I realize that I am not quick to grasp new ideas, but apprentice Tyler's didactics leave much to be despised. Apprentice Tyler believes that since Hitler's and Stalin's advisers were of the same outlook, they were both Liberals. My parting jab was "So all philosopher kings are Liberals?" and he answered in the affirmative. It was at that moment that I realized a new or clarified definition was needed; on that makes Plato's guardians, Nazi Germany, Communist Russia and the Roman Catholic Church closer in their philosophical outlook, although this outlook is not readily apparent from their behavior alone.
My new definition is that when the leadership or party speaks in terms of the group, not the individual, they are liberal. Plato is concerned about the happiness of the whole city, not any individual or group. [The pursuit of individual happiness would be madness to Plato, since the long term survival of the city is important, not the passing fancies of the constituent masses.] The guardians of the city are to protect their citizens from outsiders, the Nazis are concerned with Germans; the Communists, the workers; and the Roman Church, with everyone.
The new definition of conservative is the concern for the individual and their liberties. [There can be no liberties in a Liberal country, because the group, not the individual, is important.] This new definition describes the American Union until the New Deal.
A secondary aspect of this definition of liberal is the "us against them" mentality. This outlook is absent form conservatism since the individual would be against all others in the body politic. Of course, no one would subscribe to this idea for a moment, however many people would agree that if left to pursuit individual interest and goals, the state benefits.
A third aspect of this definition is control or lack of control. Because the individual is empowered, the conservative can not impose more rules or regulations than is necessary for a well run state. This lack of control would would not be acceptable to the Nazis, Communists or Catholics.
The liberal mind, thinking of the group or mob, must paradoxically use control to enforce the will of the People. If individuals suffer is of no consequence, as long as the group prospers.
The inquisitive researcher can use this simple definition to determine if groups, institutions or individuals are liberal or conservative-are they concerned about the group or the individual? ["The public be damned"]. By using this innovative definition, Apprentice Tyler's assertion is correct- the Nazis, the Communists and the Roman Catholics are Liberal.
I would expect that most philosophers are liberal, (the survival of their citizens and their city is of the utmost importance), whereas political commentators may be of either outlook. It ts in this role of political critic that Fred is a conservative-his view of the masses who strive, through the herd mentality, to control the strong individual is the epitome of our new definition.
Gentle Reader, our definition may also explain Fred's disparaging opinions of political philosophers and the need for new philosophies, albeit even Fred could not foresee an individual such as Apprentice Tyler.