Who is the true “Conservative”?

January 9, 2012 by Celia Young Leave a reply »

For years, I have been intrigued by the seemingly endless pursuit of “a true conservative” in the Republican Party during every election season.  I understand that there is a value polarity between “conservative” and “liberal”. However, I have never seen the almost frantic search of “a true liberal” in the Democrat Party.

If you ask most of the Americans and if they are willing to be honest, they will tell you that they hold a middle of the road value and point of view.  So, why spend so much energy and money debating on who the true conservative is?

There is a down side of every extreme view when practiced.  These extreme views usually are very narrow views.  Most of the time, they don’t represent the real world out here.  It is like the frog that sits at the bottom of the well, fervently arguing the definition of the sky.  Not only does he believe his definition of the sky is true but also will silence anyone who think there is much more to the sky than what he sees.  When we insist on holding that narrow view, we get bogged down in our own ideology.  Then the world is seen as only “black” and “white” and “right” and “wrong”.

If we truly believe in “thou shall not kill”, then why do we have endless wars in the world?  How do we find it justifiable to kill someone just to be true to our ideology?

For thousands of years, many old cultures on this planet based their lives on the notion that energy moves naturally along the path of “Infinity”.  This energy includes a force and counterforce.  When the force pushes hard in one direction, the counterforce will naturally push equally hard in the opposite direction.  This is the self-correcting principle of the universe.  It is like “exhale” and “inhale”.  We cannot survive very long at the one end, without the other end.

To me, the struggle between “conservative” and “liberal” has very little meaning.  This is not an either/or game.  The moment we buy into the labeling, we restrict and force ourselves to think there is one “right” way.   And we believe we must choose one vs. the other.  It is like to win; we must make our opponents look like a monster so that we can beat them into submission or kill them.  Getting swept up in this game of duality can do more damage than good to us all.

If we win by beating down our opponents, would this “win” sustain itself?  Would those who get defeated be willing to stay down forever?  Does winning a war equate “peace”?

So, the “conservative” wants to take over the country because they believe the country has become too liberal.  However, if the conservative beat out the liberal and gain the upper hand, wouldn’t the liberal become the counterforce just to wait for a chance to revenge itself?  Is this really healthy for the country?  Just ask those companies that vacillated between centralization and decentralization for decades to assess if they have reaped any net gain.

I feel sorry for any candidates who are labeled “moderate” because their voices are not heard very much.  They actually represent a whole lot of us.  This means many of our voices are not heard either.  Or at least, our voices are not sexy or provocative enough to get any press coverage.

In the real world, business leaders face the task of choosing the most advantageous strategy for  business every single day.  Often, there is no clear choice but mounting dilemma between options.  Every path has its upside and its down side.  The most effective leaders are the ones who can skillfully manage these dilemmas by incorporating the “both/and” values contributed by competing options, in order to create business success.

I certainly hope the leaders of this country can demonstrate their skills to lead from “both/and”, not “either/or.”


Celia Young, a global organization development consultant, has been using the “infinity” principle to advise and assist business leaders to formulate and implement winning strategies for the last 25 years.


12 Responses

  1. Rosanna says:

    I love how you write about the energy of the infinity loop and it application in leadership and government.
    I hope our leaders will read your blog.
    warm regards,

  2. Celia:
    I just want to say that I am happy to be linked with you and that I really enjoyed your comments on the candidates and politics in the USA. I am also one of the invisible moderates and I agree with you that the country cannot afford to go from one extreme to another. I feel as if we are in a civil war here in the USA. I have never before been aware of so much conflict within our government. It’s been a war for the past three years……a battle between the left and the right, and there has been no concern for the citizens who have been struggling with this recession. It’s bordering on insane, but no one seems to care…………

    Thanks for the comments.

  3. Kevin Buck says:


    In the spirit of both/and, I believe this is an appropriate commentary on both “our” leaders and “our” people. Unfortunately, we seem to be psychologically and emotionally stuck at a lower level of maturity that emphazises the dominant story of power over (competition) instead of power with (collaboration). The battle for labeling is an immature distraction to a more mature response of reflection, action, and accountability. Where and when we need wisdom most in these times of crisis and change, we seem to get immaturity and distraction. I believe we can be and do better.

  4. Celia Young says:

    Thank you Rosanna for your kind words. Please keep reading and share with others if you like.

  5. Celia Young says:

    Thank you Christine for reading my post. I am glad I can give voice to how you feel.

  6. Wayne Wormley says:

    Hi Celia,

    Happy New Year! You’re right on the money as usual. It is quite interesting and somewhat disturbing to think anyone believes that being an extreme conservative would qualify someone to lead a country or an organization. We need leaders who are at least critical thinkers and accepting of a wide variety of points of view, not the opposite.

    • admin says:

      Hey Wayne
      It has been a long time since we are in contact. Thanks for reading my blog. There is a new one I just posted this morning. Enjoy.

  7. Cyndia Chung says:

    This is an interesting political philosophy. It shouldn’t be about who is a conservative or a liberal but rather, who is for the people, the economy, and society. Because no matter who is in office, they need to consider how they contribute to the good of the country. Maybe when they stop concentrating on the differences of conservatives and liberals, people will see many of the overlaps and agreements.

  8. Wayne Wormley says:

    Hi Celia,

    Let’s talk soon. It’s been much too long. We’re back in Philly to stay awhile, we hope. I’m at Community College of Philadelphia and loving it. Be well.
    wwormley@ccp.edu or 215-496-6122

  9. Lily Benjamin says:

    Celia, well said.

    It is amazing how in such a few words, with your images and analogies, you can clearly depict how is the majority being muted by the struggles of the extremes. It makes me wonder so many things: Why and how is this being possible? What would it take for the extremes to hear us the majority? Who really represents the majority?

    In this article, I hear YOU representing the majority… BUT how can we, the majority, support you and others like you to magnify this message and your voiced… your thoughts?


    • admin says:

      Lily, thank you for sharing your thoughts to this subject. Change happens when there is enough energy. I like to think that we can have our voices heard by exercising our rights and duties as citizens in the voting booth. That is if there is any politician that is worth voting for. We can join in a grass roots movement like “Occupy Wall Street”. I also imagine there are many other ways in between. But, the most important thing is to stop being silent.

  10. Mike Powell says:

    Hey Celia,

    Good stuff here. Miss you! Politics aside – I agree that effective leaders are the ones that can manage the both/and dilemma. I’d add that before a leader is able to manage the both/and they have to be willing to acknowledge the value in both positions. Often times we spend so much energy defending our own positions (as correct) that we don’t take time to understand the value in a different position. So the question is how can we help others see more than they are seeing?

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