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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Most People are Mixed Up

In my definitions of conservatism and liberalism, I have pretty much painted them as methodological and ideological opposites. The reality, of course, is that most people are not all conservative or all liberal. Most people trend conservative on some issues and liberal on others. Reasons for this vary from person to person, but this reality gives rise to some of the most interesting creatures on the political landscape. Perhaps the most notorious example is the Neocon, who has been defined as "a liberal who's been mugged." Libertarians would be another example of this sort of thing. So would "Reagan Democrats."

The thing to note here is that it can be very dangerous to look at most people and try to divine their overall conservative/liberal orientation from just a few of their opinions. You may be surprised to find that a writer whose fiscal conservatism you admire may be very liberal on social issues, for example.

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