“Reclaiming” Liberalism

I think it is time I made a confession to all of my readers. I had to work long and hard to summon the courage to admit this, for all the internet to see. In the interest of honesty at all times and in all things, however it is time for you all to know. I am a liberal. Not just your average hadn’t-thought-about-it liberal, but a dedicated dyed in the wool liberal. Now with this said I feel like I owe you all an explanation.

I have been thinking quite a bit lately about the terms conservative and liberal. It is readily apparent what it means to be a liberal nowadays. It means to be progressive, pro-worker, pro-rights for everyone, pro-immigration, and at least in theory pro freedom for all. This is certainly not always the way it works out in practice but it is certainly its intent. Wait just a moment though, isn’t the bureaucratic compulsion directly at odds with all those other espoused beliefs? The drive to regulate and centralize authority seems counter-intuitive then.

Conservative is not much better. In fact it is no better at all. Conservatism also presents itself as pro freedom for all and working on behalf of individuals in virtually all things. It also seems however to have an unfortunate strain of reactionary thought in it.I don’t mean this in the way that Marxists mean it, I mean this in the sense and way that there always seems to be an instinct that the old ways are best.

The old ways however have never been what the political right actually wants though and this is readily apparent after expending a little critical thinking on the subject. The old ways have always been and always seemingly will be as equally centralizing and state focused as modern progressivism, with only the window dressing changing to suit the times. First it was the tribal chieftain, then it was the king, and now it is and has been for nearly a hundred years an imperial American presidency.

What the political right desires and what the political left opposes in their gut even if they don’t recognize it is real liberalism. Liberalism being understood the philosophical drive to maximize the individual’s independence. This has never been in human history the norm and even in eras where we see it highlighted it has always needed work to be true freedom for all. It is that fact that makes actual liberalism, liberal. Freedom is novel, unique, not easily attained, and quite difficult to maintain because of actual conservatism.

This is why I came to the realization that I must out myself as a liberal. Not just this however, but it would seem that perhaps all American individuals then need to carefully examine their core beliefs. If you believe that the government is good for anything other than raising an army then yes you are in fact a conservative. Or if you currently think you are a liberal then I have to inform you that you are unfortunately a conservative. However if you truly value freedom, and believe that the government’s rules making can only hamper that freedom then you are a liberal and the previous statements still apply except inverted. Examine your motives, and I mean really examine them. Be certain about how much you really value freedom and either come out with me politically or then be certain of where you stand.

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