Conservative or liberal?

People always tell me that they find it difficult to determine my political orientation. Am I a liberal, or a conservative? The truth is I am neither and both. As to any other aspect of my worldview, I do not find it necessary to restrict myself into any single category or class.

To say that I agree and adopt all the views and arguments that liberals or conservatives make means to close my eyes to any possible legitimacy for the arguments of the other side. It also means that you are allowing someone else to determine your worldview for you, and that would be the person who decides the strategy of the party.

I like to keep my mind open for whatever argument that makes more sense; I can take what is right in both parties, without settling for the wrong things in any of them.

The sad fact is, many of the current democracies give people choice between two options only. You can’t support a policy of one party, and another policy of the other one, and I think this is one of the most devastating sides of democracy. People should be able to vote for policies, not parties or people.

In Kuwait and in the Arab world in general, conservatives are Islamic parties. They are divided into several groups, according to the level of Islamization that they want to bring to the country. Liberals are secular parties that want to completely separate religion from state business.

In general, conservatives accuse liberals of abandoning their roots and their culture, and of attempting to westernize society. Liberals on the other hand, accuse conservatives of not believing in democracy and of using elections as a tool to convert the country to a Sharia’ run state. They also accuse conservatives of wanting to impose their interpretation of religion on others. Conservatives believe that it is their duty to prevent their society from committing ‘sins’, therefore, they believe that their religious duty extends beyond their own actions. To put it in the simplest way possible, they believe that if they will allow people to drink alcohol for example, then they will also be punished for that, even if they will not drink it themselves.

In general I am more leaning towards the liberal worldview, but I consider myself even more liberal than liberals, because I sincerely understand the concerns of conservatives. I can understand why they want to impose their religious worldview on everyone, it’s just because they think that otherwise they will go to hill!

I don’t recall ever hearing a liberal who is concerned about this issue. Liberals’ point of view is “go to hill, why would we care, we want to live our lives as we want to”. Conservatives don’t want to go to hill, this is what they are preventing themselves from many joys of life for, to go to heaven. Both liberals and conservatives are viewing their argument as a finished matter. For me it is not like that, because there wasn’t yet a liberal system that could be inclusive of these concerns by the conservatives. I believe these concerns are legitimate, and that they deserve more consideration than what liberals are giving to them.

Another accusation given to the conservatives is that they are climbing democracy to implement their own agenda. Liberals accuse them of not believing in democracy, and of simply wanting to use it to change the regime. They believe this should not be allowed. I believe this stance by the liberals is not liberal enough.

If democracy is a system that does not allow its citizens to freely choose to convert to another system, then democracy is not a democratic system itself. I believe that conservatives have every right to pursue that, just like liberals have every right to use democracy to completely secularize their country.

Other than that, I am in general what could be described as a moderate liberal. I believe that freedom is a sacred value. I believe in the freedom of expression, of belief, and of practices, as long as it does not step on other people’s freedoms (and this is why the issue of conservatives’ hill concerns is not an ended issue for me). I believe that society, or state should have nothing to do with the person’s behavior, religious practice, or even sexual orientation. I am a ‘freedomist’ if there is such a word, generally liberal that is, but in some occasions I am more liberal than liberals themselves, because I believe in conservatives’ rights as well.

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