Talk:United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Good article United States has been listed as one of the Geography and places good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject United States (Rated GA-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject United States, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of topics relating to the United States of America on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the ongoing discussions.
 GA  This article has been rated as GA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
Note icon
This article was a past U.S. Collaboration of the Month.
WikiProject Countries (Rated GA-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Countries, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of countries on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 GA  This article has been rated as GA-Class on the project's quality scale.
WikiProject North America (Rated GA-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject North America, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of North America on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 GA  This article has been rated as GA-Class on the quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the importance scale.
WikiProject United States Public Policy (Rated GA-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject United States Public Policy, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of United States public policy articles on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 GA  This article has been rated as GA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
Wikipedia Version 1.0 Editorial Team / v0.5 / Vital / Supplemental (Rated GA-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article has been reviewed by the Version 1.0 Editorial Team.
 GA  This article has been rated as GA-Class on the quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the importance scale.
This article has been mentioned by multiple media organisations:

Mediation update Wikipedia:Requests for mediation/United States[edit]

Over the course of six months, eight editors and a mediator consulted on the scope of the United States to determine a sourced lede sentence for the United States article, with an eye to resolving how the total area of the United States should be reported in the Infobox. The mediation has been successful and the participants reached consensus on the issues and have a proposed a new lede sentence for the article which is to be accompanied by a note. It has been agreed by the participants and the mediator that the proposed lede and accompanying note would be presented to article editors and members of the WP community as a Request for comment. It was agreed from the outset that the statement in the lede sentence of the article would have a footnote to explain the inclusion of U.S. territories, the consensus was to use the geographical sense of the United States for a general readership in an international context. Participants in the RfC are invited to survey the summary boxes below and the discussions at the link Requests for mediation/United States. (To review tables, click "show" in column 1)

Mediation sources deliberation The mediation consensus was arrived at not only by a numerical count of sources, but also taking into consideration geographical extent as national jurisdiction, territory formally claimed internationally, homeland security and definitions of the "United States" found in law, proclamation and international reports.

The “United States" defined in a geographic sense is, "any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, any possession…” Homeland Security Public Law 107-296 Sec.2.(16)(A), Presidential Proclamation of national jurisdiction [19], US State Department Common Core report to United Nations Human Rights Committee [20]


Why was it decided that America should re-direct here?? Is it likely that someone who wants to search for this article will expect it to be titled America?? Georgia guy (talk) 20:04, 21 September 2015 (UTC)

Because consensus was reached that the US is the primary topic when somebody is searching for America. See Talk:America (disambiguation)#Requested move 10 July 2015, where the decision was reached to move the disambiguation page from America to America (disambiguation). —C.Fred (talk) 20:16, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
What an outrageous redirect. Next US editors and readers will be demanding world redirect here. Ribbet32 (talk) 00:14, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
LOL. 10/10. Calidum 00:16, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
Considering that the general usage amongst English as a native language populations is that America is the short name for the US, how is this "outrageous"? --Khajidha (talk) 15:24, 2 October 2015 (UTC)
So because US citizens generally use the name wrong, Wikipedia should encourage ignorance? Ribbet32 (talk) 00:29, 3 October 2015 (UTC)
As Calidum said above: LOL. Juan Riley (talk) 00:33, 3 October 2015 (UTC)
No, US citizens us it correctly, and "America" is primarily used to refer to the United States by most of the world, not just US citizens. It's mostly Spanish speakers who do things differently, and this isn't Spanish Wikipedia. VictorD7 (talk) 05:01, 3 October 2015 (UTC)
And meanwhile, Wikipedia:Neutral point of view goes completely out the window... Ribbet32 (talk) 05:47, 3 October 2015 (UTC)


@Ribbet32: What is the basis for your objection? At WP:POVNAMING we have,

In some cases, the choice of name used for a topic can give an appearance of bias. While neutral terms are generally preferable, this must be balanced against clarity. If a name is widely used in reliable sources (particularly those written in English), and is therefore likely to be well recognized by readers, it may be used even though some may regard it as biased.


Wikipedia ... generally prefers to use the name that is most frequently used to refer to the subject in English-language reliable sources. … When there are multiple names for a subject, all of them fairly common, and the most common has problems, it is perfectly reasonable to choose one of the others.

At WP:RNEUTRAL we have,

Because redirects are less visible to readers, more latitude is allowed in their names. Perceived lack of neutrality in redirect names is therefore not a sufficient reason for their deletion.

At [21], the continent “Norteamérica" is translated into English as “America”. While the English “America” redirects to “United States”, it does not follow that the Spanish convention should be used in the English encyclopedia, so "North America” in English should not also redirect to “United States”.

Given the WP policies quoted above, when the term “America” is used in English, a) what country can be meant other than the United States? b) what country is MOST frequently meant using the term “America”? or c) What reliable source claims “America” is non-neutral? This may just be trolling, I'm guessing, but it's fun exploring the basics. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 09:09, 3 October 2015 (UTC)

@Ribbet32:, this is an encyclopedia. It strives to be understandable and uses common names. It's not really that complicated. The other thing you might remember is that we work by consensus and your position has no support.Mattnad (talk) 12:55, 3 October 2015 (UTC)

Madonna is a disambiguation page, Nirvana is about the religious concept, much less known than Nirvana (band), Georgia is a disambiguation page. Why can't America be a disambiguation page? Fridek (talk) 21:11, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

Do you have evidence that the religious concept of nirvana is less known among English speakers than the band? After all, there are 125 million English speakers in India, where the religious concept is most definitely more known than the band. --OuroborosCobra (talk) 21:41, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
"America" is a disambiguation page. It's just that, in accordance with Wikipedia practice, since the country is the overwhelmingly primary use, "America" searches are redirected to this article first for convenience. You can click back to the disambiguation page via the link at the top of the article. VictorD7 (talk) 18:32, 4 November 2015 (UTC)

The name of the nation isn't solely "America" but the "United States of America". It's also redundant to say the country is "America" but the continent it belongs to is North America and in turn the latter belongs to the Americas, thus creating a vocabulary paradox. Just because the country is referred by the third part by the majority of its name it doesn't mean it constitutes a valid reason to redirect an ambiguous name to solely one nation its part of strictly speaking. After all, by all technical standards Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and Cuba are all American nations as the USA is, and that's without using prefixes such as "latin-/south-/franco-/native-/meso-/etc".

2607:FB90:1F03:CA45:0:49:802E:2801 (talk) 23:32, 21 December 2015 (UTC)

"America" doesn't necessarily equal "the Americas". The latter has replaced the historic sense of "America" referring to the entire hemisphere. Of course "America" has more than one meaning which is why a disambiguation page exists. But many words have multiple meanings, and Wikipedia policy is to first redirect to the article representing the overwhelmingly common usage when one exists, as multiple extensive discussions and much scrutinized evidence have established is the case here. "America" in the USA sense is the overwhelming majority usage around the world, much less the English speaking world, which is what matters to this discussion. As for "America" not being the entire name, that's irrelevant as multiple different words can redirect to the same article. In fact this article is titled "United States" anyway rather than the full name that you correctly give, due to Wikipedia common name policy. It would be more legitimate to argue that the article should be retitled "America", as that's another very common name, than argue that "America" searches shouldn't come here first, though that's a different debate (and less popular than the "let's rename the article "United States of America" position). VictorD7 (talk) 05:34, 25 December 2015 (UTC)

And yet the redirect has caused some internal conflict in Wikipedia.2607:FB90:24C1:7A49:0:49:566D:1901 (talk) 02:28, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

The lack of one caused conflicts on Wikipedia, and lots of people looking for the country having to stop at a disambiguation page first. Makes more sense for the minority who are looking for something other than the USA when they type "America" to be the ones to have to make an extra click to get to the disambiguation page. VictorD7 (talk) 20:40, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
This seems to be a very US centric viewpoint. Having it go directly to this page does little for a searcher that is trying to find something different, unless they see the text directing them to America (disambiguation). What harm is done by directly sending them to America (disambiguation)? It seems very unlikely that someone looking for this article would not be able to find it from that page. Casprings (talk) 22:44, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
No, it's based on extensive discussions and analysis of what people around the world primarily mean by "America". What harm is done by having the minority looking for something else click back to the disambiguation page easily accessible on the top of this article page? That's how many Wikipedia topics work. VictorD7 (talk) 22:33, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
It's an English language centric viewpoint. The overwhelming majority of native English usage of "America" is in the USA sense. --Khajidha (talk) 16:28, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
Hard for that to be a neutral consideration given most native English-speaking users are from the US. Languages evolve, but I think it's not a simple problem to decide when a term becomes popular enough to be considered the academically correct one, or if there's such thing as an "incorrect" term when a majority (biased or not) uses it. However I do believe an encyclopedia should aim for precision when the price is merely making people click a second time to get where they want. (talk) 07:44, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
This is English Wikipedia, so English usage is the consideration, though even other languages typically refer to the USA with variations of "America". Spanish is the only noteworthy exception. As for the rest, perhaps reading the Wikipedia Common Name policy and primary topic guidelines will clear things up. Given the latter most pertinently, redirecting "America" to the primary topic (the United States) is clearly correct. Many fewer people now have to make that second click you speak of back to the disambiguation page, which still exists with a link conveniently located at the top of this article. VictorD7 (talk) 23:05, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 4 January 2016[edit]

It says "Official language: None at federal level" then right below that it says "National language: English" RCrowley49 (talk) 23:07, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

And? What do you want to change? There is no officially recognized language at the federal level. No de jure language. However the de facto language is English. --Majora (talk) 23:13, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 8 January 2016[edit]

The "Ethnic Groups" section has a list that is way too long and do not fit in properly with the rest of the information. I request that someone shorten this list. (talk) 04:12, 8 January 2016 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done I have reverted the list to the way it appeared at 17:14, 7 January 2016‎ (UTC). Wikipedia should not be a host for excessive listings of statistics, and a far more comprehensive discussion of ethnic groups in America can be found at Race and ethnicity in the United States. Mz7 (talk) 05:53, 8 January 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 12 January 2016[edit] (talk) 16:18, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

Closed as no request was made. MilborneOne (talk) 16:21, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 12 January 2016[edit]

Correct the population total for when you google the United States we have 321million as of the 2013 census and did not lose 1.1million people in 2014 so please fix this. Dathistorybuff (talk) 23:36, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done: The population number is based off of The United States Census Bureau numbers. The estimated number as of 2016 is 322 million. It isn't updated every day since that would be a little ridiculous. --Majora (talk) 23:44, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to 3 external links on United States. Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true to let others know.

N Archived sources still need to be checked

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 02:15, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

Last link still not pulling up. Apriestofgix (talk) 19:24, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

Political party descriptions[edit]

I've reverted VictorD7's recent addition to the political party descriptions, because I don't think the descriptions are accurate, and because the sources don't seem available online although there are Google Book URLs. We've had some recent discussions on what the descriptions should be. Of those I found, the more detailed one is here, another here. We should resolve the reasons for the disputed inline tag, placed by EllenCT here, before removing it.

The text of the addition was American conservatives tend to favor limited government, support traditional cultural values, and rhetorically emphasize individual liberty. American liberals tend to favor larger, more involved government, support liberal cultural values, and rhetorically emphasize economic equality.[1][2]


  1. ^ Lynne Ford; Barbara Bardes; Steffen Schmidt; Mack Shelley (January 2, 2015). American Government and Politics Today. Cengage Learning. p. 22. Retrieved 16 January 2016. 
  2. ^ Nigel Ashford; Stephen Davies (June 25, 2012). A Dictionary of Conservative and Libertarian Thought. Routledge. pp. XI–XIV. Retrieved 16 January 2016. 

The links worked for me. Not sure why they didn't for you. I already posted on your talk page about this before I saw you had started this. If it's alright I'd prefer you answer what I said there both so I don't have to repeat myself and since I have doubts that a discussion here would be any more productive than the inconclusive one you linked to from before was. Feel free to explain what precisely you feel is inaccurate. Seemed like basic, uncontroversial, undeniable descriptions to me, ones found echoed in countless sources. VictorD7 (talk) 20:47, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

It would probably be more accurate to say that conservatives tend to favor the coercive powers of the state, which liberals tend to favor using the redistributionist powers. But liberals brought in "three strikes, you're out" and the "end of welfare as we know it", so these are tendencies rather than absolutes. If we mention these we should also mention what they share in common: support of the values enshrined in the constitution and capitalism. TFD (talk) 23:51, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
All state powers are coercive, including redistributive ones, and no, broadly speaking conservatives favor less state involvement in daily life than liberals. Of course most Americans agree on many things, but the point here is to contrast them for identification purposes. VictorD7 (talk) 02:11, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Coercive power is generally understood to be the exercise of power through coercion, i.e., threats of punishment. The distinction is widely understood,[22] although you may have use a different terminology. U.S. conservatives broadly support a wider use of the criminal justice system and military action than liberals do. That is why they are more likely to support the war on drugs, wars in the Middle East, the death penalty, minimum sentences and laws against abortion and pornography. It is the belief that the fear of punishment is the best incentive to make people behave better. It is even evident in religion, where conservative Christians emphasize hell as a punishment for sin. TFD (talk) 02:59, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Not that I'm interested in one guy's pet distinction, but even your own author says that redistributive power "ultimately rests on the threat of coercive power". In other words, if you don't pay your taxes men with guns will come and take you to jail. Conservatives typically support many fewer laws than liberals, but stronger punishment for the narrower scope of laws that exist (theft, murder, etc.; laws against abortion and slavery fall under similar basic personal protection; Most conservatives don't seek to outlaw pornography, though liberals like Tipper Gore did not long about a moot issue though). Liberals support a much more robust regulatory regime (try starting a small business in a liberal state some time), higher taxes, laws prohibiting the sale of dogs and cats in certain areas, laws dictating what size soft drinks people are allowed to drink, eminent domain power (government seizing private property for its own use), coerced participation in a wide array of programs ranging from social security to Obamacare, gun control, mass confiscation of privately held gold (FDR), etc.. Liberals cheer the growing involvement of government in every sphere of daily life, and are chiefly responsible for the massive surge in federal spending as a percentage of GDP over the past century (New Deal, Great Society, etc.). You accidentally touch on a major philosophical difference between the two sides: conservatives overwhelmingly believe in God (in the Lockean tradition), an authority that transcends government. Secular progressives (the hardcore of the left) tend to view the state as god rather than as a necessary evil like conservatives do. This is basic political philosophy.
It's also totally unproductive here, and the reason why I have no interest in rehashing this discussion on this talk page at this time. Instead of ten different editors offering ten slightly different opinions, many of them driveby posts and others meandering, overly broad exchanges like this one, I'd rather build a consensus by finding common ground with editors one at a time in one on one discussions, starting with Dhtwiki since he was the reverter. VictorD7 (talk) 05:07, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
You are evading the issue. U.S. conservatives believe that an increase in the threat of punishment or military action will motivate people to behave better. The cost of that approach is more people in prisons, more police and prison officers, more soldiers, more spending on jails and weapons. Similarly they see government spending on health, welfare and education as disincentives to initiative. That is the distinction between liberal and conservative in the U.S. that has driven debates since the 1930s. TFD (talk) 07:10, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
No, I just corrected your misconception. You're still confusing severity of punishment with the scope of government involvement. Both liberals and conservatives support laws against murder and theft, for example. That's no distinction. But conservatives favor limited government involvement in the scope of daily life like the activities I listed above. Only a tiny percentage of the population commits murder or theft, but almost everyone pays taxes, consumes regulated goods, is forced into government programs like social security, and works in a heavily regulated industry. Liberals support the existence of the military too, but that only accounts for roughly 20% of federal spending anyway, so the differences between conservatives' and liberals' desired military expense is negligible compared to their differences on the non defense spending that makes up 80% of federal expenditures. Conservatives see a much more limited role for government than liberals do; mostly physical security with some infrastructure, education, and safety net role, but far less than liberals want. The divide is probably starkest on economic regulation and taxes. VictorD7 (talk) 11:45, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
The scope of involvement is beside the point, it is the use of state power. Conservatives emphasize the use of coercive power (prisons, defence), while liberals emphasize redistributive power (food stamps, schools, medicare). While you are correct that the first type of power affects fewer people than the second, and costs less and the latter is bigger government, it does not detract from the fact that the two sides emphasize different types of state power. TFD (talk) 07:31, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm glad you agree that liberal sought government expansion affects more people, costs more, and leads to a bigger government, but I disagree with the implication that "redistributive power" isn't coercive. Ask Wesley Snipes, countless people who have had their businesses shut down by the authorities or had their dreams of even starting one squashed by regulation, all those who have been audited by the IRS, or millions who grumble at the FICA taxes being involuntarily taken from every paycheck. Or ask Eric Garner's loved ones in New York, after he was killed by cops dutifully having to enforce an excessive law resulting from a big government mindset. Or ask the families who have had their children taken from them by the state for controversially light and transient causes, or have had their land taken from them via eminent domain by the government. As the Garner case and others illustrate, no one should ever vote to pass or support a law unless you're willing to kill someone to enforce it. Regardless, even if such big government somehow operated voluntarily without coercion, its scope and size are the issues if we're discussing whether one side favors "larger" or "limited" government, as the proposed edit did. VictorD7 (talk) 23:02, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
@VictorD7: The links don't lead directly to pages that support the text above. The URLs contain page numbers but I wind up on pages of prefatory material. The error in what you wrote consists in, e.g., characterizing conservatives as being for small government, when they're apt to favor huge military spending, or supporting traditional cultural values, when they are apt to elect politicians who are serial divorcees, etc. As for the liberals, they're apt to be against defense expenditures, which is one of the main reasons government is so large and involved. Otherwise, the wording is generally too vague or qualified ("rhetorically", twice) to be of much use. The "disputed" tag shouldn't just be left up, but the rationale for its being there or taken down should be discussed. Otherwise, I'm happy to leave that section alone, especially since it's been contentious. Appropriate wiki-linking is what we need to explain Republicans and Democrats to those who are interested. Dhtwiki (talk) 07:50, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
You have to scroll down to the given page numbers after you click on the link. Obviously I disagree with your characterization, but I'll respond to the substance on your talk page. VictorD7 (talk) 11:45, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

