This page was updated by Ralph Kenyon on 2017-10-11 at 03:20 and has been accessed 202 times at 54 hits per month.

American Ideology - Conservative vs Liberal


In the beginning of this country, it was every man for himself, to hunt, to fish, to build his own log cabin, to farm with a wife, to make his own fur clothes with the help of a wife, and to defend his homestead, and some with the help of indentured servants, and, yes, some with the help of slaves. The pioneer paradigm entailed self-sufficiency.

The conservative Republicans still believe in this paradigm.

The Republican conservative premises:

  1.  Business is the means to success, and business takes precedence over all else.
  2.  Individuals control their own destinies.
  3.  If an individual is not successful, it's because he is lazy.
  4.  Individuals must be free to pursue their own desires, so that they can succeed without "artificial" impediment.
  5.  "Law and Order" - to enforce conformity to conservative values by quelling dissent, protest, and debate.
  6.  Protect the conservative way of life from outsiders.

The Republican agenda:

  1.   Reduce government. - Government places artificial impediments on a person's ability to succeed.
  2.   Increase the military - In the "guns vs butter" debate, Republicans come down on the side of guns - "defend the (conservative) way of life".
  3.   Increase the police - Crime is detrimental to business; crack down.  Reduce police controls so they can "do their job".
  4.   Reduce regulation. - Regulations restrict business and a person's ability to succeed.
  5.   Reduce programs. - Individuals control their own destiny, so "domestic" programs are unnecessary.
  6.   Reduce taxes. - Taxes take away from an individuals progress toward success.
  7.   Don't tax the rich.  - The harder one works to become successful, the more one should be rewarded.
  8.   Allow individuals to succeed or fail on their own merits. (If he doesn't succeed, it's his own fault.)
  9.   Minimize welfare - ("If an individual can't support himself, it's only his own fault.")


As population grew, towns and interdependencies grew. We all know the historical stories of the Massachusetts Pilgrims creating stores of commonwealth supplies for sharing during the early hard New England winters.

"Commonwealth" means sharing the wealth of the country with the Common People. Sharing and caring - not hoarding and abandoning.

It bears repeating: "Sharing and caring - not hoarding and abandoning." Never mind the propaganda labels being hurled. Never mind the flashy personalities, Never mind the comics and clowns, who are sure to be "fun".

A true Democracy is both conservative and liberal, both democratic and republican, that balances capitalism and socialism principles in order form a synthesis of opportunity and support, of freedom and responsibility, of strength and compassion, of courage and safety, of individuality and the common good, and thus revitalises the values that the United States of America was founded on and has matured to become, a true commonwealth that enables anyone to realize his or her dreams as a member of our unique and common heritages.

Everyone who is able contributes to the commonwealth in proportion to their ability, so that everyone who is not fully able will be provided for in proportion to their need - all their basic needs - without discrimination.2



In pure capitalism there is no public property and no commonwealth.  The primary paradigm is the evolution of barter, trading something for something - quid quo pro (Latin for "something for something").  Each person expects to get something - usually of equivalent value for something else, be it material or non-material.  Money is the evolved medium of exchange.  In the context of government, which manages services funded with taxes, the capitalist orientation expects to personally get relevant value for taxes paid.  "Quid pro quo" is meaningless for those who do not immediately use a particular service. "What's in it for me?" dominates the personal attitude about taxes. For example, conservatives without children resent paying school taxes, because they see no "return on their investment" - they don't think they get anything back for their tax dollars.  Trades should be fair.
  • "Where's the quo for my quid?"
  • "I should get back equal value for what I pay."

Equal value for equal value must balance the equation.  What I give (negative) plus what I get (positive) adds up to zero.  Otherwise one person loses while the other gains.  This means barter trading should be zero sum.  However, when power and wealth differences abound, they affect the trading without regard for equality, especially when motivated by the belief in self-sufficiency coupled with an aversion to being controlled by others. Survival meant fighting for one's needs and desires. Self-sufficiency became "selfish-sufficiency" whenever there was competition for resources.  Often such conflict ended with one or both parties migrating to less or un inhabited locations, where resources abounded sufficiently that competition was minimal. Both parties then survived through the dint of their own hard work.  While the reality differs, the legends and cinema hype of Davy Crockett and Danial Boone epitomized these perspectives. Our semantic environments1 are created by our exposure to culture, not to the independent physical reality.


In pure socialism there is no private property and no individual ownership. Everybody works under state assignment and planning. Everybody lives is state provided housing. Everybody gets all the same and only the same benefits according to state determined distribution.  It practice, the power of administrators succumbs to personal preferences that corrupt the system, as was shown by the 70 year Soviet Union "experiment".  Moreover, the lack of differences in payment for work done tended to reduce work to the lowest common denominator.  Without individualized incentive to produce, production drops to the output of the slowest worker.  "If I don't get any more pay than 'himer', why should I work any harder that 'himer'?"


Social services, police, fire, infrastructure,   Medicare, social security, Medicaid, public education, emergency medical care, the National Guard, Coast Guard, the Judiciary, elected officials, the military, and more are all Socialism structures that make up the common wealth we all pay for with taxes. None of these can equitably be provided by free capitalism. They can only be provided by Democratic Socialism.  [See the Commonwealth Party.]


  1. Semantic Environment - the internal meaning and understanding, conscious and unconscious, we have that interprets our own immediate experience. The creation of each of our own personal semantic environments begins in the womb as the brain records all stimuli, including from internal and external sources as well as  proprioceptive, enteroceptive, hormonal states.  As the semantic environment matures, mechanisms for processing new experiences follow Jean Piaget's assimilation and accommodation.
      • Assimilation - fitting new experiences into our existing model.  Fitting the data into our current paradigm.
        • Got a nail? use your hammer.
      • Accommodation - revising our model in order to fit new experiences . Creating a new paradigm that accommodates the new experiences.
        • Got a screw? Hammer doesn't work?  Learn about and get a screwdriver.
  2. In the United States this is approximated by a progressive income tax and federally and state administrated infrastructure maintenance and services. Unfortunately, there are huge special interest deviations, especially for the wealthy, such as much lower tax rates on investment income and capital gains compared to wage earners.

Ralph E Kenyon Jr.
191 White Oaks Road
Williamstown, MA 01267