The Rights And Responsibilities Pyramid – My Values in a Nutshell

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I was thinking of a good, simple way to explain the major differences between liberalism and conservatism to people, especially in regards to the issues of rights and responsibilities. I came up with the following two images to highlight how I see things. The pictures are, by their nature, a simplification, but I think they make a very fundamental point.

When it comes to rights and responsibilities, where do liberals look first for answers and solutions?

The Liberal Rights/Responsibilities Pyramid

The Liberal Rights/Responsibilities Pyramid

And how about conservatives?

Conservative Rights/Responsibilities Pyramid

Conservative Rights/Responsibilities Pyramid

For me, this pretty much sums it all up.

8 Responses to “The Rights And Responsibilities Pyramid – My Values in a Nutshell”
  1. Corinna says:

    Nicely illustrated. A liberal on Facebook the other day told me that governments are instituted so that citizens can protect one another. Her logic was so foreign, and so historically misplaced, that I couldn’t even bring myself to continue the debate. But your illustration captures it perfectly.

    • chrisisright says:

      Thanks, Corinna. Funny you should mention discussing issues with a liberal. That’s essentially what caused me to boil this issue down and illustrate it the way I did.

  2. The citizens created the states who got together and created the federal government, yet, we created a monster who now abuses the very people who created it. Great illustration Chris.

  3. Kobra says:

    It’s unfortunate, however, that many self-proclaimed conservatives are willing to sacrifice the individual to make the state and federal governments more efficient. (Conservatives in favor of the USA PATRIOT Act is one example of this.)

    Some libertarian conservatives also aim to create a lawless pure capitalism without any regulation, which will create a social caste in which people work for peanuts trying to buy overpriced items from corporate giants who will inevitably fall under and bring the whole country crashing down.

    Personally, I’m a centrist. :P

    • chrisisright says:

      Meh. The Patriot Act is a unique animal. There are parts of it I fully support and parts of it I’m totally against. I disagree it makes the government more efficient at the sacrifice of the individual, at least broadly. And, many conservatives will point out, national security is one are where the government should be involved. Indeed, is mandated to be so by the Constitution.

      As for capitalism, it’s also true a free economy spurs competition, which improves labor incentives, such as wages. Countries with high regulation produce poor products, have high rates of unemployment and lower standards of worker’s rights.

      I’m not a centrist, but I’m not an absolutist either.

      • Kobra says:

        My issue with the USA PATRIOT Act is it has such significant room for abuse. It outlines special exemptions by law enforcement and military officials to bypass certain rights and formalities when dealing with terrorists, but it so loosely defines terrorist that almost anyone– guilty or innocent– can be considered a terrorist. And if you get labeled a terrorist, say goodbye to your Miranda rights, your right to an attorney, and your right to a fair and speedy trial by a jury of your peers.

        Economically, the free market works when large corporations self-regulate to prevent abuse. The only modern example of this I can think of would be Google’s “Don’t be evil” policy. Some regulation is needed to make sure working conditions are safe, wages are fair, and large companies aren’t forming monopolies.

        Now, you might argue, “Why not just let the Unions do those jobs?!” Because in many states (i.e. Florida), closed-shop unions are illegal. Our mindless geriatric residents on their death beds decided to vote them out so they can get free senior coffee and cheaper food service and basically turn this whole state into hell for the working class. (Thanks, [expletive deleted]!) And without the anonymity of a closed-shop union, companies can just eliminate the voices of dissent one-by-one until they have achieved employee complacency then carry on with their abusive practices like nothing ever happened.

  4. chrisisright says:

    Kobra: I have the same issues with the Patriot Act you outline above: the loose definition of terrorism and the potential for abuse of individual rights when someone is labeled a terrorist. However, if the Patriot Act is really applied that way, why is there currently such contention within the present administration regarding the rights of supposed terrorists? Why is the current administration trying to push for the removal of Miranda rights for US citizens suspected of terrorism? And, have you noticed that people in the liberal media are more and more labeling people like Glenn Beck and the Tea Party as being seditious and…terrorists? Even the administration is jumping on this bandwagon. I’ve received fund raising emails from the Obama administration that blatantly accuses the Republican party of inciting violence. They don’t just infer it, they state it outright. Yet Tea Party rallies have remained peaceful, whereas – by way of example – rallies protesting AZ’s immigration law have been tinged with violence.

    Regarding free market capitalism and business (self-)regulation, you make some of the same arguments in support of unions that I would make against them. Did you know the SEIU beat a black man (Kenneth Gladney) outside a political gathering simply for selling conservative-based paraphernalia like stickers and badges? Did you know that SEIU members stood outside polling places during the 2008 elections, holding billy club-like weapons? Did you know that 500 members of the SEIU went to a man’s home and protested very threateningly because they didn’t like the bank for which he worked? That man’s teenage son was home alone. Police provided an escort for the union members to go to the man’s house. Did you know the SEIU has formed a political party in North Carolina? (You may know all of these things. I’m just asking.)

    When a closed-shop union takes over, the worker is just as ham-stringed by the union as they may otherwise be by the business owners. Of course, in both cases, the worker has the right to find employment elsewhere.

    Google is a great example of self-regulation, as you point out. The tech sector in general is better at this than other sectors. Of course, the more competition there is and the better your qualifications, this becomes more true because employers are trying to actively keep you. In low paying, low qualifying jobs, where employers can easily replace you, this becomes less and less true. Which is why doctors and lawyers rarely need unions.

    In fact, large companies can easily avoid monopoly laws. If I’m remembering correctly, the courts ordered Microsoft divestiture not once, but twice. Microsoft still exists as a whole company and, in fact, provides one of the best atmospheres in which to work.

    I’m for basic laws: minimum wage laws, some OSHA standards. I’m for the original purpose of unions, but unions have grown far too strong. In fact, until recently, it was so hard to fire a teacher in the NYC school district that they literally had rubber rooms. Teachers who had committed sometimes serious breaches of professional ethics were removed from the classroom, and sat for 8 hours a day (or whatever constitutes a full workday for teachers) in these rubber rooms, doing nothing – like detention – receiving a full salary. Some of those teachers make over $100K a year, which is far from a fortune in NYC, but still.

    I’ve worked in closed shops. The unions are typically far more oppressive than the employers they are supposedly there to protect you from. That’s just my experience. Yours might be completely different.

    Incidentally, I’m editing your comment to remove an expletive. I have no problem with cussing in general. I often cuss like a sailor, myself, but I’m trying to keep this blog free from such language. Not strong opinion, mind you, just certain language. Some of my friends who read me find such wording objectionable and might potentially let their children read certain posts. I’d like them to be able to do so.

    Also, thanks for visiting and commenting! I’ve enjoyed sparring both with you and against you on BlogCatalog. Sadly, I’ve found the conversation there so quickly devolves into the stupid, it hardly pays to participate. (For example, almost any conversation including Agit8r, libdrone and, most specifically numby. [QM is bogus? Seriously?])

    I’ve been meaning to return the visits. I’ve always been curious about your blog, as I think you’re a pretty interesting person. I’ll make sure to do so sooner rather than later.

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