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Ross Faneuf
02-28-2002, 04:08 PM
'Liberal' has become a swear word for a lot of people, and a handy label to hang on people they don't like (or even hate). But it's mostly meaningless - the people that are execrated mostly don't exist (any more than the people labeled 'rednecks' or 'reactionaries' etc exist).

I call myself a liberal, if I have to use a label; of course, I'd rather just be myself, with my prejudices and attitudes intact, with any and all inconsistencies flaunted. However, I've run across a great definition of a liberal (in the best sense).

It's from Wendell Willkie, the 1940 Republican candidate for president, and is quoted in Richard Ketchum's 'The Borrowed Years' (a book I recommend highly). Here it is:

A liberal is someone who "attempts to do the most difficult thing in the world - namely, to strike a true balance between the rights of the individual and the needs of society."

And the book adds the quote "Frequently you find yourself in the minority, and sometimes you will find yourself alone."

Have at it...

[ 02-28-2002, 04:09 PM: Message edited by: Ross Faneuf ]

mmd
02-28-2002, 04:25 PM
I thought that we had purged ourselves of this red herring topic a few weeks ago. Let sleeping dogs lie.

Alan D. Hyde
02-28-2002, 04:57 PM
Ross, that's a fair definition from back in the days when many Democrats could fairly describe themselves as "Jeffersonians." It continues to accurately describe Friedman or Von Mises or many of the more moderate libertarians.

Remember that Jefferson said: "the government that governs least, governs best." He substantially reduced taxes during his administration, left the public treasury with a surplus, acquired the Louisana Purchase, and still was able to place no direct tax on the average American citizen.

The root word for "liberal" is of course liberty, and the historical liberal, with whom I have no quarrel, believes in free people and free markets.
The rivers of history push at the backs of true liberals; the forces of freedom are as inexorable as they are invigorating.

Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" attempted many social changes through a variety of centrally administered social programs. Substantial problems ensued as a result of unintended consequences. This set of programs, and many that followed, were based on a socialist approach to public problem-solving. They had many honorable advocates, Hubert Horatio Humphreys among them.

These advocates, politically savvy people, knew that "socialism" was not a concept likely to be happily sold to the American people. So they marched under the banner of "liberalism," and, in the process, changed its common meaning in public discourse in the U.S.

Alan

[ 02-28-2002, 05:00 PM: Message edited by: Alan D. Hyde ]

Ross Faneuf
02-28-2002, 05:19 PM
Hey, maybe I'm a conservative, since I like a definition that's older than I am (if only barely).

Nice capsule description, Alan.

stan v
02-28-2002, 05:43 PM
AHHHHH, no. Never mind.

Chris Coose
02-28-2002, 07:06 PM
"It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error."

U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Robert H. Jackson, 1950

And that my liberal and conservative friends is our higher calling. It seems we do much better her talking about boats.

Wayne Jeffers
03-01-2002, 08:57 AM
Alan, You're obviously a great admirer of Jefferson. So am I. I'm curious as to your perspective when you use the term "Jeffersonian." Which core principles of this complex man do you have in mind when you use this term? I suspect we may each admire Jefferson for somewhat different reasons.

Ross, I think Willkie's definition is a fair one. Of course it comes from a time before the term had been largely vilified by the right. Seeking a balance between the rights of the individual (traditionally a catchphrase for the rights of individuals with property, i.e., the right wing, conservatives) and the needs of society (a catchphrase for the needs of those without property, i.e., the left wing, socialists).

Alan, The Republican party was generally the more "liberal" of the parties from its founding up until about 1920. Of course, they referred to themselves as "Progressives" in that earlier time. While socialism is a viable political philosophy in all other democracies, in the U.S. the term was successfully stigmatized because the socialists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were mostly recent immigrants with eastern and southern European names. Socialism was successfully painted as "foreign," hence un-American.

Wayne

Alan D. Hyde
03-01-2002, 10:49 AM
It's just not that simple, Wayne.

Read "Capitalism and Freedom," by Milton Friedman. "Free to Choose," by Milton and Rose D. Friedman is a popularized and somewhat re-configured approach to some of the same topics.

