Liberals, Conservatives, & The Origin and Evolution of Political Parties

How many of you, (and be honest), when you go to vote know little to nothing about the candidates you are casting your vote for? How many of you just look to see if there is an R or a D next to their name and vote for the candidates belonging to the same political party you do? Is that a fair assessment of how extensively you check a candidate out before electing them to office? Although there probably are exceptions to this rule, I would bet that this is how most people vote. Sure, there may be some who watch the campaign ads and the debates to help them formulate an opinion among candidates of the same party, but I would venture to guess that there are very few who do any kind of extensive research on candidates from the ‘other’ party, or their own party for that matter.

So basically what we have in America is a voting populace who votes not for individual character traits, but a people who cast their votes based primarily upon which party a candidate belongs to. I call this party over principle as what party the candidate belongs to is more important than what the candidate stands for.

Most people in this country choose a political party to affiliate with because the party they choose stands for the beliefs that they themselves hold. There are times, however, when your political party endorses a candidate who you feel is not the best choice, but is better than the candidate being endorsed by the ‘other’ party. So you vote for this candidate because he/she is the lesser of two evils. For some reason this soothes any guilt you may feel about voting for a candidate you feel has some issues you don’t entirely agree with.

But what if there were another candidate, one who did not belong to either of the two main political parties, who did stand for almost everything you believed in, would you vote for them? I doubt it. I got into a heated discussion with a former friend, (yes he stopped being friends with me because of this), about this very issue. It happened when Ron Paul was running. If you took all the qualities you believe in and put them in a list down the side, then put your candidate and Ron Paul’s name at the top, then went down the list and put checkmarks for which candidate stood for the same things you do, and found that Ron Paul scored higher than your candidate, would you vote for them? Again, I doubt it. I asked my friend to do this with Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. Ron Paul outscored Mitt Romney…by a long shot. But in one area my ex-friend disagreed. So he refused to vote for Congressman Paul even though he stood for far more things that he agreed with than did Romney. I called him a traitor to his beliefs…and that was the end of our friendship of 20 years. I could have been more tactful, or held my tongue, but I call it as I see it, and he didn’t like it.

Whenever we have a presidential election the news media has a field day with their teams of political experts analyzing the outcomes in real time. So I’m sure we’ve all seen the maps with the states colored red or blue based upon how that state traditionally votes, or is currently trending. It’s all based upon party affiliation, or at least which party a state is showing its support for at the present time. So what it boils down to is Americans vote for either Republicans, or Democrats, or conservatives and liberals.

I hear those two words tossed around a whole lot, conservative and liberal, and I have to wonder if people really understand what they mean. From what I’ve seen most people think conservative equals Republican and liberal equals Democrat. But, is that really the case? What is a conservative and what is a liberal?

According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary a conservative is a person who believes in the value of established and traditional practices in politics and society, one who does not like or accept changes or new ideas. A liberal, on the other hand, believes that government should be active in supporting social and political change, one who is not opposed to new ideas and does not necessarily conform to tradition or commonly accepted values and beliefs. So basically, at least according to the dictionaries definitions, a conservative likes things the way they are and a liberal doesn’t, and wants to implement change.

If you can be honest with yourself, and use the values of the Founding Fathers as your baseline reference, then both parties are guilty of being liberals, as neither one adheres to the values held by our Founding Fathers. To be honest, at least the Democrats have the courage to admit where they stand. The Republicans on the other hand call themselves conservatives, but they are far from what I consider to be conservative when it comes to adhering to the Constitution and defending the Bill of Rights.

Just to show you what I mean about conservatism and liberalism, let’s play a simple game. Pretend that instead of it being 2015, it is 1776 right now. Who would you consider to be the conservatives, and who would you consider to be the liberals? Conservatives, being the ones who dislike change, would be the loyalists who wished to see the colonies continue to remain under British rule. The liberals, on the other hand, would be the ones whose beliefs differed from the status quo and wanted to bring about radical change.

The reason I bring this up is because liberalism and conservatism are not political parties, they are states of mind in regards to one thing, and one thing only…how much change they are willing to accept. A true conservative wants to see very little change, while a liberal is all about change.

Political parties, especially the Republicans and Democrats are not about change per se, they each have stated platforms of beliefs they adhere to. Those platforms are subject to change as the times demand. For instance, if you were to go back 25 years and look at the platform of the GOP, or Republicans, I’m sure you would find no mention of defending the Homeland against terrorism. However, that is a major talking point of most GOP candidates now. It has become part of their platform.

People today consider themselves to be either conservative in their beliefs, or liberal. They choose the political party which they believe stands for the same things they do. But in reality, at least how I see the political parties today, they stand for something entirely different.
If you ask me I consider what we call liberals to be more like Marxist/Socialists who believe in equality for all regardless of merit, and who believe in a redistribution of wealth; taking from those who have and giving to those in need. I like to say that liberals have the Robin Hood syndrome, they take from the rich and give to the poor. Those who profess to be liberals often do so because they support a specific cause. In that aspect liberalism can be the umbrella which covers a wide range of people with different beliefs. Some may support gay rights, while others may be environmentalists. But those who affiliate themselves with the Democratic party, the party which openly admits to being liberal, often do so because of a specific cause that they feel strongly about. Liberalism covers all these groups that believe they are entitled to something, or feel disenfranchised by the system, and promise that they will use the power of government to take care of their needs, or benefit their cause.

