Who Favors More Freedom, Liberals or Conservatives? – Learn Liberty

People like to divide economic and political
issues into conservative issues and liberal issues. In fact the terms aren’t very useful.
According to Webster, liberalism is a political philosophy based on the belief in the essential
goodness of the human race, the autonomy of the individual, and the protection of political
and civil liberties. The definition for conservatism is a political
philosophy based on tradition, social stability, and stressing its established institutions,
preferring gradual development to abrupt change. These official definitions draw a picture
of, in the case of liberalism, a society in which the government is subservient to the
people, and in the case of conservatism, a society in which the people are subservient
to the government. That seems to be contradictory from what we understand at a conventional-wisdom
level of what it is that constitutes liberal issues versus conservative issues. Let’s look at a few issues themselves. Universal
health care: most people would argue it’s clearly a liberal issue. This is something
that we associate with the liberal parties. The minimum wage, similarly, is a liberal
issue. Reducing taxes is a conservative issue. Gay marriage is a liberal issue. The drug
war: a conservative issue. Mandatory prayer in public schools is a conservative issue,
and prohibiting prayer in public schools is a liberal issue. Free trade meanwhile belongs
with the conservatives. So most people will not disagree on specific issues and how they
divide into conservative versus liberal. But the terms themselves seem to be contradictory. Let me suggest two new terms: freedom, more
freedom versus less freedom. If we take these issues and divide them into more freedom versus
less freedom we find that free trade is a more freedom issue; the drug war is a less
freedom issue. Gay marriage is more freedom. Minimum wage is less freedom. Reduced taxes
is more freedom; requiring everyone to have insurance is less freedom. Meanwhile, both
mandating and prohibiting prayer in public schools is less freedom. The term freedom seems to capture the dichotomy
between these issues better than conservative versus liberal. But the world gets more complicated
because we all exist in two spheres, a social sphere, where we choose how to behave, and
an economic sphere, in which we enter into contracts with others. These two spheres aren’t
necessarily independent. For example your choice to marry a goat is a social choice.
Your choice to buy foreign goods is an economic choice. Your choice to do drugs is a social
choice, but your choice to buy drugs is an economic choice. So we can take these issues and we can show
them not just on an axis of less versus more freedom, but on an axis of less social freedom
versus more social freedom and less economic freedom versus more economic freedom. And
this starts to capture the actual world in which we live. We can do the same thing with politicians.
People are in general agreement as to where major figures fall on the conservative to
liberal scale. But if we start to think in terms of both social conservatism versus social
liberalism and economic conservatism versus economic liberalism, what we see is a whole
new pattern of how these politicians fall. In fact if we step away from the terms conservative
and liberal entirely we start to see how these political figures stand on issues of personal
and economic freedom. The liberal-conservative dichotomy leads us
to contradictions because it encourages us not to think in terms of first principles
but to think in terms of issues. A first principle is something that is either assumed to be
true or is so self evident as to be beyond dispute. When we start discussions at first
principles rather than issues, we avoid espousing contradictory or inconsistent views. As we
talk about particular issues like the minimum wage or like universal health care, the wrong
place to start is with the effect of these things on people. The right place to start
is at the first principle. Do we or do we not have rights to property and life? If we
do then certain things follow and those things that follow will inform our positions on these

100 thoughts on “Who Favors More Freedom, Liberals or Conservatives? – Learn Liberty

  • Not simple. Simply retarded.

    You can go to jail for MURDER if you kill a pregnant woman's child.

    Different DNA = Different person. Biology 101.

  • So we are in agreement. It DOES make them a different individual.

    As you stated before, the rights must NOT be violated.

    Therefore, the right to life is inviolate.

  • " We are not in agreement because I support individual rights as an absolute. "

    Then you support the absolute right to life specifically enumerated in the 5th and 14th Amendment, or youre a liar who DOESNT really support individual rights as an absolute.

    Which is it?

  • "1) make a valid or new argument or 2) answer my question about the violation of the mothers rights."

    Translation: "I cant refute your irrefutable argument. So I want you to change it!"

    Surrender accepted.

    Edge wins!

  • The mother's rights to what? To do whatever she wants?

    Individual rights involve not infringing upon the rights of others, in this case the right to life of the unborn child. That is the basis of individual rights in a society.

