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Added 2019-06-20 : Originally 2018-12-21

Added 2019-06-20 : Originally 2019-06-20

Political polarization is a right-wing problem :

Quora Answer : From a political/policy ideology perspective, why are KKK members and Nazis lumped in with conservatives?

May 4, 2017

"Conservatism" in the traditional sense of the word DOES NOT MEAN "reduced government, lower taxes [and] more freedom".

Conservatism just means ... "stick with what we know".

It blurs into KKK and Nazis because "stick with what we know" used to include "everyone knows their own place ... Negroes are slaves or, at least, respectful servants and second class citizens ... not uppity activists demanding to be treated the same as white people; women stay at home and bring up their kids rather than worrying about having a career and life of their own".

Nazis classified people by race too. And liked women to stay in the home, working on creating more kids to serve the Nazi state. They posed as champions of these traditional values. That's why we see Nazism as an extreme version of the Conservative impulse.

The traditional position associated with individual freedom is "liberalism". However, now that liberalism is, itself quite old, American Conservatives have started looking back with nostalgia at the liberalism of the late 19th, early 20th century before the "New Deal" ie. the introduction of social democratic welfare ideas into US politics.

So, yeah, it's a crazy, weird situation. Americans basically have their terminology backwards. They call social democracy "liberalism". (I believe, but can't prove, that this is the fault of religious conservatives who started using the label "liberal" interchangeably with "progressive" because they wanted to discredit socially liberal ideas.) And people who are "liberals" call themselves "Conservative".

The best thing to do is to fight back against this deliberate confusion. If you ARE someone who believes in "reduced government, lower taxes [and] more freedom", start calling yourself a "liberal" and encourage all your like-minded friends to do so too.

That's the only way we're going to get clarity and understanding back into political discourse.