What influences your beliefs? Why do you hold the political beliefs that you do? Are you conservative because your parents or all of your friends are conservative? Are you a conservative just because you hate liberals?
The term “liberal” is thrown around in political discussion by a lot of people. Conservatives and libertarians criticize the idea of liberalism, but so did Karl Marx. These political groups aren’t similar, but yet they all criticize this idea of liberalism.
What is conservatism? Many people might reply, “the belief that government should be limited in its powers and remain small.” But the Patriot Act, invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, bombing in Syria, increasing military spending on unjust foreign wars, using government to regulate personal drug use, consenting relationships, critical speech of the United States and increasing government power along the border and in the police force are not small government ideas. Those are just a few of the many issues on which the party of small government seems to favor bigger government. Maybe it is because the Republican party has always been the party of big government.
You might have just read that and thought the Democrats did most of that under Obama also. That’s because there is little difference between today’s Republican Party and Democratic Party. We have become so absorbed into identity politics as a society that we forget what political beliefs we hold. It becomes a game of “Trump campaigned on non-intervention in Syria but just launched missiles at Syria because he believes American intervention is the best option for America, so I guess I believe that now too.”
People will just blindly believe what the faces of their political party believe. This is why the parties have changed over time, and yet they’re so similar. Both parties believe in invasive surveillance, unjust wars, government healthcare influenced by big pharma insurance companies and so on. They might differ on some smaller issues, but when it comes to the bigger issues and threats, Republicans and Democrats are bought by the same people and corporations who tell them what to believe.
There is a problem with labeling ideas liberal or conservative. I imagine many people have not even looked at or dismissed every article I’ve ever written for the Troubadour because the word “liberal” is in the title, so people believe that what I write is extremely liberal. The truth is I have not written a real left-leaning article. All of the stances I have taken in the articles I have written are platforms that conservative idealists used to stand by, but has since abandoned for whatever reason they justify. Now these ideas of social freedom and nonintervention are considered liberal party ideologies by many conservatives because it is not part of the current party identity.
The political spectrum is not right versus left. It is at least a four-way spectrum. Your beliefs are not based on Republican versus Democrat. Your beliefs are determined based on economic freedom versus control and social freedom versus control. There are also more than two political parties and political ideologies as well. You might not be a Republican. You could be a minarchist or classical liberal but just never knew. You might not be a Democrat. You could be a bleeding heart or a social democrat.
I encourage everyone, whether you are political or not, to go online and take a political compass test. Just go to Google and search political compass test. I recommend spekr.org for its accuracy. Everyone should know where they stand on the political spectrum, so they can vote for the advancement of their own ideas, not vote for people just because they have an (R) or a (D) next to their name.
Both parties are destroyed, and it only gets worse. Yes, the Republican Party is no better off than the Democrats, even though Trump may tell you differently. The Republican Party had seven years to write a better alternative to Obamacare. Seven years. Paul Ryan instead threw together some trash at the last minute that was arguably worse than Obamacare. I would think that most of the conservative voter base does not want government involved in health care, yet only a few members of the conservative party represented those ideas when they voted “No.”
We should not limit ourselves by these two main political ideologies. You do not have to agree with everything the party identity does. You do not have to share the same political beliefs as your parents or friends. If your friends abandon you because of your political beliefs, then they’re not good friends. Don’t limit your ideas and beliefs to a party. Don’t put all of your faith into one person running for president. Politicians can only make your life worse. Only you as an individual have the power to make your life better.
We need to stop identifying ourselves with a group of people and start acting as individuals who have our own ideas. Hold your own political party to account and call them out for their mistakes or it just becomes worse for the party. When conservatives don’t speak up about how terrible Ryancare is, it just makes the party look terrible and pushes people to the other side for next election. When you don’t hold your political party to account, you get the reality we live in now where George W. Bush is, in effect, in his 17th year of presidency.