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Substantiate and describe Liberalism for me

Pitbull15
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3/8/2014 11:38:00 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
The title says it all. I'd like to hear what the idea behind the ideology is and why it's more valid than the alternatives.
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charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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3/9/2014 3:19:13 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/8/2014 11:38:00 PM, Pitbull15 wrote:
The title says it all. I'd like to hear what the idea behind the ideology is and why it's more valid than the alternatives.

As I always say, the only thing that's wrong with liberals is that, contrary to the extremist thinking of many conservatves, they aren't actually socialists. Well, it's not really all that complicated; essentially, a liberal is nothing more than an adherent of the soft-core version of our society's dominant ideology (the worldview that rationalizes and justifies a society's underlying power structure and behavior toward other societies), and a conservative is an adherent of the more hard-core version. To be brief for a change, the definition of a "liberal" really is that simple.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
larztheloser
Posts: 857
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3/9/2014 9:00:49 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
charleslb, stop confusing populism for liberalism.

Back in feudal days, a liberty was a bit of land set aside by kings where their laws didn't really apply. People could do what they pleased there. Then there was a big revolutionary period in Europe, notably the French Revolution, who declared the whole country a liberty. These were the first liberals, so named after their belief in liberty.

Because of the early revolutionary connotations, liberalism is generally defined in modern times as having two core values: freedom and equality. A free and equal society is the ultimate goal of liberalism. How exactly that ought to be achieved, and what those words actually mean, no two liberals can agree on. There are many branches of liberalism, and the only defining aspects are those two words - free and equal.

In America there seems to be a big thing right now about liberals hating freedom. This is contradictory. If they hate freedom they are not liberals. Most likely they are defining freedom differently. For example, gun rights. There is a freedom to own a gun (what's called a positive liberty) but also a freedom from being shot by some maniac (negative liberty). When these freedoms are in conflict, different liberals will prefer one over the other. Likewise with equality, does that mean equal opportunity to earn an income or equal income? Both are perfectly valid liberal positions representing and absolute capitalist and socialist view.

Liberalism is NOT NECESSARILY opposed to conservatism, contrary to popular wisdom, but it often is. Many conservatives also agree that a free and equal society is a good thing but believe that current traditions are free and equal enough. The difference is that liberalism is aspirational about attaining such a society, whilst conservatism tends to believe traditional institutions are or were working fine. "Liberal conservative" does not imply "moderate" either.

Liberalism is not in competition with other ideologies. It is simply an expression of what you want society to be like. If you want a society that is free and equal you are a liberal.

I'm not going to justify freedom and equality to you. I suppose some people actually do want a society with social classes and few freedoms. But I like freedom and I do like equality. I believe that if such a society could be realized, that would be paradise. I believe that, but I cannot prove that.

That's why I'm a liberal.
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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3/9/2014 4:21:23 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/9/2014 9:00:49 AM, larztheloser wrote:
charleslb, stop confusing populism for liberalism.

I don't suffer from any such confusion, my friend. I was attempting to point out the distinction with a very significant difference between liberalism and leftism, i.e. that liberals don't have the same level of conscientization, the same critical consciousness about our socioeconomic system of power relations and structures as those of us who identify as leftists and socialists. That is, actual leftists are fundamentally critical of capitalist society, recognizing that its inequities and injustices are inbuilt and irremediable, not adventitious and correctable. Liberals, on the other hand, are not such deep critics of capitalism. They merely advocate softening it with reforms and regulations; they certainly don't favor its abolition, as do we socialists.

This is of course because liberalism is in point of fact merely a slightly kinder and gentler (than conservatism) form of our capitalist society's dominant ideology, not a genuine dissident point of view. Well, not only is liberalism not an enlightened foe of capitalism, liberalism is actually more protective of capitalism than is conservatism, because liberalism does tend to slightly soften capitalism and thereby make it more tolerable, thereby diminishing disgruntlement and staving off revolution. Liberalism also gives those distressed by the inhumaneness of capitalism an outlet for political expression and prevents them from making their way farther left. Ironically, conservatism, on the other hand, by unfettering capitalism and allowing it to immiserate most of those living under it more grievously, conduces to increasing disgruntlement and will of course contribute to the ultimate decline and fall of the capitalist system that conservatives have appointed themselves the staunch and strident champions of.

Well, you see, although rightists often lump and demonize liberals and socialists together, there is a fundamental and quite meaningful difference between them, this is what I was trying to focus attention on.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
larztheloser
Posts: 857
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3/9/2014 4:49:15 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
So your argument is that the liberal revolutionary period in Europe was not "a genuine dissident point of view"? I wonder what thousands of dead nobles would say to that.

You're right that not all liberals are socialists and vice versa. I get the impression you've got a scale though, where socialists are a more extreme form of liberals. That's not true either. Socialism and liberalism describe different things. I for one am deeply critical of both capitalism and socialism.

Socialism is a set of policies that can be used for liberal, conservative or other ends (whether they actually achieve those ends is another question), for example, an economy based around production for use (be that with an intention to create a more free & equal society or anything else). Liberalism is a set of ends with no means to achieve those ends. Conservatism, likewise, does not inherently support a capitalist view, nor does liberalism inherently oppose it. Conservative socialism does exist (I like to call it feudalism).