It's not that socialism doesn't work because it's unpopular; it's that it's unpopular because it doesn't work. Read "Of Plymoth Plantation," by William Bradford (Morison's edition, available from Plimoth Plantation). Look under "common course and condition" in the index, and read what the Pilgrims decided about socialism after having tried it.

Alan

Wayne Jeffers
03-01-2002, 11:31 AM
Originally posted by Alan D. Hyde:
It's just not that simple, Wayne.
I'm sorry, Alan, I'm unsure what you mean by that comment.

BTW, I'm not advocating socialism. I'm pointing out the obvious fact that socialism is a political philosophy (right or wrong) that gets serious attention in all democracies except the U.S. True socialism has never much been tried in the U.S., mainly for the reasons I stated. The only exception that comes to mind is that the city of Milwaukee had a number of Socialist Party mayors early in the twentieth century.

You sometimes seem to use the terms "liberal" and "socialist" interchangeably. This is as if I were to use the terms "conservative" and "Nazi" interchangeably. Neither is accurate. It reminds me of the grower in "The Grapes of Wrath" who, when asked what a Communist was, replied, "A Communist is anyone who wants 10 cents a crate for picking oranges when I'm paying 5 cents."

And as far as socialism being unpopular because it doesn't work, I think you might get an argument from some of our European forumites. I've never gotten any sense that any of them have felt particularly oppressed by the socialist influence in some of their governments.

Wayne

Ian G Wright
03-01-2002, 11:46 AM
It's easy to shout "socialism" to a bunch of Yanks and watch 'em twitch, I've often done it myself when bored, but it's not fair,thay have no idea what it means and the American brain translates, "socialist", "communist" and today "Muslim" as "enemy".
Given that the USA has a higher church attendance than most I wonder if it might be helpful to quote my Grandad, Blacksmith and Methodist Preacher. "Read the Sermon on the Mount my boy. Pure Christianity and pure Socialism." A wise man, my Grandad.

IanW.

[ 03-01-2002, 12:10 PM: Message edited by: Ian G Wright ]

Alan D. Hyde
03-01-2002, 01:46 PM
Wayne, as my original post on this thread tried to explain, "liberal" and "socialist" obviously meant entirely different things in their original use, but because many essentially socialist programs have been, for political reasons, labelled as liberal, the common usage has changed.

Ian, the difference between the Sermon on the Mount and socialism is this: Christ advocates vountary moral action; socialism COERCES and COMPELS where Christianity "knocks at the door," relys on conscience, but never forces its way in.

Taxes ARE enforced exactions, not voluntary contributions. People go to prison if they are caught avoiding them. Socialism is Christ with a revolver in his hand, and held to our heads. What could be less Christian?

Alan

brad9798
03-01-2002, 01:47 PM
Why are we so afraid of the term "socialism?"

Is it because of Marx? The USSR ... as we once knew/feared it?

I'm not endorsing a pure socialist state for the US; HOWEVER, socialism is a part of our everyday lives and most don't even realize it!

Dictionary Definition:

1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

Thus, many of our federal/state/local/ agencies have some very distinct socialistic features.

To wit:

Medicare
FDA
Trade Unions
Utilities
and the list goes on.

This "socialism" is not a big monster ...

Sure, you can argue either way about what is socialist and what is not, and to what degree things may or may not be "controlled"- BUT, you cannot deny that it does exist (very successfully) in many areas of the democratic REPUBLIC in which we live.

Good discussion.

Brad

Wayne Jeffers
03-01-2002, 03:13 PM
Alan,

Christ didn't need a revolver. See Acts 4:32 to Acts 5:11. The early church practiced communal living. I do not suggest that the Bible supports communism, but it is clearly not at odds with it, as you would have us believe. And Christ was clearly not opposed to civil taxation. When shown the tribute coin he admonished the Pharisees to "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's." God does not concern himself with taxes. The worship of mammon is idolatry. " It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."

No, Alan, I think you want to tar liberal programs as socialist (and hence, un-American). Sometimes I think a "socialist program" is any one with which a conservative disagrees.

If conservatives had had their way throughout American history, we would be just another banana republic. All property would be owned by a miniscule proportion of the population, substantial landowners would be the only ones permitted to vote, taxes would be levied only on the poor, the poor would be the only ones conscripted into military service.

