On changing your positions….

con·serv·a·tive

–adjective

1. disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.

2. cautiously moderate or purposefully low: a conservative estimate.

3. traditional in style or manner; avoiding novelty or showiness: conservative suit.

lib·er·al

–adjective

1. favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.

2. (often initial capital letter) noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform.

3. of, pertaining to, based on, or advocating liberalism.

4. favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, esp. as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.

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I blame this post entirely on my grade 9 math teacher, in a good way of course.

I mentioned the other day that I think it’s funny how conservative I was in high school and how seemingly liberal I am now. In response to that, a friend asked me how and why I felt that way. I said that I find myself being far more open-minded to a variance of issues and options than I ever would have been in high school. Some people had similar reactions as I did to their lives, but my algebra teacher set off a fire-storm in my head.

“Being conservative doesn’t mean being closed-minded,” she said.

My brother said something similar (though I’m of the opinion he just likes to start arguments with me lately).

I agree with my former teacher (who, it should be mentioned, is wicked-smaht and I respect her thoughts and opinions a lot), but only to a certain degree. I say that because, for me, as a 16-year-old who had yet to start really thinking for herself, I was incredibly closed-minded. I never would have entertained some of the ideas that I do as an adult. I was the very idea of all the definitions shown above. I held to rigidly conservative standards, I was a traditionalist, I dressed very conservatively, but most of all, I completely shut my mind to the possibility of something else being “right” or “okay”.

I was first really introduced to the idea of thinking for myself when I lived in Canada. This was how the concept was presented to me: Don’t just know WHAT you believe. Know also WHY you believe it.

Ever since then, I have tried to make a consistent effort at really understanding why I believe something. I want to understand the issue, the proposed changes/reforms, and the potential outcomes of all possible options. It should be noted that I am not speaking specifically or only about political issues. Believe you me, there are plenty of those sorts of issues where I fall on every imaginable side of any fence out there.

Examples? Sure.

16-year-old me and 29-year-old me have starkly different views on abortion.

16-year-old me and 29-year-old me would fight all the time about equal rights.

16-year-old me and 29-year-old me are on way different sides of the political aisle.

But whatever, right? We’re allowed to change. In fact, we all SHOULD change. I cannot imagine going through life maintaining a 16-year-old mindset. I’d be hyper-emotional, anorexic, and über-judgmental, none of which are really very appropriate responses to the myriad of issues life throws at us.

So do I think that being conservative means being closed-minded? Yes and no. I think there are conservative people out there who are incredibly closed to any change or progression. I also think there are liberal people who are “live and let live” to the point of near-anarchy. I, myself, live a rather dichotomous life really…social duality in all its glory.

I’m fiscally conservative (just ask my husband), but love to buy extravagant things.

I like traditional gender roles, but I’m the financial manager of our house and my husband does far more cooking and cleaning than I do.

I have a pretty “June Cleaver” wardrobe, but there’s nothing stopping me from dressing like Britney Spears to go to her concert.

I am firm in my faith, but am willing to concede that I could be wrong.

For me, yes, being conservative was synonymous with being closed-minded. My parents are wildly conservative, but they also have 30+years of thinking for themselves under their belts so we can (usually) engage in very open dialogue about plenty of issues. They respect that I have thought carefully about my positions and I respect that the fundamentals they instilled in me have allowed for our continued conversations.

I wonder though…is it possibly to be a Conservative Socialist? If so, then that’s probably what I am.

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4 thoughts on “On changing your positions….

  1. L ~ I think you said something important here…all sides are good at some things. No one can really be good at everything, right? That's where I believe it is of tantamount importance to hear each other out and be able to admit that sometimes, other people have better ideas than we do.

    S ~ I really do think this whole phenomenom is because we're all really starting to think for ourselves now. Our parents gave us what they believed to be good foundations. Now it's up to us to do with that info what we will.

    T ~ nicely put. You and I have these conversations all the time…

  2. She is fiscally conservative, I can attest to that. I, on the other hand, am not. Apparently I'm more of a Libertarian than a Liberal, but as with most people it really depends on the issue itself as to where I fall.

    I definitely agree with understanding WHY you hold a certain opinion. Motivation is just as important as worldview, in this day and age.

  3. Don't want to be cliche in saying this… but, I feel like 30 for me has been an eye-opener of who I am and why I am. It's the beginning of the realization that things aren't always black and white like I once had believed them to be.

  4. One of my best friends in the world swears she's a conservative liberal, I'm more on the side of liberal conservative 😉 There are things socialists do right, and there are things conservatives do right (though not nearly as many as I used to think… and not as many as they used to…) Good blogs, you are very gracious about your standings. If only everyone were.

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