These thoughts were originally formulated by Ulf Erlingsson in a September 15, 2003 post to the email@example.com mailinglist:
Ulf & Leif Erlingsson
September 19, 2003
The Social/Moral Liberal/Conservative Value Quadrant
On Monday, September 15, 2003, Leif Erlingsson wrote: Conservatives doesn't seem to require Critical Thinking, apparently. If this is true, then possibly I cannot be a conservative? But I think this picture is false. I'm sure there are thinking conservatives, out there. It's just a matter of finding them. ;-)
Ulf Erlingsson replied: I think one has to separate two things, moral, and social issues. Morally conservative would be one who does not adopt a number of laissez-faire attitudes such as "let the drugs free". The latter is called "liberal" by American right-wingers, but there is nothing "liberal" about those notions, if we by "Liberal" mean 'connected to the political ideology Liberalism' (they use the word in the meaning "liberate", as in "free the drugs", for the purpose of confusion).
Most of us are obviously morally conservative.
Socially conservative is one who does not want to change the current order, which in the US means a tremendous gap between rich and poor, exploitation of the masses by the capital, and similar things. Most of us are obviously "morally conservative but socially progressive".
I think that the right-wing plan is to fool people into thinking that the criteria for being conservative is if you are morally conservative, but they don't want people to realize what their social agenda is. They talk with a split tongue, saying different things to different audiences. A large part of conservative followers are obviously fooled into voting for something that is contrary to their own interests. But you can't deny that there are many people who just don't think that poor people should have the same health care etc as they do; who think that class division is fair (as long as they are in the upper class, one may presume).
Leif Erlingsson: I think my brother hit the hammer on the nail. Before continuing, I must state: I am not objective. My perspective is the Socially Progressive, Morally Conservative. If we make a graph out of this, it might be:
/\ Of course, there are Most `Conservatives'
|| also many `Liberals' really are Socially
|| that are also Progressive -- and
|| `Morally Progressive'. most `Liberals' are
|| Morally Conservative.
|| Of course, there are
|| The people in this some `Conservatives'
|| quadrant are hopefully that are also Socially
|| locked away... Conservative.
So, where in this graph is the `Liberal', and where is the `Conservative' ? Well, as Ulf pointed out, most people are Morally Conservative but Socially Progressive. I.e., most `Conservatives' really are Socially Progressive -- or `connected to the political ideology Liberalism'. They end up at the top, right corner in the graph. Then the `Morally Progressive' are in the top, left corner. They still share important values with most `Conservatives'. Then there is the `Conservatives' that are also Socially Conservative. I.e. they don't want a better society. Most people, Democrat or Republican, are in the right-top quadrant. Decent people that want what is good for society and for families.
Copyright © Leif & Ulf Erlingsson 2003. The above may be reproduced in full -- even commercially -- free of charge, as long as this copyright message is also cited in full. However, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org when you use our text, citing the way it's being used. Thanks!
A version of the present article suitable for email can be downloaded here: quadrant.txt
Copyleft © 2003 Leif Erlingsson or author.
Updated 27 October 2003