Liberalism can be defined as:
Conservatism can be defined as:
As with all issues, there are two sides or maybe countless sides. All of this sounds perfect as long as it is kept abstract. When the specifics come into play, the real politics start!
BOTH sides accuse the other of arrogance once being in power.
BOTH sides accuse the other of not standing for what they claim to stand for.
BOTH sides accuse the other of having lazy versions of their ideology.
BOTH sides accuse the other of wanting to control free people through some form or manipulation or conditioning.
BOTH sides accuse the other of junk science, fraudulent studies and cooking the books.
Liberals say they champion individual rights. Conservatives argue that some legal actions are not violating rights; they are simply enforcing the rights of others not to be influenced by another person. The eternal quesiton here is where does someone's rights end and another's begin. It has been argued that liberals believe that the individual is the building block of the moral reference frame of a nation; while conservatives believe that the family is the building block for a nation's moral reference frame. Both have very heavy implications.
This is another eternal debate. Liberals tend toward legislation to keep capitlaism in check. Conservatives say that the government needs to be in check and that capitalism is better the more it is left alone. Conservatives push toward church charities and private organizations for social problems, and liberals argue that this is laying the groundwork for the help to be profit driven instead of people oriented. Conservatives argue that government money comes with strings while liberals argue that private money doesn't come at all. It has been argued that liberals are pro-state while conservatives are pro-church.
Liberals say that conservatives don't think; they follow and conform. Conservatives argue that liberals don't think; they feel. Liberals argue that conservatives are so pro-convention that institutions like the traditional family and churches cause more harm than good. Conservatives argue that liberals cater to modern world logic being "of the flesh" and that these institutions are to guide the individual, not to think for them. Both sides seem to concede in extreme cases made against the other side, but the circles continue. Conservatives argue that liberals are emotion based; liberals argue that conservatives are conformity based. Another angle on this may say that conservatives are accused of pushing cold and oversimplistic logic (or lack thereof) while liberals push rabid emotion that overwhelms logic.
Sex is one of the most violatile issues in politics. When it comes to teen and/or pre-marital sex, both sides trade jabs and go in circles over and over. Conservatives argue that teen sex is egged on by today's sex ed programs, while liberals say that sex ed takes away the taboo element and results in less teen sex. Some conseravtives may argue that all pre-marital sex is by choice, not through some hard wiring, while many liberals argue that a 60% teen sex rate is a constant that can't be adjusted no matter what. There are slight compromsies on each side when it comes to certain factions but the big picture is that liberals accuse conservatives of living in a dream world of 100% virginity rate while conservatives argue that the damage from teen sex can't be contained and that liberals are living in a dream world where it is possible to clean up something that is rotten to the core. Virginity programs are seen as a joke by liberals and have been cited as a failure while conservatives argue that they aren't effective because of our over sexed pop culture. Both sides accuse the other of failing in their vision and having no real solution for what they claim can be fixed.
POLITICS IS ABOUT THE WEAK...
If all people were self sufficient superhumans, there would be no politics. Therefore it can be said that politics is about the weak. In this issue, both sides accuse each other of not caring, or at least not being genuine. Liberals say that conservatives build on the poor for their greedy version of capitalism. Conservatives say that liberals build on the poor for being raised as gods of compassion and need the poor to stay poor. Conservatives complain that liberals help the poor by being static; saying that the liberals help feed them for a day but with no other recourse other than to be hungry the naxt day. Liberals say that conservatives give rhetoric of self reliance instead of any help at all. Conservatives charge that liberals actually need the poor to be depedent and make the poor depedent. Liberals tend to say that conservatives need the poor to stay at the bottom to be exploited through oversimplistic capitalism.
Liberals tend to favor some higher degree of government control; conservatives tend to favor minimal or no government control. Liberals tend to argue for "modified capitalism" or socialism; conservatives tend to favor close to or complete unrestrained capitalism. Both sides accuse the other of wanting a power that is not in any check at all. Conservatives say that liberals think that government is perfect and is put in check because officials are elected in a democracy; liberals tend to say that conservatives argue that capitalism is perfect because a flawed business will not survive. So each side has an argument that the forces are self-sustaining and need no other system to keep it in check.
Here liberals tend to argue that violence can be fostered by speech, and conservatives argue that personal damage or even rape can be fostered by porn. There are instances that both side cites and this is where the argument of "quackery" and "junk science" come into play. Both sides accuse the other of pushing big government to control people with the excuse that they are protecting them or others.
The accusation of legislating some form or degree of morality comes from both wings. It starts from something like making rape illegal, or making it illegal to post blueprints on how to build chemical weapons on the Internet, all the way to having a 180 year old law that can put you in jail for having pre-marital sex. At some point, there seems to be some justifiable legislation for extreme acts, but liberals and conservatives differ on what "extreme" is.
(The accusation of government in the bedroom and decency laws)
This is one that has manifestations on both sides. The liberal side argues that freedom is the real issue and that any laws forbidding any behavior is conservative and illegal. Conservatives argue that liberals try to use "social engineering" to legislate morality indirectly, and therefore are using force, but in a cloaked fashion, such as a graphic sex education program. Liberals tend to argue against the DIRECT legislation, while the conservative side tends to favor it. On the other hand, conservatives argue there are usually worse consquences in the INDIRECT issues. Liberals tend to say that force has to be direct for it to be truly considered force.
