I am not a liberal. I am a conservative. If anyone were to put me into a category for the purpose of a political census, I would be classified as a conservative. The reasons behind my political leanings I will discuss presently.
I have come to understand the intricacies of multiple political and economic systems after carefully weighing the benefits and disadvantages of each. Communism, for example, strives to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor and put everyone on equal footing for an overall social benefit. While this goal is admirable, it is susceptible to a corruptibility by sinister human beings, bent on achieving power and maintaining it thereafter. In Capitalism, the goal is to better one's social and economic standing by accumulating as much capital as possible and in its purest form it amounts to nothing more than the survival of the fittest scenario. In modern political systems, where Capitalism is practiced as the main political and economic theory, the government is usually charged with being a policeman and a judge to ensure that the majority of citizens exercise their right to capital in a fair and equal manner. Communist countries also succumb to such government interference. The ruling body is required to ensure an equal and fair distribution of resources among the country's populace no matter their social status or intellectual ability. I believe that Communism and Capitalism are two major doctrines upon which the rest of our societal interaction is based.
Some would also like to make Fascism into a major doctrine of its now accord. I disagree with them. Other make Fascism into an extreme case of Capitalism and I also disagree with this hypothesis. I think that Fascism is a hybrid of Communism and Capitalism. It brides the gap between these two extremes. On the other hand, Socialist advocates claim that their doctrine is better classified as a gap between Communism and Capitalism. The idea is that Socialism and Capitalism are located on the opposite sides of the spectrum, with Communism being a more extreme case of Socialism. I feel that if we were to plot these doctrines on a straight line Communism would be followed by Socialism then Socialism by Fascism and Capitalism would finish off the line. In this case the two main doctrines would be at either end of the spectrum and anything in between could only be created as a hybrid of the two main ones.
Having defined my views on where each of the major political and economic theories lie, I would like to give a very brief history of each.
In the beginning there was Capitalism. When God or Big Bang or Uncle Sam created the world Capitalism was created with it. All things competed for their share of limited resources. An economist of our times would understand these resources to be capital. Animal, plant, and bacterial life called these resources -- food. Everyone was competing for this capital and only the strongest were able to survive and impose themselves as the de facto rulers of their habitats. Bacteria competed with other bacteria, viruses fought other viruses, and one plant species expanded into the territory of another. When a giant asteroid wiped out 99% of life on the planet, the process of Capitalism was restarted anew. Out were the old ruling elite, the dinosaurs, in came their smaller versions, us. Capitalism was understood by all living creatures as survival of the fittest theory.
In the beginning, or a few days after, there was Communism. It was not created by God, Big Bang or Uncle Sam. When first life forms began to be consumed by their bigger and faster brethren, they instinctively started to band together to ward off their ruthless enemies. This form of camaraderie eventually grew into communal societies for mutual support and protection. Again, it started with bacteria and viruses and was adopted by all living creatures on the planet. Because there was always competition for resources, even the predators were forced live in a community. Only the biggest and the strongest practiced true Capitalism. This form of communal life was understood by all living creatures as communal living theory.
Communism, it seems, reenforces Capitalism by creating bigger and more efficient power structures through the communal association. On our planet no one so far has been able to achieve a complete Communist or Capitalist utopia because one can not survive without the other. Capitalism provides a sense of competition and drive forward and Communism acts like the breaks on a car, slowing us down at sharp turns and making sure we don't crash when rolling down a steep hill. Applying this theory to just humans, it is easy to see that in order to achieve a perfect society we must have a 50/50 split between these two doctrines. We have not achieved this balance yet.
Few would argue that Fascism should be that 50/50 split. And I would disagree with them because it is far too close to Capitalism in its origin and theories to be a true 50/50. Neither is Socialism a better match for that split. In a socialist society there are too many breaks on progress and too much is expected and required from the government. What one is looking for is a system with that perfect balance, where the government is involved just enough to keep the Capitalists in check and away just enough to keep the Communists from bringing our society to a halt. We have not achieved that balance yet.
Because we have not achieved that balance, I consider myself more of a conservative than a liberal. Conservatives pride themselves in keeping things they way they used to be and liberals trip over themselves to change thing for the better. Like the proverbial struggle between Communism and Capitalism, the tug of war between Conservatives and Liberals is about achieving that perfect balance. The difference is in the speed with which that balance is hoped to be achieved.
Like Conservatives, I prefer to keep a balanced head and not rush into the unknown, head first and with my eyes shut. Yes, I understand that conservative values and truths change every few decades. I also understand that liberals can't fully prove that their future changes will have a positive effect. These two arguments are mostly made in the form of accusation by one side or the other. I am not interested in that. Regurgitating the list of faults can be done by anyone and the eventual winner will always be the one who can come up with the most disadvantages that the other side has. I am trying to stake my position away from these debates. I am a conservative because I want us to achieve the above balance over a longer period of time. It might be said that I am really not interested in reaching that balance, but rather in a journey towards it.
One of my favourite authors, Brandon Sanderson, wrote a phrase that stuck with me. In The Way of Kings, he wrote
journey before destination. I think that this is a phrase that describes conservative's goal. I think that it tells me and all of us a very important truth. Wherever we are going, we first and foremost must enjoy the journey there. I think that conservatives value this journey, even though many do not realize it. From liberal perspective, the destination is the most important thing. For them it's important to get going and get to the finish as fast as possible, and then start over.
I surmise that not all conservatives agree with my reasoning. Deep down however, I believe that they enjoy it when things remain as they are. Everyone accepts change, because change is an ever-present entity. But for a conservative it is important to have that change come slowly, with plenty of time to figure out if it's beneficial or detrimental to everyone's well-being.