people in the past have never had these problems (e.g. "elections never *used* to be this acrimonious!"). A few good history lessons might help us come up with better solutions to the problems that face us as a people, and as a nation.

    *steps off soapbox*

    But then, you probably didn't mean it that way anyhow. :)

    October 26, 2007

  • Well said. :-) I think libertarianism's pretty great, but I wouldn't want to use Wordie as my soapbox. Lots of better places for that.

    October 26, 2007

  • As I get older (into my middle twenties), I've come to realize that pretty much any broad political category is not feasible in the real world. On paper, the good points of libertarianism far outweigh the bad, except there are flaws, far less fatal than those attach to democrat or republican, but difficult to resolve none the less.

    That being said, and I don't want to get into a political discussion, but the only valid political philosophy is that of free thought, abandoning our preconceptions and approaching each problem with fresh eyes.

    October 26, 2007

  • If you're looking for a good introduction, a lot of people have found this video (Flash) to be a terrific overview. It's pretty short too. The nice thing about libertarianism is it's grounded in basic principles and is consistent in every situation, and the video explains what they are in a no-nonsense way. :-)

    October 26, 2007

  • Perhaps I ought to look more seriously at Libertarianism. Not that I'd necessarily want to give up simply being Independent, but stranger things have happened.

    October 26, 2007

  • Right. And that's why we're here on Wordie. To invent brand-new madeupical words that suit us precisely.

    Or...well, something like that. :-)

    October 26, 2007

  • Sad but true. There are a lot of good political-type words that I wish I could cling to, but their definitions have shifted and they now have negative connotations. Oh well. That's language, right? ;-)

    October 26, 2007

  • You make good points. Funny, though; I never really equated the two concepts, probably because the phrase "compassionate conservatism" has become so tarnished and its current meaning is far removed from what it was originally intended to mean.

    That said, if I think of the term as it's now generally viewed--in a sort of hopelessly ironic sense--I certainly don't think of you. Or other libertarians. :-)

    October 26, 2007

  • Awkwardly, yes. Conservative and liberal are weird words that have changed meanings so many times over the years that they're hard to pin down meanings for today. Libertarianism can be defined both as "traditional conservatism" and as "classical liberalism." Some people say that we're economically conservative and socially liberal, but even that's hard to quantify. When I refer to myself as a conservative, I'm referring to my positions on limited government, which used to be a mainstay of conservatism but is seldom seen in the Republican party today. Nowadays the GOP is all about neoconservativism, which is another beast altogether.

    As for the "compassionate" part, it's a common misconception that libertarianism is uncompassionate. I hear it all the time and it's really annoying because it stems from not understanding the principles of liberty. Once a person discovers what liberty is really all about, it becomes clear that libertarianism is the most altruistic political position, and arguable the most compassionate as well.

    October 26, 2007

  • Not widely practiced in politics, anyhow.

    October 26, 2007

  • Really, uselessness? You define these in similar ways?

    October 26, 2007

  • Hey, we do exist! We're just filed under "L" for libertarian. :-P

    October 26, 2007

  • Neither, as it is currently practiced.

    October 26, 2007