by Patrick Appel

Bernstein tries to sort ideologies:

I do think that there's something authentically different between liberals and conservatives, at least some of the time, and at least in some cases.  If not first principles, though, perhaps we can call them impulses.  To me, the liberal impulse is basically: We Can Do Better.   And the conservative impulse?  Don't Make It Worse.  Liberals, or perhaps all of us when we're inspired by the liberal impulse, look around and see a variety of problems and available resources and want to alleviate pain and suffering; they want to solve problems.  Conservatives, or perhaps all us us when we're inspired by the conservative impulse, remember all the cases of noble intentions gone awry, the cases of unintended consequences, the cases in which problems seemed terribly severe but then they seemingly melted away without anyone, and certainly not everyone collectively, trying to address them.  Liberals appreciate the promise of the future; conservatives appreciate how rickety the accomplishments of the present are, and how easily what we think is safe can be destroyed.