Conservatives on the other hand, although claiming to stand for traditional values and beliefs, are more akin to Fascists. Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator during World War II once proclaimed that “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” Today conservatives, or at least the GOP itself, is more the party of big business and corporate special interest groups. In a speech delivered back in 2000 George W. Bush declared, “This is an impressive crowd — the haves and the have-mores. Some people call you the elite; I call you my base.” That right there sums up what conservatism, as far as political party ideologies, stands for in America today. While I am all for the rich being entitled to keep what they own without unfair taxation upon them, what I am trying to get at is that the GOP considers them to be their base, while the average Tom, Dick and Jane American have no party which represents them, and more importantly, there is no true political party, or power, that stands for a strict adherence to Constitutional principles. That is the point I was trying to make.

Whatever your personal beliefs are you cannot deny that our country is pretty divided along political party lines. I’ll bet you didn’t know that our Founders were not too fond of the idea of political parties, or factions as they often called them.

In fact, in 1789 Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I am not a Federalist, because I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.”

John Adams is also quoted as saying, “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”

So if they were so against political parties, how did these parties come into existence, and how have they evolved over the course of our nation’s history? If you think about it there were factions before George Washington was sworn in as our first president under the new Constitution. There were those who believe that the Constitution was inherently good, and it was what this country needed. These were known as Federalists. Then there were those who believed the Constitution went too far and granted this federal government far too much power at the expense of the states and of the rights of the people. These were known as the anti-Federalists. Not very catchy names, but they summed up the views that divided them.

But the truth as to where political parties came from you have to go back to the Washington administration and look primarily at two men; Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Thomas Jefferson served as President Washington’s Secretary of State, while Alexander Hamilton was his Secretary of the Treasury. The difference of views and the political battles these two men fought are the stuff of legend, at least it is if you are as interested in this kind of thing as I am.

Both men grew up under different circumstances and served in different capacities during the American Revolution. Their life experiences and education shaped their views on politics and political power. Jefferson believed in a weak federal government with limited powers while Hamilton believed in a much stronger federal power with little to no power retained by the states. This rivalry, and difference of opinion gave birth to the first political parties in this country. There were the Federalists who sided with Hamilton, and the Democratic-Republicans who sided with Jefferson and James Madison. There major differences were the scope of powers granted government by the Constitution, not the ideological differences that divide the two parties today.

Then in 1829 the Democratic-Republicans split into two camps. There were the Jacksonian Democrats who are the forerunners to today’s Democrats, and there where the Whigs. The Jacksonian’s believed in a strong executive, (president), while the Whigs favored a strong Congress. The Whigs eventually came apart due to the deaths among their party leadership and a division over the issue of slavery.
From this point forward there were basically two different parties and two, constantly shifting, ideologies. There were the Republicans and Democrats and although the names have continued up to present times, the things they have stood for have evolved.

The big difference now is that neither party stands for limited government as did the original Democratic-Republicans. Both parties see government as a means to further the goals, or agendas of the special interests that their party represents.

The party machinery that are the Republican and Democratic Parties themselves act as filters and weed out anyone who does not adhere strictly to the party platform. That is why when Ron Paul ran he had to do so from a grassroots level, even though he was running as a Republican. The party itself refused to endorse, or back him due to his belies differing from those of the people who fund the GOP. In short he was a threat to the interests of the base that George Bush spoke of.

That is the major difference between most Americans, and the few I consider to be friends and allies in the battle against the increasing size of, and intrusion into my life of, government. We vote for principle as it pertains to adhering to the limits of power contained within the Constitution. Everyone else votes along party lines and the differing ideologies that they have.

The sad thing is that if you really took the time to dig in to who funds the parties, you would find that both parties are controlled by the same group of people. A perfect example of what I’m trying to say is that TV commercial for Twix candy bars. They show the right Twix camp and the left Twix camp, each saying their side is better. But in reality they are both owned and manufactured the same. So it is with political parties in America today. They may present themselves as being different, but on major issues they are in lock step with each other. If their truly was any difference you would see one party, (when it controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency) repealing legislation passed by the other party when it held the reins of power. But you don’t see that because in regards to the important issues to those who really control our government, they are both the same.

George Carlin said it best when he spoke of a big club that we aren’t members of. They give us the illusion of choice when in reality we are choosing from two clowns working for the same puppet masters. That is why I no longer affiliate myself with either party. I realize that they are just puppets for the corporate and banking interests that run things from behind the scenes in America. If everyone else could just see this then maybe we could begin to affect change in America, change for the better. But as long as you believe that ‘your party’ is better than the other one, things will continue to erode in this country.

You can call yourselves Republicans or Democrats, liberals or conservatives, but if you support either party you are falling for a lie. The only true party you should belong to is the INFORMED party. The party of people who have seen behind the curtain, looked beyond all the smoke and mirrors, and seen the truth for what it is. If you belong to any other party you may as well walk into the voting booth and flip a coin, because regardless of whether you get heads or tails, you still end up with the same face value of that coin. The same thing applies when you vote for an R or a D, you still get the same face value in matters of importance.

In short I’m asking people to pull their heads out of their asses, and I know from experience that it simply isn’t going to happen. So go on, believing your lie if it makes you feel comfortable. But know this, it is a lie and when the truth is finally revealed you will sorely wish that you had listened to people like me.

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