The Differences Between Liberals and Conservatives on Key Issues

liberalconservative1They say two things in life are certain–death and taxes.  Well, I’d like to add a third–Liberals and conservatives will rarely agree on anything.

Now I’ll be honest, I love people who think differently than I do.  I love a good debate that gets two people discussing issues in a way they might not have thought about before.  To me it’s just a good, healthy conversation.  How else are we ever going to grow, or evolve, as individuals if we never challenge ourselves by discussing (and at times embracing) ideas that differ from those which we comfortably know.

Where my problem lies is with ignorance.  If you follow my page Right Off A Cliff you know that we often talk about perspective.  The ability to view an issue with an outside perspective is something I often see lacking in people.

This has never been more prevalent than in some of my debates with conservatives over the years.  Now I’m the first to admit liberals aren’t innocent in being ethnocentric with their views, but they tend to make up about 30% of liberal voters—not the majority.  With conservatives it seems to be the opposite.  Their “radical base” seems to comprise about 70% of conservative voters with the other 30% making up what I call moderate Republicans, and what other Republicans call a R.I.N.O (Republican In Name Only)—meaning, they might vote Republican, but they’re not a true Republican.

Let’s take a look at a few issues facing our country, and tell me if you see the difference between the liberal response and the conservative one.


Liberal Response:  I believe in a woman’s right to choose what she does with her own body.  While I don’t really like abortions, and wish they were rarely done, I support the right for a woman to choose for herself.  It should be a choice between the woman and her doctor, not strangers and politicians.  The choice isn’t about liking what abortions are, instead it’s about supporting the rights of women—and that’s why I’m pro-choice.

Conservative Response: Abortion is murder!  Life begins at conception!  You’re a baby killer!  Rape should be seen as a blessing from God and we shouldn’t punish the child!  We must protect life!

Gun Reform

Liberal response: While I support the Second Amendment, it was written during a different time in our society.  Guns weren’t as advanced as they are now, nor was our society as evolved.  I fully support the right for Americans to own guns, but we need to ensure certain dangerous weapons are not being sold.  It’s time we embrace universal background checks that help to prevent criminals from buying weapons, limit magazine capacity and ban certain military style semi-automatic weapons that seem to be most often used in these mass killings.  With sensible gun regulations gun owners will still have access to hundreds, if not thousands, of guns for self defense and hunting.

Conservative response: The Second Amendment shall not be infringed!  You can have my guns when you take them from my cold dead hands.  The government just wants to take away our guns to take power away from its citizens.  You can’t limit magazine size to 10 rounds, what if 5 people break into my home?  10 rounds wouldn’t be sufficient.  Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.  If guns kill people, then spoons make people fat.  When you disarm a society, you’re openly embracing fascism.  Every dictator had one thing in common, they disarmed their citizens!  If you take away our guns, prepare for the next revolution!


Liberal response: Every person has the right to believe how they want.  From Christians, to Muslims, to Atheists in this country we are allowed to live our lives free of any one particular set of religious beliefs.  Our freedom of, or from, religion is one of the key values that gave this country our freedom.  Religion should be kept out of politics.  Even within the same religion, often people disagree on key issues.  It’s best if religion is practiced privately by individuals and not forced publicly into our laws.  Many of our Founding Fathers were Deist, not Christian, and the word “Christianity” is found no where in our Constitution.  Even in our Pledge of Allegiance, which wasn’t written by our Founding Fathers, the phrase “under God” wasn’t added until 1954 in response to communism.

Conservative response: This is a Christian nation.  We are given rights from God!  I don’t care that the word Christianity isn’t in our Constitution, it’s obvious that they never believed in any other religion.  As our pledge says, “One nation under GOD!”  God being in our pledge proves the Founding Fathers thought this nation should be Christian.

Homosexuality and Same-sex Marriage

Liberal response: Freedom for all means freedom for all.  As this country was founded on the freedom of religion, to base laws on religion is unconstitutional.  The LGBT community deserves the same rights, and protections, under the law as everyone else.  If two people love each other, there’s no legal standing as to why their desire for marriage should be denied.  Being gay is as much a choice as being straight.

Conservative response: Homosexuality is a sin.  God will reign down misery on the United States if gays are allowed to marry.  If two men/women are allowed to marry, does that mean people can then marry a horse or a rock?  Homosexuality is a choice, these people chose to be gay.  Homosexuality threatens traditional marriage, the family and our moral structure as a society!

Welfare Reform

Liberal Response: Social safety nets are vital for our society.  We need programs that help those who do need help.  While there are abusers of the system, which does costs tax payers millions every year, those abuses pale in comparison to those by the top 1% and the hundreds of billions they avoid paying in taxes by manipulating our tax code every year.  It’s time we invest more money into the departments which identify fraud in our welfare system so that we can better ensure the funds being distributed are going to people who need them, not people who are abusing them.

Conservative response: People on welfare are just looking for a handout.  They just want people like me to bust my ass to pay for their lazy habits.  They would rather live off the government then get out and work for a living.  It’s not my responsibility to pay for those who are too pathetic to get a job.  Welfare is socialism!  Get off your ass you bunch of bums and get a job.  Stop looking to others to help you–help yourself!  We’re all given the same equal opportunities in life, it’s not my responsibility to bail you out.

The Role of Government

Liberal Response: While government is not always the best option, it does often serve a good purpose.  The role of government is to protect the people.  While some issues may be debatable as to how far the government should reach into our personal lives, the private sector is often just as, if not more, corrupt.  The government is far from perfect, but services such as public roads, public schools, waste disposal, clean water, traffic signals, law enforcement, emergency services, our military, public universities, Pell grants, Interstate Highways—and other programs that are similar, show that government can be a vital support structure in all of our every day lives.

Conservative response: Government is evil!  Government never does anything right.  I’ve never relied on government.  Government has never done anything for me, it’s too inefficient.  Those who support government support tyranny!  Government should be small—except when I want a ban on same-sex marriage, abortion, restrictions on women’s health, a definition of a national religion, laws that require an ID to vote and rules that restrict where Muslims can build their places of worship.  Government is the enemy of freedom!

Do you see the difference?

Conservatives deal with absolutes based upon what they believe.  If they believe something, everyone else should as well.  If they oppose something, so should everyone else.

Liberals might not always agree with one another, and yes they have their radicals who believe in absolutes based upon their own beliefs as well, but the majority of them tend to see a bigger picture on most issues.  They often embrace individual differences and seek reasonable solutions to key issues.

A liberal sees an issue and thinks, “I personally might not agree with it, but it’s not my right to tell others how to live their lives.  We need laws that protect people from others who wish to restrict their rights based on individual personal beliefs.”

A conservative sees an issue and thinks, “I personally disagree with it, and everyone else should as well.  We need laws that prevent this issue and stop people from having rights to it based on my own personal beliefs.”

And that’s the difference.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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