"Secular progressives (the hardcore of the left) tend to view the state as god rather than as a necessary evil like conservatives do. This is basic political philosophy." This pearl of wisdom from Victor about something he doesn't understand (progressives) leads me to believe that maybe we shouldn't have an insider - liberal, conservative, Republican, Democrat, whatever artificial and arbitrary way you kids want to divide yourselves - try to define the terms used. Neither of you obviously know how to define the other side except in your own, predatory way, and should both back away from the article. I propose someone from outside the U.S. come in, preferably from the global south (to avoid any preconceived notions of eurosocialism or post-Soviet/post-Maoist capitalism that pervade the global north outside of the U.S.), or some anarcho-primitivist who would place a pox upon both your houses, to neutrally define the current center-right political parties that presently control the American political landscape. --Golbez (talk) 05:02, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

And along comes Golbez to hypocritically spew his own biased ignorance, targeting me primarily even though I'm the one who said from the outset that I didn't think this talk page section should exist and don't see it as a vehicle for shaping the article in any way. I'm just indulging TFD's desire for a broad discussion for a few posts. You also ignored my actual article edit, which had absolutely nothing to do with what you quoted, and was entirely neutral and accurate. I'm amused though that you assume someone from "the global south" (basically the third world) wouldn't have their own biases regarding what they've gleaned about America from afar through a distorted filter, much less an anarchist, lol. Of course the Democrats are center-left, not center-right, as countless sources attest, many of which I helpfully cited and quoted last time this topic was unproductively discussed here (I and RCLC were the only ones that bothered know...sources and stuff). VictorD7 (talk) 22:22, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
It is pretty clear and undisputed that conservatives emphasize law and order and defense issues, while historically liberals were responsible for building the welfare state. It may be that conservatives have made us safer while liberals have encouraged dependency, but that does not detract from the fact that is the major distinction. How would you describe it in a non-predatory way? @VictorD7: do you disagree that conservatives put greater emphasis on law and order and strong military defense than liberals? TFD (talk) 08:08, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Are we trying to define "conservative" and "liberal", or "Republican" and "Democrat"? Because there is not and never has been a 1:1 correlation. It would be especially unsound to define the terms based on the current incarnations of the parties, when just 20 years ago they were quite different. The parties deserve a short, one-sentence description (and perhaps one, hyphenated word - the GOP is center-right, the Dems are just-right-of-center - but of course y'all would disagree with that assertion, despite there not being an objective meter of "conservative" or "liberal" despite these simplistic attempts at convincing our readers there is one), and anything else can be offloaded to the party articles. But, to take the bait because I have nothing better to do this morning: "Conservatives emphasize law and order" What of the conservatives illegally occupying the federal wildlife refuge in Oregon? "historically liberals [built] the welfare state" yes, great liberals like George W. Bush, whose compassionate conservatism (which, among other things, expanded Medicare) would make modern Republican candidates cringe. Not to mention the GOP of the 1990s being very strongly behind a national health care system. So are we using the 2016 definition of "conservative," and are we allowing the 2016 GOP to define that for us? "conservatives have made us safer" Woodrow Wilson and FDR, noted conservatives. "liberals have encouraged dependency" This is where I would go into a tirade on the notion of receipt of vital government infrastructure being "dependency" but none of us want that to happen. "How would you describe it" I refuse to, because I know I'm not neutral. You two are too inside to think neutrally on the subject, despite I'm sure you think you can. --Golbez (talk) 15:30, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
TFD, of course you're right to say that conservatives tend (a word I purposefully include) to emphasize support for physical security (from criminals and foreign threats) more than liberals do, and liberals tend to favor a larger welfare state than conservatives do. Golbez cites some exceptions above (with varying degrees of accuracy; FDR and Wilson both left the military unforgivably unprepared while blundering into world wars they had promised to keep us out of, with great cost in blood; plus the notion of the parties simply swapping ideologies is a debunked myth), but of course one defines by broadly contrasting, not spending time pointing out where the sides overlap or exceptions to the general tendencies. I wouldn't mind adding the contrast on law enforcement and specifically the welfare state, but those aren't central enough to the political divide (especially on the conservative side) to serve as the primary much less only descriptions we use. Since higher in this section you just agreed with what I said about the respective differences regarding the scope and size of government, I'm not sure why or if you'd still object to including the original items in my edit along with something like "support for law and order" or "law enforcement". Of course I'd even more prefer Golbez's suggestion, with the exception that it correctly cite the Democrats as "center-left" like the article did for a long time rather than ludicrously calling them "center-right". In the last discussion I cited and quoted from numerous quality academic sources labeling the Democrats as left leaning. With the article including the phrase "Within American political culture...", any remotely reasonable remaining objections (not that they would exist anyway) fall away. Since there's little point to calling each side of the political spectrum within the US "center-right" (talk about useless and uninformative), in the absence of such reasonableness that would acknowledge Democrats (or "liberals", if we retained that inadequate term) are the relatively leftward bending party, then the alternative is for a longer segment accurately and neutrally giving a brief rundown of what "conservative" and "liberal" mean in modern America. VictorD7 (talk) 23:02, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Golbez, it would be tendentious to say that conservatives made America safer and liberals encouraged dependency - those are conservative spins. Liberals might spin it warmongers and cheapos. And of course the carrot/stick dichotomy is a tendency, a matter of relative degree. The two parties have however polarized. The Oregon activists are I imagine a tad outside even the conservative mainstream. But they do support law and order, at least in their own minds, and justify their actions by the Constitution.
VictorD7, I do not think Wilson qualifies as a modern liberal, that really begins with FDR, with his opponents later calling themselves conservatives. I think in general your distinction is correct, but it is not phrased in a neutral manner or a way that would necessarily be understood to non-Americans. Individual liberty and limited government for example can mean different things.
TFD (talk) 23:42, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
<INSERT>I disagree with you on Wilson (the iconic "progressive" was the first modern liberal president), TFD, but that's beside the point. How was my edit non neutral? Is there some way to slightly tweak it that would result in a version you find acceptable? VictorD7 (talk) 22:23, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Usually in US history, issues change, and the people chose between parties which offer two different emphases. One party emphasizes security for individual rights, the other emphasizes individual rights for security. Of course both parties seek internal and external security, and both parties seek individual rights without license in a virtuous republic. The terrible truth for American political parties is, the people are perfectly capable of changing horses in the middle of a stream. Sometimes they vote the ins out.
When we want to make a distinction between the modern parties over the last 50 years since 1966, we find Democrats balance the federal budget one year under Johnson, two years under Carter and six years under Clinton, and the Republicans have chosen to expand the national debt primarily by war funded “off budget”. They now presume to use the national debt as a campaign issue against the Democrats, calling for more military expenditures and more war, while promising to balance the budget, pay down the debt and lower taxes for all. Perhaps they will be persuasive.
Rather than try to objectively describe the two parties, I wonder if we could simply summarize the national platforms of each? Neither calls for “big government” one calls for an even playing field and do no harm, the other calls for individual opportunity and corporate expansion into international markets. It may be that each party has published an online summary of their positions, and we can use their self-descriptions. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 10:29, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
You ignore the Republican Congress' role in balancing the budget in the 1990s, the fact Obama has shattered all deficit and debt records, and the fact that there's a lot more to the issue of debating government's role than balancing the budget. As a side note, not that you were necessarily saying otherwise, but the "off budget" war funding you mention was a BS Democrat talking point that was wrong because it used to claim that Bush was somehow fudging deficit numbers. The war funding always counted toward the official deficit and debt figures. You are wrong to imply (though technically you didn't explicitly claim) that war funding has "primarily" been responsible for driving the debt. The 2000s deficits were primarily driven by the economic downturn that started in 2000 and was exacerbated by the 9/11 attacks in 2001 on the revenue side. The budget had moved relatively close to balance by FY 2007 before the next recession hit. On the spending side of course most of what drives the deficits and the debt has been the vast majority of the budget that's non-defense related.
That said, I agree with you on letting the sides define themselves, within reason. That's basically what I tried to do in my edit, even using the words "rhetorically emphasize" to avoid having Wikipedia comment on how faithful to their espoused principles the sides are. Of course, as predicted, this so far unproductive talk page section has seen no real discussion of the actual edit that sparked it or apparently much reading of what others have already posted in this section. Random editors are just coming along to post some of their random political views, with the exception of you, who at least tacked on a substantive suggestion to the end your commentary. However, I do disagree with your claim that Democrats don't call for "big government". They may not typically use those words (neither did I), but Democrats and certainly liberals do openly call for a larger, more involved government that does more "good" in society than the "mean" anti-government conservatives want. Think of the "Life of Julia" model published by Obama's campaign that trumpeted how active government can help someone in every stage of her life, widely criticized and lampooned by conservatives because it got to the heart of the difference between the sides. On the conservative side I'd go so far as to say almost every published self description heavily emphasizes "limited government" and "individual liberty" in some variation, typically with those exact words. Whether liberals like it or not that's how most conservatives view themselves and those principles are the driving motivating factors in their movement. VictorD7 (talk) 22:23, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

"American conservatives tend to favor limited government". This sounds surprising to me. Last I checked they are all in favor of the existence of an extensive United States Armed Forces, the role and funding of large government agencies like the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the United States Department of Homeland Security, and hold some peculiar notions about prohibitions of sex,drugs, and alcohol (which all translate to increased roles for law enforcement agencies). Can anyone point to a conservative who wants to defund these government agencies? Dimadick (talk) 11:42, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

Already discussed and refuted above. Limited government doesn't mean no government, but government limited to certain roles, in conservatives' case primarily physical security. As to raw government size do some math on federal expenditures, the vast majority of which is non-defense. I know of no conservatives who want to prohibit sex or alcohol. Alcohol was prohibited in the 1920s by the progressive movement. That same left leaning movement also gave us drug and food regulation in the wake of socialist muckraker Upton Sinclair's shocking propaganda writing in the 1800s. Both liberals and conservatives have broadly supported hard recreational drug prohibition since then, an unlibertarian position but one shared by both sides, though for most of my life there have been more conservatives than liberals calling for drug legalization to varying degrees, the most prominent being guys like former Republican New Mexico governor Gary Johnson (while still in office) and Texas Congressman Ron Paul. This may have changed recently with a surge in Democrats (and Republicans) at the state level favoring marijuana legalization in certain places, though most liberals still want most recreational drugs prohibited, so it's not a meaningful difference between the sides. The only push to regulate sex between consenting adults I know of is the recent law in California pushed by liberals to mandate "continuous affirmative consent" (talk about getting the government in the bedroom), leaps and bounds beyond what has normally been considered consent by most Americans. VictorD7 (talk)
Update - I will say there are still some dry counties/municipalities, mostly in the south, but in the vast majority of these alcohol isn't prohibited, just its sale within certain boundaries, often city limits. In these cases bars and liquor stores tend to stack up right outside the city limits. It's more like a zoning issue than anything. Usually the concern isn't the private consumption of alcohol so much as what happens when large crowds gather in public drinking, and the effect on children regularly exposed to alcohol displays. However, the vast majority of conservative counties and towns are wet, and I know of no conservative who supports banning alcohol nationally like the progressives did almost a century ago. VictorD7 (talk) 00:55, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
  • American conservatives tend to favor limited government, support traditional cultural values, and rhetorically emphasize individual liberty. American liberals tend to favor larger, more involved government, support liberal cultural values, and rhetorically emphasize economic equality

