User:Woozle/debate/progressive conservatism/1001

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liberals embrace change for the sake of change

{{arg/counter|Liberals do see change as positive by default. There are at least two primary reasons for this, and "boredom" is not one of them:}}
{{arg/counter|'''Reason #1''': Liberals tend to be empathetic, where conservatives are complacent; this makes liberals better able to perceive the problems with the status quo than are conservatives.}}
{{arg/counter|Liberal empathy manifests itself in the following ways:}}
{{arg/counter|'''Sympathy for hardship''' -- While liberals do not deny that individuals are often responsible for the bad things which happen to them, liberals also believe:}}
{{arg/counter| ...that this is often not the case, i.e. there are circumstances which can overwhelm an individual's resources yet for which the individual could not realistically have been prepared (in sharp contrast to [[../1002|what conservatives generally believe]]).}}
{{arg/counter| ...that [[../1003|"hard work" does not always lead to success]].}}
{{arg/counter|This does not, however, mean that liberals think hard work isn't worth bothering ([[User:Woozle/annoy a liberal|conservative myths]] notwithstanding). Most liberals work at least as hard as the average conservative, if not harder.}}
{{arg/counter|People who work hard for a living are more likely to be liberal.}} No, I don't have evidence for this, but I bet I can find some. -W.
{{arg/counter| ...that there is an [[social contract|implicit contract between individuals and society]] where individuals sacrifice a certain amount of autonomy in exchange for society's promise not to leave individuals out in the cold if things go badly.}}
{{arg/info|These sacrifices include:}}
{{arg/counter|paying taxes}}
{{arg/counter|complying (to any extent) with laws which don't make sense}}
{{arg/counter|voluntary donations (money, labor, goods) to socially beneficial organizations (aka "charities")}}
{{arg/counter| ...that upholding social contracts is vital.}}
{{arg/counter|If society violates a social contract while the individual upholds her/his end, the consequences are not the fault of the individual.}}
{{arg/counter|'''Example''': It is a crime to rape a woman, regardless of how minimally she may be dressed. If a woman walks down a ghetto street wearing "provocative" clothing and is raped, this represents a failure of society, regardless of how foolish it may have been for her to do this. The woman is a victim of a crime, not the perpetrator.}}
{{arg/info|[W] My personal view is that this holds true even if she was walking down the street stark naked. Public nudity is technically a (victimless) crime, but of a much lesser severity than rape. I would suggest that criminalizing nudity is actually a poor way of dealing with the problem it was intended to solve, whatever that may be.}}
{{arg/info|[W] It would also be reasonable to "let society off the hook" for preventing a crime under these circumstances (e.g. not expecting the police to devote valuable hours/officers to preventing this level of crime in areas where much more serious crime, such as murder, is a common problem), but there should be some means by which society designates certain areas as "feral", i.e. outside the bounds of full enforcement of normal social contracts; society can't make rules (upon whose enforcement people depend and make plans) and then, ''after'' a crime, excuse itself with a previously unannounced exception ("oh, well, she was in a bad neighborhood; we can't do anything about it, sorry").}}
{{arg/info|[W] Regardless of whether society-at-large is "off the hook" in this case, the social rules still hold for the individuals involved: the rapist was still a criminal, the woman is still a victim of a crime and not to blame. Any police officers already in the area who ignored her cries for help are still complicit, unless they were actively engaged in preventing another crime. (If this were to be made into a law, it would need to clarify "actively engaged" -- e.g. could the officers have called for backup, or were they doing something which required complete silence?)}}
{{arg/counter|Society must uphold its end of social contracts if society's contract-making ability is to be trusted.}}
{{arg/counter|Lack of trust in society leads to social degradation, as people will feel no obligation to hold up their end of social contracts if society fails to uphold its end.}}
{{arg/counter|Even conservatives should agree that upholding social contracts is therefore a vital necessity, so there shouldn't be any disagreement on this point.}}
