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Is being "socially liberal but fiscally conservative" an attractive-sounding yet logically untenable position?

Asked by: JustLeftofCenter
  • You have to put your money where your mouth is

    There are some socially liberal causes (such as marriage equality) whose advancement would require very little in the way of public treasure. However, the majority of the liberal agenda (and I am using this term in a value-neutral context) including universal health care, equity in quality of education and environmentalism require significant investment of public money to accomplish in any meaningful fashion. Therefore, I have always wondered whether or not people who say "I am socially liberal but fiscally conservative" are really saying "I like some of the ideas behind liberalism but do not want to be held personally accountable for their realization."

  • Frugality Is Moral

    Upon what basis does a social liberal defend fiscal conservatism? How does moral relativism and licentiousness regarding social issues cohere with a consistent principle of fiscal responsibility? Fiscal conservatism, i.e. fiscal responsibility, is a moral issue just as all the social issues are that these people would like to divorce from any moral consideration. How does one, with any consistency of principle, simultaneously defend a mother's ability to end her unborn child's life and admonish her for accepting entitlements that saddle future generations with debt? How does the legalization of drugs that already kill addicts in our own country cohere with an abhorrence for the death and destruction of foreign wars? How does the moral equation of the nuclear family with any and all personal relationships and living arrangements support the claim that a fiscal conservative's system of government spending is superior to a socialist's? The priorities of a government are reflected in it's spending habits, and, in a republic, the government is a reflection of the people. Does anyone truly think that a socially liberal, more accurately hedonistic, culture will all of a sudden tighten their belts and put on their "responsible" hats when it comes time to vote on fiscal policy? What country in history has ever exhibited this utopian combination of social liberalism and fiscal conservatism?

  • Social liberalism costs money

    You cannot advance a socially liberal agenda without government spending. Advancing women's rights, improving the lives of the poor and disadvantaged, environmental protection, etc. require money. It's really a no-brainer. I wonder if those who claim to be socially liberal and fiscally conservative are actually focused on one issue especially important to them personally, such as gay rights, rather than the entire spectrum of social liberalism.

  • Supporting every group with cash means higher government spending.

    To be socially liberal means that every group (and new groups) will be looking for a handout - someone to side with them financially. What better way to side than for government to show it with financial remuneration which means constant spending. Many groups should be private and privately raise their funding. Criteria that builds the country morally should be a determining factor.

  • I am both liberal and conservative

    With many social issues it present a liberal view. For example,
    I am supportive of gay marriage and believe green energy should
    Be researched. I also am pro choice, even though I think it is wrong, it is not my right or the governments right to tell people what to do. I am fiscally conservative because I believe in letting the free market run it's course and lower taxes. That is what the american dream is all about. The problem with the fiscally liberal point of view is that you will not let companies flourish or grow.

  • Nature of US Politics

    Been studying US politics and from what I've learnt and research upon it seems that although socially liberal but fiscally conservative does sound appealing, I doubt it is as clear cut as that, you can just pick the best of both parties and come to a conclusion it would work, too much partisanship in US. I could be wrong but this is what I have gathered from learning about US politics....

  • Capitalism created the economic gap = need for social systems

    Capitalism created the economic gap = environmental injustice, welfare, health care issues, gender gap, crappy education, underpaid teachers and overpaid football players. There is no need to put anyone in a "ideological box", economics and social equality (and the environment) are fundamentally/systematically connected. Funding for women's health, for example, has been cut by those who are "fiscally conservative", thus increasing the gender gap ( equality).

  • It's certainly describes my general politcal ideals

    I've found myself in recent years resenting both major political parties. I vote with my convictions and not for a party. I pick the candidates that are closest to my own position. I don't think many people in this country that are liberal actually believe we should spend infinite amounts of money, like conservatives think. And it's only some fringe conservative groups that are socially conservative.

  • No money? No solutions!

    Being "socially liberal but fiscally conservative" is an attractive yet logically untenable position, because you have to spend money and invest in government programs in order to achieve your socially liberal goals, or whatever goals. Being a politician in a democratic country means you not only have to stand up for your own type of people but also try to be very charismatic and win over the votes that would otherwise go to your opponents. Where do politicians raise the funds for their political campaign? By collecting enough people that would support them and motivate them demographically, emotionally, spiritually, and above all, financially.

  • Fiscally Conservative and Fiscally Liberal are the same thing.

    Liberalism and Conservatism are the exact same thing - they focus on running the economy like a household, i.E. A balanced budget. The term you are looking for to describe Keynesian Economics is not liberalism but socialism. Socialism has become something of a profanity in America, so they call it liberalism instead, to disguise the poisonous word made so by the Red Scare, a movement instigated by fundamentalist Christians who were opposed to the secularisation brought by left of centre politics. One can be socially libertarian, as I am, liberal, conservative or reactionary. Social libertarianism is the belief that someone should be allowed to do whatever they please so long it is not at the expense of others. Social liberalism is a slightly less radical form of this, such as the UK at present, where drugs and euthanasia are still illegal, but same sex marriage and abortion are not. Social conservatism is the present USA, where religion has a profound influence on state, as evidenced by a lack of universal healthcare, certain workers' rights and other infringements on peoples' personal freedom. Social reactionarism favours a return to a previous era in terms of social attitudes, such as banning homosexuality or abortion, and is advocated by Fox News and all the other archconservative wretches that the world would be better off without.

  • This Describes Libertarians

    A Libertarian is dedicated to the idea of limited government. For instance, when it comes to government spending, a Libertarian is said to be "fiscally conservative" because they believe wasteful and unnecessary expenditures should be eliminated from the budget. Conversely, a Libertarian is "socially Liberal" because they do not believe the government has the right or the authority to infringe on anyone's civil rights. Thus, a Libertarian is pro gay marriage, pro choice, etc.