The issue is that people assign binary titles to people - you don't often see somebody described as a liberal socialist, only as a socialist or a liberal. In fact, most socialists are liberal, among other things. Many capitalists are also liberal. This does not imply that liberalism is an ideology that supports either view or is moderate - liberalism is an end which is used by some to justify their means, sometimes in a very extreme way. But in the media, the extremely socialist ones are generally just called socialists, the conservative ones are just called conservatives, and the rest are called liberals. This is merely a simplified view, not an exhaustive description of what those politicians believe.
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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3/9/2014 5:39:36 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/9/2014 4:49:15 PM, larztheloser wrote:
So your argument is that the liberal revolutionary period in Europe was not "a genuine dissident point of view"? I wonder what thousands of dead nobles would say to that.

Originally the liberal and "democratic" zeitgeist was fostered by the interests and rise to power of the 18th-century bourgeoisie who required an ideology for the overthrow of the titled aristocracies and monarchies of Europe (and the transfer of Britain's North American colonies from the clutches of George III into the clutches of North American elites). In other words, "liberal revolutionary" = the bourgeoisie setting itself up as the new ruling class, not a genuine liberation movement. Liberalism has never been a genuine liberation movement; and today it's an utter capitalist status quo-perpetuating ideology, just like its more hard-core counterpart, conservatism. Socialism, on the other hand, seeks the genuinely radical liberation of people, society, and life from the domination of capital and capitalists. Again, we see that there is quite a radical difference between liberalism and socialism, and that from the point of view of capitalism's victims socialism is quite preferable, as options go.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
larztheloser
Posts: 857
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3/9/2014 6:40:56 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Please stop comparing apples and oranges. For the last time, liberalism is an end, socialism is a means. They are neither incompatible nor exclusive. Socialism seeks nothing, liberalism offers nothing. As I said, I oppose capitalism just as any socialist (not saying that I am a socialist though there is nothing wrong with liberal socialism).

Specifically with regards to the establishment of a bourgeoisie ruling class, that is hardly true. The power you're talking about is economic and social, not political. I make the distinction because the economic and social problems were caused by the unrelated industrial revolution - something which I might add, some liberals supported and others rejected. At no point did the middle classes set themselves up as kings by declaration, but rather they asserted soft power through the ownership of factories. In other words, society was slightly more liberal than before, but still not absolutely free and certainly not equal. I am therefore by no means suggesting that the goals of liberalism were realized by this movement.

But that doesn't mean the movement was not radical. Certainly by modern standards it might not seem that way, but you've got to remember these people came out of a millennium of rule by kings and aristocrats. It's considerably more radical than the communist revolution by any measure.
monty1
Posts: 1,084
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3/9/2014 8:05:58 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/9/2014 6:40:56 PM, larztheloser wrote:
Please stop comparing apples and oranges. For the last time, liberalism is an end, socialism is a means. They are neither incompatible nor exclusive. Socialism seeks nothing, liberalism offers nothing. As I said, I oppose capitalism just as any socialist (not saying that I am a socialist though there is nothing wrong with liberal socialism).

Specifically with regards to the establishment of a bourgeoisie ruling class, that is hardly true. The power you're talking about is economic and social, not political. I make the distinction because the economic and social problems were caused by the unrelated industrial revolution - something which I might add, some liberals supported and others rejected. At no point did the middle classes set themselves up as kings by declaration, but rather they asserted soft power through the ownership of factories. In other words, society was slightly more liberal than before, but still not absolutely free and certainly not equal. I am therefore by no means suggesting that the goals of liberalism were realized by this movement.

But that doesn't mean the movement was not radical. Certainly by modern standards it might not seem that way, but you've got to remember these people came out of a millennium of rule by kings and aristocrats. It's considerably more radical than the communist revolution by any measure.

You really want to be a socialist but you understand the term has been stigmatized and isn't politically correct.

If you can't be honest on a forum where you remain relatively anonymous then where can you be honest.

If you want to learn something about socialism then ask me some specific questions. I'm what you would call a socially responsible capitalist. I can explain.
larztheloser
Posts: 857
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3/9/2014 8:13:56 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/9/2014 8:05:58 PM, monty1 wrote:
You really want to be a socialist but you understand the term has been stigmatized and isn't politically correct.

If you can't be honest on a forum where you remain relatively anonymous then where can you be honest.

If you want to learn something about socialism then ask me some specific questions. I'm what you would call a socially responsible capitalist. I can explain.

Off topic but I'll answer it anyway.

Nope, I'm just as critical of socialism as I am of capitalism. Assuming we're talking economics here, I'm pretty cynical in general. I'm being completely open and honest when I say this. And I might add that I am exactly the same way away from this forum too. This has nothing to do with any socially held beliefs or stigma, but my personal beliefs and aspirations for the world.
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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3/10/2014 3:03:56 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/9/2014 6:40:56 PM, larztheloser wrote:
Please stop comparing apples and oranges. For the last time, liberalism is an end, socialism is a means. They are neither incompatible nor exclusive. Socialism seeks nothing, liberalism offers nothing. As I said, I oppose capitalism just as any socialist (not saying that I am a socialist though there is nothing wrong with liberal socialism).

Specifically with regards to the establishment of a bourgeoisie ruling class, that is hardly true. The power you're talking about is economic and social, not political. I make the distinction because the economic and social problems were caused by the unrelated industrial revolution - something which I might add, some liberals supported and others rejected. At no point did the middle classes set themselves up as kings by declaration, but rather they asserted soft power through the ownership of factories. In other words, society was slightly more liberal than before, but still not absolutely free and certainly not equal. I am therefore by no means suggesting that the goals of liberalism were realized by this movement.

But that doesn't mean the movement was not radical. Certainly by modern standards it might not seem that way, but you've got to remember these people came out of a millennium of rule by kings and aristocrats. It's considerably more radical than the communist revolution by any measure.

We disagree on some quite fundamental points, but as you seem to be a decent egg I'll simply agree to disagree and permit you to have the last word.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.