What does it mean to be a “fiscal conservative, social liberal”?

In my previous post I promised to describe what I think a “fiscal conservative, social liberal” (FCSL) is in this post.

In the comments of my previous post, W.E. Heasley (of the blog The Last Embassy), provides a good answer:

Someone that wants you to spend your money based on that particular someone’s vision of “the way things ought to be”. Of course that someone is going to spend your money in a very prudent manner as they go about painting the world in their own self image.

I’ll note that there’s a heavy dose of sarcasm in that last sentence.

For me, FCSL was a step on the way from my liberal days to libertarian thinking.

Calling yourself FCSL has social rewards.  It’s non-inflammatory.  It allows you to eschew associations with Rush Limbaugh and Keith Olbermann, while appearing to be reasonable and level-headed.   It’s a safe harbor, fence sitting, milquetoast  political position that allows one to stay mainstream.  What would you expect from a label that has the words “conservative” and “liberal” in it?

But what does it mean to be an FCSL?

For me, it meant that I didn’t have well formed thoughts about government, liberty or a good sense of the difference between coercive and voluntary action.  I was susceptible to accepting rationales to use government for what seemed to be good intentions and/or for the greater good and, to W.E. Heasley’s point, to support the things I thought were good.

In future posts, I’ll try to describe the insights that moved me away from FCSL.


5 thoughts on “What does it mean to be a “fiscal conservative, social liberal”?

  1. Pingback: Right Wing News: Senate’s Repeal Healthcare Vote Failure Further Makes Lie to Term ‘Conservative Democrat’ | Katy Pundit

  2. I was the same way. During the 2008 primary and election, I started reading Sowell and Hayek, listening to Econtalk and that’s when I started form my own thoughts and conclusions and realized that a lot of what I thought was right contradicted each other. So now when in doubt, I always choose the path to more Freedom than more Government.

    Great post. I love that quote too.

  3. It’s a cop-out. Who doesn’t describe themselves as ‘fiscally conservative’? It’s commonly seen as just being smart about your spending whereas the opposite means to spend liberally or freely (i.e. like a drunken sailor). Who wouldn’t describe themselves as such? It’s like saying “I’m an air-breather” – it doesn’t really describe anything. You think the most die-hard liberal just wants to throw cash at everything or spend it wisely?
    No, it’s just a wuss way of saying someone is ignorant and ill-informed, like most “independents”.

  4. If you are fiscally conservative you believe in the government living within their means just like you do. If that creates a surplus of money you can afford to be socially liberal like helping the poor. Lets face it, Greed is not the answer!


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