Wayne

Alan D. Hyde
03-01-2002, 04:01 PM
Well, Wayne, I never said I was a conservative: I'm not. I'm in favor of freedom and innovation; I'm no aristocrat, but a common man, no better than any other man, but no worse, either. If ordinary men are to be free, there has to be some acceptance of personal responsibility. The two go hand-in-hand.

The liberal/conservative or left/right political spectrum is really not a very accurate or helpful way of looking at things. It makes more sense, and is much more helpful, to contrast centrally controlled and coercive ("totalitarian") societies with free societies.

There is a VAST difference between voluntary sharing in a communal setting, and the enforced exactions of the tax structure.

That quote on "rendering unto Caesar..." is perhaps as widely misunderstood as is any passage in the entire Bible. The movie "Sargeant York," with Gary Cooper, contains a well-known example of such misunderstanding.

What Christ clearly meant was that the coin, with Caesar's face on it, was, in the larger scope of things, of little value. What was of ultimate value was the man's soul, which belonged to God.

If material things, particularly in the most prosperous country on earth, whose poor people look like rich people in many other places, if in such a country, material things are so important that we must erect a cumbersome and soul-destroying bureaucracy to equalize their possession, then how does that make the advocates of such materialism Christian? I would have thought it indicated quite the opposite.

Or was Christ just wrong? Did he mis-speak when he said "it is better to GIVE than to RECEIVE." Perhaps he meant to say "it is better to be confiscated from than to give."

Alan

stan v
03-01-2002, 04:09 PM
I find it easy to mix liberal and socialist. They are basically the same, so what's the problem? Both believe in redistribution of wealth, and bigger, more invasive government. Are ya'll embarrassed to be called/known as liberal/socialist? So what's new?

Wayne Jeffers
03-01-2002, 04:40 PM
Alan,

How do you square your contention that taxes are un-Christian with your assertion that Christ found the tribute money to be of little concern?

I see no evidence that Christ objects to taxation. On the contrary, much has been written over the years on the Christian duty to obedience to civil authority. I think if you look carefully, you will find that taxation offends your beliefs, not Christ's.

BTW, I think the only thing "voluntary" in the Bible is the acceptance of salvation through Christ. On most matters, God expects obedience.

I'm genuinely curious: If you find our society to be centrally-controlled and coercive (with respect to social programs and taxes, at least), what society or societies do you consider to be free?

Are all taxes evil? Or only that part of taxes which go to programs to which you object? And what if I object to my taxes going to a different program?

Wayne

Memphis Mike
03-01-2002, 04:43 PM
" find it easy to mix liberal and socialist. They are basically the same, so what's the problem? Both believe in redistribution of wealth, and bigger, more invasive government. Are ya'll embarrassed to be called/known as liberal/socialist? So what's new?"

Stan, for once I wish you would come up with an idea of your own and not one you heard on Rush
Limbaugh.

Ian McColgin
03-01-2002, 04:48 PM
I imagine we should not have such socialist activities as federal dollars building roads on public land for the exclusive use of timber and mining interests, and we should certainly not have been so socialistic as to use tax monies, local state & fed, to build our roads, and we should definatly not be so socialist as to have tax subsidies for the food for mink farms . . .

But to put it bluntly,

I stand for actual mix it up democracy ( with protection of minority rights against the tyranny of the majority) first - including expanding democracy to the workplace;

I'd expect the democratic process to find that some things work better a public enterprises and some are better as private enterprises and we could sort and shift as we go;

I'd support a just approach to labor such that there may well be menial jobs but no demeaning jobs - so maybe you sling hash but it's not mckentuckyfriedslavery - and any honest simpleton could carry on by the sweat of his or her own brow; and

That no one who is helpless is left behind to die.

I actually think that if we just give living security freely to anyone, not worry whether we're supporting scammers or not, and we have a place where labor must compete with idleness, we'd find that most people will choose labor as it's more meaningful.

Finally, I guess the test of a righteous society is: Are you willing to be born into any circumstances in the society with any set of assets and liabilities?

