Conservative VS liberal chart

Many people get confused on what's what when it comes to political ideology. Many people think that conservatives dislike big government and that liberals love big government, but in reality, they both like big government in different ways.

Government can be split in to two main dichotomies: economic and social. Of these two dichotomies you have two levels: complete government control or no government control. The following chart will better illustrate my point:

Or to put it more simply:

Liberals and conservatives are only opposites on social and economic things. They both favor government control, they just want that control in different areas. Liberals want freedom when it comes to anything having to do with social and personal items. Conservatives want freedom when it comes to anything having to do with economic and business items.

Let's take a look at some popular political issues:

Note: Keep in mind these are the general trends. There are still logical inconsistencies with some issues, moreso on the liberal side. For example liberals support personal freedom but are less likely to support the freedom for people to own personal firearms.

There is another important distinction to be made here. Conservatives want less government involvement in economic issues and want government involvement in social issues. Liberals, however, want government involvement in economic issues and social issues.

In other words:

Ideology Government In Economic Issues Government In Social Issues

And then to bring in people who favor no government and people who favor pure government you can bring libertarians and authoritarians into the mix:

Again, this is oversimplified to show the general trend. Not all libertarians believe in no government. Not all conservatives believe in no government on economic issues. And not all liberals believe in complete government control on both social and economic issues. But these are the trends and in most cases bear true.

Example Issues

To gain a better understanding let's look at a few examples of issues between three ideologies.

Gay Marriage
Oppose gay marriage and want the state to prevent it.
In favor of gay marriage and want the state to allow it.
Libertarian Don't care one way or the other and want no state involvement in the issue.

So right away we can see an interesting distinction. Conservatives and liberals both want the government to do something about an issue. They both want the government to control it on one side or the other. Libertarians, on the other hand, want the government out of the issue. They don't want the government to pick sides for people. They want people to pick sides individually on their own, without the government mandating for them.

Let's look at another one.

Lower Taxes
Generally favor lower taxes on most social things but are okay with taxes on military spending.
Generally want more taxes or at the very least taxes spent on less military spending and more on social spending.
Generally believe taxation is theft and a misallocation of resources. Would rather have no taxes and pay for services taxes pay for directly.
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