Skip to comments.No sissified code words for me: I'm a liberal
Posted on 11/21/2004 1:56:30 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
I am a liberal, born and bred, complete and unadulterated, pure and simple, without any hyphenated prefix or suffix
Furthermore, it is an appellation I wear openly and proudly, even in this hyperconservative state and in these excruciatingly conservative times. I have done so since I first became politically astute enough to understand the available label choices, some fifty50 or so years ago.
I do not shy away from it as I have witnessed some doing in recent times, choosing to distance themselves from those of us still willing to be properly classified. They engage in linguistic legerdemain by calling themselves moderates, middle-of-the-roaders or some other such mealy-mouthed, mushy, nondescript, euphemistically sissified term, as though they are embarrassed by the old designation whichthat correctly and properly describes our social and political philosophy.
Moreover, I resent deeply that some, for their own selfish political benefits, and to put us on the defense, have been able to give the word a pejorative connotation, somehow labeling anyone brazen enough to still be recognized by the name as some kind of freak, bent on opening the treasury so as to, God forbid, create a welfare state, peopled by hoochie mamas, illegitimate children and illegal aliens, speaking some foreign tongue, while lapping up money at the public trough.
And worst of all, the term has been so successfully demonized and given such a symbolic negative racial connotation by those on the far right that, in the South particularly, it has separated us, on that spurious basis, from those with whom our shared economic status and interest ought to dictate the making of common cause.
As angry as I am about what we have permitted to be foisted upon us by our political enemies, I am equally upset that other liberals have shied away from so labeling themselves.
Liberalism is a proud tradition, and I believe it represents the bedrock principles upon which this country is founded. It is the leavening which softens the stark harshness of a pure capitalistic society and makes it palatable to those of us who care for people who, for whatever reason, cannot always successfully navigate life completely on their own.
Liberalism is the principle that glorifies and revels in the beautiful diversity of this land in all its multicultural, multiracial and multi-lingual aspects. After all, we are a country of immigrants, whether voluntary or forced. As I see it, liberalism is a philosophy that supports a strong role for government in ensuring that all are able to live a decent life and share in the bounties of this incredibly blessed country, regardless of the stations of life into which they were born. And, if government is not about making life just a little bit better by doing those things that require a collective endeavor, such as security, both physical and financial, by creating a military for the former and programs such as Medicare and Social Security to deal with the latter, and helping those who find themselves in a position of needing temporary support, through safety nets like Medicaid, public housing and food stamps, then, pray tell, what in the world is it for? And, perhaps, most important of all, liberalism is about a belief in an entitlement to a good, publicly provided education for all citizens, not just those who can afford to send their children to private institutions so that we all may take part in this participatory democracy as informed citizens.
Certainly, government does not exist simply to ensure that the rich get richer and the powerful gain more power, while the poor remain poor. It is not unpatriotic to be a liberal, either, and the suggestion that it is makes this old 82nd Airborne paratrooper's blood boil. I was drafted, served without complaint (OK, without too much complaint), and was willing to put my life on the line if that had become necessary. And, as I near the seventh decade of life, I am happy to stand as a yellow-dog, East Texas, Franklin Roosevelt liberal in all my unsullied glory.
King is a law professor at Thurgood Marshall School of Law, and was city attorney under Mayor Fred Hofheinz. He can be e-mailed email@example.com.
***...........The intoxicating vision of a social redemption achieved by Them - this is what creates the left, and makes the believers so self-righteous.
And it did so long before Karl Marx. It is the vision of this redemption that continues to inspire and animate them despite the still-fresh ruins of their Communist dreams.
It is this same idea that is found in the Social Gospel which impressed the youthful Hillary Clinton at the United Methodist Church in Park Ridge, Illinois. She later encountered the same idea in the New Left at Yale and in the Venceremos Brigade in Communist Cuba, and in the writings of the New Leftist who introduced her to the "politics of meaning" even after she had become America's First Lady. It is the idea that drives her comrades in the Children's Defense Fund, the National Organization for Women, the Al Sharpton House of Justice and the other progressive causes which for that reason still look to her as a political leader.