    A potential individual is an egg or a sperm. It could potentially become someone but is not right now and needs a change to become a person. Birth does not make a change which turns a fetus into a person; conception does that.

  • "The right to life is the right to do what you choose to do as long as you don't violate the rights of other individuals."

    Exactly. So as long a the mother isn't violating the rights of the child to its life, THEN she can do whatever she wants. =]

    Edge wins!

  • Okay, if we build off of your statements:

    We then have to decide how 'birth' is defined. Does the infant have to be completely outside the mother's body? Or would partial birth abortions be okay because the infant did not have rights yet because the birthing process wasn't complete. Or is 'birth' defined as after we cut the umbilical cord?

    Also why does the infant's location give it rights? Are you saying that when a baby is born that 24 hours before it had no rights?

  • The mother's rights do not entitle her to violate the right to life of her unborn child.

    And that child is an individual. Dependence upon others for your life does not mean someone is not a person with rights. An infant cannot feed itself, it cannot get milk and must be fed. A child cannot survive without caretakers until it is a number of years old. The elderly, especially those with alzheimers, suffer from the same condition.

    Should we refuse to honor rights on the basis of dependence?

  • False. the constitution doesn't make that distinction.

    Further, since you can go to jail for MURDER if you kill an unborn child (IE, Scott Pererson was convicted of TWO murders) its already established that it is an individual life.

    Your weird blood lust for killing babies notwithstanding.

  • Youre the guy described in the video. You just take a side, and defend its assigned position.

    You have no first principles.

    You (mockingly) cite the Declaration? LOL.

    It speaks clearly to the UNALIENABLE RIGHT to LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    Do you know what the word "unalienable" means, idiot? Obviously not.

    Show me where the declaration says the right to an abortion overrides the tight to life.

    If you can, you win.
    If you cant, I win.

    Just that simple.

  • So you CANT show me where the declaration says abortion overrides unalienable rights?

    Edge wins!

    Its not a violation of the mothers rights to say "you cant kill your children."

    There is no unalienable right to kill your children.


  • That is why we should not give rights to the unborn because they will be born at one point. However, that does not mean we cannot give rights to the unborn for other reasons.

  • "There is no reason you can give that would not cause the violation of the rights of another individual."

    Exactly, since killing the child violates its right, there is no reason to be given (other than literally self defense against a threat that could kill you) for killing the child.

  • "I've answered and countered that argument a half dozen times already. "

    But your answer relies on some mythical right to kill your own children. I counter your myth with the FACTS. The right to life is expressed and inalienable. There is no right to kill your children.

    So any way you want to spin it, your mythical "right to kill ones own children" doesn't exist. Therefore, no right is violated when you are told you cant do it.

  • "Therefore you can not violate the mothers right to her own life"

    Just as the mother cant violate the childs right to life.

    The liberty interest, or the pursuit of happiness has never included the right to kill other people. <–Airtight and bullet proof. The argument that cant be beaten!

    Edge wins!

  • Murder is a term of law.

    There is NO inalienable right to kill your children.

    There IS an inalienable right to life–specifically spelled out in the Const

    Expressed, inalienable rights take priority over your imaginary, non-existant ones. Sorry.

  • How is gay marriage, or straight marriage for that matter, equal more freedom?
    The issue entails government recognition and privileges, not liberty.

  • This is a really one-dimension way at defining "freedom". If there's no minimum wage for instance, sure, employers would be free to pay whatever they feel so long as people take those jobs. However, those workers would be much less free in the sense that they'd have much less free time.

    Also, I don't see how it's wrong to address issues based on their effects on people. Isn't that what we're talking about – people? His last slide seems like more of a how-to for "gotcha" questions.

  • But the employees are free to accept or reject the wage. Freedom is not "I get to breeze through life. Freedom is to be free to make your own choices with the least amount of outside interference. Basically, as long as you aren't harming others, youre free to make your own choices.

    The last slide (IMO) stated it very well, I thought. Have a core set of principles, then let those first principles shape your opinions on issues. Don't just pick a side because youre lib or conservative.

  • "Therefore because the mothers rights are inalienable you may NOT violate those rights."

    Except there is no right to kill your children.

    So unless you can produce the "the right to kill your children shall not be infringed" clause somewhere, the no rights ARE violated in telling her she cant kill her children.

