“Producing policies that improve the human condition”
Liberalism is a more deeply pragmatic governing philosophy–more open to change, more receptive to empiricism, and ultimately better at producing policies that improve the human condition–than conservatism.
The really odious component of this statement is disguised as an implied premise: that “the human condition” can be improved, or that such is a legitimate or principal aim of government. This is one of the key ways that liberals and conservatives talk past each other. Liberals rail that conservatives don’t come up with plans to solve the world’s problems and “improve” the “human condition.” Conservatives, in my view, don’t care about all that stuff. Perhaps “time horizons” is a way to take some wind out of liberals’ sails, a way to counter that the way to solve the problems liberals’ are worried about is to take the long view. But really, the truly conservative position is that government ought to sit tight until there arise the sort of problems government is instituted to address; to observe the difference between threats to security and threats to comfort; to stop acting like Mrs. Reverend Lovejoy at every Dateline story, for heaven’s sake. “Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the CHILDREN!!!”
There will always be some deficiency in the “human condition” to be remedied, improved, assuaged, or eliminated. But this is part of the human condition—to be forever dissatisfied. To assume that government is assigned the task of perfecting the human condition is the big lie implicit in all this talk about employing empiricism and social science in lawmaking.