Words Matter – liberal v conservative

I don’t care for the term ‘a Strong Government’. I prefer to use ‘a Robust government’. What’s the difference? A robust government is more responsive to the needs and desires of the people, whereas a Strong government has connotations of police enforced – top down – government that tells the people what to do. If everybody thinks of government as strong, even the people in government, what we have to deal with is strength. Instead I want everyone to think of government as a robust, built upon many people being interested in how the government is working, and involved in voting and communicating with their reps.

Two more examples on the meanings of words would be both the lower case liberal, which means to use a lot, and the lower case conservative, which means very limited. When it comes to how a democracy operates these words generally hold up if they can remain undiluted with other meanings. Liberals believe there should be a lot of participation in a democracy, and Conservatives believe decisions should be made by a few people.

Both ideas, Liberal and Conservative, working together is what our democracy tried to do by allowing for free speech and the ability of everyone to contact his or her representatives, and then those representatives are the few who make the decisions. However, with the strength of lobbyists and campaign financing our government is almost completely Conservative (regardless of whether Democrats or Republicans hold a majority).

Democracy in America has failed because the representatives who are elected to act as the few have very little incentive to pay attention to all the other people trying or not trying to participate. The few who do make the decisions get fewer and fewer, until now there are only about a handful of extremely wealthy people who are the ones calling all the shots for everybody else in the country (the world, really). This is not democracy.

The Conservative thinking of looking to just a few people to make informed choices for everyone else fails, because it is anti-democracy by its very nature. There is no designation of how few is few enough. There will always be pressure to limit participation to less and less ‘informed designates’ to make the decisions. Conservative thinking does not gain control by educating everyone else, it excludes and de-legitimizes everyone else in order to achieve the fewest number of people possible making all the decisions (which will always end with one). Conservative thinking by its very nature will segregate people so that just a few are in positions of power, using any and all available differences between us, whether it is our gender, our race, our sense of fashion, our economic standing, our handicap at golf, etc.

Ironically, it is Conservatives who create a stronger government because as fewer and fewer people are making the decisions, the greater the police force required to enforce those decisions. The common citizen has not been part of the decision making process in creating the laws, and so the common citizen has less incentive to follow those laws, and will need to be kept in line with a heavily militarized police force – and if the few wealthy people can make money with mass incarcerations by jailing people who won’t follow their laws, then it’s all the better for them, I guess.

However, when the people are involved in what laws are created, the people are more apt to follow those laws. A strong government and police force is not required, because the people will follow the laws they helped to establish. See what I mean about how the words we use matter? What is conservative, what is liberal, and what is a strong government?

I also don’t care for the word Progressive. It makes several assumptions, one of which is how the process of policy should be driven. While I might agree with most of what a Progressive is pushing for, the very notion is still a top-down approach. It is the wrong battle to be fighting right now, because in order for Progressive policies to come into place -at this time- would require the same systems of government that are already destroying democracy: the strong – top down – by the few, systems of government. It is that same conservative thinking that is part of what is destroying America, and driving people to hate as they realize their participation in democracy has evaporated.


Do I have a suggestion to fix this? There are plenty of ideas on the internet. I might make a page on this site to list a few. What I think is most important, is that we change how we think and talk about the politics of this country. We need to understand what it means when a few people are the ones making the decisions. We need to educate our young, and during social studies classes, that there are people who want just a few people to decide everything for everyone else, and that they HAVE to be involved and we MUST pay attention to what is going on, or we risk losing our freedoms, our democracy, and we could plunge into another civil war.

This isn’t the time to battle over fixing policy. This is the time to battle for fixing democracy.

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