Sunday, June 24, 2007

What is a Liberal?

It would appear that in the wake of the disastrous Bush administration's catastrophic policies, Bushies and conservatives alike tend to just about make liberalism responsible for everything that has gone wrong in the past six years. Now just to make sure everyone understands, conservatives and the right wing block in the US has had control of every aspect of the executive and recently judicial branches of government. The presidency, the Senate, Congress and the Supreme Court were, until the mid-terms in 2006 firmly in the hands of the Republicans and conservatives.

That doesn't stop them from accusing liberals for every wrong turn the Bush administration had made and no doubt, they will continue to do so. They've finally found a recipe for success in the Iraq war, yes my friends, I say success, because this epic faux pas is doomed to failure, and what better way to snatch some kind of victory, than by blaming that failure on Democrats who say it like it is: "the war is lost." Reid is now the giant Satan following closely on Murtha's footsteps. But it doesn't stop there. Everything that is not functioning is laid firmly at the feet of liberals including, more recently, the Virginia Tech shooting spree. You have to do mental summersaults and back-flips in order to accomplish the feat: "Cho was a liberal." Thus one has to hand it to conservatives, they possess a kind of mental agility I would not have thought possible.

Then there's the whole gun debate and so on and so forth, but wait. It gets better: conservative minds are now also calling liberals "sheep" and "afraid to think for themselves" and "government subordinates". So I thought I would take a minute to educate our fellow conservatives a little on what it means to be liberal minded and please note, that American liberalism, is still a good chunk to the right of European liberalism. we liberals are an animal apart - we don't think in catch phrases that mean one thing whilst happily living its diametric opposite, such as conservative's love of the phrase "family values" which they hug preciously like a security blanket whilst ignoring its true meaning. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

1. Liberals consider themselves to be "free thinkers". We don't automatically assume that when government says "X", that "X" is right. Nor is "X" necessarily true. This does not only apply to government but to anything that may have a dogmatic background. One could say of liberalism that its motto is "question everything." More importantly, we accept that others may think a different way - this does not make them unpatriotic, nor does it make them crazy. But we do not follow the beaten path just because we belong to a certain party or support a certain group. In this respect, if we are sheep, we are the worst sheep you've ever encountered because we wander off in different directions on a regular basis. And this, our strength, is also our weakness because we will not follow a mantra.Some here may say "what about global warming" or "immigration". But the fact that millions of liberals agree on both these issues is not born out of a follow-the-leader mentality, nor is it that we are just gullible. They are born out of other liberal concepts which I will get to (if you are conservative you have probably stopped reading at this point anyway).

2. Liberals are compassionate. We don't believe in "me first and screw the rest." We feel that many of us are genuinely lucky to be born intelligent, capable, physically or mentally sane and that there are many out there not so lucky. We feel it is only right and it is only human, to try and help those less fortunate than ourselves. To do this, we support something called a social conscience which we believe a government should have. This social conscience should be supported financially by those fortunate enough to be better off and it should help those who are not able to get a footing in society for any number of acceptable reasons. Sure, we understand that this system has flaws and is not perfect and we understand that it will be abused. But we also think that the cases of abuse are outweighed by the real values gained in helping people. To give an example, someone may be supported by such a program to receive a decent education far above what his or her family might be able to provide for them and may go on to repay the system many times over once they are successful. These cases are more common than you might think and we as liberals feel that there is nothing wrong with wanting to earn enough money and nothing wrong with capitalism, but that those of us who are slightly wealthier can afford to share a little more.

3. Liberals want a market economy that supports free private enterprise. We neither want government controlled enterprises, nor do we want enterprise controlled governments, the latter being pretty much where Bush's US is headed.