This doesn't really have encyclopedic tone does it? Is it accurate? Shouldn't there be citations next to each contentious claim? There are many concerns with the above text. It does seem a bit pamphlet like and over simplified at best and probably disputable in some ways. It also strikes me as somewhat biased.--Mark Miller (talk) 02:58, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
I would say Yes and Yes to your first two questions. The segment was accompanied by two academic sources (despite the fact that most of the rest of the section is unsourced) and in my view wasn't contentious anyway. "Seem a bit", "probably", "somewhat"? No specifics whatsoever. The one thing you said I might agree with is the simplification, but it's not an over simplification, as a summary country article where we layout the broad political divide in a sentence or two necessarily involves generalizing. I don't think it was biased at all, but feel free to offer a counter proposal, or at least be more specific in your objections. VictorD7 (talk) 23:14, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
VictorD7, 22:23, January 20: "Random editors are just coming along to post some of their random political views"
VictorD7, 00:55, January 21: "I know of no conservatives who want to prohibit sex or alcohol."
Presented without further comment on the statement, because this isn't the place for random political views, but it is the place to point out that we shouldn't have people who are so wildly incorrect (willfully or not, but Victor does not strike me as ignorant) about politics even being involved in the conversation of what the text should be. The only way Victor can squeeze out of this is to say that "Republicans aren't conservatives," since I can easily list a half dozen Republicans in a flat minute that have called for prohibitions on consensual sex, but then that doesn't help at all the question of defining Republican. Because we're trying to define Republican, right? Not conservative? And the two certainly don't have a 1:1 correlation, so why are we discussing "conservative" politics instead of "Republican" politics? --Golbez (talk) 17:08, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
In fact, you can see it in Victor's choice of words. In those two latest edits, he used "Republican" three times, but "conservative" ten times. Again, what term are we trying to define here? Or is Victor implying that "Republican" and "conservative" are somehow synonymous? --Golbez (talk) 17:11, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
Golbez has demonstrated his ignorance countless times on this page, but more importantly we shouldn't have trollishness or dishonesty involved, as neither are conducive to the collaborative process. Not that cherry-picking two lines out of context tells you anything meaningful, but I used the term "conservative" at times because the article segment currently uses "conservative" and "liberal". One would think Golbez would know that, but then he still has yet to even comment on the article segment in question in this section, and has done nothing but snipe at other editors here as if trying to provoke and derail. The article also uses "Republican" and "Democrat", and I use either the party or ideology depending on what's appropriate given what I'm replying to at the time. For what it's worth I don't know of any Republicans who advocate prohibiting consensual sex by adults either, and Golbez didn't name any of these alleged "half dozen" who do, but then there are thousands of Republican and Democrat officeholders across the country, and I don't presume to know them all. Certainly banning sex isn't a salient, defining feature of any significant portion of the American political spectrum, rendering this tangent an unproductive waste of time. But I guess that's the point of trolling, isn't it? VictorD7 (talk) 23:09, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
" he still has yet to even comment on the article segment in question in this section" Quite right - as I stated before, I'm not qualified to define the parties, especially ones I have active dislike for, as I am aware of my own bias, and therefore will not attempt to. I'm urging everyone else here to do the same. "I don't know of any Republicans" as it took me literally three seconds to dig up Ken Cuccinelli, I'm not going to do more of your work for you. It's up to you if you want to continue to appear to be ignorant, but we all know you aren't. --Golbez (talk) 23:20, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
You claimed you could list "half a dozen" Republicans and yet you had to just now "dig up" an alleged example, and only one alleged example at that? I didn't remember the guy's name, but I vaguely remembered the case. Here's what our own bio article on him says (he was the Virginia Attorney General): "In March 2013, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals struck down Virginia's anti-sodomy law in a case involving William Scott MacDonald, a 47-year-old man who solicited sex from a 17-year-old girl. On June 25, 2013, Cuccinelli filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to uphold the law, saying the appeals court ruling would release MacDonald from probation and "threatens to undo convictions of child predators that were obtained under this law after 2003."[96][97] Cuccinelli said the law is important for prosecutors to be able to "obtain felony charges against adults who commit or solicit this sex act with minors," and noted that the law "is not - and cannot be -- used against consenting adults acting in private." So unless you're referring to something else he said or did, even your one example doesn't pass muster, reinforcing everything I've said about you so far. Maybe you just grabbed his name off some partisan/activist blog. Those are known for twisting the truth, so take them with a grain of salt.
I reject your premise that unbiased individuals can't edit on political topics, since that would leave no one editing political topics, but if you truly feel you aren't qualified to participate in a collaborative editing effort on this topic then it's unclear why you're participating so heavily, unless it is to derail the process. Feel free to leave any time.VictorD7 (talk) 23:50, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
VictorD7, if you just stick with the facts, without trying to offend liberals or re-write history, there is a possibility of a way forward. I hope you realize that the progressive movement, although largely Republican, crossed party lines and it was the Republicans who brought in meat inspection the FDA and prohibition (which Wilson vetoed). Liberalism did not develop from progressivism, and in fact FDR defeated the progressive Herbert Hoover. A standard English introductory textbook says, "Ideologically, all US parties are liberal and always have been. Essentially they espouse classical liberalism, that is a form of democratised Whig constitutionalism plus the free market. The point of difference comes with the inflluence of social liberalism.[23] TFD (talk) 17:32, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
TFD, I have been posting facts, was bending over backwards to avoid offending anyone with the edit, and have certainly not re-written any history. Some of what you just said is wrong (I was speaking of ideology not party; Republicans and Democrats were both influenced the progressive and socialist movements, though the Democrats ultimately more so the point was that the FDA wasn't created by a conservative crusade; It was also created years before Wilson took office; I didn't mention Wilson in regard to prohibition either, he vetoed the bill for tangential reasons because part of it spilled over onto his assumed war powers, regardless he's seen as a progressive icon by the vast majority of reliable sources for countless other reasons, so this aside is pointless unless you're challenging that well established fact), but none of your post has anything to do with the proposed edit. You may have missed my above question so I'll repeat it here:
How was my edit non neutral? Is there some way to slightly tweak it that would result in a version you find acceptable? Feel free to offer a counter proposal. I'll add that both the parties were classically liberal in the 19th Century. This changed at the end of that century with the rise of the socialist and progressive movements, labor unions, etc.. Modern American conservativism broadly reflects the ideology of almost all the founding fathers and every major political party in the 19th Century. The modern conservative movement arose in response to the development of modern liberalism, which is almost the opposite of classical liberalism, as our own articles on the topics and countless quality sources I've posted here before make clear. If you have a problem with that then you should certainly have a big problem with the current article segment, which describes Democrats as "liberal" and Republicans as "conservative". It certainly doesn't describe them both as "liberal". VictorD7 (talk) 23:34, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
Jonah Goldberg was criticized for among other things identifying progressivism with wilson, rather than T Roosevelt and Taft, and saying it developed into liberalism. I was referring to comments such as "Secular progressives (the hardcore of the left) tend to view the state as god." I do not really know what that means, it seems to conflate Hegelian idealism, Gramscian marxism and a lot of other things that have nothing to do with mainstream liberalism and editors are more likely to react to them than consider your proposals for changes. TFD (talk) 23:53, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
The sentence you quote was part of a response to your own off topic comments about what conservatives supposedly believe about sin, God, and punishment. Much of this section has been one editor going off on an off topic political riff and another (including me) replying with a riff of his own. That had nothing to do with my edit though. Does this mean you don't see the actual edit as non-neutral? Either way, it would be most productive to return our focus to the article and edit that sparked this section.
But to clean up this off topic Wilson thing real fast, Wilson has always been a progressive icon. It has nothing to do with Jonah Goldberg (whose work was mostly criticized by modern liberals and praised by conservatives/libertarians/classical liberals). The lede of our own article on him states, "As President, Wilson was a leading force in the Progressive Movement, bolstered by his Democratic Party's winning control of both the White House and Congress in 1912.....
Leading the Congress, now in Democratic hands, he oversaw the passage of progressive legislative policies unparalleled until the New Deal in 1933.[1] Included among these were the Federal Reserve Act, Federal Trade Commission Act, the Clayton Antitrust Act, and the Federal Farm Loan Act. Having taken office one month after ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment, Wilson called a special session of Congress, whose work culminated in the Revenue Act of 1913, reintroducing an income tax and lowering tariffs. Through passage of the Adamson Act, imposing an 8-hour workday for railroads, he averted a railroad strike and an ensuing economic crisis.[2]"
For an off Wikipedia source here's a history article on Wilson's progressive legacy by an ostensibly "non-partisan" university outfit currently run by a former Clinton adviser (not Jonah Goldberg): [24] VictorD7 (talk) 00:19, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
And herein lies part of the problem - "liberal" means different things, to different people, from different countries, from different eras. But sure, let's let the Republican and Democratic parties of 2016 have sole definition of the terms. --Golbez (talk) 23:20, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
All political terms mean different things, to different people, from different countries, from different eras. Writers are still able to convey meaning through context, as I imagine you understood that meant the liberal political tradition that includes both Smith and Keynes. But i you have a better way to expressing the view, I would be pleased to hear them. TFD (talk) 23:42, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
Golbez, you finally said something I agree with. That's precisely what my problem is with the current use of "liberal" and "conservative" in the article, and why I want some kind of caveat or brief explanation as to what those terms mean in this context. TFD, though the segment does lead off with the clause "Within American political culture," the problem here is that modern US liberalism and sometimes even conservatism mean the opposite of what they do in certain other parts of the world, rendering the clause inadequate, by itself, as a qualifier if we want to avoid misleading a large number of readers. VictorD7 (talk) 00:30, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Liberalism does not mean the opposite, but can mean different things in context. U.S. conservatism is not the opposite of modern U.S. liberalism. There is a general "liberal consensus" on the Constitution, capitalism, democracy, freedom of religion, etc. And those values are increasingly accepted by conservatives and socialists outside the U.S. as well. TFD (talk) 01:08, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Agree with TFD. @VictorD7: I do not understand repeated references to Woodrow Wilson, when the last 50 years since 1966 are more germane to the discussion of modern party positions. --- How is this for an alternative edit?

American conservatives tend to favor government by state majorities, unregulated concentrations of national wealth, support traditional cultural values, and rhetorically emphasize individual liberty regardless of outcomes. American liberals tend to favor national majority government, economic competition, support traditional constitutional values, and rhetorically emphasize individual opportunity towards equitable outcomes in health, education, safety, employment and housing.

