This post is not about politics, but we hear these words thrown around a lot in the political arena. As we hear these words tossed about, one side is usually blaming the other for some impending doom such as a Zombie apocalypse. But what do these words really mean?
A quick Google search returned several results that defined the words. Most sources that I viewed led with definitions related to political or social views. I even found one obsolete definition (#3 on merriam-webster.com) describing liberal as “lacking moral restraint.” Interesting. My search for conservative also rendered a number of definitions related to political or social views.
But, what are we really talking about here? These look like labels to me. Personally, I don’t care much for labels unless they are telling me what ingredients are in something I am about to consume, apply to my body, or release into the environment. I don’t like being labeled because of my values and beliefs. It is unfair to assume that if a person has views considered “liberal” by some, for example, that person cannot have views that would be considered “conservative” in other areas. The labels imply we must think and behave in a manner as defined by the label.
For me, the definitions of liberal and conservative are very simple:
Conservative: Someone was stingy with the mayo on my ham sandwich.
Liberal: Someone put a generous amount of mayo on my ham sandwich.
The conservative mayo person might have looked at me and thought I should be limiting my mayo consumption. That person might decide that being stingy with the mayo would be in my best interest. What right does that person have to make such a decision for me? Perhaps it would be in my best interest to skimp on the ham and indulge in the mayo. My point is we cannot go around making decisions for other people based on our personal beliefs or what we think might be in the best interest of another person.
For the record, there had better be a liberal application of mayo on my ham sandwich!