    So, show me where your mythical right to kill your own children is expressed. Otherwise, suck failure.

    Edge wins! Reality wins!

  • Yes. And each time you FAIL to show where the right to kill your own children exists.

    Therefore, NO right is denied the mother when you tell he she cant kill her children.


    The inalienable right to life of the child exists. Your bullshit "mothers right to kill her children" does not. Every abortion violates an inalienable right. Preventing an abortion violates nothing.


  • Yes. Already covered. You're wrong. There is no right to kill your own children.

    Therefore no right would be violated if you tell her she cant do it.

    Already covered. Dozens of times, in fact.

    Edge wins!

  • "Every individual has the right to their life."

    and NO individual has the right to kill another person.

    Right to life is inalienable. Right to kill your children is mythical.

    Right to life wins! yay!

    Edge wins!

  • First, the fact that youre making retarded, out of context comparisons proves you know your position is wrong.

    Surrender accepted.

    Actually ur still wrong. Because rights are something you evoke unilaterally. 1 example given responds a use of deadly force against you. So its not as much as a right to kill someone else. It is a right to eliminate a threat trying to kill you. The right is to self defense. Its not a right to kill.

    But you still can show me a mothers right to kill her child

  • Cont) But,Ill compromise and do it your war. Outlaw all abortions except there a) the child grabs a gun and threatens to kill someone, b) declares war on the US, c) is convicted of a capital crime, or d) the child goes to a physician, and authorizes the physician (in writing, in accordance with all applicable laws) to euthanize them.

    Of course, since you don't really believe your bullshit, youll reject this compromise that you demanded. =]

  • Sorry to upset you by proving my statement was 100%, when it was taken in the context it was written. But it was.

    I noticed you backed out on your deal.

    Typical. I KNEW you were bullshitting. =]

  • OK, so you were unable to show where the right to kill your own children is expressed in the the const. You cant show me where it exists, because it DOESNT exist.


    So we are forever done with the lie that a right is being violated, if a woman is being told she cant kill her child.

    But the child's inalienable right to life is INALIENABLE. That's why its specifically called inalienable.

    Class dismissed.

  • " I think I've proved my point sufficiently"

    Correct. You've proved sufficiently that telling someone they cant kill their children does NOT violate any inalienable right.

    We are in agreement.

    Therefore, your previous arguments are rendered moot, and defeated.

    Edge wins!

  • Hey, I just made a video about being an independent voter. It's very low budget (which is what I was aiming for). Please check it out!

  • The point of this video was that neither liberals nor conservatives favor freedom more… they both, in one way or another, want to remove freedom from the people. So to say liberals "favor" freedom is like saying they're the smartest ppl with down syndrome.

  • As you say, Liberals want to end the drug war but Conservatives want to continue it on or in some cases even expand it further. When he goes into More Freedom vs Less Freedom, it becomes clear that he is referring to the continuation of the drug war which would be conservative.

  • Its not a good chart theirs a better Chart called the Political compass. Libertarians are very Bias on Regulations that it somehow impedes theirs freedom. MEanwhile the Regulations are their in place so CORPORATIONS DON T FUCK WITH THEIR FREEDOM

  • Ehh Liberals favor more personal freedom, Conservatives favor more economic freedom. Libertarians favor freedom totally.

  • I am not sure why that got 5 thumbs up as it was just calling liberals retarded while dressing it up as an analogy. This is especially problematic as the first half of your post was actually a reasonable interpretation of the video.

  • I apologize squirrely… That was a hit at liberals especially. Though I feel both liberals and conservatives are equally against freedom for the people and they are equally the "smartest ppl with down syndrome". I merely targeted liberals because of the comment I was responding to initially, which stated that LIBERALS favor freedom MORE… I only singled out liberals because the original poster did as well. I would have responded the same to someone saying "Conservatives favor freedom more"

  • One of the main things that I liked/got out of the video is the idea that saying either political philosophy likes freedom more is worse than wrong, its a misidentification of the problem/solution.

    All of these parties are simply responding to a pattern of incentives within a system that existed before any of them joined. Neither are really informed by data (unless it suits them). The Down's syndrome analogy implies a personal failure in each, when what we have is the system working as designed

  • Americans have backwards terms. Australia uses the terms correct. Liberal conservative party vs the socialist socially backwards party.

