Liberal versus Conservatives: Can you learn to do business with them?

I drove home from my Sunday meeting of my social group at a community center. These are my friends; lawyers, community activists, businessmen, physicians, house wives, nurses, leftists, rightists, Jews, Christians, Atheists, immigrants, Canadians, Americans, Russians, visitors on the fly. Michael questioned whether it was useful to discuss liberal, conservative, Leftist, Rightist, etc. Someone asked me, the only psychologist in the group, to clarify the popular terminology. What can we learn from using these words correctly?

This topic may not be the most exciting reading for my visitors, but it is important and would certainly be enlightening. It would improve your understanding of the political, religious, economic and cultural world around you. Look around, watch people how they make decisions, taking risks whether it involves thinking, feeling, behaving, voting, making love, waging war, investing, anything, it always show up in your life coming from the Left, the Right or the Center.

The first step in your sophistication is to identify them as individuals and learn to do business with them. Start with a family member, friend, co-worker or classmate. These are the familiar strangers in your life, easier to diagnose. For example, uncle Suzuki lives in Tokyo. He wants Japan to absorb more immigrants, become a multicultural society, free to dress Arab, African, European, any way you like to dress. He strongly believes in Socialism, multiculturalism, internationalism and loves his paternalistic attitude toward minorities. “We need an affirmative action in Japan like we have in the US for Blacks and Chicano and we need a strong welfare system like we have in Sweden, he says. I don’t like Japanese capitalism and nationalism in my country. They should accept foreigners in my country a lot more than they do. They should be like the British, bringing in everyone. I love Hilary Clinton who says, this world is a village. The Russians who live in Ukraine should settle down to being a good minority. The country will take care of them.

His friend Carl from Stockholm wants Sweden to lower taxes and be more nationalistic, close the border to illegal immigration, have a dress code requiring people to not cover their faces in public and move people from the welfare system to job training. Carl’s main complaint is that Sweden is too paternalistic and international.

Who is liberal, Suzuki or Carl?___________

Is being a liberal or a conservative a personality trait or a political orientation?_______

Overall, what’s better for your country, to have more conservative or to have more liberals?_______


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