What is the encompassing issue that divides liberals and conservatives?
Consider, for example, the following debates: socialism vs. a free-market economy, higher taxes vs. lower taxes, more regulations vs. deregulation, bigger government vs. smaller government, federal control vs. state and local control, government ownership vs. private property, government-run health insurance vs. private health insurance, or coercion vs. voluntary exchange. All of these debates are different applications of the same principle. What’s at the bottom of the difference between each of the two positions?
The common element in all these debates is this — do we want power and control to be centralized or decentralized? Should control be in the hands of politicians and bureaucracies or individuals and private entities?