Common Ground?

In my English 227 class we just finished reading and discussing Thomas More’s Utopia. While classmates picked a few suggestions out of the book at the professor’s request to argue for, the overwhelming feeling was that a Utopian society was not one we wanted to adopt. I was pleasantly surprised to find that no one enthusiastically argued for the Utopian society. Why? People like personal freedoms.  It would limit our self-expression, our ability to determine our own lives, even to have differing views. In short- it would limit our personal freedoms. But wait- I thought conservatives were for personal freedoms, not liberals. Could this be something we agree on? Perhaps on a broader scale, liberals believe in the ideals portrayed in Utopia- everyone is fed, everyone works, no one gets special treatment- but on a personal scale, few actually want to live like that. If they did, then why are there rich, liberal business owners? Shouldn’t they be pooling their resources, living on communes? The American dream is that if you work hard, you can amass resources and live comfortably. Isn’t it interesting that liberals seem to be reaching for that dream, which happens to stand at odds with a Utopian society? Understand, conservatives want a free society. In fact, our mission statement here at CR states: “We believe any attempt to establish utopia is bound to meet with failure and, more often than not, disaster.” It might just be that liberals think that too; they just don’t want to admit it.

5 comments

  1. From a legislative viewpoint, how exactly are conservatives promoting "personal freedom"? Liberals are usually the ones arguing for civil liberties, while conservatives are more concerned with empowering the police / national security state and legislating [Christian] morality and curtailing free speech. Not that liberals are at all blameless there, Obama's civil liberties record is perhaps even worse than Bush's — but I just don't see any evidence for the idea that conservatives champion personal freedom while liberals do not.

  2. I agree about the health care bill, I think mandating the purchase of insurance from parasitic private companies was a really terrible idea. A national health care system modeled after that of Canada or Britain would substantially increase personal freedom, but that wasn't ever even on the table, thanks to opposition from conservatives. I find that conservatives tend to care more about freedom for money than freedom for people.

    Not gonna get into the abortion debate except to say that I think most women believe they should have the freedom to determine when and how they get pregnant, as well as whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term, none of which I see conservatives showing much interest in except the last question. Forced pregnancy doesn't square with any definition of freedom that I'm aware of.

    1. It's more about liberty than absolute freedom. You're not free to commit acts like terrorism, grand theft auto, etc. Unless you're a crazy anarchist…

    2. Forced pregnancy? Are you suggesting conservatives are the ones who implanted the embryo in her uterus? Women have the freedom to determine when and how they get pregnant, but once they are pregnant we have to weigh what's at stake. What is the alternative to carrying a pregnancy to term? Killing an unborn child. The right to life should always trump the right to one's body for 9 months. Your right to swing your arms around stops when they hit me in the face. Conservatives have always said the life of the mother was a reason for an abortion, but the only pregnancy for which an abortion is the safest method of saving her life is an ectopic pregnancy. So I'm with you on that. But let's stop using abortion as birth control. Why don't liberals spend more time fighting for a world in which mothers (because that is what a pregnant woman is) and child can both be accepted? Why don't they fight to make sure that those 65% of women who are coerced into abortions are actually provided with a "choice?"

    3. I have lived in Britain, yes, and I received excellent preventative and emergency health care there, with no waiting. In the US, medical bills are the cause of more than 60% of bankruptcies — that's some pretty crappy freedom.

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