4. Liberals believe in individual rights and freedom of the individual. We don't want government interference on a micromanagement level. "But!" I hear you say, "how can that be true when you want government to decide what happens with my tax dollars and who gets them?" Well, I said micromanagement for a reason. Because of the rights of the individual and that fact that we truly believe that all humans are born equal, we wish to make sure that all humans are enabled in being as free as possible. In this respect we are prepared to say: "government, I want you to aid those less fortunate than myself so that they too are able to enjoy some of the individual freedoms I believe in and I enjoy.I don't want you, government, to decide whom I can and cannot have sex with as long as we are dealing with consenting adults, how I have sex with that person and what I wear whilst having sex with that person. Nor do I want you, government, to be over inquisitive with regards to other aspects of my private life. What I expect from you however, is to use the massive resources at your disposal to identify those people in our country who are most at risk, starting with the elderly and the weak. To do that, I expect you to use every means available and not waste your resources listening to my neighbor Bob's telephone conversations with his mistress because she happens to be Middle Eastern, nor do I want you to deploy resources finding out who eats which meals on planes. Please redirect these resources at taking care that real cases of needy people, are taken care of and as little abuse happens as possible."Furthermore, we believe that individuals are the basis of law and society, and that society and its institutions exist to further the ends of individuals, without showing favor to those of higher social rank. This is an important point in guaranteeing our individual freedoms and liberties.

5. Liberals are brave. We are not afraid of every person who is ethnically not identical to ourselves. We are neither afraid of African Americans, we are not afraid of Muslims and we are not afraid of Central and South American immigrants, legal or not. We don't like to see laws brought into place that curb our freedoms because others fear being overrun by illegal immigrants or blown up by foreign terrorists. We feel that laws brought into place which curb our freedoms for these reasons mean, for example, that the terrorists have won because they've instilled fear into our society.

6. Liberals like tax cuts. But we prefer a balanced budget. Because Republicans don't know what a balanced budget is, this point is hard to make, but remember back in the day when Clinton was president and there was a surplus an...oh never mind.

7. Liberals are patriots. Liberals love their country, but are prepared to questions made by their own governments because government is not only made up of people, the people are the government. As a Republican you may have forgotten this. You may believe you are a nothing, a mere pawn in your king's kingdom, but you are not. Government works for you and expects you to make sure it does its job, not the other way around.

8. Liberals believe in family values for those who are interested in having a family. That includes gays. For others, who are less interested in having a family but want to spend their lives swinging, exchanging partners and want to have wanton sex with all sorts of people we also have understanding. It's fine with us. We don't have a moral compass that tells us having sex is wrong, unless we are the ones having sex and cheating on our wives and husbands. If we did, we would be referred to as conservatives.

9. Liberals feel that war is a last resort. We think it is inopportune to wade into war when all the facts are not on the table. We feel that could have disastrous consequences at home and abroad and could lead to situations which could be referred to as a quagmire.

10. Finally, liberals believe that defense is an important part of government spending. However, we feel that education is as important if not more important. We feel that an educated society is less likely to blunder into conflicts with other societies, an educated society will further the human race and an educated society will be beneficial to the entire nation. When we talk about an educated society we don't mean the top 5% Ivy league crowd, we talk about educating the entire country. We believe that this is an area worth dedicating a considerable amount of the fiscal national budget to.

We understand that Republicans think that the poorer Americans can be educated "a bit" and that a concept like "no child left behind" which has been a total flop was a worthwhile exercise and proves that even conservatives care about education. But actually, you see, conservatives tend not to. Liberals feel that instead of starting useless wars in far away places for obscure reasons which cost many billions of dollars, more money should be pumped into educating the next generation so that these types of useless wars will no longer be deemed necessary by anyone in society.

Of course, there will be some liberals that disagree with one point or another, I'll give you that, but I hope, on the whole, to have put you back on track as to what a liberal is, and what a liberal is not: namely a treasonous, lying, scared warmonger who doesn't much care about anyone apart from himself and, if pushed, those who will benefit him if their causes are advanced.

You have to look the other way for one of those.

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