The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
5 Points

Conservative vs Liberal(which would best benefit our nation)

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/18/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,124 times Debate No: 35723
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)




I am taking conservative. Accept on the first then let us offer one solid round of why we believe so.

I ask that whoever takes the second round do not use rebuttals, just build a case :)

Let the voters decide XD <3


I accept. I will be playing somewhat the Devil's Advocate here, and promoting the political philosophy of liberalism promoted by thinkers such as Locke, Montesquieu, T.H.Green, Kant and John Stuart Millagainst the political philosophy of conservatism, as promoted by thinkers such as Burke, Disraeli, Oakeshott, Santayana and Popper.
Debate Round No. 1


Ding! lets go :)

Con has already said that he will debate the political philosophy being liberalism. If he starts to wonder in that direction this will be a debate of ideology and not reality. Remember our debate is about what sill best benefit the nation in a literal sense not what could possibly work.

I think I will approach this debate in the angle with how our nation has prospered with conservative policies, and show why liberal policies have failed.

My first point

A primary view behind conservatism is less government. I believe that running things on state levels would benefit both our causes. This allows a state to determine the rules and regulations within it, and have an overall rule imposed on it. Let us say liberals wanted gay marriage to pass. If they tried to run this on a federal level it would not work for years, it would have to be a majority vote and since it is a popularity contest and can be bias, it would not past for decades. If this were ran on a state level only, as it is in some ways now. This gives each state the chance to enact and enforce this belief. Laws would very state by state. Liberalism at its core does desire for more government, and if it had its way would run on federal levels. Gay marriage for example would be barred all together because of conservatives being forced to vote and it be applied on a across the board basis. This also gives each state the right to have their own opinion and view points, while offering liberals who may not agree with it the chance to relocate. Or gay couples the chance to find a state , where they may be able to get married.

Second point

Another reason this can benefit us as a nation is that it can promote a free market system which falls in line with conservative policies. In fact it is the essence of a free market system. I will say that a pure free market system could possibly and probably would fail, it allows us to take principles from that and work with it. Conservatism promotes individual competition within companies and promotes economic growth. This can give investors a chance to invest in businesses they want without having to worry about their dividends taxes being raised by an insane amount. This is turn will scare investors away and they will not want to invest due to lack of profits. All the regulations that conservatism is placing on businesses and corporations, eventually they will not be able to sustain themselves. It is taking away the need for competition between businesses and corporations, which is when our nation has always prospered the most.

3rd point

Let us look at some of the policies obama has put into place. He is giving the government control of health care. Which baffles me because look what they have accomplished with our education system. We have some of the lowest scores in the world. Let us look at Canada they have universal health care as well, but the quality of the doctors they have is drastically reduced to the fact that it limits pay. He has lessened the requirements for unemployment. At the moment it is cal in, push a button, say yes and you have it. People have and always will exploit this. He has also increased the time in which employment lasts, which has so drastically increased our unemployment numbers that it is ridiculous. People get the check and sit on it because they get more from that, than what they could working minimum wage. He also wants to cut military funding and solders pay grades. This is illogical to me, and all of this is modern liberalism at its core


We have seen though out history why conservatism (during the time of Regan) and many others times, has best benefited this nation, and how liberalism as of now is not working. So the only thing to assume is conservatism is the more viable choice to help advance this nation.



To affirm liberalism, unlike my opponent, I am going to actually refer to liberalism. Liberalism is the belief that human nature is mixed: we are rational, but egoistic. We are economic, but self-serving. To quote Adam Smith, noted liberal, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest." (Smith, 1776) To quote Bastiat, another famed liberal from 19th century France: “Life, faculties, production – in other words, individuality, liberty, property – this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it.” (Bastiat, The Law, 1850). And again: “We cannot doubt that self-interest is the mainspring of human nature.” (Bastiat, Economic Harmonies, 1850) This view of human nature is the most accurate regarding how we see humans acting today: our entire society is based on this.

