Seven Tenets of Liberalism

Teh Resistance lists seven tenets of liberalism:

1) Self Loathing – Liberals hate the West. The West is always WRONG (unless it’s white Europeans aligning themselves against the United States). Liberals hate America. Liberals hate our Founding. Liberals hate the traditional family. Liberals hate the military, the police, and anything else traditional, good, or fair. Is this grounded in reason? No, it is grounded in hate.

2) Defeatism – Liberals are weak on terrorism, weak on crime, weak on securing our border, and just plain weak. Liberal parents hold “safe drinking” and “safe sex” parties for their teenager children using the excuse that “they’re just going to do it anyway.” Is this grounded in reason? No, it is grounded in low self-esteem, weakness, and laziness.

3) Multi-Culturalism – Liberals believe that it is wrong to expect a newcomer to America or any Western nation to actually speak English, obey our laws, shower, eat with utensils, etc. Liberals argue that all cultures are equal and we should not consider our (obviously superior) culture to be above those of anyone else under any circumstances. Is this grounded in reason? No, it is grounded in the white guilt of rich white liberals and the virulent racism of some minorities.

4) Blaming the Victim – Liberals believe that we are creating more terrorists by fighting terrorism. They believe that it is the West’s responsibility to provide jobs for young disaffected Muslim “youth”, who don’t want to assimilate in the first place. They say that the West is “Islamophobic” and has to bend over and grease up for them or we’re to blame for terrorism. This is simply not true: just look at older Muslims in Europe, who do not support terrorism or Shari’a law. Surely the older Muslims in Europe have been “oppressed” longer than the Muslims in their 20’s who were born there and are embracing terrorism. But the liberals believe we’re the ones who need to change. Is this grounded in reason? No, it is grounded in selective outrage.

5) Baby Killing – Liberals believe in a woman’s right to “choose,” which is a euphemism for murdering one’s own baby. They say it’s a woman’s body, ignoring the obvious fact that the baby is a separate entity living inside the mother. Liberals want young women to reject parental roles and kill their babies out of sheer convenience. Roe V. Wade was the law of the land which made it “constitutional”, and they dare don’t leave it up to a democratic vote in the states. They don’t want to even discuss adoption, because they’d still have stretchmarks. Is this grounded in reason? No, it is grounded in vanity.

6) Collectivism – Liberals believe in collectivism – that the group should carry its weakest members – even the voluntary poor. They believe in bringing everybody else down to the level of the lowest, ignorant, and laziest members of society rather than trying to elevate the losers by a good reality bitch-slap. They believe in creating class envy, high taxes, income redistribution, the collapse of the free market, Communism, socialism, and the nanny state. Is this grounded in reason? No, it is grounded in misplaced compassion.

7) Moral Relativism – Liberals believe that Bush and Cheney were the “real” terrorists, that the Islamoterrorists are “freedom fighters,” and that Gitmo (where terrorists get three squares a day and the best medical care they’ve received in their miserable lives) is the equivalent of Auschwitz. They would much rather condemn America (where they are free to do so) than actually go to Iran or North Korea and criticize THEM, because they know they’d never get away with it. Is this grounded in reason? No, it is grounded in fear.

This appears to be an accurate summary of the positions of those on the far left.  Most liberals I know, however, see themselves as holding a nuanced, balanced, intermediate positions between these and what they see as typical conservative beliefs:

  1. Self-aggrandizement: The U.S. is always right.
  2. Self-righteousness: I’m right, and anyone who disagrees with me should be punished.
  3. Triumphalism: Our culture is better than anybody else’s in every respect.
  4. Islamophobia: Our reaction to the challenge posed by Islam should be to destroy it.
  5. Intolerance: Everyone, including women, should be forced to act in accord with my values.
  6. Egoism: I have an obligation to take care of myself and no one else.
  7. Absolutism: I’m certain of my values, which are right for all people at all times.

This is of course a caricature; this doesn’t characterize my beliefs or the beliefs of any conservative I know.  But liberals are convinced that conservatives are simple-minded and that only liberals are capable of comprehending the complexity of reality.

Probably a better way of understanding the difference between liberals and conservatives is in terms of defaults.  Think in terms of some questions, and the answer libera;s and conservatives tend toward in the absence of conflicting information or argument.

