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The essay is expected to demonstrate a college-level form with Introduction/Body/Conclusion. It should leave me with no doubt as to what your view is recognizing that for many of these assignments, there is not one correct answer or conclusion. What your essay should provide is your opinion and how you arrived at it. Liberal vrs Conservative Theory
The need for form
Ideas, events, etc. that are simply “learned” are easily forgotten because they add nothing to a big picture-a form, a skeleton. The Social Sciences have studied the world and its changes throughout the centuries and have attempted to apply form to it. Amongst all the Social Sciences and Humanities, two paradigms have emerged through which all happenings are perceived, and from which all social and ethical theory emerges. Think of them as prisms. So while we all like to say we are enlightened, objective thinkers, the reality is we are not. These “prisms” actually distort views toward one belief system and another.This is where form comes from and we need to understand each form, the skeleton it creates and the implications of these forms for the student to become the owner of their own minds. What follows does not attempted to sway your thinking one way or the other, rather to make you self-evident of your particular views regarding social justice, economics,ethics, social theory, etc. Any of you wishing to explore this topic further would do well to obtain Tomas Sowell’s “A Conflict of Visions” which is probably the best, most readable work about this subject.
Dogmas of Conservative and Liberal thought, what Thomas Sowell calls Constrained vrs Unconstrained theories of man
The success or failure of civilization is about the limitations of man and productivity. It does not take long for us to realize that our resources are limited. So while, as we dream, we have numerous wants, we are able to fulfill only a very few To do this we must be as productive as possible to get the most out of our limited resources. But this leads to a question, what kind of animal is man? How does one appeal to this animal to be most productive? The starting point must always be what is the animal we call man, because it is man who controls and decides how best to use resources This explains not only what one should expect from man, but why different theories, systems, etc. will or will not work with man. There is a debate regarding the “nature” of man. Is man motivated by goodness or self-interest? Social scientist debate this issue and this debate explains where all social theory comes from in the first place. It explains why different individuals on TV and other outlets arrive at such different views with the same information.
What is behind the door?
Let us say I stood before the class and gave you a single topic upon which your total grade would be based. I tell you that I have a pet and your class project is to build a habitat for my pet where it will be the happiest I give you the opportunity to ask one question. The obvious question you wold ask is, “What is the pet”/ I tell you the pet is outside the door and i have two students look to see what the pet is? One student tells the class it is a sweat little animal. However the other describes the pet as a dangerous beast. this is what separates the true conservative from the true liberal. Each perceives a very different animal behind the closed door and therefore will react very differently to the nature of the habitat. Why do they see a different animal? The starting point for this debate is the very beginning of existence-is it ordered or chance?
Where does “ordered existence” come from? Is it the result of chance or a creator?
Liberal theory -Man is the result of chance and is therefore born a blank slate, programmable and perfectible, Man will the driven towards natural goodness. This leads to a interpretation of history called Progressive history. Progressive history assumes that we as programmers get better with each generation so that man improves with time. Because we are the new improved model of man, we are not really comparable to the older model. In a sense it is like comparing a model T to a Lexus. Yes, they are both cars, but that is about the end of the comparisions. Therefore, history is nothing more than the exploration of the older models of man, who have little resemblance of the new model. Therefore, there is little we can learn from history.
Conservative theory- Man is born into an ordered universe Man is already programmed with a nature which is innate and unchangeable. Because of this, conservatives believe in Cyclical history. If mankind never changes, then we should expect that when in similar situations men/women are motivated by the same passions and will commit the same mistakes unless they have learned their lessons from history.
With that said, iIt is obvious man has not created a perfect world. We still see crime, inefficiency and inequity. What is the source of these problems of man? What is the source of the corruption?
Liberal-It is the failing of the institutions man created when he first organized. If man is naturally good, it is inconceivable that evil systems would have been created by man. The general theory is based on Ludwig Fuerbach’s projection of man theory. According to his belief, mankind in their earliest stages lived in small isolated communities where everyone worked for the good of the society because that was the only way to secure survival. So altruism reigned supreme. But Mankind’s numbers grew and put a strain on resources. To deal with this they organized to get the most out of their resources, but the process of organizations was new to them. They established what the felt were good systems but did not realized that they contained tiny cancerous seeds that over time grew and corrupted the system. So we come to the modern age and we live in a corrupt society, but we are unaware of it as it has corrupted us as well. So how can we change? Enter the elitist who through unknown reasons as seen this and knows what perfection should look like. As mentioned earlier they self-ordain themselves to lead man to the new heaven on earth.
Conservative view is much easier to understand. Man’s nature (self-interest), a depraved nature according to our Founding Fathers, will corrupt if it is not under control. When it is not controlled properly, society degenerates. So if we are experiencing problems the system, like a filter, need to be further designed to further clean out the inperfections.
How do we correct the problem?
Liberal-Only elitists know the great vision of heaven on earth, the masses are ignorant and need direction from elitist. Their argument method is Sophistic. Only elitist can comprehend truth. Why? Because the corrupt systems have so corrupted the common man. It is only those few cultivated thinkers who have been able to stick “their heads out of the cesspool of corruption of mankind” to feel the sun on their face and see the the “heaven on earth” that man could obtain if only they would allow the elitist could be in control. Thus the elitists self-ordains themselves to be our masters and lead us to the new paradise.
Conservative- Man is part of the animal kingdom, but also is endowed with Reason which makes him different from any other animal. An animal knows it exists, but only man know that he knows. Through his Reason, man comprehends a higher order which imparts an consciousness of absolute truth, absolute right and wrong that is literally alien to this existence. Plato refers to this as that moment when our individual reason touches upon the “divine reason”. It is so strong that man
1. Begins to act in ways opposed to his nature as man, for the first times, begins to assign the concepts of good and evil to acts of his nature.
2. This leads to the development of laws that are reflective of this higher understanding.
3. Organized religion validates a system of controls that civilizes man. All mankind have the possibility of understand truth as we all possess reason.
4. The social systems that emerge such as capitalism and democracy, act like filters that allows man self-interest to remain, but filters out as much of the negative aspects of it as possible. The better their design, the more efficient is the outcome. These systems are called “conflict models” in that they allow all these contradictory self-interests to collide but out of this messy process emerges “unintended benefits”. For example, the competition to make profits in the medical drug industry to a messy, frantic process, but out of it emerges a vaccine that benefits all of humanity. The intent of the investors was to make money so the outcome was unintended by them.
The basic difference in social, economic issues is:
Socialism/left-what makes man corrupt it private ownership and institutions that support this idea. A society where we share the fruits of our labor is one that eliminates reasons for jealousy, injustice and resentment making a better society more possible.
Capitalism/democracy believe that, like it or not, man is motivated by self-interest and no one will be happy to see the fruits of their labor taken from them and given to others for no good reason. This unmotivats people and productivity declines, much to the damage of the entire society. People are no longer willing to take the kind of risks that bring new innovations and concepts, increasing growth and productivity. People will not all be elevated to one level, but all will fall into a lower level except for the ruling elitists.
In the field of ethics we must argue what ethical model would work best for society, but as you can see, much depends on the type of animal you for which the system is being designed. This will be much of our discussion in this course.


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