(Capitalist power VS "Big Brother" government)
Liberals tend to argue that when corporations get a certain size, they have a pull that should not be allowed. Conservatives argue that with government, it is "give them an inch and they take a mile". Liberals tend to favor legislation against business, while conservatives tend to have less regulation of business.
Liberals tend to argue against "organized religion" and to certain degrees depending on which liberal faction is doing the arguing. Under liberalism, the case can be made for some minimal existence of a church, but argues that when activity is polarized at a high level, or in a cohesive fashion, that chaos ensues. The argument is further made that since religion is supposed to be in the name of a higher power, that it is hypocritical to make a man-made structure to reflect it as such. Under this contradiciton, it is stated that the church bogs down in dogma and contradictory conclusions from its original premise. In other words, there is an inherent state of decay within the very definition of "organized religion".
Conservatives tend to argue that religion that is NOT strong and polarized turns into putty and means that man can mold God, instead of the other way around. Conservatives tend to concede in some small fashion that under "organized religion" that an individual may not be completely autonomous, but is even MORE free, since humans are inherently sinful. Some conservatives argue that with "social engineering", a kind of "religion" comes out of government, which brings us back to the "Big Brother" argument.
So both sides seem to admit that there is some authority and control, but it is more accurate to say that there real debate comes from (1)how much and (2)in what way.
Liberals tend to say that conservatives favor complete control of business (they can do whatever they want), while conservatives say that liberals favor complete anarchy of morality (people can do whatever they want).
Here is where the "idealism" factor comes into play again. Many people will say that there is theory and there is reality. Liberals and conservatives are no exeception. Liberals tend to accuse conservatives of being idealists that aren ot lodged in reality, such as pushing a 100% pre-marital virginity rate so that there is no need for condoms to stop AIDS. Conservatives usually say that liberals do the same thing, by expecting condoms being distributed to have no bad result on people in society, such as indirectly making pre-marital sex even more socially acceptable, thus causing AIDS to spread more and not less.
Liberals tend to say that conservatives get people to stay in counter-productive churches and abusive marriages by guilttrips and portrayl of unrealistic scenarios. Conservatives say that liberals use emotionalism to seduce people and use bias when depicting the situation. Both of these methods are arguably the use of some sort of force indirectly but gets the same results as direct force. Liberals call it "legislating morality" or "government in the bedroom". Conservatives call is "social engineering".
Here is another nasty one. Activism research is a loose term but describes the collecting of information with some sort of agenda, and therefore (arguably) bias. Liberals tend to say that conservatives ignore science, logic and reality because they engage in "moral posturing" to support their backward or outdated pre-determiend belief system. Conservatives tend to call liberals "wonks" that apply cold and amoral or immoral contexts to what is not truly (but supposed to be) raw data to support what they originally believed, or at minimum integrate it into their larger pre-determined belief system.
Liberals tend to accuse conservatives of having no contingency plans for when idealism does not work. To them conservatives come across as impractical and oversimplistic. Conservatives tend to cite liberals for "chaotic idealism" where they only acknowledge a system after it is broken and predetermine that things are always going to be malfunctioned. Under this, conservatives say that a safety net becomes a safety hammock, and that failure is rewarded by getting a helping hand and that achievement is punished (such as over taxing the rich or alienating virgin teens by arguing that teen sex is the norm). Most liberals and conservatives do not fall into the extremes but the trick is the find the degree of idealism or chaotic idealism and to what situation.
Welfare is an example of this. The oversimplistic version of the right wing's take on this is to not have it at all. The oversimplistic version of the left wing's take on this is to have it as easy to get as possible and have no bad results at all. Failing schools are another example of this. The right wing tends to drift to destroying something that fails on the grounds that it can't be fixed; the left wing tends to perpetuate things that fail on the grounds that it can be fixed. Both sides can seem logical. On one hand you can be saying "Why repeat a mistake by dumping into something proven to fail?" and on the other hand you can say "Why not fix something and spend more effort on it to make things better?". The issues evolve into very complex debates.
Here is another nasty one. This is an accusation that comes from both wings made against the opposite wing. Liberals tend to accuse conservatives of saying that most people today are immoral and need to be dictated to by conservatives. Conservatives tend to accuse liberals of saying that people are not charitable enough and need big government to redistribute wealth. Structures and institutions ensue from this, and it snowballs into some sort of beast on each wing that is attacked by the opposite wing.
This one is a little rough cut but it was in my notes when I was brainstorming so I'll go with it.
There seems to be a point in political debates where a certain group of people have to be hated in order for an ideology to be consistent. The oversimplistic version of the right winged argument for unrestrained capitalism says that the poor are poor by choice and need no attention. Another oversimplistic angle of extreme conservatism says that all people who get AIDS by drugs or pre-marital sex deserve to die the painful death. Also, it has been argued that right winged conservatives say that all drug addicts deserve to overdose and die. A logic like this is arguably lazy and warrants no action on anyone's part. These problems are cited as problems that contain their own solution.
Right winged conservatives tend to accuse the left wing of demonizing people who have problems with homosexuality, public profanity, and more liberal/alternate lifestyles and such. Liberals are accused of demonizing people that are against things that they see inappropriate. A simplistic example of this would be a liberal sex educator giving graphic sex information to underaged children and saying that if they are bothered by it, then it is their own problem due to their own shortcomings and backward values, and deserves no other action. Conservatives tend to also accuse extreme liberals of hating America, the South and people from small towns. Stereotypes are abundant in these debates and more and more chaotic fights ensue from all of this.