That makes me far to radical for any communist regiem that ever failed and it makes me devoted to making the nation of my birth the glorious opportunity for all that it's already been for me and my family.

stan v
03-01-2002, 05:39 PM
Memphis, you're not gonna say something, and then in two or three posts babble an apology are you? These definitions are today's. What do you have to offer as a definition? Liberal sure doesn't mean less government, and less taxes. I get a kick out of the left. You all believe in touchy, feely, and yet, you're all embarrassed to be called what it is. What's embarrassing is to be over 18 and still liberal. Don't look for an apology.

stan v
03-01-2002, 05:54 PM
Ok! Ok! I guess, uh, I suppose, ah, maybe I was a little, oh, too, sometimes I, you know, shoot. Mike, I'm sorry. Ok? There! How about this, I really like and want to be a liberal?

Memphis Mike
03-01-2002, 06:39 PM
I know we could ravage this thread and sink it but it is not worth the effort. These two individuals are clearly not open to any new ideas
and never will be so whats the use? This kind of thing only spreads negativity in the forum and that is what they want. The people of this world should be "open minded," open to new ideas, open to new ways of solving the problems of our nation and that of the world, open to new ideas in their communities. But they are not and so let them show thier ignorance with thier same old broken
record bull****. I'm out in this world every day.
I see whats going on with my own eyes. You name the business, I've been there. You name the hospital, I've been there. You name any industry
in Memphis and the surrounding area, I've been
there. As I said, it ain't worth the effort.

[ 03-01-2002, 06:46 PM: Message edited by: Memphis Mike ]

Ian G Wright
03-01-2002, 07:16 PM
OK gentlemen, we've done politics and religion, now whose wife shall we talk about?

IanW.

[ 03-01-2002, 07:19 PM: Message edited by: Ian G Wright ]

mmd
03-01-2002, 07:39 PM
With all due respect to all of you folks, I get no end of frustration out of your repeated efforts to draw a line in the sand, call each side of the line by a different name, and challenge all observers to declare publicly which side of the line they want to stand on. It always degenerates into veiled or blatant name-calling when one party doesn't wholeheartedly agree with the other. What p****s me off is that all of you are fundamentally wasting space on the WB Forum and using what are quite apparently good minds and sharp debating skills on topics that are in no way even remotely associated with the topic of wooden boats. Reading this stuff is like watching two belligerant drunks in a bar - you know they're gonna fight, but all the bulls**t and yelling leading up to the event is ruining your evening. Take it outside, willya? C'mon, guys (I note that the most vocal participants in these topics are exclusively American male), go to a political forum for these discussions, and save this space for even remotely boat-related topics, please! Although WB (bless its heart) is an American publication, this forum and the magazine have an appreciative world-wide audience and your shenanigans in topics like this look to those of us outside your borders like unruly kids at the suppertable when company comes over. Have a bit of decorum and do your squabbling elsewhere and not in front of the company. If I'd wanted to see normally decent people calling each other names and spitting and fuming, I'd have gone to Family Court.

There. I'm finished scolding you. Hope I didn't hurt your feelings. Can we play together happily now? smile.gif

stan v
03-01-2002, 07:45 PM
Well, mmd. Since you've joined this topic, do something for me. Define miscellaneous.

Memphis Mike
03-01-2002, 07:46 PM
My wife is seven years older than me and of Irish decent also. 5ft5 125 lbs of lean mean liberal
fightin machine. I dare ya.

mmd
03-01-2002, 08:10 PM
Stan, I don't normally rise to a deliberate bait, but since it' you... ;)

My Webster's Encyclopedic Dictionary defines "miscellaneous" as "... formed or consisting of things of several kinds...", which I know you will argue is a broad enough definition to encompass the debates of the type we are currently discussing within this forum. In rebuttal, I would venture that the intent of a "miscellaneous" section in a forum dedicated to wooden boats is to provide a theatre in which to entertain discussion, opinions, thoughts, commentary, and dissemination of ideas pertaining to wooden boats that do not easily fit in other categories within the forum. Off the cuff, I would liken it to the church elders meeting agenda item called "Other Business" - at such a meeting, "Other Business" is presumed to mean other business relating to the church activities, and not a place to argue about the quality of refereeing at the local high school basketball game. Although I don't personally share your interest in defining and debating another person's political affiliation or views, I agree that you are entitled to that interest. I just don't think that this is the place to exercise your predilection.