For these self-appointed social redeemers, the goal-"social justice"-is not about rectifying particular injustices, which would be practical and modest, and therefore conservative. Their crusade is about rectifying injustice in the very order of things. "Social Justice" for them is about a world reborn, a world in which prejudice and violence are absent, in which everyone is equal and equally advantaged and without fundamentally conflicting desires. It is a world that could only come into being through a re-structuring of human nature and of society itself.
Even though they are too prudent and self-protective to name this future anymore, the post-Communist left still passionately believes it possible. But it is a world that has never existed and never will. Moreover, as the gulags and graveyards of the last century attest, to attempt the impossible is to invite the catastrophic in the world we know.
But the fall of Communism taught the progressives who were its supporters very little. Above all, it failed to teach them the connection between their utopian ideals and the destructive consequences that flowed from them. The fall of Communism has had a cautionary impact only on the overt agendas of the political left. The arrogance that drives them has hardly diminished. The left is like a millenarian sect that erroneously predicted the end of the world, and now must regroup to revitalize its faith.
No matter how opportunistically the left's agendas have been modified, however, no matter how circumspectly its goals have been set, no matter how generous its concessions to political reality, the faithful have not given up their self-justifying belief that they can bring about a social redemption. In other words, a world in which human consciousness is changed, human relations refashioned, social institutions transformed, and in which "social justice" prevails.
Because the transformation progressives seek is ultimately total, the power they seek must be total as well. In the end, the redemption they envision cannot be achieved as a political compromise, even though compromises may be struck along the way. Their brave new world can ultimately be secured only by the complete surrender of the resisting force. In short, the transformation of the world requires the permanent entrenchment of the saints in power. Therefore, everything is justified that serves to achieve the continuance of Them. ........***
Yep, can't get anymore sissy than that!
An honest Liberal? Definitely the last of a dying breed.
Liberals believe they are smarter, smarter than history. Perhaps the greatest element to to being today's liberal is conceit.
Sissified code words for "I'm a Communist...."
I wonder if the writer wants his kids being educated by openly homosexual Marxists who will teach them to grow up and throw Molotov cocktails at SUVs? Does the writer want his taxes to be increased for tax incentives for same sex partners to join in state-sponsored unions and expensive divorce procedings involving the redefinition of marriage? Does the writer want immigration based on deviant unions between Americans and their foreign tryst partners? Does the writer really believe that our support for Holocaust survivors to have their own 37,000 square kilometer state in Israel is responsible for the bitter, genocidal hatred of their oil-wealthy neighbors? I'm sorry to be so blunt, but liberals need to reevaluate what they mean by liberal.
So, by his own words has the author labeled himself as the enemy.
You want socialism? Move to France!
***....Liberalism is a proud tradition, and I believe it represents the bedrock principles upon which this country is founded. It is the leavening which softens the stark harshness of a pure capitalistic society and makes it palatable to those of us who care for people who, for whatever reason, cannot always successfully navigate life completely on their own. ...***
LIBERALS don't believe in individual ability and achievement. They believe they must guide and transform lives. It is an arrogance they thrive on.
Yep. Pride, too. Along the lines of "I WILL be like unto the Most High". Sound familiar? (Oh and while we're at it let's kill unborn children and fool around with cloning and pretend we're ,oh I don't know, A Creator like God?!?!)
How can the original author label redistribution of wealth as a bedrock principal this country was founded on?
Where is this from: "I WILL be like unto the Most High". ??
They believe no one is capable of making it on their own. And even when people do need a helping hand, liberals don't want to let people decide what help they need - they want to decide what help people need.
LIBERAL elite need dumb, depressed, dependent people to rule. They champion misery so they can feel that pain and become caretakers of lives. They need to sell dependence, unaccountability and discontent.
It's an impossible dream. Humanity withers and dies without hope, education and independence. LIBERALISM fails everywhere it is tried.
Lucifer (aka the Devil, Satan etc) wanted to sit on God's throne and be worshipped like these liberals do.
It's not America's bedrock.