  • "Your choice to marry a goat is a social choice"

    What? The other examples didn't go to some nonsense extreme. The hell was that about??

  • only a libertarian could come up with the minimum wage and universal healthcare as "less economic freedom". I want him to draw graphs on his whiteboard to show me how black is white.

  • This is such horseshit. The day by day struggle for survival impedes personal growth; hunger, illiteracy, disease etc etc etc becomes an impassable barrier barring your true potential. As such, a child with theoretical professor potential born to poor workers in Indonesia ends up as a beggar. A life wasted because the greedy will not share. Without compensation for social background, social mobility comes to a halt. Put a large dot in the middle of a paper and spread small dots randomly all over the paper, then draw a circle around the large dot. The large dot is a human being, the small dots are actions available, the circle are all action the human have the opportunity to reach. A underprivileged individual will have a small radius while a privileged individual will have a large radius. Now, this is freedom you can touch. Freedom from minimum wage laws or freedom from taxes etc etc etc are abstract, theoretical freedoms, for all except employers.

    Naturally, a libertarian would want to argue on principle, as they lose on the issue.

  • This would be more interesting if the fundamental assumption, that "freedom" is an unambiguous quality of all issues, was justified.  Personally, single-payer healthcare seems more freeing than our current model to me.  And I don't think of freedom as the ultimate good to be maximized in society.  That seems to be a Libertarian idea. Real freedom includes the ability to make disastrous choices that benefit others. That seems a very dangerous idea for a country that believes in free speech, a relatively free market and that advertising is constitutionally protected speech. 

  • This is propaganda. I would argue that the so-called liberal causes in this video are guaranteed to result in less freedom for Americans, and I would imagine many conservatives and libertarians would agree with me.
    And how exactly is lower taxes less freedom? If you lower my taxes, I have freedom to spend the savings, invest them, or give them away to the charity of MY choice. That's a lot of freedom. Take the drug war. I would argue that those caught up in drug addiction are plagued with a near total lack of freedom. Addiction is about loss of freedom. As for "mandatory prayer in public schools"–that is ridiculous. No self-respecting conservative wants to eliminate separation of church and state. The true issue is freedom to pray in public schools, should the student so desire. Again, it is characterized as freedom.

    On the liberal side, restriction or prohibition of religious expression results in a loss of freedom. We know that Obamacare has already resulted in dramatic losses of freedom. Free trade is a liberal issue? What did you take it away from Conservatives? Rubbish. Gay marriage, in my book, is a red herring. The state should not be in the business of regulating marriage. It can have a civil union category, should it so choose.

  • That's funny, because I've been saying these two "First Principles" to friends of mine for a while now and so far they've been observed. I've also noticed that neither party holds to the exact definition of their ideology.

    (Modern) Liberalism is the moral absolute belief that there are no moral absolutes and that all laws should be based upon the fleeting whims of the majority.

    (Modern) Conservatism is the belief in moral absolutes (self-evident regardless of opinion) and that ONLY those should be the basis of law

    All the "issues" are just icing on the cake to keep us distracted.

  • Ok, once again, without watching, my prediction is they will say conservatives favor more freedom and will completely fail to mention, or down play, the idea of freedom from arbitrary "moral" restrictions.  Who did they sell out to, that's my only question.

  • "The wrong place to start is with the effect of these things on people, the right place to start is at the "first principles.""   That says it all right there.  Fuck people my principles are more important.

  • Mind blown…..
    I have always believed in freedom first.
    This means that if my decision brings disaster opon me so be it. You don't HAVE TO HELP ME! Your help is nice and if offered freely or with strings it still is up to me to take it. There is more to it than that but I find that I like first principles. Thank you!

  • I am still on the fence on whether I can say these guys are on the money. They do have a lot of good things to say, but many times they just don't seem to get everything right. We'll see as time goes on.