NormMessinger
03-01-2002, 11:56 PM
Now why'd I have to go and read this thread? Oh well, since I'm here, regarding Christ and the pistol, old history way early on in this discussion--

Of course Christ didn't (doesn't) have to hold a pistol to anyone's head. With hell fire and damnation, who needs a gun?

--Norm

Ian G Wright
03-02-2002, 03:56 AM
Originally posted by NormMessinger:

Of course Christ didn't (doesn't) have to hold a pistol to anyone's head. With hell fire and damnation, who needs a gun?

--Norm,,,,,,and why would the son of God feel the need to make sugestions? "Here folks, a few ideas I've had, pick any that suit you and get back to me on the others, we can negotiate..."
Ha!
IanW.

stan v
03-02-2002, 06:11 AM
mmd, as the great Gump said,"miscellaneous is, as miscellaneous does". There must be 20+ pages of miscellaneous topics. They are all not boat related,. From the Olympics, to cartoons, to bathroom reading, to global warming. I think you probably need to stand by for more of these heated discussions, got elections coming up in the states, and the liberals are in a panic situation. They have no agenda(other than bashing W), no ideas(haven't for years), and no leaders(since Bubba, if you want to call him a leader). So don't get upset cause we be talking about politics, or definitions. Hey, this thread shouldn't have upset anyone, or inflamed (incited?), just by mentioning socialist, and liberal together. We are what we are, why be embarrassed?

mmd
03-02-2002, 09:19 AM
Stan, (sigh ...) you go on and continue to draw lines in the sand and make up little sticky labels for everyone to wear. When I drop by to visit for a chat and see that the kids are acting up again, I'll find another place to visit until this one settles down again.

stan v
03-02-2002, 09:31 AM
I'm confused mmd. I'm speaking about American politics, and definitions. I don't have a clue to what Canadians think, or want. Why are you interested in, or not interested in, what we think in print on the miscellaneous forum? I agree with you in one respect, don't participate if this is upsetting to you. I don't see where you've been labeled at all. And since I can't vote in Canada, I could care less what your political leanings are.

stan v
03-02-2002, 09:55 AM
Nope, wrong Donnwest. I have a favorable view of Canada. Love to fish it. But, as much as I would like to see them more conservative(it is better for the country), I really don't care how they vote.

mmd
03-02-2002, 11:15 AM
Thanks for the moral support, donwest, although I'm not sure about the comment of "not too much welfare" :confused: ; I prefer to look at our respective countries' transactions as a symbiotic trading relationship rather than welfare. I am also quite familiar and comfortable with the personalities and views of most Americans - I have a growing client base in the northeast US, and have many friends and relatives scatterered throughout the lower 48. I try to keep a balanced view of US politics and policies by reviewing external news sources such as Reuters, BBC, CBC, Radio Netherlands, and via internal sources such as CBS, CNN, & NBC newscasts and other commercial and public television broadcasts, as well as the occasional perusal of major US newspapers and magazines that we receive here in Atlantic Canada. It is in our interest to do so; it has long been said that when America sneezes, Canada gets a cold. Like most neighbours without a fence between us, we take an interest in how and what our neighbour is doing.

As to Stan's quandary over why us Canadians (or anyone else outside the US) should be interested in what Americans think and print in this forum, I assure you that I am emphatically NOT interested in reading your diatribes on who should think what and why, which is what motivated my comments about this not being the appropriate place for them. I reiterate that I think that this forum is not the place for political debate, but a place for comeraderie and friendly conversation somewhat related to, or at least stemming from, our common interest in wooden boats.

When you are here, Stan, you are on a world stage representing your country and what you say and how you say it will colour the perceptions of how others see the US in general, as well as you. In that light, I think that your baiting others in your country who have differing opinions of political affiliations into acrimonious squabbling about internal politics and policies does not offer a very flattering portrait to the outside world, and frankly, I wish you'd stop. I'm not suggesting that you stop participating in the forum, I'd just like you to turn your obviously quick mind and strong opinion to a topic that we all, worldwide, can appreciate and participate in.