This explanation also has the benefit of accounting for the current national disfunction where the extremes of state majorities are translated into national politics by gerrymandering Congressional Districts. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 11:51, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
TVH, I think Golbez first raised Wilson, which sparked a tangential exchange between me and TFD, though I'm not sure what you agree with TFD on unless you're disagreeing with our own article on him, the academic article I linked to, and generations of history and textbooks on him. But I'm glad you agree with me that it's beside the point here, so I'll move on.
Your proposal seems a little long and almost satirically biased against conservatives in tone. "Unregulated concentrations of national wealth" sounds like something written in a collaboration between one of Hillary Clinton's lawyers and a drunken Bernie Sanders. I'm not saying it's technically inaccurate (in part because I'm not entirely certain what "regulated" wealth even means), but a more neutral tone might be something along the lines of "protection (or "defense") of private property", something conservatives actually do frequently talk about. I also don't get the "state majorities"/"national majority government" dichotomy. It seems like you're trying to say conservatives offer relatively more support to states' rights, but it's hopelessly contorted and convoluted. Don't liberals support "majority" rule at the state level too? And don't conservatives support majority rule at the national level? I don't get what you were trying to do by inserting "majority" rule. Maybe we can say something about conservatives favoring "local control" on many (not all) issues (and not just at the state but the local community level, though I could accept "states' rights" or some variation of "federal balance of power" instead), which in the UK they might call "devolution" of powers (basically decentralization, bringing democracy closer to home).
Also, tacking on "regardless of outcomes" seems like you're trying to put a negative spin on conservatives' support for individual liberty. Your wording is correct, but you don't add a similar extension to the liberals' support for "equitable outcomes" like "even if it means restricting individual liberty". In fact you go in another direction by listing in excessive detail the various spheres where liberals supposedly favor "equitable outcomes": "health"(?; insurance coverage isn't an outcome, or even healthcare), education (?; spending isn't an outcome, and liberals oppose school choice in favor of a rigid government monopoly that freezes kids in whatever schools they're in, regardless of how poor outcomes are), "employment", and "housing". Setting aside the controversial nature of that detailed list's accuracy, it skews the segment and creates a non-neutral imbalance. "Economic competition" certainly isn't a defining trait of modern liberalism. They may support it to some degree, but then so do conservatives. In fact liberals often deride such competition, calling it "social Darwinism". Maybe you were hinting at support for trust busting (despite your comment about sticking to post 1966), but it's debatable whether a dynamic involving heavy handed government intervention to break up companies that are too successful amounts to pure competition, and regardless liberals also routinely impose restrictions on competition in areas ranging from healthcare insurance (barriers at state lines) to education (the aforementioned opposition to school choice), even sometimes favoring government monopolies. It was conservatives who deregulated industries like utilities and cable tv, where certain companies had previously enjoyed government regional monopoly grants. So at best this doesn't seem like a salient, defining trait of liberalism.
Also wrong is the "support for traditional constitutional values". Again, many liberals may support such things, but conservatives much more strongly. It's conservatives who are always quoting from and talking about the Constitution and constitutionalism, even passing out free copies of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. It's conservative judges who adhere to constitution focused judicial philosophies like Scalia's originalism. Liberals are more likely to believe in what they call a "living constitution", which is another way of saying a flexible one that shouldn't be taken too literally or seriously when it comes to letting it stop things they want to do. Some liberals, including Obama years ago, have even described the Constitution as an "obstacle to social justice", one they seek to bypass or run over. In fact I almost added "constitutionalism" to the conservative list in my own edit but refrained for both space reasons and because I anticipated objection by liberals who would claim they support constitutionalism too. Your closing sentence also seems to be an attempt to blame conservatives for "national disfunction" (sic), despite the fact that both parties have a long history of "gerrymandering", and the failure to support the questionable assumption about whatever national dysfunction exists being the result of gerrymandering.
Earlier you said we should basically let the sides define themselves. By coincidence last night I heard famous conservative author Rich Lowry, in a segment explaining conservatives' opposition to Trump, state that conservatives are defined by support for "limited government, the Constitution, and individual liberty." Short and simple but accurate. As I said before, that wording is ubiquitous in conservative self definitions, and in the material they invest their time in discussing. That's why grassroots conservative activists like actress Janine Turner create sites like this one dedicated to studying and educating people on the constitution: [25] (try to count how many times "liberty" appears throughout that site). It's hard to imagine Daily Kos or types investing time and effort in doing that.
Our description of conservatives should look closer to what Lowry said than what the DNC might come up with. If you're sincere about trying to reach common ground on a description, then it might help if you first articulated your objection to my proposal, the way I just outlined what I thought is wrong with yours. I really was trying to be as neutral as possible. Isn't it fair to say that liberals "emphasize economic equality"? Do you feel that's insulting or inaccurate? It can be seen as a generalized version of your "equitable outcomes" clause, but a shorter one that avoids the pitfalls of getting too deep into specifics. VictorD7 (talk) 00:08, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
Bringing up Rich Lowry is an interesting point, because there's a significant distinction between the intellectual, small-government, economic conservatism, which focuses on laissez-faire policies and small government, and the conservatism of much of the Republican base, which has a distinct populist bent and focuses much more on social issues. A big chunk of the Republican base likes Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs, considering many benefit greatly form them, and primarily backs Republicans based on their stances on controversial social issues like abortion or immigration. Trump exemplifies this; it's odd in a party that likes small government that so much of its base backs a candidate who supports entitlements. It's also interesting to note that Republicans have run ads against Democratic candidates in past election highlighting their willingness to cut Social Security and attacking them for their support for raising the age for getting benefits. Economic conservatism and social conservatism are both elements of the party and the movement overall, and they don't necessarily overlap .Rwenonah (talk) 00:25, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
It's important not to conflate "Republican" and "conservative". There is heavy overlap but they aren't synonymous. Rich Lowry and people like him are representative of conservatives, fiscal and social. Trump isn't a conservative. He's a centrist populist with demagogic tendencies. He's certainly not a social conservative, as his long time pro choice (abortion), pro gun control, and "gay rights" stances (supporting gays in the military, making gays a class protected from discrimination under the 1964 CRA, etc.) show. Republican operatives or even conservatives can oppose..say..slashing money from Medicare to fund Obamacare based on the rationale that citizens have spent decades paying into programs like that and social security and have earned benefits. Most conservative entitlement reform proposals wouldn't simply slash those programs for that reason, but restructure them going forward. VictorD7 (talk) 00:45, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
True. But nevertheless, a lot of social conservatives are quite fiscally liberal, and a lot of fiscal conservatives, especially those of a more libetarian-y bent, can be quite socially liberal. Rwenonah (talk) 01:03, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
Agreed, though there's also a lot of overlap. Most conservatives are both. There are deep philosophical reasons for this overlap/alliance I won't get into here, though I will add that, contrary to what some anti-Christian bigots say, there are plenty of socially conservative intellectuals. I figured it was important to mention both aspects in my edit, hence the "support traditional cultural values" item which is broad and general enough to fit neatly into this summary article, even transcending the purely political policy debates to cover the private sector culture. I thought the weakest part of my edit was the mirror liberal version, "support liberal cultural values", because it's almost circular (but not quite technically circular), though I wasn't sure what to say that would capture social liberalism and the growing cultural divide in the country. I considered going with the exact mirror "support non-traditional values" but decided that sounded too categorically anti-traditional. I also considered "progressive cultural values", but wanted to avoid dropping yet another undefined buzzword into the segment. "Secular cultural values" is an option, though on the surface that's probably too narrow.
I have to add that while I agree with you that some libertarian leaning conservatives are socially liberal, social libertarianism is not the same the thing as social liberalism. The two are often confused. Libetarianism per se doesn't really address many of the key, hot button social issues. For example, it's not necessarily the libertarian position to support gay marriage, as that's an issue about civic endorsement of personal relationships, has nothing to do with defending civil liberties, and involves expanding government involvement in and even reshaping a millennia-old institution that long predates any current government. In fact gay marriage supporters have actually gone so far as to violate the civil liberties of others, like bakery owners, who have declined in good conscience to explicitly support something they have moral objection to, only to receive punitive government sanctions and legal threats to have their businesses shut down. Arguably the most libertarian position is to get government out of marriage altogether, which certainly isn't the socially liberal position. Since abortion is a fundamentally a debate about when life begins, it's certainly no more libertarian to support a pro choice position than a pro life one if one believe life begins before birth. It's equivalent to the slavery issue in that regard. And gun control is frequently labeled a "social issue", though there the libertarian position clearly falls on the conservative, pro 2nd Amendment side. On the other two most libertarians actually lean toward the conservative side too, but those issues are better defined by the "conservative/liberal" dichotomy than in libertarian terms. Areas of social policy where libertarians break from many conservatives and liberals include legalized poker, drugs, and prostitution, issues that don't fall neatly into the "conservative/liberal" dichotomy since both sides broadly agree on restrictions. But most of these libertarians are still conservatives, and may have conservative stances on the other social issues I mentioned. VictorD7 (talk) 05:01, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
I said liberal can mean the opposite (not that it always does), TFD, which is why Europeans referred to Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher as "neoliberals", and why Republican presidents are more interested in other nations being "liberalized" (though Democrats often give lip service to broadly supporting that too, the same way they sometimes give halfhearted support for capitalism). Essentially to much of the world "liberal" refers to free market supporters (e.g. Australian Liberal party, U.S. Republicans) while modern liberalism in the American sense refers to the opposite side of the spectrum (e.g. Australian Labor Party, U.S. Democrats). The "liberal consensus" you refer to is more the classical, international sense of the word that does apply to both parties to some degree but more so to Republicans and conservatives than to Democrats and modern liberals. You keep conflating classical and modern liberalism when the point here is that they are two very different things.
You also once again didn't address my proposed edit at all, or say what, if anything, specifically you object to in it. VictorD7 (talk) 00:08, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
I would like to just do away with the offending paragraph. It now reads Within American political culture, the Republican Party is considered "conservative" and the Democratic Party is considered "liberal".[299][disputed – discuss] The states of the Northeast and West Coast and some of the Great Lakes states, known as "blue states", are relatively liberal. The "red states" of the South and parts of the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains are relatively conservative.
We're not going to agree on how to define the parties with a thumbnail sketch, and it's really unnecessary, as any interested party can follow links, in the text and the hatnote. There is nothing here that is not subjective, unlike the other three paragraphs of the section, which do a good job of setting forth objective, incontrovertible facts of the two-party system, and what those two parties are. The sentences on red versus blue states are somewhat misleading, as well, especially in naming particular regions. Blue states are apt to have plenty of red, its being a rural versus urban phenomenon, as much as any statewide or regional one. A detailed article on red states and blue states is linked from the See Also section of the second hat-noted article, Political ideologies in the United States. Dhtwiki (talk) 12:10, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
I support deleting the entire paragraph, but only as a last resort if we can't reach common ground on a brief, accurate, neutral description.VictorD7 (talk) 00:08, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
@VictorD7: The point of distinguishing between conservative state majorities and liberal national majorities is precisely related to individual rights as outlined in the Bill of Rights, now applied to the states. Conservatives consistently object to equity before the constitutional law by appealing to the authority of state majorities. They do this by appealing to the original intent of the pre-14th Amendment constitution and ignore the jurisprudence of a century and a half, the traditional constitutional values of extending protections to all individuals in every state of the nation.
Likewise, traditional constitutional values would have the liberal outcomes of contested elections among electorates in compact political communities, not gerrymandered strings of conservative-voting census districts cutting across counties and parsing out slices of big city SMSAs. “Health” relates to safety and environmental protections in the work place as well as insurance, rather than the property rights of coal companies, for instance. “Education” relates to literacy outcomes for all, and testing so as to remedy them at a state level, not limiting quality education only to those who can afford the choice of private academies.
Conservatives resist the state responsibility for schooling under the rubric of “local control”, allowing the propertied interest in localities to withhold equal education to that found in wealthier counties. Equal access to employment and housing is a liberal value importantly to overcome racism of state majorities which conservatives uphold, not for the sake of racism, but for the sake of state majority rule wherever racism is tolerated. Likewise now with homosexual civil unions where state majorities are opposed (“marriage” as a religious rite —as opposed to civil equity under the federal constitution— may not be universally accepted, based on freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and property rights of churches, synagogues and mosques).
Because the national coalitions for elections are variable from state to state and section to section, it may be impossible to concisely distinguish between American liberals and conservatives, because both intellectual traditions are so often co-opted by the political parties. Obama’s health care plan centered on private insurance companies came from a conservative think tank, in stark contrast to liberal single payer plans. Yet it is commonplace for apparently reasonable people caught up in flights of partisan rhetoric to suggest that the measure is socialist rather than conservative. Do away with the offending paragraph. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 11:29, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
You posted this in the wrong place, but I'll reply. Almost everything you said is wrong or at least a heavy distortion of the truth told from a partisan perspective. Conservatives don't "consistently object to equity before the constitutional law by appealing to the authority of state majorities", though they do sometimes insist people actually read the 14th Amendment to see all the things it doesn't include, and they note that "persons" (your "individuals") doesn't include behaviors (like homosexuality) liberals cherry-pick and add as they go along for political reasons, while excluding countless other behaviors (so much for "equity") from the mundane (soccer playing, eating, going to college) to the politically incorrect (polygamy, Mormons having a different settlement pattern than gays, finding themselves not crowding the media centers of New York and the west coast, otherwise we'd have government sanctioned polygamy instead of gay marriage). Conservatives certainly don't support racial discrimination as you imply. Perhaps you were thinking of old southern segregationist Democrats, who, as this definitive study shows, were overwhelmingly liberal in the early to mid 20th Century, not conservative: [26]. Conservatives also insist people read the 10th Amendment (go ahead, look it up). You could have just simplified things by saying "support states' rights" as I suggested above in a response you have mostly failed to address here. As a political issue it doesn't arise anywhere near as frequently or hold the salient importance you imply (why I left it out of my briefer list), but it does occasionally come up in things like land disputes with the federal government, EPA overreach that crushes local economies, threatening to withhold federal highway or education funding to compel state behavior in a particular unrelated area, etc..
Your attempt to obscure more fundamental differences with a process distinction is also misleading. Conservatives are more libertarian than liberals at all levels of government, which is why states like Texas have no income tax while liberal states tend to have heavy tax burdens, and Governor Rick Perry even resisted the law against using cell phones in cars that most liberals didn't think twice about supporting. It's also why recent liberal NY city mayors have been trying to dictate to local adults what size soft drinks they're allowed to buy, and seeking to unilaterally shut down entire industries like the famous horse drawn carriage drivers. Smoking bans, while spreading to conservative states too, really got going and have been more prevalent and draconian in liberal states. I could go on and on. There's a reason the saying "Everything is illegal in Massachusetts" has gained such traction.
Your second paragraph is completely wrong. As I said earlier, liberal Democrats have a long rich, history of gerrymandering. You can't honestly say one party does it more than the other (indeed the practice long predates the two modern parties). As for "health", regulations aren't an "outcome" any more than the other things I refuted in your last post, and coal miners, who aren't slaves, aren't any better off when they lose their jobs because Obama's "war on coal" shut down their livelihoods. That liberals may believe they're better off because central planners in the government know what's best for such people more than they know what's best for themselves gets to the heart of what I meant by a "larger, more involved government", a very neutral, even tactful description I offered in my edit. For the record, Obamacare came not from a "conservative think tank" but from a large collection of liberal and Democrat special interests, lobbyists having written the law before the issue came to a head. You're alluding to a disingenuous DNC talking point blaming the Heritage Foundation for coming up with a particular part of the later bill in the 1990s, the individual mandate. But Obamacare is a multi-thousand page monstrosity including countless things that have nothing to do with that mandate. Furthermore, Heritage didn't invent the idea of a mandate, nor was their proposal really a mandate so much as an incentive built around tax breaks to encourage people to buy insurance (by contrast Obamacare contains a stand alone order apart from the punitive section where the government orders American citizens to purchase insurance). Heritage's proposal was an alternative to the even more draconian Hillary Clinton socialized government healthcare plan being pushed at the time. Most conservatives didn't support either proposal at the time, and Heritage no longer supports its own old proposal, much less Obama's mandate or Obamacare overall, believing the latter to be unconstitutional and bad policy.
Again, on education liberals oppose school choice, merit based pay, and resist other conservative reforms to improve quality in poor performing schools, catering to teachers unions, a powerful component of their base. Contrary to your claim, it's conservatives who support attaching school funding to individual students so even poor kids can afford to go to private schools. One such successful pilot program in D.C was killed by Obama when he took office, despite him sending his own kids to private school. Conservatives question why teachers unions should even exist, arguing that schools should exist for the sake of students, not teachers. Liberals also tend to oppose standardized testing, though some conservatives do too.
Our disagreement on these issues highlights the problem with getting into specific issues as you did. But we don't need to. My edit, which you still have yet to comment on, was intentionally brief and vague. Virtually everything you raised could fit neatly under the "economic" rubric, and yes, economics can affect other spheres like health and education. "Economic equality" is usefully vague and seems to be non controversial, since no one has actually objected to it yet. If you actually want to reach common ground and aren't simply throwing bombs to sabotage the process we can find a solution. VictorD7 (talk) 22:45, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
VictorD7, 22:45, January 23: [bunch of random political views, followed by] "I could go on and on."
VictorD7, 22:23, January 20: "Random editors are just coming along to post some of their random political views"
Victor, honestly, if you're just going to post multiple paragraphs about how awesome conservatives are and how much liberals hate freedom, maybe you could do it somewhere else? Because it has nothing to do with this page. Please, do not go on and on. Just go on. --Golbez (talk) 04:54, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
Golbez, honestly if all you're going to do is avoid discussing substance and pop in occasionally to troll in one sided fashion by ignoring the context of what I'm responding to and the fact that I'm the one here who's repeatedly tried to discuss the article segment, you should definitely leave. You've done all harm and no good. VictorD7 (talk) 22:41, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm disinclined to include such generalizations since both conservatives and liberals favor government intervention, as well as concerns about government overreach depending on who's being asked, and the topic. Gun control? Liberals favor government intervention, whereas it's the opposite on Abortion rights (and even then you have Liberatrian's like the Koch's who favor hands off on both, but are typically aligned with the GOP).Mattnad (talk) 17:28, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
Most libertarians are pro life on abortion (socially conservative), and favor "government intervention" on that score for the same reason they favor "government intervention" against slavery and adult homicide. That's not unlibertarian. As for conservatives who really are more moderately libertarian and may favor restrictions on things like drugs or gambling, as most liberals do, there's still no comparison between them and liberals in terms of the scope of government intervention they desire. Even moderate conservatives still favor relatively limited government. VictorD7 (talk) 22:45, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
Also, in a 2 party system, there is no third party in the center to separate them, so there is a tendency for the two parties to converge in their platforms as they compete for the widest possible votes. There is also no ideological cleavage. Nonetheless, and we should mention this, generally they tend in compete on a left-right basis. While that may appear obvious as it is the case in most western nations, party systems can also be divided by religious, nationalist or regional issues. TFD (talk) 17:49, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
Then would you accept adding qualifiers along the lines of "left leaning" to Democrats and "right leaning" to Republicans, or maybe the "center-left"/"center-right" that previously stood? That would certainly make my objections evaporate. Remember that the segment opens with "Within American political culture...", and no informed, sane person would dispute that Democrats are to the left of Republicans. VictorD7 (talk) 22:45, 23 January 2016 (UTC)

@VictorD7: Gerrymandering is not a political virtue, it is now exercised to break down the mid-century give and take in the Congress by electing extremes of “philosophy” for the sake of political majorities. I’m not sure what you were trying to say in the last wall of text. No informed, sane person would say that Congress works better under the most recent gerrymandered regime of Republican majorities. Where is the roads and bridges legislation for jobs which cannot be exported? You misread the tenth amendment. It does not nullify the fourteenth amendment, that is your own POV unsupported by American jurisprudence over the most recent hundred years. In answer to your critique that everything I say is wrong, let me say that everything you say seems to be well intentioned misunderstanding. Following your last critiques, here is a compromise rewrite of my proposal:

American conservatives tend to favor government by state majorities apart from national consensus, support traditional cultural values state by state, and rhetorically emphasize individual liberty as defined in each state regardless of outcomes. American liberals tend to favor government by national consensus, support constitutional values applied nationally, and rhetorically emphasize individual opportunity towards nationally equitable outcomes.

I am not throwing bombs, I am making concrete proposals which do not suffer from rhetorical tautology such as “liberals favor liberal values” in your proposal above. It's not so much wrong as it is just careless. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 09:17, 24 January 2016 (UTC)

Seriously, TheVirginiaHistorian? You claim no "informed, sane" person would say that Congress has worked better under Republican majorities than Democratic majorities (including the recent one elected in 2006, which you didn't mention), essentially calling Republican voters (who obviously prefer their majorities to Democratic ones) insane and uninformed, and in the same post deny that you're throwing bombs or trying to sabotage this process? You were apparently trying to mirror my earlier comment that no informed, sane person would deny that Democrats are to the left of Republicans. But my statement was a neutral, accurate, inoffensive remark about the parties' relative placement on the spectrum that Democrats and Republicans would both agree with. Since I'm informed and sane, and I disagree with your claim, clearly you're wrong. I have my own problems with Congress lately but it's been far worse in the past. For example, wasn't the trillion dollar "stimulus" boondoggle passed by large Democratic majorities a few years ago supposed to fix bridges and roads? Those were the same non-Republican majorities that rammed through Obamacare on party lines, one of the most radical pieces of legislation in history, one that fundamentally transformed the relationship between American citizen and government that had existed from 1776-2010, and one that has consistently remained unpopular. My problem with your injection of gerrymandering here was that you're ignoring the fact that both parties have always done it, and it's certainly not an ideological distinction, any more than running negative tv ads is. You also seem to be incorrectly implying that Republicans only have their current congressional majorities due to gerrymandering (and their huge state legislature majorities, and large governorship majority? You realize governors aren't elected by drawn district don't you?), which is completely false. I doubt even the DNC would make your claim with a straight face.
Take some time to read my "wall of text" more carefully, as I did your earlier walls of text, because you clearly misunderstood. No one suggested the 10th Amendment somehow invalidated the future 14th Amendment, though the latter certainly didn't invalidate the former. I explicitly said conservatives favor an accurate interpretation of the 14th Amendment, rather than using it as a flexible catch all for whatever trendy cause liberals suddenly decide to embrace. That's also way too specific, niche, and complicated an issue to mention in a brief segment like that being discussed. As for your "tautology" remark, I said myself in a discussion above that the weakest part of my edit was the "liberal cultural values" segment, which I said was almost circular, though I also explained why I chose it and laid out various possible alternatives. That said, it's not technically circular and certainly not tautological, given the "cultural" qualifier and the fact that "liberal" can have different meanings in different contexts, as we've established. You reply would have been better served coming up with a better phrasing for that one item representing the social/cultural ideological divide ("traditional cultural values" on the conservative side) rather than repeating the convoluted wording on state majorities versus national majorities that I've already laid out problems with, and that doesn't represent one of the most salient ideological differences. You failed to comment on my suggestion to just boil it down to "emphasize support for states' rights" or something like that which would actually fit in the segment, if you have to include that issue in some form. I'll comment more on your recent proposals below. VictorD7 (talk) 23:13, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