Let us take small government, a truly liberal value. Liberalism, after all, fought off against the corrupt authoritarian states of France, Spain and England – not to mention the United States proper - in order to create a constitutional monarchy at the least, true liberal democracies at best. To refer to the first truly great liberal (excluding Grotius), John Locke: “The great and chief end, therefore, of men's uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property. To which in the state of nature there are many things wanting.” (Locke, 1689) The legislative cannot “possibly be absolutely arbitrary over the lives and fortunes of the people” (Locke, 1689). In fact, “The [legislative] power, in the utmost bounds of it, is limited to the public good of the society. It is a power, that hath no other end but preservation, and therefore can never* have a right to destroy, enslave, or designedly to impoverish the subjects.” (Locke, 1689) To quote Mises, another noted liberal: “The only task of the strictly Liberal state is to secure life and property against attacks both from external and internal foes.” (Mises, 1922). And what of the large state? The socialist state? “Th[is] State is the great fiction through which everyone endeavours to live at the expense of everyone else” (Bastiat, The State, 1848). Liberalism is clearly in favour of a smaller state: and no wonder, when we look rationally at it. If we are homo economicus, or economic men, we understand what is best in our interests: the government telling us what to do, then, is either redundant or wrong. Redundant in that if it tells us what we’re already going to do, it needn’t say anything at all. Wrong in that if it were to force us to do otherwise, we’d be less efficient. Rational men need no state to be directed, except to, as Locke puts it clearly, maintain order and protect property.

We can also clearly see how liberalism now is the staunch defender of private property. To quote Mises again: “The program of liberalism, condensed into a single word, would have to read: property.” (Mises, Liberalism, 1929). To quote his later work 15 years later, he states the liberal utopia: “Imagine a world order in which liberalism is supreme . . . there is private property in the means of production. The working of the market is not hampered by government interference. There are no trade barriers; men can live and work where they want.” (Mises, 1944) (emphasis added). Liberalism clearly for Mises is the staunch defender of private property. Why? Again, look at Liberalism’s history. It arose as a reaction to the protectionist policies of the conservatives: protectionism which is run rampant in nations like the United States which is causing the myriad of problems it is having. Manchesterite Capitalism, which fought against the protectionist policies like the Corn Laws, had members wholly from liberal ideologues, including supporters of Peel, another clear liberal. The liberal response to protectionism can be found by Cobden and Bright (the two major Manchesterites)’s ideological ally who they cite many times, Frédéric Bastiat: “I do dispute their right to impose these plans upon us by law – by force – and to compel us to pay for them with our taxes” (Bastiat, 1850). So again, liberals strongly support Capitalism.

To what extent, however, do liberals support Capitalism? Well, in regards to free trade, I shall restate the opinion of Cobden, the Manchesterite: “I see in the Free-trade principle that which shall act on the moral world as the principle of gravitation in the universe,—drawing men together, thrusting aside the antagonism of race, and creed, and language, and uniting us in the bonds of eternal peace.” (Cobden, 1908)

And finally, the most obvious liberal value: liberty. Liberals and liberty go together naturally, if not intuitively. As the name suggests, liberals prize fundamentally freedom. I shall first briefly refer to liberal scholars’ opinions as evidence of this. Again to quote Bastiat: “The solution to the problems of human relationships is to be found in liberty” (Bastiat, 1850). As Locke states regarding the importance of freedom: “The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom.” (Locke, 1689) Moreover: “if you attempt to make the law religious, fraternal, equalizing, philanthropic, industrial, literary, or artistic—you will then be lost in an uncharted territory, in vagueness and uncertainty, in a forced utopia or, even worse, in a multitude of utopias, each striving to seize the law and impose it upon you.” (Bastiat, The Law, 1850) In other words, to make the law not about liberty but about, say, philanthropy, you are going towards totalitarianism or anarchy. “I passionately love liberty, legality, the respect for rights….liberty is my foremost passion. That is the truth” (Tocqueville, 1835). “Freedom is alone the unoriginated birthright of man” (Kant, The Metaphysics of Morals, 1785). “To renounce liberty is to renounce being a man” (Rousseau, 1762). The list goes on and on with liberals proposing the supremacy of liberty. And the reason is obvious, once we understand humans are rational but egoistic creatures. If we are rational beings, then again we are the best judges of our own future and what we ought to do. Therefore, the more freedom we have, the more likely we are to pursue our own ends. And the more we pursue our own ends, the happier we are as human beings, and the better society is – for a society where everyone is pleased is, on aggregate, a pleased society. The state exists to stop individuals coercing others, but apart from this unique exception, the liberty of the individual is paramount.