***.....Conservatives who think progressives are misinformed idealists will forever be blind-sided by the malice of the left-by the cynicism of those who pride themselves on principle, by the viciousness of those who champion sensitivity, by the intolerance of those who call themselves liberal, and by the ruthless disregard for the well-being of the downtrodden by those who preen themselves as social saints....*** [LINK in Post #2]
I also think the term liberal meant more when our founding fathers and their muses, the Enlightenment era thinkers used it. These days I think traditional liberals need to be loaded for bear if they want to survive. The communists, Arabists, and gender benders are taking over the word. It's time for a fierce battle for what we had before the flower power people usurped the ideas of tolerance and progress that our Greatest Generation used (and sometimes misused).
"If you're not a liberal when you're 20, you have no heart. If you don't become a conservative by the time you're 40, YOU HAVE NO BRAIN." - Winston Churchill
Brainless wonder alert!
In response I will say the one thing that is most hurtful to a liberal who's crowing his liberalism from the rooftops: WHO CARES?
A classical liberal is today's American style conservative/libertarian.
The modern Left traces its roots to communism, obviously, and accomodationist monarchism (a la Bismarck), not so obviously.
I know, but this guy is really convinced that he is right. Sad.
When I was a young man, I felt attracted to the Young Marx's idea of alienation. His idea of a communist society sounds a lot like libertarian one: where freed from the drudgery of material compulsion, people would find their own happiness in pursuing their own talents. Some would fish and others would paint. The point is man would not be acted by an outside force against himself; man would be the master of his own nature and the agent of his own well-being. Sounds idyllic doesn't it? The flaw in the theory as attractive as it sounds, is that if getting rid of alienation would make men happy, it would already happen and no force would be required to liberate human beings from the bonds that keep them from connecting to their real selves. And there is no evidence any communist society has managed to make people happy by freeing them of wants and renewing their once-lost freedom and authentic state of being.
And an excess of Rousseau, Marat, and de Sade?
Yes. The social cancer of the Sixties needs to be cured.
You are correct. When I joined FR yesterday, I wanted the screen name "classical liberal", but it was taken. So I settled for market liberal. Surely no one on here will think that any of my views fall in line with modern liberalism.
I consider myself a moderate on social issues and a hawk on national security but my family says that I am a "conservative" because I just voted Republican - I have never had any problem with the liberal agenda as you have expressed it - I can identify with most of your ideals - but I do have a problem with how the Democratic party has become hostage to the extremism of the very groups that they espouse to champion - so today the Democrats are the party of extremism, intolerance and crackpots - intolerance expressed as a disdain for people of faith along similar lines of how social conversatives at one time dissed monorities - I hope the Dems come to their collective senses - I notice how negative most of the responses are to your posting - what a shame that an idealistic vision such as yours is shot down due to the idiotic position the Dems are now in - so every conservative now lumps together the liberal ideal with the nuttiness of the latter day Democratic party - what happened to the middle road?
Yes. So they must be controlled until They can bring about the proper order of things.
Ask Michael Moore or George Soros.
Don't feel sorry for LIBERALS.
They destroy lives.
The French Revolution paid more in blood than it obtained in the fruits of liberty.
It is sad to me that these people have benefitted just as much as me from every drop of blood that has spilled in defense of liberty.
Sheila "Don't you know who I am!" Jackson-Lee's buddy.
The lessons of the last two centuries have taught us rapid progress in the name of equality results in totalitarianism. I'm a champion of freedom - not of equality.
Nothing new here---just another socialist calling himself a liberal.
Why? Wasn't it because they refused to recognize the limits of both individual rights and rights of the state? At one point, everything became a right to the left in the French revolution. And the state had enough power, finally, to conduct endless beheadings.
Rousseau had some good ideas that were used by our Founding Fathers. But I think besides the social contract, they also felt that the state should be very limited in its power to pursue utopian ambitions.
The left wing of the Democratic party is rapidly becoming the new "National Socialists", in ALL respects.
The modern Democrat party has been hijacked by extremists, mostly socialists who have perpetuated the 10 planks of communism as if they were versus from the bible.
1. Abolition of private property and the application of all rent to public purpose.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralization of the means of communication and transportation in the hands of the State.
7. Extention of factories and instruments of production owned by the State, the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liablity of all to labor. Establishment of Industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.
10. Free education for all children in government schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc. etc.
Oh, and here's a little "ditty" called "Why we are Socialists." Check on the author when you done in the link.
