There is a general confusion in America about the meaning of terms like "conservative" and "liberal-progressive." Understanding the essential differences between the two sides is not difficult: conservatives and liberals have a very different view of humanity:
Conservatives see individuals as naturally embedded in communities, families, traditions, institutions. These are larger, older and more important than the individual , which is just a little link in a vast chain, so to speak, and the individual has duties to them. Conservatives believe that people are not naturally inclined to goodness, and that they therefore need to be "tamed" (by those institutions mentioned above)
Liberals and progressives, on the other hand, do not focus on the holistic whole of the community, but on the single individual: it is - they claim - born free, autonomous, it has natural rights (no duties, as with the conservatives; a very important difference!). According to this ideology, societies come into being only when free individuals, by pursuing their interests and their happiness, come together and conclude contracts. And societies are nothing but the outcome of these contracts formed by rational individuals trying to maximize their personal 'utility'. The common good, Liberals hope, comes about by the working of some 'invisible hand'
For thousands of years, all traditional human communities were "conservative" without using this word. It was Christianity which invented the individual as we know it today, Luther and other Protestants empowered the individual and set it free (with "my conscience" as only and ultimate judge), and later European thinkers like Locke or Milll invented what we call now "Liberalism", which became the dominant ideology in the West and changed, working hand in glove with its sibling "capitalism" to change the world.
Was this change Progress? Most people in the West think so, because most people today are much more prosperous and freer than 300 years ago. And we are 8 billion now, what a huuuge success story ! But I'd like to look at the Big Picture, and in the Big Ledger of reality there is a Minus for every Plus. The world as a whole is always zero-sum. If somebody wins (in our case free, prosperous individuals all over the world, especially in the West (or Global North, as it is called today), somebody or something has to lose. So who or what is paying the bill for the party we have been enjoying for the last 200 years? For a long time it was the Global South (think: colonialism). But avove all it is and has been Mother Nature who has to pay the bill, as more and more self-empowered, free and happy individuals come to realize!
Capitalism and liberalism, those terrible siblings, function like a drug: they cause a lot of fun and pleasure and happiness here and now, but cause a lot of damage down the road : In the long run, they poison and destroy everything: communities, traditions, the environment... you name it.
In my personal view one must be very stupid or blinkered by ideology or greed or whatever to call this great destruction the "way of Progress". Capitalism and liberalism have turned Homo sapiens into a pest species - and we keep celebrating and congratulating ourselves ?
People corner and box themselves in categories, titles, & labels. It is a cruel punishment to imprison one's self to such definitions that not everyone understands or is even capable of comprehending to begin with.
What do you think should happen?
In my experience, there's plenty of in-group/out-group thinking on both sides of the political aisle (liberal and conservative). And there is lots of me-first selfishness irrespective of political ideology. It kind of sounds like you're speaking out against extreme libertarianism (especially as espoused by the Libertarian Party), and I'm inclined to agree with you that the fringe of that group undermines a functional society by promoting individuality as the supreme good, without regard for any social obligation, and unconstrained capitalistic markets as the primary basis of freedom.
The meaning of words change with time and varies from place to place. Americans generally know how they use the terms, but are unaware of original historical and International meanings of the terms. This is not confusion, but merely lack of historical and International political awareness.
Maybe I am just too sleepy yet this morning. I don't get this at all. I'm a former conservative turned liberal and identify today as a progressive. Currently I see no good coming out of any political belief where somebody has to lose. There should be equality and benefit for all as much as possible. Common good does not come about by the working of some invisible hand but I do agree that religion has poisoned everything. This is true today more than ever before because of desires to make America a theocracy when it plainly is not.
Business practices seem to work out of stupidity and greed. If you have ever been in a checkout line in Walmart, for example, it is assumed that the person in front of you using a food stamp card is the real problem. They are using your money and have stolen it, but this is not true. Move on now to there conversion to self checkouts where they claim to be saving so much money. In reality more people are involved with this system than individual checkouts. The claim is that this system helps avoid theft. The reality IMO is that more can now be stolen.
well said. and as a wise man said, "There's no Planet B "
@Matias Then revise your 1st sentence.