  • No, it is possible - look to libertarians

    Being fiscally conservative means not making the government responsible for distributing welfare. The government is extremely inefficient at this. For the example of welfare reduction, government bureaucrats are allocated funding based on the levels of poverty and other markers of economic disparity. They are not encouraged to decrease levels, because lower poverty means less funding for their department. Government does not reward success, it throws money at problems, with the only safeguards being the informed and rarely non-apathetic electorate.

    However believing that extensive and rampant government funding is counter-productive to our goals does not in itself prohibit one from being socially liberal. Gay marriage and marijuana legalization cost nothing, and are cornerstones of the social liberalism.

    Liberalism was originally more aligned with todays libertarian values, which are of personal freedom and personal, not government, dependence. Only after socialism and communism did some liberals believe that big government was essential to personal success and fulfilment. Therefore libertarians, and many like minded groups, are the proof that one can be socially liberal and fiscally conservative.

  • No, being socially liberal and fiscally conservative is actually logically coherent.

    Fiscal conservatism is rooted in the idea of freedom to make economic actions. Social Liberalism is rooted in the idea of freedom to make social actions. So, being fiscally conservative and socially liberal is the same as saying you believe in freedom across the board. It is a libertarian approach, and it makes perfect sense.

  • No, being socially liberal and fiscally conservative is actually logically coherent.

    Fiscal conservatism is rooted in the idea of freedom to make economic actions. Social Liberalism is rooted in the idea of freedom to make social actions. So, being fiscally conservative and socially liberal is the same as saying you believe in freedom across the board. It is a libertarian approach, and it makes perfect sense.

  • Social liberalism means - Less of authoritarianism Fiscal conservatism means - Don't try to spend what you don't have

    - Liberalism does not mean free "ride for all". Rather it means removing authoritarian barriers, which means a number of things like removing unnecessary oversight and over-legislation, removing the so-called moral or religious driven restrictions etc.

    - Fiscal Conservatism does not mean ruthless cost cutting, rather it means removing the need for unnecessary spending like building roads to nowhere, creating a missile program that is waiting for the alien invasion to be able to justify its economic benefits etc. And also planning to spend only what you think you can afford.

  • Liberty and Control

    The political stance parameters prescribed by our current government intentionally use media and vernacular to mislead public opinion into camps of common thought. They create an environment of exclusion which frowns upon alternative solutions and policies which don't necessarily meld with the political party's "mission".

    The concept of individual liberty clearly makes political party obsolete, as an individual is free to have their own stance on any issue at any given time. Individuals are additionally able to change said stance when presented with new evidence.

    Social decisions and financial decisions are logically very different considerations. Wanting a less authoritarian influence on expression, lifestyles, and privacy does not mean that having a concern for how public funds are spent, makes one's political views irrelevant. As stated in a previous post, the ultimate goal is freedom in markets freedom and social decisions.

    Individual liberty is the most important development is sociopolitical order. Thus being socially liberal but fiscally conservative is an entirely sound and logical political base.

  • You can be fiscally conservative and socially liberal and this logically tenable.

    You can be fiscally conservative and socially liberal and this logically tenable because they are completely different issues.

    I would think that the broken marriage of fiscal conservationism and the radical notion that the government should be involved in private personal choices is the problem. How can you be rational conservative in fiscal matters but differ to ancient religious arguments when it comes to social issues? It is insane.

  • NO... I can be both.

    I don't really care what people believe or do,... As long as it doesn't invade my or any others personal space. As far as spending tax dollars wisely, I'm ALL for that... On programs that help as many citizens as possible and not just a few people at the top...Who bribe to get their way.

  • I came up with this term to describe myself, only to learn apparently others already use it (and it's unpopular!)

    I consider myself (mostly) Socially Liberal, but (mostly) Fiscally Conservative. To sum up my stance in a nutshell. I agree in people's freedom to express themselves, and do actions that I disagree with (However I am not supportive of people's right to harm themselves with destructive habits, but I can't think of any alternative to how we already handle that). So I consider myself socially liberal. As in, as long as you aren't hurting others, do what you will, and I have no beef with you. To clarify, I also fully and enthusiastically support abortion. I also don't believe in discriminating in the workplace or against customers. However I do believe in individual salary differences per employee.

    I could list several more things, but that could go on forever. Since I already started getting into the fiscal side, I'll try to sum up that position really quick. I believe that school SHOULD be cheaper for students, and a larger portion of government spending should be focused on education. However I do NOT believe raising the min. Wage (beyond inflation adjustments) will result in a net positive for the country, Nor do I believe that the min. Wage should be a "living wage". I also don't agree with people's definition of living wage (because I sure know how to live off $8000 a year, which is well below min. Wage). I've based my life decisions on being successful, and I've achieved enough success to be comfortable. I don't support success being handed out just because a person is working. I don't think a min. Wage life should be comfortable. I think you ought to work and improve yourself and struggle to achieve comfort. This is why I believe schooling should be more affordable, so people can take steps to improve and move to a non- min. Wage position. I believe ultimately it is the individual who is responsible for having a comfortable and happy life. NOT the state. If an individual makes bad decisions then I do not believe it is the state who steps in and supports them. I believe in limited safety net programs to temporarily assist those who are struggling, but I would change these programs to provide timelines and programs to help people get OUT of the situations that they are currently in. And I think these programs should have a cutoff, with the exception of people with chronic conditions who are unable to support themselves.

    I know many disagree, and I know my stances are unpopular. But my biggest point of posting this is just so that people know that my position exists.


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