Why Are We Socialists?
Socialism is the doctrine of liberation for the working class. It promotes the rise of the fourth class and its incorporation in the political organism of our Fatherland, and is inextricably bound to breaking the present slavery and the regaining of freedom. Socialism therefore is not merely a matter of the oppressed class, but a matter for everyone, for freeing the German people from slavery is the goal of contemporary policy. Socialism gains its true form only through a total combat brotherhood with the forward-striving energies of a newly awakened nationalism. Without nationalism it is nothing, a phantom, a mere theory, a castle in the sky, a book. With it it is everything, the future, freedom, the fatherland!
The sin of liberal thinking was to overlook socialism's nation-building strengths, thereby allowing its energies to go in anti-national directions. The sin of Marxism was to degrade socialism into a question of wages and the stomach, putting it in conflict with the state and its national existence. An understanding of both these facts leads us to a new sense of socialism, which sees its nature as nationalistic, state-building, liberating and constructive.
The bourgeois is about to leave the historical stage. In its place will come the class of productive workers, the working class, that has been up until today oppressed. It is beginning to fulfill its political mission. It is involved in a hard and bitter struggle for political power as it seeks to become part of the national organism. The battle began in the economic realm; it will finish in the political. It is not merely a matter of pay, not only a matter of the number of hours worked in a day though we may never forget that these are an essential, perhaps even the most significant part of the socialist platform but it is much more a matter of incorporating a powerful and responsible class in the state, perhaps even to make it the dominant force in the future politics of the fatherland. The bourgeois does not want to recognize the strength of the working class. Marxism has forced it into a straitjacket that will ruin it. While the working class gradually disintegrates in the Marxist front, bleeding itself dry, the bourgeois and Marxism have agreed on the general lines of capitalism, and see their task now to protect and defend it in various ways, often concealed.
We are socialists because we see the social question as a matter of necessity and justice for the very existence of a state for our people, not a question of cheap pity or insulting sentimentality. The worker has a claim to a living standard that corresponds to what he produces. We have no intention of begging for that right. Incorporating him in the state organism is not only a critical matter for him, but for the whole nation. The question is larger than the eight-hour day. It is a matter of forming a new state consciousness that includes every productive citizen. Since the political powers of the day are neither willing nor able to create such a situation, socialism must be fought for. It is a fighting slogan both inwardly and outwardly. It is aimed domestically at the bourgeois parties and Marxism at the same time, because both are sworn enemies of the coming workers' state. It is directed abroad at all powers that threaten our national existence and thereby the possibility of the coming socialist national state.
Hillary will transform herself as a moderate, as she prepares for her 2008 run and her fellow LIBERALS will follow quietly, disguising their own pathology, because she is the "vessel of their hope" to take back power.
It was a "perfect" storm.
You obviously just sullied yourself. You should go wipe.
Hoochie mamas. I like that. Is that a regional expression?
#2 is good, thanks.
They no longer exist. FDR believed in work, in prayer and in family. Today's Democrats believe in welfare, in secularism and in alternative lifestyles. FDR would not recognize his own party today.
And there is his agenda. Turning the U.S. into one big teet for all the freeloaders of the world to suckle at, while the few Americans left working their 80 hour weeks pay for it. doesn't it just warm your heart to know that the illegal aliens are honored more than they hard working Americans that pay the taxes.
FDR in some ways made the party of today inevitable. He got America used to Uncle Sam's insulation from the vagaries of nature. He tolerated communists in his entourage. He negotiated with Stalin over central Europe, Korea, Vietnam, and eurasia. Most of all, he taught them that the government was their best friend.
The New Deal was probably required given the Depression. But it could have had an expiration tag attached to it.
Ever see the film about the construction of Hoover Dam? Those guys worked! That's what public projects were about in those days: providing people who wanted to work - and knew how to work - with jobs.
Don't think you're right when you say old time liberals no longer exist. I'm one of them. We're just as baffled as conservatives about the new PC reality, and perhaps even more confused as to what to do about it.
Bravo! Bravissimo!! The best summary of Liberalism and its toxic outcomes I've ever read. You have distilled its deadly essence, sir. May we hope for more?