Monday, June 19, 2006

De-Liberate

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.

Iraq: A hotbed of liberal/conservative antagonism of which I will post on later since it’s one of my interests and is likely to be a huge topic.

4 comments:

BillT said...

Your self-description sounds more like what we Murrikins call Libertarian than Liberal.

Liberals generally kick "individual responsibility" into the corner and throw doilies on it in hopes that the concept will eventually run off into the woods, leaving "victimhood" to fill the void.

John of Argghhh! said...

What Bill said. Conservatism is *also* about not just throwing the baby out with the bathwater every time some boffin has a bright idea. It's not *just* about the "cold, dead hand of history" weighing everything down.

I.e., many times we've already been down that path and didn't like what we found.

To me, conservatism is about being grounded in what's gone before - a needful restraint to youthful enthusiasms that scamper off willy-nilly at the next bright shiny object.

We need those youthful enthusiasms, however, or we'd never move forward.

I'm Churchillian in that regard. My tolerance for puppies gets me in trouble with some of my rather more hard-line conservative bretheren.

I have decided to make a few posts and see how it goes. I'm told blogging is thereputic for the soul and at least it lets me soapbox my own little view of the planet.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Trias said...

Labels and words seem ever more hazy. Different words for the same thing and the same word for different things. Get this.. here in downunderland the Liberal party is the G.W. Bush supporting *Conservatives*!

Victimhood is vile. The topic is probably worth a post.

I think i'm addicted. Wait a sec I'm a victim. [Speed dials therapist]

dreamkatcha said...

To me being a far right conservative, at least in the ultra-polarized US, is about taking all the important, difficult to tackle issues and sweeping them under the rug. To fill the void and to make themselves appear pro-active they focus on trying to pass laws which infringe upon people's civil liberties. What gay marriage/adoption has to do with anyone other than the partners involved I'll never understand. The same goes for abortion and stem cell research.

As much as it pains me to say this, you can't really blame Bush and his cronies for pushing such dogma as it seems to be what the majority want. To rail against popular opinion would be political suicide.

Extremist conservatives are only interested in control and responsibility as they apply to other people. When it comes to the environment it makes sense to deny that humans are having any negative impact on the climate aside from natural fluctuation. To admit otherwise would necessitate inconvenient changes to their comfortable lifestyles.