{{arg/counter|Conservatives are always proclaiming that various liberal causes will degrade society, so obviously avoiding social degradation is an important cause for them.}}
{{arg/counter| ...that the social contracts under which modern society operates include:}}
{{arg/counter| -- a promise that excessive levels of unfairness will be actively worked against ("crime prevention").}}
{{arg/counter| -- a promise that society will not block an individual's attempts to seek redress against lesser levels of unfairness, as long as those attempts use appropriate procedures}}
{{arg/counter| -- a promise that society will make appropriate procedures available for seeking redress against grievances.}}
{{arg/counter|If appropriate procedures fail or are not available in any instance, individuals have the right to escalate their grievances (individually or collectively) to subsequent stages: petitions, protests, civil disobedience}}
{{arg/counter|'''A preference for equality''' - liberals generally prefer being peers with others, rather than "getting ahead" (or being subservient, for that matter), while conservatives generally show a clear preference for social hierarchy (a manifestation of their [[authoritarianism]]). Liberals consequently often find themselves at odds with the hierarchical aspects of society, and see the gradual eradication of these aspects – the gradual leveling of society (a process begun in the Middle Ages, and which took a huge leap forward when the US was created as a democratic society) – as necessary progress.}}
{{arg/counter|'''Appreciation for others''' - liberals are generally better able to appreciate socially beneficial qualities in others, regardless of whether those qualities are exploitable for material gain under existing rules. This often leads liberals to conclude that society's rules need to be changed in order to more fairly benefit those who themselves are of benefit to society.}}
{{arg/counter|By contrast, those conservatives who were not born into wealth (i.e. actually earned their success) have generally overcome ''reasonable'' hardship and been adequately rewarded for their work. Society has treated them, if not 100% fairly all the time, at least not so unfairly that they could not overcome it as an obstacle.}}
{{arg/counter|If someone believes they have been treated unfairly in a way which hampered their ability to succeed, why would they deny that others might have experienced the same thing?}}
{{arg/counter|In many instances, conservatives are people who have received preferential treatment and are willing to lie or mislead in order to preserve that preferred status because they know or believe they could not continue to be "successful" in a truly fair society.}}
{{arg/counter|The conservative argument that poor people are "losers" who just didn't try hard enough is a hypocritical sham.}}
{{arg/counter|Politically, conservatives are quite willing to support those who are well known to have done absolutely nothing to earn their wealth, e.g. [[George W. Bush]] (and, to a lesser extent, [[George H.W. Bush|his dad]], who inherited vast wealth but at least showed some competence in maintaining and expanding it, honestly or otherwise).}}
{{arg/counter|[[../1003|Hard work does not always lead to success]].}}
{{arg/counter|'''Reason #2''': Liberals are curious (interested in seeing what improvements might be possible), while conservatives are generally incurious ([[George W. Bush]] is a prime example of this) if not actively fearful of the unknown. This is not the same as "boredom".}}
{{arg/counter|"Bordedom", in this context, implies an idle, goal-less tinkering for the purpose of self-entertainment.}}
{{arg/counter|Liberal experimentation with society is goal-driven, usually very cautious, and highly aware of the results of previous experiments.}}
{{arg/counter|Conervative modifications to society, by contrast, are typically blundering and willfully oblivious to the well-known bad effects of the "ideals" to which they would have society return.}}
{{arg/counter|It often seems as if groups of conservatives get together on a regular basis with a mission statement which might be paraphrased as: "Society isn't nearly oppressive or awful enough. What bizarre, antiquated social rules and laws have worked well in the past for making people miserable?" Nothing else really explains the ideas conservatives keep coming up with.}}
{{arg/counter|Liberals are not blind to the idea that change (even seemingly "progressive" change) can turn out to be bad. Change is not automatically a good thing; it must bring society closer to some goal without excessive setbacks in other areas.}}