Conservatism And Liberalism, Explained In the Virginia Governor’s Race

Former VA Governor Terry McAuliffe, who is running for Governor again, said in a candidate debate that parents should not be involved in what is being taught in schools.

Step back and think about a moment. What McAuliffe is saying is that the school system knows better than the parents do on what their children should be taught.  A simple statement but with significant implications.

What McAuliffe expressed is, in a nutshell, the primary difference between liberals and conservatives. Generally speaking it is this:  liberals tend to think that government knows what is best and can save people, even from themselves, and so they look to have an active (and large) government. Conservatives believe the reverse, that the government is an instrument of the people and should do the people’s bidding. A government exists solely to serve the people and to protect them and their rights. It is a broad generalization but conservatives believe that people should be able to make their own choices, even if those choices are not good ones, and then be held to the consequences of those choices. If the choices are good, they reap the benefits and if they are not good, the face the consequences and hopefully learn to make better choices from the experience.

Terry McAuliffe summarized the essence of the political system and the election for Governor, and for most elections for that matter. As a liberal, he believes that the school system knows better than parents (and a parent’s values). Conservatives would argue the opposite. Translate that to other issues and other situations and you have a snapshot of the questions faced by voters on every election day.

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