The issues as seen from both a liberal and a conservative point-of-view:
Liberal – We should abolish the death penalty. The death penalty is inhumane and is ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment. It does not prevent crime. Imprisonment is the appropriate Punishment. Every execution risks killing an innocent person.
Conservative – The death penalty is a punishment that fits the crime; it is neither ‘cruel’ or ‘unusual’. Executing a murderer is the appropriate punishment for taking an innocent life.
Liberal – Favor a market system in which government regulates the economy. We need government to protect us against big business. Unlike the private sector, the government is motivated by public interest. We need government regulation to level the playing field.
Conservative – The free market system, competitive capitalism, and private enterprise afford the widest opportunity and the highest standard of living for all. Free markets produce more economic growth, more jobs and higher standards of living than those systems burdened by excessive government regulation.
Liberal – Liberals sometimes believe that conservatives don’t care as much about protecting the environment. Liberals will argue that Industrial growth can harm the environment. They argue global warming is caused by an increased production of carbon dioxide. The U.S. is a major contributor to global warming because it produces 25% of the world’s carbon dioxide. The U.S. should enact laws to significantly reduce that amount and if it reduces some economic growth then so be it.
Conservative – Conservatives want clean water, clean air, and a clean planet, just like everyone else. However, extreme environmental policies destroy jobs and damage the economy. Changes in global temperatures are natural over long periods of time. So far, science has not shown that humans can affect permanent change to the earth’s temperature.
Liberal – The Second Amendment gives no individual the right to own a gun but allows the state to keep a militia (National Guard/Armed Forces). Guns kill people. Guns kill children.
Conservative – The Second Amendment gives the individual the right to keep and bear arms. Gun control laws do not thwart criminals. You have a right to defend yourself against criminals. More guns mean less crime.
Liberal – Support universal government-supervised health care. There are millions of Americans who can’t afford health insurance. They are being deprived of a basic right to healthcare.
Conservative – Free healthcare provided by the government (socialized medicine) means that everyone will get the same poor-quality healthcare. The rich will continue to pay for superior healthcare, while all others will receive poor-quality free healthcare from the government. Health care should remain privatized. Support Healthcare Spending Accounts.
Liberal – Support legal immigration and increasing the number of legal immigrants permitted to enter the U.S. each year. Support blanket amnesty for current illegal immigrants. Believe that regardless of how they came to the U.S., illegal immigrants deserve: U.S. Government financial aid for college tuition. Visas for spouse and children to come to the U.S. Families shouldn’t be separated. Illegal immigrants do the jobs that Americans do not want to do.
Conservative – Support legal immigration at current numbers, but do not support illegal immigration. Government should enforce immigration laws. Oppose President Bush’s amnesty plan for illegal immigrants. Those who break the law by entering the U.S. illegally should not have the same rights as those who obey the law by entering legally. If there were a decrease in cheap illegal immigrant labor, employers would have to substitute higher-priced domestic employees, legal immigrants, or perhaps increase mechanization.
Liberal – Support the separation of church and state. Religious expression has no place in government. Support the removal of all references to God in public and government spaces. Religion should not interfere with government.
Conservative – The phrase “separation of church and state” is not in the Constitution. the First Amendment to the Constitution states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” This prevents the government from establishing a national church. However, it does not prevent God from being acknowledged in schools and government buildings. Oppose the removal of symbols of Christian heritage from public and government spaces. Government should not interfere with religion and religious freedom.
Liberal – Marriage should be legal for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender couples to ensure equal rights for all. All individuals, regardless of their sex, have the right to marry. Believe that prohibiting same-sex citizens from marrying denies them of their civil rights. Opinions differ on whether this issue is equal to civil rights for African Americans.
Conservative – Marriage is between one man and one woman. Opinions differ on support for the creation of a constitutional amendment establishing marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Believe that requiring citizens to sanction same-sex relationships violates moral and religious beliefs of millions of Christians, Jews, Muslims and others who believe marriage is the union of a man and a woman.
Liberal – Support higher taxes and a larger government. High taxes allow the government to do good and create jobs. We need high taxes for social welfare programs, to provide for the poor. We can’t afford to cut taxes.
Conservative – Support lower taxes and a smaller government. Lower taxes create more incentive for people to work, save, invest, and engage in entrepreneurial endeavors. Money is best spent by those who earn it.
Liberal – Support welfare. We need welfare to provide for the poor. Conservatives oppose welfare because they are not compassionate toward the poor. We have welfare to bring fairness to American economic life. Without welfare, life below the poverty line would be intolerable.
Conservative – Oppose long-term welfare. We need to provide opportunities to make it possible for poor and low-income workers to become self-reliant, rather than keeping them dependent on the government for money.
War on Terror/Terrorism –
Liberal – 9/11 was caused by America’s arrogant foreign policy. America needs to stop angering other countries. The threat posed by terrorism has been exaggerated by our government for their own political advantage.
Conservative – The world toward which the Militant Islamists strive cannot peacefully coexist with the Western world. In the last decade, Militant Islamists have repeatedly attacked Americans and American interests here and abroad. The terrorists must be stopped and destroyed.
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I thought this was probably among the fairest replications of the two sides, Liberal and Conservative, as I’ve encountered of late. That it was produced by an educational institution made it all the more relevant from my point-of-view given the liberal-leaning of many such institutions. This is more a “Cliffs Notes” approach to the question touching on the issues with a thumbnail listing of primary points. And, there was little if any sign of political leaning in the writing.