  • The trouble comes when you try to define freedom. I would define it as having a balance of power in relations. If, when people interact with corporations, each other and the government if one side has significantly more power than the other the one with less power has less freedom. On that basis minimum wage could be more freedom because, while the government takes power over employers, creating a power imbalance, it evens out the power inequality between employer and employee.
    It's the same with taxes; the state takes control of your money away from you but it also pays for police and roads and schools which give you the freedom to move and the power of knowledge and stops criminals from taking control of some aspect of your life (possibly by forcibly ending your life).
    We know you can't be free when you're dead so paying for defence and healthcare with taxes and enforcing health and safety regulation is essential.
    In short government intervention doesn't always infringe freedom, it frequently creates it.
    Trouble is that for government to do all this it needs to have power and by definition it will be a huge concentration of power. That's where democracy comes in; by that I don't just mean free and fair elections (although that's essential). We need an independent judiciary, government under the law and under the constitution, freedom of speech and a free press, freedom of association, limited police powers, protection against majoritarianism, the views of minority opinions given proportional influence over public policy etc.

  • Look up the definitions of the following words: freedom, employment, contract. 
    Have fun, and don't forget to read some marx, proudhon, kropotkin, and bakunin.

  • Do we have rights to property and life? No, and no. The government owns all land, and your life is only as long as you can live it. Nature doesn't even think we should live forever.

  • This man is 100% correct. This is why we need to disband republicans and democrats and instead vote on issues. But seeing as how that will never happen, vote Libertarian if you are Economically conservative and socially liberal!

  • I don't think that liberals want to prohibit prayer in school, they just don't want the prayer imposed in school, HUGE difference. Otherwise, it seems to me that liberals want as much freedom in life as possible, while considering economy liberty not as much important, just technicalities, mainly probably because things like taxes and minimum wage are not perceived as immoral (I used to be like that, I ended up libertarian). So, freedom of being gay, hooker, drinker, smoker (of anything) are very obvious liberties for a liberal, but a social conservative just doesn't care about them, they just want other people to follow their "morals" and they seem happy, in general, when sinners go to jail for smoking the wrong plant or being ostracized because they don't go to Church. To me, a working class liberal is a person that needs one last deep debate to become libertarian.

  • See, I'd argue that NOT having to worry about being able to afford health care is more liberating than being forced to buy an insurance. I do like how the 'freedoms' associated on the right have everything to do with money – or ways of protecting/making it. Perhaps the next spectrum should read: personal greed – communal benefit

  • Liberals do not prohibit prayer in public schools, they just don't want forced or perceived backing by the school of prayer.

  • Universal healthcare is not "requiring everyone to have healthcare". It's universal, so it's just kind there if you want it. It's not like Obama care where you are fined or whatever if you don't have healthcare. Obama Care is just forced private healthcare, not universal healthcare in the traditional sense. I feel like these arguments are constrained to American politics, which is a problem sine American politics are mainly right wing. Even the "left" if right wing. Anyone centrist and beyond is considered a commie. This "Learn Liberty" is just American Libertarian ego-strocking. Not only that, but they have managed to totally skew the political spectrum with what Orwell (ironically loved by the American right-wing, despite being a socialist) would call double speak.

  • Uh…why would minimum wage be "less freedom"? The only people it hurts are stingy rich ones who don't want to pay wages. But then, most "libertarianism" today is driven by stingy rich guys anyway.

  • Can we have too much FREEDOM? Does maximum "freedom" provide maximum happiness to all citizens? No. Maximizing freedom, particularly economic freedom, is the vision of Libertarianism. But it's dark vision with devastating consequences for the majority of us and but this Conservative/Libertarian fantasy of little or no govt maximizes freedom for wealth. It also maximizes political control for those with wealth resulting in a society structured by class. 

    This was the pre-modern world and it was brutal for the poor and working class majority. The social and political progress of the modern world has been to free us from this plight. Why would we want to return to that world?

  • These terms already exist (sort of). The political spectrum is already two-dimensional, with the two dimensions being liberal-conservative and libertarian-statist. Sure, people who get all their political info from CNN or some such tend to buy into the overly-simplified one-dimensional liberal-conservative dichotomy, but those people are just ignorant (and in my experience, aggressively ignorant). One could argue the two dimensions proposed in this video are superior to liberal-conservative/libertarian-statist, but without resorting to the borderline-strawman of the one-dimensional political spectrum.

  • In political science, economic liberalism refers to the views favouring free trade and fewer regulations. I hate how Americans hijack the terms.