Edit break for political party descriptions[edit]

Your quotation doesn't even try to equate ideology to party, which is pertinent to the section under discussion. Political ideologies in the United States, found in the hatnote, itself links to the articles that have the level of discussion that you and VictorD7 are having right now. In any case, I think it's impossible to fairly assign a particular ideology to either major party, given the huge range of interests that each party must accommodate to have legislative control or to gain the presidency. Dhtwiki (talk) 16:13, 24 January 2016 (UTC)

VictorD7, I would say your description is almost right. The U.S. has two major parties, the Democrats and Republicans who are generally centrist but divide along a left/right basis. While that is obvious to us, political cleavages in some countries divide along regional, ethnic or religious lines. Indeed they have in the U.S. to some degree (North/South, black/white, Catholic/Protestant.) I think a problem with this article is that we provide too much detail about different aspects of the U.S. and should keep descriptions as simple as possible. I find terms such as "left-leaning" and "center-left" misleading, since it seems to group the Democrats with self-identified Socialist parties. TFD (talk) 01:20, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Another very important thing to remember is that the positions of the parties have changed over time; they're not universal constants. I'm extremely skeptical about making any sort of universal statement about "American conservatives favor X; American liberals favor Y" when the definitions of those terms have changed fairly drastically over the last century (in particular, the modern shape of "big government" vs "small government" debate date back to the 1960's at best, having its roots in resistance to forced busing and Federal legislation of the civil rights era; and it didn't come to dominate mainstream conservative thought until the 80's.) --Aquillion (talk) 01:36, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
<INSERT> No, conservatives, in the modern sense of the term that we are properly using, have always favored limited government, opposing FDR's New Deal while liberals supported it, for example. A speech by Calvin Coolidge in the 1920s, for instance, would be well received at a TEA party rally today. Essentially virtually all Americans through most of the 19th Century were "conservatives" in the modern sense of the term, with the current political divide arising at that century's close as energy from the progressive and socialist movements, growth of labor unions, etc., and later Keynesianism, sought to dramatically expand government's size and role. This new bigger government ideology came to be known as "modern liberalism", and the modern "conservative" movement gradually developed to oppose it. It's actually easy to make a few key, neutral and accurate ideological distinctions between conservatives and liberals if editors really want to. Other country articles manage to have ideological descriptions. It would be strange indeed if an already large US article lacks something basic that other, smaller country articles have. Certainly plenty of sources make describe conservatives and liberals, and have been posted in past discussions on this issue. VictorD7 (talk) 23:34, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
There has always been a left-right divide in U.S., and in the 19th century the left side opposed the expansion of the government. TFD (talk) 23:55, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
In the 19th Century there was broad consensus on a libertarian relationship between the citizen and the government and in favor of free market economics. There was no income tax, except temporarily during war. The differences on government size, over what degree to support infrastructure and early on whether to support some kind of central bank, were small and fundamentally different in scope compared to the divide of the 20th and 21st Centuries. There were big foreign policy/expansion debates, but most of the 19th Century's domestic political divide centered on issues like how high tariffs should be and other relative small ball stuff except, of course, for slavery, a wildcard issue most similar to today's abortion divide (in that both involve disputes over the humanity and rights of a certain segment of the population), but that didn't alter how the sides viewed citizens' liberty. VictorD7 (talk) 00:18, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
Tariffs were a big deal. The common man wanted low tariffs so he could buy cheap farm equipment and export his produce. Elite businessmen wanted high tariffs to protect their businesses. The same left-right divide on tariffs exists in third world countries today. The divide between left and right wing liberalism goes right back to Cromwell. TFD (talk) 02:59, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm not sure I'd call that a "left/right" divide, TFD, but since you do, and since you surely don't think either major 19th Century US party was socialist, doesn't that prove that "left" can be applied to parties that don't identify as socialist? VictorD7 (talk) 21:32, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
No because left and right are both relative and absolute terms. Stalin was to the right of Trotsky, but it did not mean he was a right-winger. Both men were left-wingers. Why would you not call the dispute over tariffs a left-right divide? Do you think that policies are developed from abstract principles rather than any concern about who benefits? TFD (talk) 21:54, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
I would refrain from retroactively imposing that terminology on that period because it would involve warping what "left" and "right" have come to mean (I also wouldn't define them by whom their opponents argue they actually seek to benefit, but maybe by their rhetorical flavor) since the political issues were fundamentally different back then, and because I'm not a fan of using "left"/"right" simply to refer to "reformer" or "status quo defender", as that's completely different from its typical use, frequently involves perceived contradictions (like when US left wingers are committed to defending old mid 20th Century programs in every detail while "conservatives" seek new reforms), and creates unnecessary confusion. "Left" is a big tent though. The political left broadly encompasses things like Keynesian economics, support for the welfare state, socialism or other forms of central planning, social liberalism (by which I mean radical feminism, gay rights, secular progressive cultural values, multiculturalism, anti-"oppressor" mythology stemming from a blend of Marxism and postmodernism, etc..), higher taxes and spending, and an expansive regulatory state.
Our own article (Left-wing politics) states that, "Left-wing politics are political positions or activities that accept or support social equality, often in opposition to social hierarchy and social inequality.[1][2][3][4] They typically involve concern for those in society whom they perceive as disadvantaged relative to others and a belief that there are unjustified inequalities that need to be reduced or abolished.[3]....Leftist economic beliefs range from Keynesian economics and the welfare state through industrial democracy and the social market to nationalization of the economy and central planning,[27] to the anarchist/syndicalist advocacy of a council- and assembly-based self-managed anarchist communism. During the industrial revolution, left-wingers supported trade unions. In the early twentieth century, the Left were (with the notable exceptions of libertarians like the anarchists and revolutionary syndicalists) associated with policies advocating extensive government intervention in the economy.[28] Leftists continue to criticize what they perceive as the exploitative nature of globalization, the "race to the bottom" and unjust lay-offs. In the last quarter of the Twentieth Century the belief that government (ruling in accordance with the interests of the people) ought to be directly involved in the day-to-day workings of an economy declined in popularity amongst the center left, especially social-democrats who became influenced by "third way" ideology." I expounded on the center-left and the alliance between Tony Blair and Bill Clinton in particular in our last discussion. But clearly "left wing" refers to a lot more than just "communist" or "socialist". Modern US liberals and Democrats are staunch Keynesians who seek dramatic expansions of the welfare state and centrally planned regulatory structure for both businesses and individuals (for their own "good", as in Obamacare, gun control, or smoking bans). Environmentalism is a big concern. They favor higher taxes and spending; overall a much greater role for the government, and rhetorically emphasize helping the poor or "underprivileged" and economic equality. All of this is firmly within our own article's definition of "left wing". VictorD7 (talk) 22:48, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Not interested in what another Wikipedia article says. Stalin did not support Keynsian economics, the welfare state, or what you call social liberalism. And Marx lived before the term left was used. And even the founding fathers believed in the myth of oppression, they (erroneously) believed they were oppressed by the King. TFD (talk) 23:03, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

I quoted from the article because it uses lots of sources, and clearly Stalin's not the only left winger. It's a broad tent term. I disagree that the founding father were deluded or mistaken about being oppressed and wronged by the king, though I'm not sure what that has to do with this discussion. There was far more to the article's definition than merely struggling against oppression, including numerous specific schools of thought, virtually all dealing with a larger, more interventionist government. VictorD7 (talk) 01:20, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

@Dhtwiki: Agree with User:Aquillion that the focus of party definition needs to be over the most recent 50-30 years. The center of the Republican party is more conservative than the center of the Democratic party, which is more liberal. Here I concur with User:VictorD7 and User:The Four Deuces. Third proposal as amended, working consensus language in bold.

The center of the Republican party is more conservative than the center of the Democratic party, which is more liberal. Since the mid-twentieth century, American conservatives tend to favor government by state majorities apart from national minorities, support traditional cultural values state by state, and rhetorically emphasize individual liberty regardless of outcomes. American liberals tend to favor government by national consensus, support constitutional values applied nationally, and rhetorically emphasize individual opportunity towards equitable outcomes.

See Southern strategy for a balanced discussion of the Republican party evolution of "states rights" post 1960s (scroll down the page). TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 06:43, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

At Southern strategy one discovers that the 1960s Republican strategy morfed into an 1980s "suburban strategy" nationwide which found majorities in the areas of majority population -- following the demographics as it were. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 05:38, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
I also agree with Aquillion. I think we should avoid any contentious and changeable analysis of the parties. unsigned User:Mark Miller
TVH, your "conservatives tend to favor government by state majorities apart from national minorities" is still convoluted, unclear, and seems excessively detailed and undue. You also ignored my earlier advice to even up (make more neutral) your contrast between conservatives rhetorically emphasizing "individual liberty as defined in each state regardless of outcomes" and liberals rhetorically emphasizing "individual opportunity towards nationally equitable outcomes," like by adding to the liberal side ..."even if it requires restrictions on individual liberty." It's also too unnecessarily long and partly inaccurate anyway. Conservatives favor retaining local government control for certain things but are a national movement and have a national definition of individual liberty, not state by state ones, and frequently quote the Declaration of Independence, rhetorically emphasizing the words of key founding fathers and identifying with them. Conservatives also give way more lip service to the Constitution than liberals do, which is why judges like Scalia adhere to originalist philosophy while liberals speak of a "living" (flexible) Constitution. I even linked above to a hub where conservative activists energetically discuss and educate people on the Constitution and other founding documents on a daily basis, which you just ignored.
I'll repeat my request made above that you start by commenting on the various parts of my original edit, and that we use that as a baseline for future discussion, if for no other reason than it's shorter and simpler. If everyone starts basically from scratch with their own proposals we likely won't get anywhere. VictorD7 (talk) 23:50, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

Aquillion, it is really the policies that have changed and they have changed owing to changing circumstances. Otherwise the polarity remains the same. TFD (talk) 09:18, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
TFD, setting aside the academic sources I've produced before stating that many US liberals would be called "socialists" in other countries, and the surging Democratic candidacy of self described socialist Bernie Sanders, as we've discussed before "left" is broad enough to include more than just self described socialists. Otherwise we could just say "socialist" throughout this site, but Wikipedia typically employs "left" in some variation instead, and frequently ideologies like modern US liberalism are described as "left" or "center-left". That's in a global context, but since this segment begins by saying "Within American political culture", surely we can use some variation of "left" that would refer to their relative placement vis a vis Republicans, without getting into the more specific areas where you and I may still disagree. The key current problem is that "liberal" in particular has radically different meanings in different countries (so does "conservative" to a lesser extent), and that some readers could easily be misled into thinking Democrats are the equivalent of the more free market oriented parties while the Republicans are either monarchists, welfare state supporters, or something else entirely, getting even their relative placements mixed up. "Center-left" and "center-right" would be preferable to just saying "left" and "right" as they would indicate that the US parties are closer to the global center than the global edges. It would allow important, brief political descriptions while obviating the need for getting into lengthier, more detailed ideological descriptions, or extending this discussion any longer. VictorD7 (talk) 00:10, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
VictorD7, Americans love to see their politics in extremes, but the reality is that in a 180 degree political spectrum, 95% of the population fits within a narrow range close to the center. Robert Altemeyer conducted a survey of Canadian and American legislators, and rated them on the right-wing authoritarian scale. (The results are show on pp. 201, 208.)[27] As you can see, Canadian Liberals and right-wing parties scored roughly similar to U.S. Democrats and Republicans. Even then, Canadian Liberals mostly fell within the left of the range for Democrats. But Canadian Socialists ranked to the left of Liberals and Democrats. TFD (talk) 18:11, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
Altemeyer's book is polemical and unpublished, and he even says it was rejected by at least one publisher. He's essentially just being an activist and trying to label his political opponents "authoritarian". He frequently says stuff like (page 209), "In Canada as well as in the United States then, when you’re talking about conservative members of legislatures, the data we have so far indicate you’re usually talking about those fine power-hungry, amoral, manipulative, deceitful, highly prejudiced, dogmatic folks we met at the end of chapter 5." That's too biased and frankly stupid to be of worth. His "RWA" scale is so contrived and his "analysis" so rigged that it's silly and pointless, focusing on his pet subjective interpretations of cherry-picked statements more than a comprehensive look at substance or policy. Let's just say it would be easy to conduct a survey yielding completely different results.
That said, I think we may agree on more important points. The key is conveying that the US parties are relatively close to the center and the Democrats represent the left of the American spectrum while the Republicans represent the right. VictorD7 (talk) 22:14, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
It is actually an updated version of Right-wing authoritarianism, a book published in 1988 that has 1,795 cites on Google scholar.[28] Right-wing authoritarianism, a concept introduced by Altemeyer in 1981, has 51,200 hits on Google scholar.[29] It does not matter whether or not one agrees with his opinions. Whether or not you like his scale, the reality is that the relative ranking of legislators is accurate. Republicans are more right-wing than Democrats (or do you think that is "stupid.") And Socialists scored to the left of Liberals and Democrats. Do you not agree that Canadian Socialists are more left-wing than U.S. Democrats? TFD (talk) 02:27, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
He discusses how he failed to get this version of the book published in the book itself, and how he ultimately decided it doesn't matter because he'd rather post it online for free anyway. Of course polemical books with a clear partisan bias (proved by the insipid invective I quoted above) are published all the time and can be cited (both negatively and positively). My objection is to associating right leaning US or Canadian parties with "authoritarianism", especially compared to their even more authoritarian left leaning counterparts. Altemeyer's system is garbage, but I do agree with you and him that Democrats are to the left of Republicans (hardly an original insight on his part). Canadian socialists may be to the left of US Democrats on average (not always), because the American parties have bigger tents and the US traditionally hasn't been quite as socialist leaning as Canada on balance, but there's heavy overlap among the rank and file (e.g. the liberal Democratic base).
That point is also irrelevant. A party doesn't have to be as left wing as the Canadian fringe left to be "center-left". In these discussions you continuously treat the US as though it's an outside spectator and not part of the real world, and that it has to conform to European or even Canadian definitions of ideological terms. The truth is the US is the most prominent, influential nation in the world, and one of the largest. Taking both its size and influence into account it's roughly the equivalent of Europe combined. If the Democrats occupy the left part of the American political spectrum, then arguably by definition the Democrats are left of center in the global spectrum, because the US has more impact in shaping that global spectrum than any other nation. It would certainly be absurd to invent a model where both US parties are to the right of center, which would render the global spectrum useless in describing politics within the world's most prominent nation. The fact that modern US liberals support most of the same policies as European left wingers (and those in outlying western nations like Australia and Canada) just seals the deal. In some areas US Democrats are even more left wing than major European left wing parties (e.g. monetary policy, abortion, and immigration). But the detailed nuances aren't too relevant. US liberals clearly inhabit the broad global left as accurately laid out by our own article on the topic (and countless off Wikipedia sources, many of which I've quoted here before). VictorD7 (talk) 23:25, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