Memphis Mike
03-02-2002, 11:25 AM
"When you are here, Stan, you are on a world stage representing your country and what you say and how you say it will colour the perceptions of how others see the US in general, as well as you. In that light, I think that your baiting others in your country who have differing opinions of political affiliations into acrimonious squabbling about internal politics and policies does not offer a very flattering portrait to the outside world, and frankly, I wish you'd stop. I'm not suggesting that you stop participating in the forum, I'd just like you to turn your obviously quick mind and strong opinion to a topic that we all, worldwide, can appreciate and participate in."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I agree.

mmd
03-02-2002, 11:47 AM
Donwest - sorry I misinterpreted your comment. No offense taken, hopefully none given.

Allen Foote
03-02-2002, 01:19 PM
Every silly "Rambo" movie portays an image of Americans to a world wide audience. Perhaps a few 100 read the posts by Americans here. As they said in "South Park The Movie" :D "the time has come to invade Canada! Who's with me? :eek:

stan v
03-02-2002, 01:19 PM
I believe in trade. I don't believe how I "feel" about another countries individual voters, who are concerned with what the definition of a liberal is, has anything to do with anything. Even Russia learned socialism doesn't work. So, where's my apology? I'll sit right here till I get my apology, won't shower, won't brush my teeth (well, I'm a redneck, so make that tooth), till I get my apology.

stan v
03-02-2002, 01:39 PM
No, that's not mine. I can't afford no mansion.

stan v
03-02-2002, 01:46 PM
Allen, I'm busy today. But, next weekend I may can go with you to take Canada, say between 10 and 10:30 Saturday morning? If it's just the two of us I'll bring a snack.

Bruce Taylor
03-02-2002, 02:25 PM
Stan & Allen -- The last time you fellas invaded Canada (1812), we gave you a good thrashing and sent you home. I thought you'd learned your lesson. smile.gif

Donn's right. We're your biggest trading partner. About a 25% of your exports come here, and about 85% of ours go there. Yeah, Canada's a good place to catch a fish; it's also a good place to buy a satellite, or key components for a space shuttle. We are your closest ally. What you think matters to us a great deal.

mmd, I'm sympathetic to your main point -- that it's boring to watch these guys throw pies at each other. However, Ross framed this thread as a discussion of the definition of liberalism, and that's a subject that should interest Canadians as much as it does our neighbours. In any case, Wayne and Alan have contributed some interesting stuff.

Memphis Mike
03-02-2002, 02:36 PM
http://www.pbs.org/williamsburg/voteasvoice/ashcroft.jpeg

Let the eagle soar........ let the eagle soar.....

LaMess
03-02-2002, 05:39 PM
i was in Canada a couple of years ago and it was almost like another country right on our border.

stan v
03-02-2002, 06:18 PM
Then you'd be real impressed with South Texas, and Mexico! Talk about trade partners. I guess ya'll heard that the two democrat candidates for governor of Texas are having a debate, in Spanish?

Tom Dugan
03-02-2002, 07:51 PM
Are we still trading with Texas? I thought they lost "Most Favored" status. Something about human rights...

-T

stan v
03-03-2002, 12:24 PM
There's a good chance every time you boys pull up to the pump you're trading with Texas.

Meerkat
10-20-2003, 08:45 PM
Seems there was a time, not so long ago, when people of good will could exchange good willed banter from their respective positions without much resorting to name calling - and long after 9/11, I might add.

Mrleft8
10-20-2003, 11:37 PM
The most obvious definition of "liberal" is "Generous" As in: "I gave my friends a liberal portion of stew, because I knew they were hungry".

seafox61
10-21-2003, 12:55 AM
Liberals want change conservities want things to remain the same.
since change means news news people tend to be liberals.

there was a mention of jefferson earlyer in this thread. in his second swaring in adress as president he said that the proudest acomplishment of his first administration was that except for the post office the average american could go for years with out any contract with or interferance from the rederal goverment.
there was a time when a person worked and earned his living. if he worked for another he could freely barter his skills and the employer could pay what they agreed and the worker got to keep it. jefferson envisioned a nation of small land owners generally self suficent so they did not depend on goverment were not beholding to to goverment and were not en thrall to the goverment.

then liberal progressive and socalists came along. non land owners with out a stake in comunities and women who value security over freedom got the vote goverment spending went through the roof and to get enough money it had to expand its taxing methods, thent o justifie its existance it had to do more and more for people to keep them wanting the liberal goverment that had got into power. and the visious cycle kept going so today goverment costs over 50% of the american income ( when you count unfunded mandates, hidden taxes, andsimply the cost of keeping up with goverment rules and regs)

their was a question about what lands are free? perhapse the northern marianas islands are free. they are a protectorate of the US but only have a sales tax. so people can earn and keep or spend their money as they chose

on another forum it was pointed out to me that because of world pressures maybe america could not have remained free as it was in the first decade of the 20th century...

