Beta-Liberalism and Alpha-Conservatism

The differing left-wing and right-wing visions of the role of government seem parallel to descriptions of alpha and beta behavior.

Liberals want a beta provider government. They want a government that will support them, that will pay for their lifestyle and remunerate them for any (self-imposed) hardships or mistakes. They want a government that will not judge them, but indulge them. Success should be punished out of a sense of impotent envy, and achievement should be redistributed rather than earned (because after all, the game is rigged and I’m too weak to avoid mediocrity by myself). On the international stage, the government’s foreign policy should be deferential to others and apologetic when attacked. After all, what was 9/11 but the proper punishment for our getting “out of line” with other countries and cultures? “Blowback” for asserting ourselves, for which we must apologize?

Conservatives want an alpha protector government. They want a live-and-let-live state where the government does not involve itself with your problems. Each person is allowed to stake their own path, and are left alone to enjoy their accomplishments. Those with confidence and skill are allowed to succeed, and are admired for it. The government is not expected to bail out bad decisions, or to support your life choices–and, in fact, is only present when truly necessary: to protect life, property, and liberty. The government should unapologetically deal with wrongdoers, and in foreign policy, hawkishly defend itself and its allies. The state is unafraid to exert its muscle in punishing evil, and ignores the slave morality of deference and moral equivalence with our enemies.

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