@VictorD7: My proposal now incorporates your “center-left and “center-right” paradigm as we are agreed there. I have copy edited by proposal again, and also put our agreed proposition and your original proposal in bold along with Aquillion's time frame. On the other hand, your initial proposal fails to emphasize the state by state focus of the Republican party as it uses conservative ideology. Republicans are dismissive of state minorities and their liberties such as voting rights, adopting various means state by state to restrict them, often overturned by the state and federal courts on constitutional grounds. Democrats use national constitutional values to counter the partisan manipulation by Republicans state by state.
The sentence in my proposal is a simple, clear generalization of a significant element of American conservative thought as harnessed by the Republican party, see Southern strategy as it morfed into a national "suburban strategy". Your original draft fails in its tautologies, “liberals favor liberal values” which convey no meaning. It fails to distinguish among the traditional values which vary state to state, but which Republicans narrowly appeal to, “Iowa values” versus “New York values”, this week, for instance. Liberals do not rhetorically emphasize economic “equality", but economic equity, allowing for opportunity and competition. That cannot be attained in the marketplace domestically or internationally without regulation, something which the Republicans oppose without distinction.
Liberals are consistently interested in expanding equitable outcomes for all, and especially among national minorities which have suffered discrimination, see John Rawls' Justice as Fairness. Of course conservatives believe in national and state government, as do liberals believe in national and state government. The emphasis is opposite in the national parties with Republicans calling for abolition of the federal Education Department, the federal Environmental Protection Agency, etc.
The definition must reflect the distinctions of the partisan uses of the ideological. The Republicans have failed in the last two national elections due to an inability to carry state majorities, but persist in failed Congressional governance by gerrymandered districts state by state such that the Republican caucus cannot agree to a legislative agenda of any description, liberal or conservative, regarding roads and bridges infrastructure, declaration of war on ISIS, balance the budget, etc. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 10:51, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
I think that your paragraph as written above needs to be fixed somehow. It reads well but I think it veers from painfully precise (the first sentence) to opaque or, to use Victor's term, tautological, to erroneous (that Democrats, with their sanctuary cities, have favoring a national consensus as a main element of ideology). Has anyone who wants an ideological paragraph checked the linked pages for phrasing we can use? And for sources. You might find something there as well, an acceptable and well-hammered-out overview. What I would concentrate on, if I were writing the paragraph, is giving common terms (TEA Party, conservative, liberal, progressive, red states, blue states) their proper setting within the two-party system, rather than try to define core ideologies, which haven't, to my mind, changed that much since the Civil War, which is to say Victor's small-versus-big government dichotomy does have its place, but with considerable qualification. Dhtwiki (talk) 14:58, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
I posted and quoted from lots of published, high quality academic sources in the last discussion to no avail. Editors who didn't like what the sources said simply disregarded them without explaining why. VictorD7 (talk) 01:14, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Would they include an overview from a high-school or college textbook? Academic sources in general would seem to be way too specialized to be of help. My college textbook on Republican party ideology, Foner's Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men, is mainly limited to the Civil-War-era ideology of one party, but shows well what a shape-shifting concept ideology is with regard to politics. I didn't look at the two sources you offered in this discussion; as I said, what they had to say was hard to find on line. I haven't seen them mentioned or quoted since. Because there were two of them, I thought that they probably would fall short of giving a unified view of where the parties stand today. Dhtwiki (talk) 19:46, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
TVH, I don't see mention of "center-right" or "center-left", assuming I'm looking at your most recent proposal. And while I'm always hearing conservatives talk about "limited government", "constitutionalism", "patriotism", "support for law enforcement" (as TFD pointed out) regarding the few laws that should exist, the "free market", "national security", "traditional values", and most of all "individual liberty", I've never heard anyone but you utter the words "government by state majorities apart from national minorities". It's unclear what that even means, and certainly would be to regular readers not participating in this discussion. It seems like you have a pet issue you really care about. I suggested you just say "emphasize states' rights", though I'm not even sure that would be ideal as it's essentially a procedural difference which, while legitimate, isn't one of the top few most fundamental, salient ideological traits. Likewise some of the other items I just listed, while legitimate traits, are differences of less degree than the most basic ones I focused on.
Your post is extremely partisan as some of mine have been. The difference is I kept my actual article proposals entirely neutral while you're allowing your disdain for Republicans/conservatives to shape your proposal. Many of your claims are false and easily refuted. Conservatives certainly do not seek to deprive minorities of the right to vote, and Democrats certainly do not care any more about national majorities than anyone else, as evidenced by their long time reliance on activist liberal judges nullifying widely popular laws, them ramming through nationally unpopular laws like Obamacare, Obama taking dramatic, nationally unpopular executive actions that even he had previously admitted dozens of times were unconstitutional, as on amnesty for illegal aliens, etc.. Liberals are fine with appointed regulators and technocrats producing much of and maybe most of the new laws. If anything, and I know many Democrats and liberals who would agree with this, Democrats and liberals have always had more of an ends justifies the means attitude, while Republicans and especially conservatives tend to get caught up in procedural concerns, sometimes even finding themselves technically defending or opposing things they don't substantively support or oppose (like the anti-sodomy law Golbez alluded to earlier; conservatives didn't support it and it wasn't enforced anyway, but some objected to the precise way it was struck down and some of the immediate, unintended negative consequences of doing so because they didn't want convicted child predators released). What "constitutional values" do liberal supposedly support that conservatives don't? Feel free to quote the pertinent sections of the Constitution (not some activist judge who doesn't care about the Constitution). That's why "constitutionalism" or "constitutional values", if they're mentioned at all, should be on the conservative side, not the liberal side. In this discussion I've linked to conservative activists glorifying, studying, and educating people on the Constitution, while you've failed to show liberals doing the same, much less to the same degree, and I've pointed out well known judicial philosophy differences between conservative justices like Scalia and their Constitution focused "originalism", and the liberals' "living constitution" that seeks to remove the Constitution as an obstacle to things they want done.
The "Southern Strategy" was mostly an old DNC talking point and canard; a baseless attempt to accuse Republicans of being "racist" and scare blacks away from voting for them. The truth is Republican strength in the south has always been inversely proportional to the importance of race as an issue. Democrats, and they were liberal Democrats as the study I linked for you above shows, were the party of slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation during the postbellum century, and dominated the south then. Republicans gradually starting gaining strength in the south in the 1950s (in some places earlier) as the culture changed and non-racial issues grew in importance (e.g. national security, more conservative economic stances than the populist anti-bank/business rhetoric that had previously been popular in much of the south). Republicans had freed the slaves and had always opposed segregation, from civil rights acts of the 19th Century to their crusade against lynching in the 1920s to Eisenhower's Civil Rights Act of 1957 (opposed and ultimately watered down by LBJ, a fact liberals prefer to sweep under the rug) through the Gingrich Congress' bill ending racial discrimination in adoption in the 1990s. Goldwater opposed the 1964 CRA (after having supported earlier ones) not for racial reasons but out of libertarian principles because he thought that bill went too far into the private sector, but that was a one off election. The very next Republican presidential candidate, Nixon (and the following ones), had supported the CRA, initiated large scale affirmative action, and oversaw the majority of actual school desegregation. He overtly denounced racial bigotry. To the extent there was an actual "southern strategy", it was to appeal to southerners over non-racial issues where southerns agreed more with Republicans than Democrats, now that race, which had been keeping them tethered to the Democrats, had been taken off the table. It still took a while. The South went for Carter in the 1970s and much of it went for Clinton in the 1990s. It didn't become a truly reliable Republican region at all levels until the 2000s, when the big racial disputes of a half century earlier were deep in the rearview mirror and it was mostly new people doing the voting. It also helped Republicans that the south had started booming economically around the mid 20th Century, with growing suburbs and rising incomes resulting in more conservative voting patterns. Regardless, you're talking about an alleged tactic, not a fundamental ideological difference.
You fault my edit for its "tautologies" (plural) but only mention one item, the same item I was the first in this discussion to critique. Again, while not a true tautology, the wording of that item is not ideal, which is why I'm open to changing it and even suggested some alternatives. Basically I was just trying to capture the broad divide between social conservativism and social liberalism, a major point of distinction between the sides it's fair to address. Feel free to finally address the item yourself instead of just complaining about the old wording. "Support traditional values" works for conservatives, and I see you must agree since you kept that more or less intact in your proposal, but I thought we should include the opposing liberal view in that area and you seemed to ignore it. Maybe we don't need a direct counterpart on every item, but this is a broad, big, fundamental one.
You're misusing the term "gerrymandering". Gerrymandering refers to extremely convoluted districts drawn with no reasonable basis apart from including or excluding certain voting groups, its origins going back to MA Democratic Republican MA Elbridge Gerry in the early 1800s. Here's a recent example of gerrymandering in Illinois: [30] And yes, such schemes are often struck down by courts, with all major parties doing it over the years. You're conflating safe districts with "gerrymandering". Safe districts can be reasonably drawn, and their increase on both sides has more to do with cultural changes resulting from urban centers being pervasively left wing while rural and suburban areas are mostly conservative than with gerrymandering. Big Republican election victories among state legislatures, the US Congress, and state governorships (which aren't even dependent on districts) aren't due to gerrymandering, nor were poll results taken after the most recent election (2014) showing more Americans wanted the Republican Congress to lead on issues than Obama to lead. Democrats won the past two presidential elections with the same candidate, who was the incumbent last time. Republicans won the last two presidential elections before that. So what? None of that is pertinent to this article segment briefly describing the basic ideological differences of the parties.
Your biased opinion that Republican governance has "failed" is subjective and pointless (at least Republicans have been able to pass budgets; Democrats failed to even accomplish that basic task during several years of their recent governance, despite their party also controlling the White House, or fix the "roads and bridges" you keep expressing concern for, despite ramming through an unpopular, trillion dollar "stimulus" bill that was ostensibly supposed to have already done that). We should strive for neutrality, which means our opinions on the sides' relative merits should stay out the article.
Liberals most certainly do emphasize "economic equality" (and rail against "economic inequality") in those very words. Here's DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz on "": "Philadelphia is one of our nation’s most vibrant cities with an unparalleled commitment to economic equality." A while back a bunch of the nation's leading liberal Democrats got together and unveiled something supposed to be their equivalent of the 1990s Republican "Contract with America", called "THE PROGRESSIVE AGENDA: TO COMBAT INCOME INEQUALITY". Think Progress, a liberal think tank, announced one of Hillary Clinton's recent campaign launches with the headline: "Hillary Clinton Kicks Off Candidacy As America’s ‘Champion’ Of Economic Equality". I could post countless examples. It's not like it's some right wing buzzword to make liberals look bad.
By contrast "equity" means fairness, and is problematic because conservatives support "equity" too, and certainly legal equality and opportunity for all. People radically disagree on how "fairness" should be defined, with liberals frequently emphasizing "economic equality" of result, as I've shown. Our respective views about whether fairness can be achieved only through government "regulation" don't belong in the article, but I'm glad you agree with me that liberals do favor such government intervention, a salient ideological distinction.
You should either drop the "regardless of outcomes" addition on the conservative side or add an equivalent, opposite phrase about liberals being willing to restrict individual liberty to achieve "equity" (or equality). Your current version has an insane partisan skew. You also focus way too much on procedural, alleged state/national stuff ignoring the basic differences that result in conservatives and liberals governing differently even within state or towns (including limited versus expansive government). It's not primarily about federalism. VictorD7 (talk) 01:14, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

BTW, in case anyone is wondering...

Traditional cultural values - Belief in God and the Judeo-Christian ethic; support nuclear family as a vital sociological foundation; traditional definition of marriage; pro life on abortion (typically wanting much more restriction, perhaps with some exceptions, like when the woman's life is in danger); self reliance; work ethic; voluntary charity and volunteering meritocracy; equality before the law; assimilation into the American melting pot; oppose racial discrimination (race is cosmetic and shouldn't primarily define people; while racial discrimination was certainly an old custom opposition to it and the principles leading to its demise go back to the nation's roots too); sincere patriotism; near reverential respect for the founding fathers and documents; believe in American exceptionalism, general nobility, and greatness; rugged individualism; support strong communities and neighborhoods but not at the expense of private individualism; tend to support death penalty for certain crimes; support hunting; more likely to play and regularly watch sports (as shown by scientific surveys); support right of self defense and 2nd Amendment; support popular sovereignty and concept of a citizen's home being his castle; favor biological gender definitions; respect traditional gender roles; more likely to live in rural or suburban areas; more likely to serve in and/or support the military and law enforcement.

Non-traditional cultural values - Less likely to be religious; skeptical of the superiority of the nuclear family; support "gay marriage"; pro choice on abortion (typically supporting legalized abortion on demand); support an expansive welfare state and favor helping the poor through government action rather than private action; support multiculturalism; tend to view overt patriotism as too parochial; tend to be critical of America along with its place in and impact on the world; more likely to view themselves as "global citizens"; believe in collective racial responsibility and redressing perceived past wrongs through affirmative action and other current double standards, with whites defined inherently as "oppressors" and other groups as "marginalized victims"; view the 2nd Amendment and certain other parts of the Constitution as "outdated"; favor gun control as a public safety issue; less likely to support hunting; tend to oppose the death penalty; tend to view the founding fathers as "overrated, white, slave owners"; more likely to view athletes as "troglodytes"; favor malleable gender definitions; hostile to notions of traditional gender roles; more likely to live in urban areas; favor communitarianism over rugged individualism; more likely to stay in academia after graduating and become college professors. VictorD7 (talk) 05:26, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

All the more reason why you should not be defining the terms. Just look at how you wrote it. The side you agree with - not one quotation mark. The side you disagree with? Tons of scare quotes. Also, insert here something about Victor disliking people randomly sharing their random political views. --Golbez (talk) 16:50, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Actually it was fairly neutral. I would have made it even more neutral if I was preparing an article edit (and not used quotes in an unbalanced way), but this was just a quick talk page discussion guide in case anyone was wondering what was meant by those terms (not "random" at all). The quotes are all actual quotes I've seen countless times from liberals, btw, not made up stuff or things that cast liberals in a negative light (it depends on what one's predispositions are). It's telling that's your only criticism of it. Even more telling is that you've participated with a large number of posts over a long period of time here and have yet to find something supposedly "non-neutral" about my actual article edit, underscoring that I'm exactly the right person to be defining these terms. VictorD7 (talk) 22:46, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Edit break for Proposals[edit]

Current text is plain while proposed new or restored text is bold. Please offer feedback, support, objections, and/or suggestions for alterations if applicable.

Option A:

Within American political culture, the center-right Republican Party is considered "conservative" and the center-left Democratic Party is considered "liberal".[299] The states of the Northeast and West Coast and some of the Great Lakes states, known as "blue states", are relatively liberal. The "red states" of the South and parts of the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains are relatively conservative.

"A" would be the least intrusive edit, would restore a long standing previous version, and would be my top preference. Plenty of sources would be easy to add and have been provided and quoted from on this page in the past.

Option B:

Within American political culture, the Republican Party is considered "conservative" and the Democratic Party is considered "liberal".[299] American conservatives tend to favor limited government, support traditional cultural values, and rhetorically emphasize individual liberty. American liberals tend to favor larger, more involved government, support non-traditional cultural values, and rhetorically emphasize economic equality. The states of the Northeast and West Coast and some of the Great Lakes states, known as "blue states", are relatively liberal. The "red states" of the South and parts of the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains are relatively conservative.