one other thing near the start of this thread some one siad it was as unfair to lump liberals with socialest as conservites with nazi. not true compairison national socialests (nazi were a combonation between socialest (where the goverment owns the means of production) and facist where the means of production are privetly owned but completely regulated for the benifit of the goverment. conservities want the means of production owned by people who work for their own benifit and belive that as a result all people will be better off than if interfeared with by bureaucrates uncorrected by market forces.
jeffery

Jim M
10-21-2003, 02:09 AM
I used to think I could distinguish between conservative and liberal in the modern American sense by saying liberals want more interference in the marketplace and conservatives want less -- not a real useful definition, at best. But when I see the "enterprise zones" and "revenue sharing" and such that goes on -- I just don't see this kind of conservatism as a principle having much representation in our politics. It's socialism, i.e. corporate socialism. The powers that be will twist the marketplace like a pretzel all the while boasting of their "conservatism".

The impulse for leaders to buy off the people with what is now sometimes called welfare, sometimes not, is as old as government itself, probably older than all ideology. It's just good business, for a leader. Who would not buy favors with other people's money, in a pinch?

There's another kind of "conservatism" that is reactionary to various social changes, going back to the freeing of the slaves and maybe before, to the dismantling of the aristocracy and disestablishment of the church. Many people cling to the status quo because their sense of identity is weak and thus bound up heavily in the status quo, but the status quo is not nearly so bound up with them. It will drop them in a hot minute. Social hierarchies formerly considered eternal were found to be uneconomic and that was that. That's why poor whites, especially the children of recent immigrants, were the biggest racists -- they were the most insecure. Now, you have to even put up with queers, for cryin out loud.

"Liberal" to many of these people means the only ones they still have license to hate. Someone must play this role.

Many of the "liberals" that conservative hate are certainly subject to strong criticism -- people that are naive, sentimental, ignorant, and hypocritical, and the opportunistic politicians who exploit them. But the problem with calling them all liberals is that they aren't alike enough in their beliefs to all bear the same name. "Conservatives" help them more than they hurt them by lumping them together and thumbing their nose -- it gives them a common enemy.

I like what I take to be Edmund Burke's basic idea of conservatism -- sure you can criticize the status quo and suggest changes, that's easy; but your suggested changes will have costs, people will suffer. Nothing is free, economists and physicists agree. The benefits of change may outweigh the costs, but unless you are fairly sure they will, you have no business taking risks with other people's liberty and property; therefore the status quo should be preserved, as a general rule. If its imperfections are longstanding, that means people have had time to adapt to them. Like wearing in a fan belt. Change is abstract, the status quo is concrete.

Meerkat
10-21-2003, 02:20 AM
conservities want the means of production owned by people who work for their own benifit and belive that as a result all people will be better off than if interfeared with by bureaucrates uncorrected by market forces. BAH! The few richest conservatives that own and operate the Republican Party want their few ultra rich multi-national companies to own everything and everybody else to work for them. The little guys that want to run a corner market, hardware store or an independent bookstore have no chance.

Big companies, uncontrolled by government, become monopolies. They have no incentive to innovate and even less to charge a competitive price - there's no competition. Their most notable activity is to stamp out any resemblance to competition.

You probably even think the stock market is a fair deal for small investors. The founder of one of the biggest mutual funds put the lie to that idea the other evening on Now with David Moyers.

Ian Wright
10-21-2003, 07:50 AM
Andrew, these people need your help again, subject for today, what is a Liberal,,,,
Tell 'em, the've got it wrong again. ;)

IanW

huisjen
10-21-2003, 10:27 AM
Prov.11:1
A liberal man will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

1Tim.6:1.
They are to do good, to be rich in good deeds, liberal and generous,

Keith Wilson
10-23-2003, 10:45 AM
Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" attempted many social changes through a variety of centrally administered social programs. Substantial problems ensued as a result of unintended consequences. This set of programs, and many that followed, were based on a socialist approach to public problem-solving. They had many honorable advocates, Hubert Horatio Humphreys among them.

