I am a liberal.
Looking at what appears a raging argument between liberals and conservatives I am concerned by what I see as a slump of the west into conservatism due to fears brought about by change and the gross oversimplification of people being identified by such a one dimensional term.
I am a liberal. The word basically means freedom and I believe in individual freedom. ‘Freedom’ is a word many are using to cliché levels these days. Conservatives themselves spout it out like vomit in the Exorcist yet attack liberals with abandon which is the twilight zone to me. So what exactly do I mean by liberal?
Freedom at the most basic level to me is lacking constraint. Control is the opposite. Control implies constraint.
Conservatism to me is all about preservation and the past. Retaining or going back to things the supporters of such a viewpoint value. It does have value at times because some things are worthwhile to retain. Conservatives, however lean heavily to retain all and the only way to preserve really is to control.
My view is that people as individuals are intrinsically capable and worthy of freedom and from that the power to do all sorts of things control would otherwise prevent. The power to think, to say, and to act.
But I temper freedom with responsibility. Personal responsibility and responsibility to my fellow humans. Make no mistake, I do not generally like control and I do recognise responsibility as a form of control yet what better than a form of control based on freedom itself? The power to think, say and act balanced by the consequences of such power.
I am a liberal and I’m very happy to be one.
So let’s move from those largely idealistic words and see how this relates to a few day to day things?
Political Correctness: When encouraged I see it is a good thing. We can learn to speak to other people with respect because that’s the core of it. But when enforced via law and policy I see control and a degradation of the freedom of speech. Worse, those who chose their words with care due to such control rather than self determination are still going to be the same racist, sexist etc bigots. Thoughts and beliefs define discrimination words do not.
Environmentalism: A commonly identified liberal area yet it’s interesting that environmentalism is very much about preservation which I’ve already identified with conservatism and control. Yet I remain a broad supporter of environmentalism because I see it as my responsibility to assist in the preservation of this planets valuable lifesystem of which we are a part.