*One of the best things about the United States is the existence of multiple perspectives.
To some degree, the existence of different viewpoints and the protection of the alternative viewpoints is at the very center of the country’s establishment.
Yet in today’s society supporters of one political ideology consistently supports this central American concept while supporters of the other main political ideology frequently seek to eliminate alternate viewpoints.
Philosophically liberals believe in a society in which all views are equally valid, and by extension all lifestyles are equally valid. It follows that liberals generally attempt to enact laws that will protect alternative lifestyles and not only the most traditional.
Conversely conservatives generally do not believe all viewpoints are equally valid. They privilege those lifestyles they are more familiar with and seek to exclude from society those who live life differently than they do. Conservatives attempt to enact laws that elevate the status of traditional lifestyles.
This basic philosophical difference is true when the topic is economics and liberals are arguing for a money supply backed by silver and gold as in the late 19th century. It is also true when the topic is the social aspect of society as when conservatives argue against the ability of homosexuals to gain legal recognition of their marriages.
Simply approaching issues from different points of view is one thing. More important is the fact that these different approaches inspire liberals and conservatives to support or fight against certain types of laws.
Because liberals believe multiple lifestyles are valid they argue for laws that will allow multiple lifestyles to be successful. Conservatives consistently highlight the paths to success they travelled and encourage others to replicate their journey.
As I said earlier, the acceptance of various viewpoints is perhaps the most basic quality of this country. The First Amendment, part of what the founders knew would stabilize the new republic, protects different opinions and by extension lifestyles. The idea of a free marketplace of ideas protects the different ways of life. And as much as conservatives espouse their love of the Constitution, and the original intent of its authors, and the unfettered market, they seek to limit the amount of options people have access to.
Trevor Brookins is a free lance writer in Rockland County, New York. He is currently working on a book about American culture during the Cold War. His writing has appeared in The Journal News. You can reach him at [email protected]