In the absence of the concisely clarifying "left"/"right" dichotomy, this version offers a brief description touching on the scope and purpose of government and social/cultural views. VictorD7 (talk) 01:44, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

  • Oppose both. The usage of the terms center-left, center-right, liberal and conservative are confusing. The term "limited government" btw means limits to the power of government, which the Patriot Act expands, and "larger" government is unclear. Does it mean more staff, more spending, more powers, more people in prison? And both sides have made government larger in all these respects. TFD (talk) 17:27, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I'm gonna preface this by saying: I really, really dislike you all. Victor is really enjoying some fine Republican kool-aid (honestly, Victor, have Republicans ever been wrong, or are they as perfect and pristine as fresh snow? Please tell me something they've done wrong. Anything. Go for it. And I mean as a party or philosophy, not an individual) that I am very familiar with; I used to drink and brew it myself. But we all grow up, become libertarians, grow up more, become anarcho-capitalists, grow up more, become socialists. It happens. TVH ... I mean, Victor, you really nailed it with "I've never heard anyone but you utter the words [weird sentence goes here]. It's unclear what that even means, and certainly would be to regular readers not participating in this discussion. It seems like you have a pet issue you really care about." That's what TVH does. That's how we get such convoluted descriptions of the country. And he never, ever seeks to compromise or admit that he might ever be wrong. And TFD, a lot of grief would be avoided if you just. plain. stopped. engaging. Either with Victor or TVH, you have singlehandedly perpetuated arguments weeks and months after their expiration date, while adding nothing, because these arguments shouldn't have existed in the first place. I would love for all of you to stop, just stop, but absent that I guess I'll be the one hitting alt-W and moving on from my top article.
    • That said: Support A, providing the terms of conservative and liberal are linked to Conservatism in the United States and Modern liberalism in the United States, and that the quotes are removed - 'considered' is sufficient, we don't need to also place quotes around the terms, especially when they are properly wikilinked. --Golbez (talk) 04:39, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
      • I support keeping the wikilinks to those articles. I guess I could accept removing the quotes if necessary to reach a compromise, though I'd prefer to keep them and don't see why they'd be a big problem. To answer your question (which I could easily flip around on you with the opposite construction), the sequester was a terrible idea. I criticize Republicans all the time, though it's usually when I'm blasting both parties. I admit it's hard to think of something policy wise Democrats did right that Republicans opposed, but then it's fair to say I'm to the libertarian right of most Republicans (and favor a strong national security, which puts me at odds with a sizable minority of libertarians, the ones often shown on cable tv). And actually the usual cliche, supported by polling evidence, is that young people tend to start off as socialists and become more conservative as they get older and smarter. VictorD7 (talk) 04:01, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Support A, with Golbez wikilinks. Option B is incomplete and unfair to both parties. Both parties for the most part favor government limited to proper regulation of society and economy for safety, opportunity and constitutional rule in a democratic republic. Both parties favor traditional cultural values in an inclusive civil society. Both parties rhetorically emphasize individual liberty and economic equity, allowing for individually determined life choices and fair competition.
The substantial and persistent distinctions over the last half century since 1966 are procedural, each side choosing to live with either the bad outcomes of state majorities or those of national majorities -- the inevitable state wrongs versus federal wrongs respectively -- as lesser evils more susceptible to amendment for the good of the people in the long run. (A nation-wide coalition of those promoting local majorities is not a national majority, "Iowa values are not New York values".) In this, the Republican and Democratic parties flip-flopped in the last century. The party of Teddy Roosevelt was not the party of Ronald Reagan, the party of William Jennings Bryan was not the party of Bill Clinton. There is no Republican majority post 1966 without appropriating "states rights" with all its traditional value nuance. The outcomes locally and federally vary across different issues, and the importance of the variable issues in aggregate determine party affiliation for the individual, state by state. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 07:42, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Well Reagan and Nixon did win the two biggest landslides in modern presidential history, conservative and liberal governance typically looks different at the state and local levels too (meaning it's not just a procedural difference), and even the TR (a liberal Republican in many respects) era Republican platform explicitly condemned Democrats as the party of "socialism" while the Democrats in the William Jennings Bryan era attacked Republicans from the left as the "party of business" as they do today, but since I prefer "A" too anyway, I'll otherwise just let my commentary in the above section disagreeing with your various points stand as is. VictorD7 (talk) 03:35, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Notice that TR’s New Nationalism is considered as “liberal”, because national solutions are perceived procedurally as liberal, regardless of their author, due to the scope of their proposed outcomes. “States rights” allows narrow interests to disadvantage the rights of minorities, state by state, see Federalist Number 10. Unregulated concentration of wealth and speculative kleptocracy as “individual freedom” is a conservative tenant even as it extinguishes individual opportunity and ends local competition; it is the way of the party of “big” business — you missed the “big” qualifier. As William Jennings Bryan said, “Our [Democratic] party should not defer to Wall Street and big business.”
As I say, you are not wrong so much as careless. Never so much as when you ignore the traditional value appeals to racism by Reagan’s welfare queens and Nixon’s law and order. The phrase “Southern strategy” is popularized by Nixon’s political strategist Kevin Phillips in his book on “The Emerging Republican Majority", — it is not only a DNC talking point. Again, you are not wrong so much as careless with half-truths. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 08:42, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm neither. You're spouting mid-brow popular partisan mythology that's been debunked for a long time. Honestly I expected better from you. Kevin Philips was made into a celebrity by the NY Times and other leftist outfits for precisely the reason you mention him here, as an excuse to call Republicans "racist". First, Philips didn't even work for Reagan. In fact he predicted Reagan would be a political failure, which shows how seriously one should take his professional insight. By that time he was a disgruntled ex Republican operative, who, among other things, complained about how Nixon mostly ignored his advice (for those who don't know, Philips was the one advocating a race based campaign by his own admission). Supporting law and order and opposing a bloated welfare state have always been conservative themes. They have nothing to do with race, and the Democratic insistence otherwise is a tired lie that distracts from substantive debates on actual policy. The facts I cited, on the other hand, are accurate. Nixon openly denounced racial bigotry, supported the CRA, oversaw the majority of school desegregation, and initiated large scale affirmative action in this country (though unfortunately started by a Republican, that last one is an admittedly liberal policy). Reagan had a long history of opposing racial discrimination and didn't appear to have a bigoted bone in his body. He thought, wrote, spoke, and acted in terms of universal human rights and values, disregarding something as trivial and cosmetic as skin tone. The undeniable fact is that Republican strength in the south has always been inversely proportional to the relevance of race as an issue (with the exception of the one off 1964 election; and the deep south didn't go Republican in 1968). The less obsessed with race people are, the better Republicans do. I doubt any conservative has ever described his own tenets (not the same as "tenant", Mr. Careless) as "speculative kleptocracy" or "unregulated concentration of wealth" (it's still unclear what a regulated concentration of wealth would be; a cap on how much wealth one can have?). Their key tenet is individual liberty, which is why they oppose economic central planners taking their hard earned money and deciding what to do with it, why they believe programs like social security should be voluntary, why they oppose gun control, why they oppose government dependency (a true poverty driver and freedom killer), and why they oppose eminent domain for commercial purposes.
Your claim that "national solutions" are necessarily procedurally liberal is easily disproved by pointing to conservative support for military strength, a national solution. Conservatives have also been more likely to support the space program the past few decades, for both scientific and national defense reasons, while liberals have been more likely to attack spending money on that "while people go hungry on earth". Conservatives give enormous lip service to the national Constitution and Declaration of Independence, quote the most relevant portions of Federalist 10 (e.g. Madison warning against using the power of government to redress perceived economic inequity), and support other national solutions where they believe national solutions are appropriate. It's simply wrong to pretend they never support national legislation, or that states rights is the primary ideological distinction between conservatism and liberalism. Again, you're ignoring the fact that conservative states are governed differently than liberal states (nothing to do with states rights versus "national solutions"; and I'm not talking about your false "disadvantage the rights of minorities" claim, but rather things like having no income tax or enacting concealed carry carry laws) and conservative towns are governed differently than liberal towns. TR is perceived as relatively liberal on certain issues because economic intervention for things like trust busting are liberal, whether it's the federal or state government doing it. Even in that era though the Democrats were more left wing. As the 1908 Republican platform states (attacking Democrats from the right rather than the left): "The present tendencies of the two parties are even more marked by inherent differences. The trend of Democracy is toward socialism, while the Republican party stands for a wise and regulated individualism. Socialism would destroy wealth, Republicanism would prevent its abuse. Socialism would give to each an equal right to take; Republicanism would give to each an equal right to earn. Socialism would offer an equality of possession which would soon leave no one anything to possess, Republicanism would give equality of opportunity which would assure to each his share of a constantly increasing sum of possessions. In line with this tendency the Democratic party of to-day believes in Government ownership, while the Republican party believes in Government regulation. Ultimately Democracy would have the nation own the people, while Republicanism would have the people own the nation." VictorD7 (talk) 22:28, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
The two bold statements move beyond unthinking carelessness to unfounded misrepresentation. In the last post you continue careless half-truths conflating socialism and the Democratic party. The Republican party does not stand for wise and regulated individualism, it promotes unregulated financial speculation which leads to unsecured bubbles, great recessions and economic depressions. Safeguards for investors were gutted in the JOBS Act of 2012 by Republican action. Republicans and conservatives dedicated to making the Obama administration a failure successfully delayed an infrastructure bill until 2015, and its opponents were primarily Republican conservative leaders such as Cruz, Rubio and Paul running for president.
The defense of the most recent malefactors is that very smart speculators never read the bad loans in derivative portfolios offered for sale, and no prosecutor can prove any individual of whatever title associated with the corporation ever had any understanding of the products offered for sale. Whereas by the theory of competitive capitalism there is perfect information available to buyers and sellers for informed transactions in a fair marketplace, the intent of Democrats and anathema to Republicans.
The resistance to warning labels on consumer products is just one manifestation on the continuing party divide based on the Democrats seeking an informed marketplace in the name of fairness and the Republicans seeking buyer-beware predatory practices in the name of individualism. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 13:41, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
The quotes went over your head, despite me spoonfeeding you with explicit context, leading to virtually everything in your reply being wrong. I quoted the Republicans of the time merely to show how they characterized the Democrats, attacking them from the right rather than the left, to show how consistent the parties' relative placement on the spectrum has been. Whether you agree with the 1908 Republican platform is irrelevant to this discussion, as are the DNC talking points you mindlessly regurgitate. But for the record, the bad debt that led to the financial bust was created in the first place by government intrusion into the marketplace to "help" poor people, led by Democrats Barnie Frank and Chris Dodd, who used their positions over the years to pressure lending entities to give loans to people who wouldn't have qualified for them in an actual free market. This government intrusion, on top of the pre-existing intrusion of government sponsored entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac controlling several trillion dollars worth of the mortgage industry, had enormous ripple effects even on private lenders. The big ones were confident they'd be bailed out by the government if they failed, and so engaged in risky behavior, while the smaller ones had to compete in an increasingly warped field. That Frank and Dodd, who were more responsible than anyone else for causing the meltdown, later put their names on the monstrous bill to ostensibly "reform" the system, is a damning irony. The Dodd-Frank regulation has introduced thousands of pages of costly, often random or irrational requirements drawn up haphazardly by various lobbyists, and is a major factor in suppressing economic growth and contributing to the nation's prolonged stagnation, possibly second only to Obamacare in that regard. But liberal Democrats don't care, and never ask how costly, effective, or necessary the regulations they pass are. They enact them and move on. Most business owners are Republicans, so it's not like Democrats view the Chamber of Commerce as part of their base. And the more unemployed Americans there are, the better it is for Democrats, because they have more people to "help" by integrating into the permanent net of government dependence, and therefore more votes to buy with tax payer money. Democrats literally shut down children's lemonade stands because they're operating without a government license. That's the measure of their devotion to the unthinking bureaucratic leviathan, one swallowing everything in its path.
The Obama "stimulus" bill was passed in 2010 (you seem to have forgotten, illustrating my point). The trillion dollar boondoggle was sold as a measure that would both fix the nation's infrastructure and get the economy roaring. The administration even prepared a massive PR campaign they dubbed "Recovery Summer", where Biden openly predicted 500,000+ net jobs would be created every month in the summer of 2010. The balloons fizzled when net jobs actually shrank over those months. The Obama stimulus turned out to be a load of ad hoc kickbacks to special interests and back door contributions to Democratic political campaigns (at heavy tax payer expense). The scattershot spending failed to kick start the economy and apparently failed to fix the infrastructure, as evidenced by ongoing Democratic calls to repeat the process. Later Obama, in a rare moment of self deprecation, would joke in front of a friendly audience about how those "shovel ready jobs" weren't so shovel ready after all. His laughter seemed a little awkward.
Similar bubbles resulting from government intervention have driven up the price of medical treatments and college tuition in recent decades. Focusing on the latter as an example, in a free market some people stop buying a product at some point as it gets more expensive, sending a market signal to sellers that their price is too high. The problem is when anyone has access to apparently bottomless student loans (direct or guaranteed) or grants from the government and there are no price controls. Colleges realize they can jack up prices continuously without losing customers. Increasing government subsidies, as many liberals suggest, would only make the problem worse, and impose a growing hidden "college" tax on the entire population, including those who don't attend college. Of course this isn't a free market phenomenon.
I'm not familiar with conservatives supposedly opposing reasonable warning labels. In fact, as a libertarian, I'm all for warning labels, though I'd prefer the FDA move to a voluntary system where pretty much anything could be sold as long as it's adequately and honestly represented at the point of purchase, rather than coercively preventing products from being sold if they haven't yet met all the red tape requirements to earn government "approval". But then I prefer to live in a free country, and, unlike liberals, I care about the thousands of people who routinely die waiting for potentially life saving drugs invented in America and already being used overseas to be "approved" by the US regulatory bureaucracy. VictorD7 (talk) 22:06, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
What should happen: People ignore Victor and return this talk page to the business of discussing the page instead of politics.
What will happen: Someone will respond to Victor telling him how wrong his babby's-first-libertarian politics are, Victor will respond back with another couple paragraphs about how awesome Republicans are and how evil liberals are, and this bullshit will continue unabated. --Golbez (talk) 22:38, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
With Golbez popping in occasionally to shallowly troll rather than contribute substantively, either out of a long standing personal grudge or because he can't stand to see someone with politics that differ from his own. But I agree this exchange TVH started (not me) is off topic, so if he replies again with more drivel about how evil conservatives and Republicans are I'll reply on his talk page with only a brief link posted here. VictorD7 (talk) 22:50, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
"TVH started (not me)" Mature up and take responsibility for continuing the off-topic tangent, will you? --Golbez (talk) 23:06, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
I was correcting your false implication. Classy response: "Thank you for offering a solution to end this, VictorD7." Golbez response: more petty, hostile trolling. As I predicted. VictorD7 (talk) 23:10, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
@Golbez:, What else will happen is you will remove personal attacks or discuss the issue at ANI. TFD (talk) 00:01, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Yay, adult supervision! --Golbez (talk) 03:45, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose both Option A would be better if the contentious labels "conservative" and "liberal" were dropped, and the text changed to read "the Republican Party is considered center-right", etc. for Dems. I would have added some mention of minor parties to make the point that the two-party system doesn't exclude them. Trying to define red/blue states seems too trivial at this level, as well as the fact that the definitions are somewhat simplistic (and don't include purple states; are there any other colors?). Option B seems to be what is there now, with Victor's reverted insertion added. I've already given reasons why I object to it, and why I think this entire paragraph should be considered a candidate for deletion, especially as the length of the article is an issue. Dhtwiki (talk) 20:14, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
    • Minor parties simply don't exist in the US in the way they do in parliamentary countries, though. The largest third parties - Constitution, Green, Libertarian, and Reform - have combined for a total of one electoral vote, zero senators, zero representatives, and one governor, in the last fifty years. The two party system is heavily codified, and the first-past-the-post voting method simply doesn't allow for competition outside of it. I don't think any mention of them at all is warranted, a link to politics or political parties in the U.S. is sufficient. --Golbez (talk) 22:11, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
      • There are recent US senators that haven't officially identified with either of the major parties (Sanders being one). You can't easily account for lesser, and local, officials. There are some who identify as other than D or R, but, as with Sanders, they're apt to be heavily dependent on voters who do identify with the major parties. Anyway, it's another reason why the paragraph is so hard to make satisfactory. Dhtwiki (talk) 18:24, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Dhtwiki, proposal A would only add the "center-left" and "center-right" terms you say you support. The non bolded portion of the quote (aka the rest of the it) is already in the article. This proposal doesn't address that. Whether or not to remove "conservative" and "liberal" or delete the whole paragraph can be a different discussion. Supporting A doesn't mean you're fine with the whole paragraph, just that you'd see adding the "center-left" and "center-right" terms as an improvement, which it would be. I ask you to please reconsider supporting A as at least a step in the right direction that mitigates the confusion currently caused by the other terms already in the article. VictorD7 (talk) 22:39, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose both for pretty much the same reasons as Dhtwiki and echo their suggestion to drop the mentions of conservative and liberal. Also would like to support Dhtwiki's suggestion that the "entire paragraph should be considered a candidate for deletion, especially as the length of the article is an issue"--Mark Miller (talk) 19:49, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
  • But none of that has anything to do with supporting or opposing proposal A, which is just about whether to add the terms "center-left" and "center-right". Since Dhtwiki says he supports using those terms, does that mean you support that too? VictorD7 (talk) 22:39, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Option C. Proposed amendment to A.[edit]

Agree with Dhtwiki and Mark Miller, because highlighting only differences is confusing for the international reader, and should be considered for deletion without a balanced statement of how they are alike. For instance, unlike most places on earth, their pro-business bias for innovation results in a shared national policy of assessing depreciation as a tax write-off rather than a banked cash account, shifting the burden of replacement of capital assets onto the general tax paying population.

