Saturday, November 04, 2006

I have seen the past

After much pondering, I have finally, I think, come up with a definition and a distinction between Conservative and Liberal that is workable to my worldview.

Both seek to do what they think is best, regardless of whether the primary goal of their ethos is a better world or just a better life for themselves.

The split is over the form of that better place, that better world.

The Conservative honestly and earnestly believes that in the past, perhaps even in their personal past, the world was as perfect as they can perceive of it being. Whether their vision is the entrepreneurial 80's or their childhood in small town America, they believe that a return to the principles and framework of those times is ideal.

The Liberal believes in utopia. A place not yet visited, where abstract principles have become concrete and life is better than ever before in the past. They are visionaries and idealists, if sometimes without being able to explain why the world would be better, or even disagreeing as to what that "future, perfect" will look like.

This is why Liberals often seem a patchwork of causes, rather than given to unity of thought or purpose, whereas Conservatives often work better together, as there is only a finite supply of tomorrows to fixate on.

Neither side owns "right" or "wrong".

I think Bobby Kennedy said it best when he paraphrased the brilliant George Bernard Shaw in saying "There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?"

That is why I am a Liberal. And here is a new poem to underline that.

I have seen the past

I have seen the past,
and there have been moments in it
that were as sweet as I can bear.
But the future, it is there,
still waiting, calling out as a sirene,
telling me there is more,
there is more,
there is more.
And my dreams are moments
yet unfulfilled.
And I am unworthy
if I dwell, alone, in memory.

William F. DeVault. all rights reserved.

3 comments:

Billy Jones said...

William, this is one of the most important pieces of modern literature I have ever read, so well put, strong, and with an eye towards the future.

THank you for writing it.

Pearl said...

Vote NDP. They're looking at now. ;)
(just teasing). Think you may have hit on why the parties can't always see eye to eye. Different sort of filtering.

ozymandiaz said...

Let me begin by saying I agree with neither delusional mindset, the so called conservative nor liberal. But neither do I agree with your greatly over simplified definition of the two. Understanding that your form here requires a somewhat simplified vision as truly breaking both down would take volumes, I still see an error in you surmised final vision. For me, these distinctions drawn in the sand are but separate paths to the same place. Yes, motives are different but that is true on an individual level, within each of these distinctions. It is just that "conservatives" draw upon a base of pragmatism where liberals strive for the conceptual. What really separate these groups are the intricate layers of absolute crap they espouse. Both sides sing the praise of control in different arenas while turning blind eyes to the bastardization of their visions as political treatise.

Copyright © William F. DeVault | All Rights Reserved