The Fundamental Difference Between Conservatives and Liberals When it Comes to Equality

by Evan

Every morning while getting ready for work I have CNBC on as background noise, and I saw a commercial the other morning that really got me to thinking about something other than money and personal finance.  It was some MSNBC anchor talking about he just wants, “equality” and I immediately thought to myself, “who besides those crazy KKK guys doesn’t want equality?”  Then as I am brushing teeth it hit me, if me and this guy want the same thing (i.e. equality) why do I consistently want to tear the TV off the wall every time I stop on MSNBC?

Prior to providing an answer a little about Evan.  While I have discussed it in the past, it should be noted that I am for the most part a Libertarian.  When asked I usually sum up a Libertarian as a person who is fiscally conservative (low taxes/low government interference) but who is socially progressive (pro choice / pro gay marriage) but for a more complete understanding you may want to check out the LP’s platform page.  The introduction to that preamble reads,

As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others (emphasis added).

We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized (emphasis added).

Consequently, we defend each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power (emphasis added).

I have an entire category political posts, but some of my favorites include:

What is Equality and How do We Reach it?

I think the questions of What and How are what politically divides people  when it comes to equality.  I don’t think I can be clearer than the preceding emphasized portions:

  • No one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others
  • Only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized
  • Where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power

Or, said succinctly, If I am personally being disadvantaged or having my rights impeded for the benefit of another then all is NOT equal.

When the United States Government decides to help a certain class, race or sex they are doing it at the direct detriment of another.  Should there be exceptions? Of course, The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the Federal Government attempting to fight de jur racial and gender discrimination.  Similarly, the American with Disability Act has provided an attempt to level the playing field for those with mental or physical special needs.

However, all is not equal when the only thing that separates two candidates is the color of their skin 0r the fact that one lost the sperm lottery and grew up in particular neighbor and the Federal Government or State Government provides extra points on a test that could lead to a profitable career.

This discussion has been going on since the beginning of this Country, and I am sure well before that, so I have no grand illusion that it will be solved in this 500 word post.  Notwithstanding, it is the What and the How that puts a divide between social conservatives and social liberals.

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Investor Junkie July 15, 2011 - 1:45 pm

It can be summed up to this:Equal in opportunity, not equal in outcome.Progressives want equal outcome.

Evan July 18, 2011 - 2:43 pm

Fantastic difference

krantcents July 15, 2011 - 9:24 pm

This can be very long discussion, but equality is one of those words that means different things to people. I teach at risk kids who are given a variety of things to make them equal with others. It will be a long time before that happens. Many start college (mostly community college), but few finish!

Evan July 18, 2011 - 2:45 pm

My question would be whether the “things” they are given cause a disadvantage to those “not” at risk?

SB (One Cent At A Time) July 15, 2011 - 11:40 pm

being a alien resident, this is very informative to me, although most of it were common sense.

Evan July 18, 2011 - 2:46 pm

Resident alien from where?

Ashley July 16, 2011 - 10:07 am

I just wanted to say hello to a fellow Libertarian. I get frustrated when people can’t just be people, everyone has to fit into a little group nowadays.

Investor Junkie July 16, 2011 - 12:13 pm

@Ashley: It’s interesting how many people I know mistake me for a republican.I personally don’t care if someone I know is progressive, liberal, republican, or libertarian.Unfortunately not everyone is like that.

Ashley July 16, 2011 - 12:35 pm

Same here. I was just saying that I think to ever have equality we need to start looking past the little groups and see the person. Obviously. Like if I don’t like someone and they happen to be gay (or a different race than me, or whatever) then it’s assumed I don’t like ALL gay people, or that I don’t like them BECAUSE they are gay. Hey, you know… maybe I just don’t like them.I should stop talking now before I get myself into trouble. haha

Investor Junkie July 16, 2011 - 12:41 pm

Yes for example the issue with Obama and his policies: dislike him NOT because of his color, because his policies SUCK. Big difference.At best they are anti-biz/anti-growthI could care less his color and would be at issue whoever was in the White House with the same policies.

Evan July 18, 2011 - 2:50 pm

IJ & Ashley

I couldn’t put it better myself…Just because I don’t like someone or someone’s policies doesn’t make me a bigot!

Ashley July 16, 2011 - 2:01 pm


Julie July 16, 2011 - 2:06 pm

I have many, many views that are Libertarian in nature. Not sure I’m ready to label myself one yet. I do like Investor Junkie’s point about equal opportunity vs. Equal outcomes.

Evan July 18, 2011 - 2:59 pm

What are some of those views vs. NOT those views?

Darwin's Money July 16, 2011 - 11:23 pm

Much depends on what you’re trying to equalize and how you do it. Should income be equal? Certainly not – that’s communism. Should people basically be free from discrimination and harassment? Of course! It just depends on what the issue is, but let’s all agree, America didn’t become great by trying to dissuade people from working hard, saving, making responsible choices and trying to “get ahead”. After all, who would want to prevent someone from getting ahead?

Evan July 18, 2011 - 3:04 pm

I think the problem arises when there is discrepancy as to whether someone should be too ahead of another as evidenced by class warfare

101 Centavos July 17, 2011 - 7:24 am

When you have discussions with conservative friends or liberal friends that cause them to shake their head and think that you’ve got some nutty views, then you’re probably headed down the libertarian path 🙂

Evan July 18, 2011 - 3:05 pm

Can’t please everyone all the time

lily November 14, 2017 - 3:25 am

when there is discrepancy as to whether someone should be too ahead of another as evidenced by class warfare


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