  1. International Conflict: Western countries and non-Western countries sometimes come into conflict.  In general, and recognizing that there are some, even many exceptions, who’s likely to be right?  Conservatives: the West.  Liberals: nonWestern countries.
  2. Transgressions of existing law: How, in general, and again admitting that there are exceptions, should we respond to terrorism, crime, illegal immigration, and other infractions?  Conservatives: enforce the law and punish offenders, acting preemptively if necessary. Liberals: Understand the root causes of these infractions and address them by giving economic aid to those in need.
  3. Cultural Interactions: When people of other cultures come to the United States, should they, in general, accommodate us and assimilate to our culture, or should our culture change to accommodate them? Conservatives: They should act according to the norms of our culture, which will over time expand to include the best of their cultures.  Liberals: We should accommodate them.
  4. Conflict with Islam: The United States is now in conflict with many Islamic nations and with Islamic terrorists.  What, in general, should we do? Conservatives: This is a new phase of a war that has been going on since the 8th century.  We have no choice to fight Islamic expansionism in order to defend Western civilization and Western values.  Liberals: We must understand the root causes of this conflict, which lie in colonialism and our own foreign policy mistakes, apologize, and correct our misunderstandings of Islam.
  5. Abortion: Should abortion, in most instances, be banned, or at any rate strongly discouraged?  Conservatives: Yes; it is the taking of human life. Liberals: No; it is an expression of freedom.
  6. Obligations to Others: Some people have much more than others.  Should we, in general, “spread the wealth around” by taking from those who have more and giving to those who have less?  Conservatives: Not as a legal matter; we are all better off if people take responsibility for themselves.  We should reward productivity and accomplishment and penalize laziness and irresponsibility.  As individuals, it is good for people to help those in need.  But government “help” turns out to hurt more than it helps.  Liberals: Yes; people are entitled to what they need to live.  It’s a matter of social justice.
  7. Morality: Are some things, objectively, right, and others wrong?  Or is morality in the eye of the beholder?  Conservatives: Our moral opinions are fallible, but right and wrong are objective and knowable.  Some things are better than others, and our common sense views about this are generally right. Liberals: Nothing is objectively right or wrong, and common sense is little more than prejudice.

Framed in this way, it’s not a matter of one side being simplistic while the other sees complexity and nuance.  It’s that basic assumptions differ in a way that leads to different default positions.  I’m on the conservative side of each of the above, with, I hope, nuanced positions backed by serious arguments.  But I know liberals who also hold nuanced positions backed by serious arguments.

That leads me, however, to ask what must strike my readers as obvious questions.  Conservatives in politics and in the media and on the web are generally nuanced and back their positions with serious arguments.  Liberals in politics and in the media seem to settle for emotional appeals and namecalling.  The liberals I know aren’t like that, but the public voices of liberalism are.  Why the difference?  Why does simplistic namecalling work on the left, managing to attract the votes of moderates as well as those of true believers?

2 thoughts on “Seven Tenets of Liberalism

  1. Honestly, I see name calling and emotional appeals from both sides of the media. This is why I generally don’t want Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, or any of the other stations out there (I watch the Daily Show, but only because I find it funny, not because I see it as my way of getting a sense of politics or the world or whatever). It’s not a liberal thing, it’s a media thing in general. Both sides are guilty of slamming one another relentlessly, and both sides hold irrational, fact-less arguments. Some are based in fact, some are not, and almost all will say something without actually providing any evidence. We’re supposed to accept what they say on the air because they’re supposed to be trustworthy, but the reality is that most of them lie or have lied and been caught.

    But again, as I said on the post you linked to that had these seven tenets, all of these things that are being said are essentially reducing people who identify themselves as “liberal” to caricature. You mentioned it here, even. I think there’s a weird assumption out there that liberals are all the same, that we all believe the same things, etc. This is like saying that all Conservatives are the radical right wing religious nuts we see on TV, when that’s really not the reality. A lot of conservatives are more level-headed and quite reasonable, and the same can be said of liberals. The problem I think we have is that both sides have militant, loud-mouthed people who want to be 100% right. It’s my way or no way! That’s never gotten us anywhere in this country and I think it’s time that liberals and conservatives both shut up and sit down at the same table and find logical compromises.

    I don’t know if that’s possible, though. Politics in this country is so ridiculously polarized…

  2. There is little doubt that many – though not all – conservative arguments make perfect sense on logical grounds, but I fail to see why politics should be based solely on logic. Members of a society are human beings, not pawns to be moved around by their leaders at will. Isn’t there a place for compassion?

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