I'm a libertarian. I'm a fiscal conservative. In spite of this, why do I seem to gravitate towards more liberal-minded folks? Is it an attraction to the typical liberal or more of an aversion to the typical conservative?
Without a doubt, the religiosity of so many conservatives is a huge turn-off. Most liberals are Christians too, but almost always the more moderate type. This type of Christian would rarely make me even think about religion as a political issue.
So what's my problem with conservatives and their religion? It's not inherent. It's that they want to leverage the government to promote and enforce it. They drape the American flag over themselves while holding the Bible and the Constitution, believing that they're pious, just, and patriotic. It's one of the most un-American things I see in this country.
What else? Well, they deny evolution and try to replace it with creationism or "intelligent design." They vehemently oppose things like stem-cell research. Global warming? It's just a environmental lobby hoax!
This could go on and on! Suffice to say, the right pushes me away on this issue where I probably wouldn't otherwise care.
As I said, I'm a fiscal conservative. This usually makes my liberal friends cringe. I believe in capitalism as an economic system. The incentives in a market-based system tend to get the most out of people and provide feedback on what they truly deem important.
It creates perceived inequities, but that can be a matter of perspective. The economic growth of the last 250 years is astounding. The quality of life has increased exponentially. This growth and prosperity is on the back of capitalism. Yes, there are haves and have-nots at any given point in time under capitalism. That's because the system rewards those who navigate it best. Yes, there are people that have inherited their wealth. Yes, there are people who got lucky. However, most people have earned their wealth. The assumption on the left is that things would be better if we redistributed the wealth to be more fair. The problem is that it would suppress the incentives for the successful ones and ultimately lower the quality of life across the board. We don't all get yachts in a "fair" distribution. Nobody gets a yacht and the yacht industry goes under.
Still, when I talk to most reasonable liberals, they don't expect even close to this sort of redistribution. They expect minimal services for all citizens that are paid for by the citizens that can most afford to do so. My problem is what are these minimal services and when does the "minimum" bar stop rising? Is it even moral to take from one person and give it to another without consent? Regardless, I at least have respect for their altruistic intentions. I may debate them on the merits, but I don't fault their motivation.
That being said, I am averse to the raw class warfare/jealousy that emanates from many on the left. I believe that if somebody becomes wealthy honestly, they don't inherently owe anybody anything. They can choose to be altruistic, but it is not a legal requirement. People can pressure/guilt them into altruism, but they still shouldn't be compelled by law. If somebody becomes wealthy fraudulently, then that is a criminal exercise not an economic one.
Without needing to go further, the verdict on this is that I respectfully disagree with liberals on many fiscal issues. At the same time I have a loose coupling with conservatives, but am often leery of allying with them because of their views on religion and...
Oh, how the right seems to fail on this one while simultaneously wearing a laminate of freedom and liberty. It really goes back to religion, so it's almost not right to make this a separate issue. It is one that I feel myself tightly aligned with many liberals.
How can one claim to love the freedom of America, while wishing to deny rights to so many? It's what happens when you put God above country. In a secular government (which we're supposed to have!), country trumps God. Our Puritanical ways interfere with personal liberties in so many ways that it would be hard to enumerate them. We, as a country, have to rise above these inclinations to allow citizens real freedom and liberty.
The left seems to be much more secular in its treatment of civil rights, regardless of individual religious view, and is therefore much easier to maintain a conversation. Not so fast though ... I consider property, labor, and earnings in this realm as well. This comes in conflict with fiscal issues often, making the conversation more contested.
What's the verdict?
It's a mixed bag, isn't it? I agree with liberals on most issues of personal liberties and overall secularism. In this area, I can have easy, robust conversations with them. On economic issues, I respectfully disagree. I see many of their points (and as long as it doesn't devolve into rhetoric), I can have a reasonable discussion.
With conservatives, religion is a huge problem. It's not that they're religious. It's that I'm not and there's so little room for accepting that. Religion corrupts so much of their view of government that it corrupts my view of them.
So, the final verdict is that I either like or tolerate most liberals and am averse to too many conservatives. Since there are a limited number of libertarians, that's how I keep finding myself surrounded by liberals ... not that there's anything wrong with that.