Please help me with my query of explaining the 4 elements of ideology. For example the liberal perspective is positive about humans where they believe we are broadly rational people and that we...

Please help me with my query of explaining the 4 elements of ideology. For example the liberal perspective is positive about humans where they believe we are broadly rational people and that we should have freedom so they believe in constitutional restraints, and limited government intervention.  Conservatives believe humans are driven by desire and are selfish and are for monarchy. Liberals believe in the past subject to religion radical change in need where conservatives do not believe in change have i got this right please and where would/could i add something about human right act - gaurantee of rights this just confuses me just when i think iv got ideology i loose it arrrgh! please help ;-)~

Asked on by zarzee

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

You are right on target with much of what you say about liberalism and conservatism here.  However, some of what you say is either wrong or hard to understand.  Let us look at what you have right and what you do not and let us think about the issue of human rights from the perspective of classical liberalism and conservatism (I think you are asking us to do that when you say, “where would/could i add something about human right act - gaurantee of rights this just confuses me.”)

You are right that liberals believe that people are rational and that we should have freedom to use our rationality.  You are right that they want constitutional limits on government so that government cannot infringe on our freedoms.  They believe in liberty and they want a government that cannot take away our liberties.

You are partly right to say that humans are driven by desires.  Conservatives do not think that human beings are only driven by desire.  They believe that human beings can be rational, but they believe that humans are *also* driven by irrational desires that must be controlled.  They believe that government should prevent people from acting on those irrational desires.  There was a time when this meant that they thought monarchy was a good thing, but conservatism is not necessarily tied to a belief in monarchy.

Instead, what conservatives believe is that we should hold on to the way things are because that way has been tested by time.  They believe that institutions that have served society well for centuries (for example, opposite sex marriage) must be good to have survived so long.  They think it is dangerous for us to think that our rationality is so strong that we can simply throw away these institutions because our reason tells us that we should.  This is why you are right to say that conservatives do not believe in change (or at least not in rapid change that is put in action by the government).

I do not understand what you mean when you say “Liberals believe in the past subject to religion radical change in need.”  Liberals in general do not necessarily believe that the past or religion have anything to offer us.  It is possible for a liberal to believe that things from the past or things from religion are good, but they would have to arrive at that conclusion through rational thought.  They should not simply accept those things because they are old (which is what conservatives would do).

As for guarantees of human rights, liberals are all for such things.  Liberty is their core belief and they would strongly support guarantees of human rights.  Conservatives are less likely to believe in guarantees of rights.  They do not see the value, for example, in allowing people to have an unfettered right to speak out against the institutions of the past.  They do not see the value in allowing people to act however they want.  Instead, they think that human rights should be somewhat controlled by the government so that they do not tend to weaken our institutions and thereby undermine society.

One last thing to remember here is that this description of liberal and conservative belief is a discussion of classical liberalism and conservatism from the 18th century.  This is not meant as a description of the beliefs of what we call conservatives and liberals today.

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