The Truth About Donkeys And Elephants

Via Plastic: Most Recent: Plastic::Politics::Politics: Not only do liberals and conservatives have different outlooks, but they may well have different starting points – is it policy or pragmatism that drives politics?

Liberalism, says Chait, is essentially a pragmatic, results-driven philosophy — a particular goal is identified, and then a means of achieving that goal is developed (e.g., taxes are not viewed as inherently good or bad, but merely a means to a particular end). He describes conservatism, on the other hand, as an ideologically driven philosophy that begins with a predetermined notion of what government should look like and only then tries to justify itself by discussing the likely results of certain policies (e.g., taxes are seen as inherently bad, and the consequences of cutting taxes are only a secondary concern). In this sense, he says liberals are much more willing to change their stances on particular policies, focusing instead on the ultimate goal, while for conservatives the policies are the ultimate goal.

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