Conservatism and liberalism have influenced American society by providing different perspectives on the proper course for social and economic issues. Currently, there is the tendency to suppose that liberals support big government and social reform while conservatives support limited government and social traditions. While those definitions do reflect the fundamental (or perhaps fundamentalist) core beliefs and ideologies of conservatism and liberalism, this limited way of positioning two belief systems as inherently oppositional has led to problems.
Many citizens, as well as politicians, have become brainwashed by this opposition. While there are exceptions, people who don't mindlessly agree with the positions of their party, it has gotten to the point that if one happens to be a conservative, he/she feels inclined to disagree with a liberal simply on the misguided belief that he/she must disagree with liberalism in general. The reverse is also true. The current political climate, for citizens and politicians, has unfortunately become guided, not be productive conversations, but by mindless gainsaying (disagreements). It has become quite ridiculous.
Conservatism and liberalism (and past productive syntheses of these viewpoints) has benefited American society, but currently there are too many people who favor one viewpoint so strongly that they have basically given up on being open to different ideas, and many politicians have given up on compromise. This has become a serious problem for the general intellectual growth of America and it is also a problem for American society because some politicians are too stubborn to compromise and therefore, nothing in Washington gets done.