All of us behave according to the principles of Conservative, Liberal, and Libertarian thought. Although we may identify ourselves to one party, our daily lives are a mix of traditional, new, and sometimes radical thinking.
Conservatism is about conserving the status quo. It retains orthodox values, and helps define roles and expectations. Conservatism follows established conventions, whether building furniture, or adhering to societal mores. A stabilizing factor, Conservatism ensures that change comes slowly, and allows society to adjust to new norms at a safe pace. Change that occurs too rapidly can destroy the fabric that holds a people together. Conservatism can also protect despicable institutions and beliefs.
Liberalism, also called “Progressive”, espouses the very idea of movement, and is opposite of stasis. Liberalism conquered absolute monarchy, state religion, hereditary privilege and played midwife to democracy. A paradox emerges when a liberal undertaking succeeds to become the norm, becomes entrenched, and is subsequently protected by Conservatism.
Both liberal and conservative thought observe a central authority, and seek that authority to express their central tenants. Libertarianism emerges and celebrates, instead, individualism. Libertarianism foments non-intervention regarding another person’s beliefs or actions, and only asks others to acknowledge an individual’s right to free will.
Let’s have a hypothetical baby together, and show conservative, liberal, and libertarian thought in action. We have just given birth to a lovely child and named her Sarah. We vow to be the best parents we possibly can. We take Sarah to our most meaningful places, and indoctrinate her in the behavior appropriate to those places. We transmit the knowledge of our culture and heritage to her. Meanwhile, Sarah navigates a world that we do not always approve of, nor understand. We control some elements with mixed results; others are beyond our control. We embrace some elements, though alien to our heritage, because we see their promise, and her excitement. The day arrives when we realize that we can no longer make decisions for Sarah – although our counsel is forever at her disposal – it is now up to her character, her values and fortitude to forge a life of her own.
If we raised Sarah with only Conservative ideology, we would be at constant war with her, and with the world in which she must make her way. If only Liberal, Sarah would be bereft of the heritage and values that caused her ancestors to prosper. If we lack Libertarian insight, we would never set her free of our expectations, and permit her become the person she is meant to be.
Now that we’ve raised Sarah, let’s take a vacation using Conservative, Liberal and Libertarian actions. First, we budget the amount of time and money we can spend. We book our travel plans through reputable companies. We knowingly exceed the speed limit to catch our airplane. Upon arrival, we experience another culture. We enjoy most of our vacation activities together, but some we do separately, so we both get to indulge our interests. We spend more money than we originally planned. When we get home, we have a party, and serve a favorite dish we learned at our favorite vacation restaurant.
A strictly Conservative vacation keeps us to destinations where people are just like us. A strictly Liberal vacation has us wandering with Serendipity planning the agenda. Planned like a Conservative, caught the plane like a Libertarian, and partied like a Liberal. What’s wrong with that?
Any act you perform is colored by what is customary, what needs to develop, and by what you, as an individual, need to do. Conservatism confers tradition, Liberalism offers change, and Libertarianism expects individualism. These three models are inherent to human behavior, and are required by the human race to succeed.