  • Nothing about rights or liberty is self-evident. It's all arbitrary, based on ideas and values. This is why it is so hard to get people to agree about them. Saying something is "self-evident," is merely declaring it to be beyond question. Thus, there cannot be rational discussion about it.

  • I like this guy's swagger

    Intelligent but not nerdy
    Assertive but not domineering or egotistical
    Empathetic and relatable, but not a pushover.

  • *I do know that this video is six years old, but still wanted to interject here.

    Anybody arguing about the classification of certain issues on the "more freedom" or "less freedom" scale by Dr. Davies has missed the purpose of this video. That was merely a tool to help explicate his point. The purpose is to start political debate on "first principles", instead of issues. There is a reason why youtube comment section debates are never resolved, and it is for the precise reason, in my opinion, that has been stated here. When we debate issues that are contingent upon ideas not agreed upon by both parties, it is logically impossible to convince either party to change.

  • What is mandatory prayer in public school supposed to be? I have never heard of anyone promoting that in my entire life.
    I have heard of banning prayer in public school though.

  • Many conservatives don't have the same views on gay marriage and the war on drugs. Believe me the conservatives are much better than liberals

  • I am all for increasing freedom and stop just before the very fabric supporting freedom starts to get rip, vola you have optimized it. but I think it will be a constant thing rather than one time job.

  • Fantastic lecture that provides a simple explanation to something that I've found both frustrating and infuriating! This is why I'm neither Democrat nor Republican. This lecture captures exactly how I view things. Great job!

  • Conservative is short for " Constitutional Conservative " we want to conserve the ideals of the American Revolution, written in the Declaration of Independence and it's governing manifestation the Constitution which are based on natural rights of liberty, individual and property rights. We believe that the role of goverment is to protect these rights. Liberalism, progressivism, socialism it's real identity is cultural marxism, it's a foreign ideology imported from Europe which married Marxism to the cultural instead of traditional economic Marxism. Cultural Marxism views the world through a marxist prism of oppressed and oppressors, the violated and the violators instead of haves and have nots of traditional Marxim. This shift occurred in the 1950s when the Frankfurt School infiltrated academia through the Yale English Dept. When the Marxist revolution did not occur during WW1 like Marx had predicted the Marxist Lukacs and Gramaci both realized that Christendom and western civilization had to be destroyed in order to bring the Marxist revolution. Gramasci " Long march through Instition" to destroy what he called Cultural Hegemoney " and replace it with a counter hegemony. Examples of Cultural Hegemoney are authority, capitalism, Christianity, conservatism, the family, hierarchy, loyalty, morality, nationalism, patriotism, sexual restraints. And to destroy this they deployed a tactic they refer to as the sword and the shield. The sword multiculturalism attacks natiomalsim, patriotism, loyalty. Enviromentalism attacks capitalism. Feminism attacks the family patriarchy, sexual restraints. LGTB attacks the family, tradition, morality, sexual restraints, these are but a few movements design by the Frankfurt School to destroy our cultural hegemony. But their real genius was the shield " Politcal correctness " which protects the swords placing them off limits to criticism. These men how much I detest them I must respect them for they created something thats difficult to identify and understand even more so to unravel and dispute. What they created has infiltrated every institution of our society and has taken a life of their own. Dam Herbert Marcuse, Theodore Adnorno, Max Horkhiemer, Antonio Gramsci, Gyorgy Lukacs for stealing our history by sending us off course to a path of self destructive which i believe is irreversible.

  • "Who Favors More Freedom, Liberals or Conservatives?"

    You mean "freedom" like this ? Freedom to literally decimate America by outsourcing all the JOBS ? ? ? ??????
    Here's who voted to outsource the jobs – mostly republicans!
    NAFTA vote in 1993:
    House Dems 156-102 against NAFTA (Liberals, thanks for trying)
    House GOP 132-43 for NAFTA
    Senate Dems 28-27 against NAFTA (Liberals, thanks for trying)
    Senate GOP 34-10 for NAFTA
    Vote granting China Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status in 2000.
    House Dems 138-73 against China PNTR (Liberals, thanks for trying)
    House GOP 164-57 for China PNTR
    Senate Dems 37-7 for China PNTR (Liberals, didn't you hear Kucinich or moderate Perot)
    Senate GOP 46-8 for China PNTR (Thank you 8 RINOs)

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