Proposed amendment to A -- Option C -- to read:

Within American political culture, the center-right Republican Party is considered conservative and the center-left Democratic Party is considered liberal.[299] From an international perspective, both parties are alike for the most part, favoring a system of national and state governments in a federal republic limited by constitutional rule of law and regulation of the economy for safety and competition. Both parties favor traditional cultural values in an inclusive civil society. Both parties rhetorically emphasize individual liberty, allowing for individually determined life choices and fair opportunity regardless of race, religion or national origin.

I suppose the elements of political parties held in common is at bottom of why the US can be hated as the great Satan by those who are persuaded otherwise, and so they can motivate indiscriminate murder of noncombatant US citizens here and abroad. Nothing in the posts above by VictorD7 or myself would save us kneeling beside one another on a Mediterranean beach in the hands of Islamist extremists. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 10:48, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

Mark and I are proposing getting rid of the "conservative" and "liberal" labels, as well as finding the entire paragraph unnecessary. How is what you're proposing here in agreement with that? And how are any of these paragraphs not counting as original research and failing verifiability, since they're not grounded in either article or source text? I can't even agree that the US is the great Satan because people don't like our depreciation methods. Dhtwiki (talk) 18:09, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
You can support other changes or even deleting the entire paragraph while still supporting restoring the terms "center-left" and "center-right" in the mean time. Neither you or Mark Miller has clarified whether you object to using those terms. In fact above (and I believe in the past) you indicated support for using those terms. VictorD7 (talk) 22:52, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
The things in common stuff fits better in the Culture section, and I think a lot of that is already there. Maybe more can be added. Definitions are about discerning differences, and if we just restore "center-left" and "center-right" to the political party section we'll be drawing an adequate distinction without having to get into details. VictorD7 (talk) 22:52, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for the reasonable reply. I will only say that definitions are about substance, not fringe variation. The greatest distinctions in party lie between the United States and other political systems in the world, not between the two major US parties. George Wallace, who lost an Alabama election for renouncing a Klan endorsement, once said as an Independent Party candidate, "There's not a dime's worth of difference" between them. Yes I like your formulation for a center-left and center-right distinction. I am opposed to half-truth diatribes that misrepresent the liberal and Democratic Party positions. I don't know what to say to Dhtwiki who somehow missed the opposition to competitive capitalism among those who call the US the Great Satan. There was an Islamist terrorist attack on the New York World Trade Center in 2001. I am trying for a middle ground proposal, it looks like I've failed on this attempt.
No reasonable partisan on either side is trying to take away private property, no reasonable partisan wants to end eminent domain, no reasonable partisan on either side is trying to take away guns from a well regulated state sanctioned militia as provided for in the original meaning of the Constitution, no reasonable partisan wants to arm individual citizens on a terrorist watch list with unstable mental health, no reasonable partisan on either side blames the victim purchasing a house for the fraudulent bank appraisers puffing house valuations over 100% a year for commissions, no reasonable partisan wants a ponzi banking system without reasonable assets to secure financial transactions. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 10:24, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
At least we agree on the "center-left"/"center-right" thing, along with some of your other comments. VictorD7 (talk) 23:09, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

Article grossly over sized[edit]

So since the last time this can up the article has gotten even bigger - United States ‎[356,747 bytes]. Article needs some serious trimming of usless info. 4 paragraphs on food and water? Editors need to sit down and move lots of info to sub articles. Article so big people are simply avoiding reading it. -- Moxy (talk) 14:25, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

I don't doubt that the article is too big, but: "Article so big people are simply avoiding reading it."? Citation needed. --Golbez (talk) 15:04, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Its huge 59 worst article we have Wikipedia:Article size - Wikipedia:Too much detail. As for source on what is too long pls see You Won’t Finish This Article Why people online don’t read to the end as it outlines the problem. If you want readers to read the article as a whole some basics need to be followed as per Wikipedia:Too long; didn't read. -- Moxy (talk) 16:08, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Prose size (text only): 96 kB (15449 words) "readable prose size" -- two to three times as long as recommended by Wikipedia:Article size. Germany, which has a significantly more complicated history, has 71 kB (11179 words) readable prose (that is also a bit too long). Major work on moving details to subarticles is needed. —Kusma (t·c) 16:54, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
It's shorter than other encyclopedias like Ency Brit. Who wants every reader to read ALL of it?? What an odd goal. 99.9% are interested in specific topics that are all reasonably short. Rjensen (talk) 09:01, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Its much shorter at Ency Brit? I simply dont see how huge sections on minor topics like "Water supply and sanitation" need so much details let alone even be here. As stated in the link above....people avoid the article because of its details. We have size guidelines for a reason....but this has come up many times with no luck....just more info added to the article. Wish those here all the best of luck. -- Moxy (talk) 15:33, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

Yes, this article is seriously too long. The main reason is that new editors with a special interest arrive and add more and more marginal details about their favorite subjects. The text has become quite unwieldy. The comparison above between the United States and Germany is flawed; while Germany might have "a complicated history," so does the United States. And the US is much larger, four times more populous, and far more influential in the world. The article "United States" is going to be long -- but exactly how long is a pertinent discussion to have. It's only going to get worse. --Mason.Jones (talk) 17:04, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

No question the article is far too long, but that is an issue of not being able to agree fully on what to remove. Once the discussion begins on removing stuff, people tend to object strongly to what is being suggested. Sometimes the very suggestion of reducing the size of the article is met with suggestions to remove content with strong consensus to remain. Perhaps more experienced editors should be given a chance to begin removing the more recent additions with no consensus.--Mark Miller (talk) 22:29, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
In my opinion the article is not too long for readers. If someone wants to get the entire United States, they can expect to spend a couple of hours on that topic. Nobody seriously thinks that the comprehensive coverage of the United States can be handled in 15 minutes. 30 minutes? Personally I have a hard time imagining a reader with an equal interest in all of the many topics. Usual thing is to zero in on a handful of topics, and the article will then leave them to longer and more detailed articles. Rjensen (talk) 04:23, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
I wouldn't say it was too long for readers, or that the amount of time a reader might take on the subject was limited, but it seems ungainly in places with, perhaps too much statistical data and sometimes written with a less than encyclopedic tone. I think the article needs a good copy edit for brevity, clarity and encyclopedic tone. I also think there may be room to trim...not hack. As I said, a lot of the main parts of the article have very strong consensus.--Mark Miller (talk) 05:05, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
By the way, an option is always to discuss placing less important statistical information and data as a note.--Mark Miller (talk) 05:07, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
Concur with Mark Miller but also concur with Moxy---the section on water supply and sanitation is way too long. In a high-level article like this, what it should say is some number about the overall size of the water supply, some number about how much of that is consumed per year, and some number about water quality. That's it. The rest should be in a more specific article. --Coolcaesar (talk) 05:30, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
I chopped down the excessive treatment of water supplies, and added mention of the West Coast routes and the Flint water crisis. Rjensen (talk) 05:52, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
I also sharply cut the national debt-- or at least the coverage of it. Rjensen (talk) 05:55, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
I returned all the content as notes so we did not lose sourced information but I reverted the edit to ‎Political divisions. That was not an improvement.--Mark Miller (talk) 06:28, 21 January 2016 (UTC)


Is English the de facto language of the US or the de jure Language of the United States? I am referring to the infobox, as it is not made clear -- (talk) 22:25, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

It is made clear in the note:

^ English is the de facto language of American government and the sole language spoken at home by 80% of Americans aged five and older. It is the official language of at least 28 states; some sources give higher figures, based on differing definitions of "official."[13] English and Hawaiian are both official languages in Hawaii, and English and 20 Native American languages are official in Alaska. Cherokee is an official language in some Native-controlled lands in Oklahoma. French is a de facto, but unofficial, language in Maine and Louisiana, while New Mexico law grants Spanish a special status.[14][15][16][17]

--Mark Miller (talk) 22:32, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 28 January 2016[edit]

se les dio sabiduria y se les presto las herramientas para que fueran luz, pero tal parece que se les ha olvidado, El significado de su aguila, no culpen a nadie por lo que se viene solo miren adentro y luego abran los ojos o el tercero :), para saber el por que de lo que acontece, sigan aciendo caso omiso y ocasionando disputas por poder hace muchos años se les dijo y se les advirtio, pues este el tiempo de resarcir sus culpas. es su decisióm, siempre la ha sido. el conocimiento es la luz no las cosas mundanas que tratan de vendernos por eso estoy acá y no haya. les recuerdo el protocolo de kyoto, ojala hayan incerementado el poder de sus bolsillos por la energia ocura los tiene acaparados y ya saben lo que significa, peor el ciego que no quiere ver. (talk) 08:49, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

Red question icon with gradient background.svg Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. This is the English Wikipedia, please make requests in English. Cannolis (talk) 10:20, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

Language Chart[edit]

User:Mark_Miller objects to the below chart being included in the Language subsection (under Demographics) and has removed it twice now:

Languages spoken at home by more than 1,000,000 persons in the U.S.
as of 2010
Language Percent of
Number of
English (only) 80% 233,780,338
Combined total of all languages
other than English
20% 57,048,617
(excluding Puerto Rico and Spanish Creole)
12% 35,437,985
(including Cantonese and Mandarin)
0.9% 2,567,779
Tagalog 0.5% 1,542,118
Vietnamese 0.4% 1,292,448
French 0.4% 1,288,833
Korean 0.4% 1,108,408
German 0.4% 1,107,869

His original justification for removing the chart was that it contained "too much tabled content that is already in prose." [31].

I reverted this removal and restored the chart, pointing out that it actually contained information not found in the prose. [32]

Mr. Miller then removed the table again, this time stating: "Not in prose means the image lacks discussion to be relevant and serves a decorative purpose. The listed languages are random." [33]

At the risk of avoiding Wikipedia:Edit_warring, I now bring this topic up for discussion on the talk page to develop Wikipedia:Consensus.

I cannot see how the original justification for removing the chart was that it contained "content that is already in prose" while the second removal is premised upon the chart being irrelevant because its information is not contained in the prose? These seem like contrary positions to me.

For my part, I noticed the table was missing when I came to this article to reference the number of French speakers in the United States. This information was not included in the body of the article and I had to restore the chart (which is based on the 2010 census) to find the answer. The listed languages are not "random" as Mr. Miller asserts in his most recent reversion, it's a list of languages spoken in the United States by over 1 million people in descending order.

I don't see the given reasons as justifying the removal of the chart. It's a useful visual aid in the same way the table for religion below it is useful.TempDog123 (talk) 08:48, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

I must agree with TempDog123 that the language chart offers useful information regarding a nation of immigrants. Also, this particular chart had been in the "Language" section for years. The main problem I've had with the chart is that there's no explanatory footnote; these are languages spoken at home in raw numbers, and those numbers omit the parallel column from US Census specifying the percentage of French- or Tagalog-speakers, etc., who say they also speak the national language, English, well (albeit not at home). This is not a chart of monolingual native speakers of English, Spanish, French, Chinese, etc., and some readers might think it is. That's a minor beef on my part, and I do think the chart should be retained.Mason.Jones (talk) 02:17, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

An explanatory footnote would be fantastic and I could well support the inclusion with that addition however, I don't see how the list is not random unless we understand exactly why the languages listed are in such order or even chosen at all over any other language spoken in the US that is discussed in the prose.--Mark Miller (talk) 07:38, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
To be honest, I'm not sure exactly what you want to include in this footnote. If the footnote will lead to the chart being included again I'll likely be fine with it, but I'd just like a better idea of what's being proposed. If one of you wants to write up the proposed footnote and post it here that might be better. As for the chart being "random," it states in big bold letters at the top that it's "Languages spoken at home by more than 1,000,000 persons in the U.S." I don't see how that's a random list, it's just the most spoken languages listed in descending order.TempDog123 (talk) 21:47, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

It's meaningless unless it has an additional column for the percentage who speak English "well" or "very well" (my figures are from same source, US Census, 2011). Otherwise, many people would assume that the 20% of Americans who speak a language other than English are monolinguals with no English-language proficiency. (The article "United States" doesn't state that "English is the national language" for nothing; it really is.) Here's the added column, and I've added a small-type explanatory note for French like the one for Chinese. The US Census definition of "French" includes Cajun French but not Haitian Creole. See below. Mason.Jones (talk) 01:03, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

Languages spoken at home by more than 1,000,000 persons in the U.S.
as of 2010
Language Percent of
Number of
who speak
"well" or
"very well"
English (only) 80% 233,780,338 100%
Combined total of all languages
other than English
20% 57,048,617
(excluding Puerto Rico and Spanish Creole)
12% 35,437,985 74.1%
(including Cantonese and Mandarin)
0.9% 2,567,779 70.4%
Tagalog 0.5% 1,542,118 92.8%
Vietnamese 0.4% 1,292,448 66.9%
(including Cajun but not Haitian Creole)
0.4% 1,288,833 93.5%
Korean 0.4% 1,108,408 71.5%
German 0.4% 1,107,869 96%
That's perfectly fine with me. Only issue I would raise is that it will expand the width of the table and may encroach upon the prose, making it less readable. That's a formatting issue that can probably be tweaked though. TempDog123 (talk) 21:46, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
I understand what Mason.Jones is asking for and if it widens the table, it shouldn't be so much that it would obstruct the text so I also support that change, but I also support the suggestion for an explanatory note for clarity.--Mark Miller (talk) 04:42, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

Below is the chart with an explanatory note. I went by the original source, which doesn't list percentage of speakers but rather number of speakers of Spanish, Chinese, French, etc., who also speak English well or very well. (I mention the percentages, an extra interpretation, in the note.) This might well make the chart too wide to be used in this article, but it makes it clear to readers that this chart -- used across WP in almost all "United States" articles -- isn't the number of monolingual Spanish and Chinese speakers in the United States. It is anything but that.Mason.Jones (talk) 18:31, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

Languages spoken at home by more than 1 million persons in the U.S. (2010)[1]
Language Percent of
Number of
Number who
speak English
well or very well
English (only) 80% 233,780,338 All
Combined total of all languages
other than English
20% 57,048,617 43,659,301
(excluding Puerto Rico and Spanish Creole)
12% 35,437,985 25,561.139
(including Cantonese and Mandarin)
0.9% 2,567,779 1,238,175
Tagalog 0.5% 1,542,118 1,436,767
Vietnamese 0.4% 1,292,448 879,157
(including Cajun but not Haitian Creole)
0.4% 1,288,833 1,200,497
Korean 0.4% 1,108,408 800,500
German 0.4% 1,107,869 1,057,836

Source: 2010 American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau. Most Americans who speak a language other
than English at home also report speaking English "well" or "very well." For the language groups listed above, the
strongest English-language proficiency is among native speakers of German (96% report that they speak English "well"
or "very well"), followed by speakers of French (93.5%), Tagalog (92.8%), Spanish (74.1%), Korean (71.5%),
Chinese (70.4%), and Vietnamese (66.9%).

Cool. Let's put it in the article and see how it looks. TempDog123 (talk) 19:52, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Question Does this chart include illegal immigrants in it? Those people are very likely to speak very little English, and therefore would alter the percentages in the list. PointsofNoReturn (talk) 03:26, 9 February 2016 (UTC)