Ok so what is the difference between a conservative and a liberal in modern American politics. That is probably one of the more common questions asked of me in my U.S. Government classes during the year. I have found three good ways of comparing the two sides of the same political coin. One big thing I would like to point out is that BOTH conservatives and liberals are truely American. Both sides are needed to find a balance that works to serve the citizens of the nation, within the confines of the U.S. Constitution.

The first taken from a set of notes I got at an AP conference I got this summer. The list is set up so that the corresponding number line up as opposites of a political spectrum.


  1. Internationalist (thinks globally)
  2. Individual Moral (moral relativism)
  3. Change is good
  4. Domestic Emphasis
  5. Brotherhood of Man (community)
  6. Expansive Government
  7. Fair Market principles
  8. “Just” capitalism (i.e. regulation on the market)
  9. Trusts Government


  1. Nationalistic (patriotic, the country comes first)
  2. Moralistic (set standards of moral behavior)
  3. Traditionalist (Why change something if its not broken? Or just fix the part that’s broken)
  4. Militaristic (provide for the common defense)
  5. Individual Responsibility
  6. Limited Government
  7. Free Market
  8. Capitalism
  9. Distrusts Government

This next comparison between conservatives and liberals comes from a well written article describes the differences way better than most people understand it by comparing a extremely Conservative nation and a extremely Liberal nation as like a Ying & Yang symbol. Check out the link for the article: Why Conservatism is Better than Liberalism. I know its not from a well known media site, but the article is still very good.

The last way I will describe the differences between a conservative and a liberal is in a few short sayings that describe them both in similar situations. I do not take all of these seriously. I post them in an effort to show some of the satire about the positions conservatives AND liberals take on issues. Yes I know its very slanted to the conservatives, but I am one.

“The simple fact of the matter is that the major difference is that conservatives wonder first what it is they are responsible for while liberals wonder first what everyone else should be doing for them. Here are some brief rules of thumb”

  • If a conservative sees a U.S. flag, his heart swells with pride.
  • If a liberal sees a U.S. flag, he sees only our mistakes.
  • If a conservative doesn’t like guns, they don’t buy them.
  • If a liberal doesn’t like guns, then no one else should have one either.
  • If a conservative is a vegetarian, he won’t eat meat.
  • If a liberal is, they want to ban all meat products for everyone.
  • If a conservative sees a foreign threat, he thinks about how to defeat it.
  • A liberal wonders how to surrender gracefully and still look good.
  • If a conservative is homosexual, he’ll quietly enjoy his life.
  • If a liberal is homosexual, he loudly demands legislated respect.
  • If a successful conservative is black or Hispanic, he’ll see himself as having succeeded on his own merits.
  • Their liberal counterparts see themselves as victims in need of government protection.
  • If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to work to better his situation.
  • A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
  • If a conservative doesn’t like a talk show host, he switches channels.
  • If a liberal doesn’t like a radio show, he demands that the station be shut down or censored.
  • If a conservative is a non-believer, he just doesn’t go to church.
  • A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God or religion silenced.
  • If a conservative needs health care, he shops for it, or chooses a job that provides it.
  • A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.
  • If a conservative sees a law, he thinks long and hard before suggesting a change.
  • If a liberal sees a law he assumes it is just a suggestion and does what he wants anyway.
  • Conservatives feel there is a right and wrong.
  • Liberals feel that nothing is really wrong… unless it is believed by a conservative.
  • Conservatives believe in freedom, responsibility, tradition, and self-reliance.
  • Liberals believe in license, government restrictions, upending tradition, and collectives.

Feel free to add your own to the list if you so desire. Enjoy!