I was just thinking today about the way the very general liberal vs. conservative arguments on Newsvine tend to shake out, and I realized a generalization about liberals and conservatives that I'd never thought of before, that I think explains the way those arguments go (to a certain degree).
As a very broad generalization, I think liberals care far more about social issues than economic ones, and I think conservatives care far more about economic issues than social ones. In other words, I think that liberals usually think of conservatives as 'those evil bastards who want to jail all the gays and force children to pray every morning in algebra class and increase the number of executions by a power of ten.' And I think conservatives generally think of liberals as 'those whining morons who want to take all of my money and give it to lazy people and poorly run government agencies and other countries and the World Wildlife Fund.'
And because of those two things, I think that liberals and conservatives are always really arguing about totally different things, even if the argument at hand is couched in some particular topic from either half of that dichotomy. And maybe that's part of why we all feel like we're just banging our heads against the wall sometimes during these conversations. Maybe each side is just focused on completely different aspects of each issue (or even underlying issues which aren't entirely connected), and there really isn't a way to see eye-to-eye because we aren't really looking at the same things.
For instance, I just stumbled across Dom Pody's article, "I hate Liberalism. No, this isn't a satire." and I thought it was going to be all about abortions and gay marriage and the second amendment and atheism and supporting the troops. But then I got there and saw that it was about economic liberalism, and I, as a liberal, thought, Oh, man, who really cares about this?
And that's the thing. I think that on some very basic level, when it comes down to it, a full-blooded liberal doesn't really care about money, and a full-blooded conservative cares a lot about money. I'm not saying that either point of view there is better than the other; I just think they're both true.
As a liberal, I'm very convicted about my opinions on most social issues, to the point that I think that a lot of the related conservative points of view are just plain wrong. On economic issues, on the other hand, I kinda think that both points of view have their valid points and that they're both really trying to accomplish the same thing in different ways, and that the vagaries and convolutions make it very hard to tell which way is best.
My guess is that a lot of conservatives think that economically liberal ideologies are just completely, 100%, 180 degrees wrong, but on a lot of social issues there's room to maneuver this way and that.
Now, I know that there are lots of examples that fly in the face of this theory (there are certainly a good number of social conservatives, for instance), so maybe I'm talking more about a certain subset of people than the population in general. Maybe I mean young people more than not. Maybe I mean the Newsvine community more than the rest of the world. In fact, a quick perusal of the comments on Mykola's "Newsvine Demographics: Definitive Politics" seems to show that the liberals tend to poll farther to the left socially than economically, and conservatives polled farther right economically than socially. So maybe that means something, or maybe it doesn't.
Or maybe this is all just hooey, and I'm over-generalizing (all generalizing is over-generalizing, really, but sometimes there's some value in it anyway). What do you guys and gals think of all of this nonsense?