Bastiat, F. (1848). Justice and Fraternity.

Bastiat, F. (1848). The State. Journal des débats.

Bastiat, F. (1850). Economic Harmonies.

Bastiat, F. (1850). The Law.

Cobden, R. (1908). Speeches on Questions of Public Policy by Richard Cobden, M.P (Vol. I). (J. T. Rogers, & J. Bright, Eds.) London: T.Fisher Unwin.

Friedman, M. (n.d.). Source Needed).

Hayek, F. v. (1944). The Road to Serfdom.

Kant, I. (1785). The Metaphysics of Morals.

Kant, I. (1788). Critique of Practical Reason.

Kant, I. (1791). The Principles of Political Right.

Keynes, J. M. (1919). The Economic Consequences of the Peace.

Locke, J. (1689). Two Treatises.

Mises, L. v. (1922). Socialism : an Economic and Sociological Analysis.

Mises, L. v. (1929). Liberalism.

Mises, L. v. (1944). Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War.

Rothbard, M. (1960). The Mantle of Science.

Rousseau, J.-J. (1762). Emile.

Rousseau, J.-J. (1762). The Social Contract.

Rousseau, J.-J. (1782). The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Smith, A. (1776). The Wealth of Nations.

Spooner, L. (1886). A Letter to Grover Cleveland on His False Inaugural Address: The Usurpations And Crimes Of Lawmakers And Judges And The Consequent Poverty, Ignorance And Servitude Of The People.

Tocqueville, A. D. (1835). Democracy in America.

Debate Round No. 2
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Inductivelogic 3 years ago
The way you countered that was well done. I am still new so you probably deserve to win this.
Posted by johnlubba 3 years ago
Stephen, can you please send me a friend request please, I am unable to send requests due to a technicality issue on my account, Airmax is looking into it for me.

I would appreciate it.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 3 years ago
I'd add that originally there was about 50 of them, but it was too long by a fair bit :P
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 3 years ago
22 unique references in total... :D
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 3 years ago
Regarding the Milton Friedman quotation, it is easily available online in many places. The quotation is from a stock I have, but I cannot find the book it was from. If anyone can give it to me, it'd be much appreciated. Thank you.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 3 years ago
I'm not really, I'm just going to point to how conservatism is big-state, and liberalism is not. I made clear who the scholars are on either side, so I'll just start listing off quotes.
Posted by Mikal 3 years ago
Lol dude you do the same thing will all of your debates. You get a tad bit off topic. You also should have stated the policies that make conservatism so good. All con has to do now is show why liberalism is a better alternative. You also forgot to provide sources. At least you are a semi deist lol, pray that he has a derp moment.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Noumena 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con won by exploiting a basic ambiguity/lack of understanding on Pro's part concerning what it was he was defending. While it was obvious that Pro intended to defend an ideal version of government based on (modern, American) conservative rhetoric, his lack of definitional rigor allowed Con to swipe the debate by (a) using a more rigorous (and arguably defensible) characterization of liberalism and (b) turning that definition against Pro, showing that he undermined his own case. It seems like a semantic argument but no one should feel sorry for Pro given that Con specifically referred to the sources of inspiration for the liberal philosophy he was defending. It should have been obvious from a mile away what angle Con was taking when he references Locke and Mill in his opening. A few other points worth noting. Pro's case was almost wholly topical even though the debate was concerning political philosophy proper. Also, kudos to Con for the high level of references.