"liberal" and "conservative"

[Martin Taylor 2006.08.15.14.06]

Warning: This message is not about PCT directly.

[From Bill Powers (2006.08.15.0610 MDT)]

I've always been curious about exactly what underlies the labels of "liberal" and "conservative" -- sometimes it seems that people who espouse or reject these positions don't really want to come right out and say what it is that they believe or value. They'll give you some other words to look at, but it never seems to get any deeper than that. I hope someone does this study.

This seems to be one of those places in which American language has split apart from English (or else the words have changed meaning radically since my youth). I was brought up to understand that "liberal" meant generous, open-handed, tolerant of different opinions, and generally social, whereas "conservative" meant relatavely risk-averse, trying to hold onto the best of traditional ways, and perhaps a bit strait-laced (not straight-laced, which would be very difficult to wear!). The words seemed (then) to have no sense of being opposed in meaning, except that they were both the names of major political parties, which, by tradition, opposed one another in a two-party system. Both small "l" "liberal" and small "c" "conservative" were labels of approval, though Liberals and Conservatives might be at eash other's political throats.

In the US, the terms seem to have taken on quite different meanings, which, from here, seem rather strange. I'm not quite sure what they are, no more than I am clear about "right wing" and "left wing" as political labels. Somnetimes it seems as though anyone who thinks that poverty isn't a crime, or that people should be allowed to act as they want when they don't hurt other people, is called "left wing" or "socialist". But sometimes it seems as though "liberal" means the same. It's a big mystery. In Canada, we now have "social conservative" and "fiscal conservative", but no corresponding split of "liberal" (though the Liberals seem pretty disunited at the moment!).

I've often felt, in reading the Gospels, that Christ was a man far ahead of his time (for a Mid-Easterner anyway), and also that what is left of his ideas is being expressed by hero-worshippers who just barely got the real messages. I get the same sense about Mr. Buddha.

Idries Shah makes this point about all religious innovators. He thinks the originator may have found a glimmering of truth, but the followers copy the forms, not the insights, and are generally speaking damaging to the search for "goodness and truth". Dervishes whirl because Rumi found whirling a good way to his insights. Buddhists sit because Gautama sat. And so forth. The followers in general have very little to do with what the teacher tried to teach. (The gospel according to Idries Shah).

I think he's probably right. Certainly "Christians" have had little to do with Christ other than to invoke the name, at least since Saul/Paul subverted the message so drastically.

Martin

FRom [Marc Abrams (2006.08.15.1515)]

[Martin Taylor 2006.08.15.14.06]

Warning: This message is not about PCT directly.

Am I missing something? I thought, and think that every action we take is in the name of controlling some perception we have. I also think that every thought we have is a “perception” and we don’t attempt to control all perceptions.

So in posting this Martin, aren’t you trying to control some perceptual variable? And if so, isn’t that directly about PCT?

What am I missing here?

[From Bill Powers (2006.08.15.0610 MDT)]

In the US, the terms seem to have taken on quite different meanings, which, from here, seem rather strange. I’m not quite sure >what they are, no more than I am clear about “right wing” and “left wing” as political labels.

Actually, I think this is one of the easier things to define. A “right winger” is for the present government structure and a “left-winger” is not.

Somnetimes it seems as though anyone who thinks that poverty isn’t a crime,

It’s not, its a state of being, and a controversial one at that. Poverty as it is currently defined in the U.S. by the government ,is based on having an income in the lowest 20%. But this says little about the actual fiscal state of the individual. There will always be a “lower” 20% just as there will always be a top 20% the real question is who occupies what position year to year. Poverty in the US is quite a bit different than poverty is in the Sudan or the Congo.

Should we judge poverty as it exists in the Sudan as being “real” poverty?

or that people should be allowed to act as they want when they don’t hurt other people, is called “left wing” or “socialist”.

Sorry Martin, but you are a bit off here. As I stated in my last post, it is BOTH the socialists AND the libertarians who believe EVERYONE should live by THEIR ideals.

The utopians exist on both ends of the spectrum and are probably more similar than most of the folks in the center are to either.

And I believe this has everything to do with perceptual control, EVERYTHING.

As I have suggested it might be worthwhile looking at the consequences of control. Not at the theoretical level and not at the micro level, but at the organism level.

But sometimes it seems as though “liberal” means the same. It’s a big mystery. In Canada, we now have “social conservative” and >“fiscal conservative”, but no corresponding split of “liberal” (though the Liberals seem pretty disunited at the moment!).

Categories of convenience. It is a useful way to quickly categorize folks according to certain beliefs and values they hold. Again, this allows us to project more readily what future behavior we might expect from them. This also reduces the variability of input to our control processes making them more efficient.

Now, although this is all very unscientific I believe I can actually test some of these propositions and make models that might be suitable as well.

It may not be as much fun as arguing over how many angels can fit on the head of a pin, but you take what you can get. :wink:

Regards,

Marc

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