Making a two sided Liberal vs. Conservative Argument:
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So there's a few conservative characters in my book (they're in a variety of shades) a majority of them are limited to the level of only to the older, more traditional level. One of the few characters who has this affect him regularly gives the first impression to some people that he is a stubborn Jerk Ass who believes in Anti-Intellectualism, but actually cares a lot about his family and close friends and a majority of his fear of written knowledge has to do with the fact he secretly has a reading disability and doesn't want anyone to know about it. So basically, his actions directly caused by his Conservativeness
- He's reluctant to teach his daughter(s) how to fight, but evetually caves when he realizes they need to protect themselves
- He will sometimes give less atention to social problems because he believes that there are other problems to solve in the meantime
- He is well meaning, but occasionally he will lapse into Unfortunate Implications. (A good example to describe this would be the "Almost Politically Correct Redneck" image macro meme)
The easiest way, I think, to portray this argument is to give both sides an equal amount of good points and faults and let the audience decide for themselves which answer is right (or at least, best). Basically, don't make it black and white/right and wrong. Also, try to keep in mind that American liberalism/conservatism is different than Medieval liberalism/conservatism. "his fear of written knowledge has to do with the fact he secretly has a reading disability and doesn't want anyone to know about it. So basically, his actions directly caused by his Conservativeness" And I'd get rid of this if I was you. This suggests like conservatives wouldn't be conservatives if they knew better. Which, no matter how you portray liberalism, will make the whole story seem anti-conservative.
edited 18th Jan '13 7:02:28 PM by WSM
Also, try to keep in mind that American liberalism/conservatism is different than Medieval liberalism/conservatism.I don't think this can be possibly overstated. Both ideologies and the terms applied to them have changed greatly over time, so you should probably be more precise (both in- and out-of-story) as to what this character believes, instead of just referring to him as "a conservative". (Technically, I'm not sure if there is such a thing as "medieval liberalism/conservativism" - I think both terms as applied to politics originated around the Enlightenment era - but that probably just reinforces the point).
I think something to consider is that for a lot of history, the political arena was a lot more static than it is today. Not that there weren't epic changes going on all the time, but the basic principles people lived their lives by just couldn't afford that much variation. Today 'liberals' are people who try to adapt to the new social conditions while 'conservatives' are people who attempt to enforce a return to old social conditions. But if the conditions are on more of a plateau, then 'conservatives' would be people who fit in with the way things had always been, while 'liberals' would be the ones seeking to change and undermine those conditions, with unpredicatable results. So there's two main problems with that: one, you might be too radical and just become an outcast. Obviously in a community-based society that pretty much ends all opportunity for success or happiness. Two, you might actually succeed in destabilizing society - which could easily fuck things up by leading to a civil war or screwing up the economy or just making everyone really confused and angry (at you).
Terracotta Soldier Man
This, basically. In any medieval setting, politics is generally going to be more about personal advancement than what we call "The Issues." Think more "Old Guard vs. New Blood" than "Liberal vs. Conservative." Also, there's going to be a heavy degree of Moral Myopia regarding the lower classes no matter who's in power. The keystone of any good feudal system is the idea that, whether by explicit divine mandate or some vague "will of Fate," there is a class that must rule and a class that must be ruled for its own good. That doesn't mean that you have to make all the nobles cruel, exploitative bastards, but they certainly aren't going to see their peasants as equals even if they do treat them well.
edited 21st Jan '13 10:07:07 AM by Specialist290
And most of the peasants aren't going to consider themselves the equals of the nobles. The concept simply was not widely accepted. Look up "The Great Chain of Being" for how this worked. The wikipedia page is a decent quick overview, this one goes into deeper analysis of it and has a nice section on the political implications of it.
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
I think I might have an idea. Do you remember that bit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where Author declared himself king of Britain and a peasant pointed-out that the people of his village would have no need for a king since they like their anarcho-syndicalist society? How about you do that: the left-wing anarcho-syndicalist vs. the right-wing feudalist. With an anarcho-syndicalist society, everyone's equal and the individual communities are usually pretty strong. However, they aren't well-protected: there's no army or police force (maybe a volunteer militia). This leaves them vulnerable to foreign attacks or isolation from other communities. A feudalist monarchy offers greater protection (knights serving their lords, a national army, national laws, etc.) and a more stable organized structure (king controls lords who own the land, etc.). However, this leads to a small but powerful upper-class and a large and subservient lower class. Basically, both ideologies have pros and cons. You can have it so the serfs wish to start a revolution to replace the aristocracy with the more fair anarcho-syndicalist society (a historically example could be the early days of communism in Russia like from 1890 to about 1915). Or you can have a monarch be in the process of unifying the country under his (and the Church's) rule (a historically example could be Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire). A rising monarch working with the Church could make for an interesting anti-hero/anti-villain. This dad character can support the monarchy due to the protection and stability it provides him and his family. He can be all like "sure, there are a lot of poor people but at least, they're safe and organized; this anarchists are trying to destroy our kingdom), which is a far more compelling and sympathetic than "he's conservative because he's uneducated”. Also, before anyone points this out, I know this isn't historically accurate but for a historical fiction, I'd say this is at least believable.
Your argument is invalid
The best way of writing a believable argument is having one. Find the side you agree more with, find someone who agrees with the other, and talk it out.
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