Tuesday, October 10, 2006

What It Means to be a Liberal...or Not.

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Geoffrey R. Stone bemoans the fact that the word "liberal" has become a perjorative term:

In that light, I thought it might be interesting to try to articulate 10 propositions that seem to me to define "liberal" today. Undoubtedly, not all liberals embrace all of these propositions, and many conservatives embrace at least some of them.

Moreover, because 10 is a small number, the list is not exhaustive. And because these propositions will in some instances conflict, the "liberal" position on a specific issue may not always be predictable. My goal, however, is not to end discussion, but to invite debate.

Well then, since you asked for debate, let's have at it:

1. Liberals believe individuals should doubt their own truths and consider fairly and open-mindedly the truths of others. This is at the very heart of liberalism. Liberals understand, as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once observed, that "time has upset many fighting faiths." Liberals are skeptical of censorship and celebrate free and open debate.

That died about the second that newspapers went from news reporters to news shapers. The liberals who control(led) the media control(led) debate and shapoed the daily news chose to shape in a way highly biased toward liberal views. By keeping out conflicting views, liberals in effect practiced a form of censorship that can only be equaled by the government.

Liberals also bastardized the term censorship to extend it to funding for entities such as the NEA. Choosing to not fund an organization that gives money to "artists" who create works such as "Piss Christ" is not censorship in any form.

2. Liberals believe individuals should be tolerant and respectful of difference. It is liberals who have supported and continue to support the civil rights movement, affirmative action, the Equal Rights Amendment and the rights of gays and lesbians. (Note that a conflict between propositions 1 and 2 leads to divisions among liberals on issues like pornography and hate speech.)

A little revisionist history is happening here, it was the Dixiecrats, not the Dixiepublicans who filibustered major civil rights legislation of the '60's. It was those men led by Al Gore, Sr. who were vehemently against any equal rights laws and it was conservative who helped push it through.

As for affirmative action, the ERA and gay rights, liberals are pushing for special rights for those who are currently in the minority. Affirmative action is anathema to what this country stands for--hard work will get you ahead, not handouts. In the present, homosexuals deserve equal rights, not special rights.

4. Liberals believe "we the people" are the governors and not the subjects of government, and that government must treat each person with that in mind. It is liberals who have defended and continue to defend the freedom of the press to investigate and challenge the government, the protection of individual privacy from overbearing government monitoring, and the right of individuals to reproductive freedom. (Note that libertarians, often thought of as "conservatives," share this value with liberals.)

This is so wrong as to be laughable. Liberals always have and always will believe in huge government and the core belief of all liberals is that government knows better what's good for you than you do. They believe the government and not the individual should provide for the people. As for the freedom of press, see #1.

The reproductive freedom argument is actually against liberal values because it only allows for the rights of one party while completely discaunting the rights of another. The government monitoring argument I can agree with but that is an overlapping conservative/liberal belief.

5. Liberals believe government must respect and affirmatively safeguard the liberty, equality and dignity of each individual. It is liberals who have championed and continue to champion the rights of racial, religious and ethnic minorities, political dissidents, persons accused of crime and the outcasts of society. It is liberals who have insisted on the right to counsel, a broad application of the right to due process of law and the principle of equal protection for all people.

Emphasis mine. Yes liberals do indeed champion the rights of racial and ethnic minorities, but not all religious group equally. They used to champion Jewish rights but that is a thing of the past as you see every time an anti-war rally occurs. They've always abhorred Christians and today have found themselves in concert with the Muslim world--a world that is largely misogynistic, homophobic and intolerant.

8. Liberals believe courts have a special responsibility to protect individual liberties. It is principally liberal judges and justices who have preserved and continue to preserve freedom of expression, individual privacy, freedom of religion and due process of law. (Conservative judges and justices more often wield judicial authority to protect property rights and the interests of corporations, commercial advertisers and the wealthy.)

Liberal judges have gone so far in preserving what they believe are truths that they have become strongly activist, going so far as to create law where law didn't exist, which is not the judiciaries responsibility. As for the comment on conservative judges, property rights should be protected as they are part of the cornerstone of American rights. The corporations slam is a sham in as much as we have seen dramatic increases in all costs because of liberal lawyers filing frivolous lawsuits and liberal judges awarding plaintiffs huge sums of money that exceed any reasonable measure.

If this is a defense of liberalism, I'll keep my neo-con credentials thank you.

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