These advocates, politically savvy people, knew that "socialism" was not a concept likely to be happily sold to the American people. So they marched under the banner of "liberalism," and, in the process, changed its common meaning in public discourse in the U.S.
The above is an interesting point, and deserves a comment.

A common tactic in politics, indulged in by almost everyone, is to give your opponent a name with the most negative connotations possible. Examples abound. The current attempt by the far right to turn “liberal” into a curse is an interesting twist; don’t change the name, change the connotations.

The word “Socialist” in the US started to get a really bad connotation by association with communists, both because of the socialists themselves during the Popular Front days of the ‘30s, then because of the right during the cold war. That “Nazi” is an abbreviation of the German for “national socialist” didn’t help either. The same did not happen to nearly as great a degree in Europe. Social Democratic parties are a major force in many European countries. These are democratic socialists, very moderate socialists by historical standards, although considerably to the left of anything in the American Democratic party.

However, if the American right, as an attack-by-naming, keeps trying to use the word “socialist” for any attempt by government to mitigate the bad effects of market capitalism, (anything from Teddy Roosevelt’s attack on trusts, through the New Deal, through Johnson’s Great Society, through the current Democratic party) the effect may very well be precisely the opposite of that intended. If “socialist” is no longer associated with Joseph Stalin, but instead with Hubert Humphrey (and two more different people can scarcely be imagined), the effect will not be the association of liberal policies with Stalin, but the rehabilitation of the word “socialist”.

And, FWIW, moderate socialist policies (using the word as accurately as possible, rather then as an attack-by-naming) have certainly not been consistent failures. Western Europe is doing pretty well, and can hardly be compared with Albania.

[ 10-23-2003, 10:47 AM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

Bruce Taylor
10-23-2003, 11:30 AM
Keith, like many libertarians, Alan believes that "classical liberalism" is fundamentally different from the brands that are on offer today. In his view, many of today's self-described liberals have betrayed the central principle of 18th cent. liberalism, the right of the individual to live unmolested by the State.

I have a slightly different view. I've written about this before, but maybe a brief recapitulation won't hurt.

First, liberalism is not a fixed body of policies or doctrines ("Government can solve our problems," "property is sacred," "a bas, l'etat", or whatever).

It is a stance toward power wherever it happens to be concentrated. Where government has too much power, liberals will (or should) attempt to reform the government. Where corporations--or trade unions, or any organized collective-- threaten the autonomy of the individual, liberals must try to counterbalance the power of those bodies. Sometimes, that means siding with an elected government against, say, an unelected corporate elite. SOmetimes, it means opposing a meddlesome or tyrannical government.

Secondly (and I think Alan will agree with this), liberalism, properly defined, is not an economic program. It is a political philosophy.

A liberal, to the extent that he is one, will favour the economic system that seems likely to protect the two core liberal values: 1) individual liberty, and 2) equality of opportunity.

Liberal values can be threatened by either corporate or government interests, depending on the circumstances (and the circumstances in a given country do change from year to year). We are not ideologically opposed to private ownership; but neither are we allergic to the idea of government control, where it seems practical.

At present, most liberals favour a "mixed" economy, like the one that exists in the U.S., Canada and Great Britain. What we argue about, mainly, is what the "mix" should be.

[ 10-23-2003, 11:38 AM: Message edited by: Bruce Taylor ]

Keith Wilson
10-23-2003, 11:55 AM
Well done!! That's the clearest writing on the subject I've seen for a long time.

Liberals in the 18th century were mainly concerned about the power of the state over the individual. Most states then were by no means democratic. Today in democratic states, the greatest concentration of power not under popular control is not always government, but sometimes corporations (or other concentrations of economic power). Thus current liberals' desire to use the power of democratic government against corporate power.

[ 10-23-2003, 12:10 PM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

Wayne Jeffers
10-23-2003, 12:08 PM
Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
. . . Today in democratic states, the greatest concentration of power not under popular control is no longer government, but corporations. Thus liberals' desire to use the power of democratic government against corporate power.The threat of corporations was recognized by enlightened thinkers very early in our history:

"I hope we shall... crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country."
-- Thomas Jefferson to George Logan, 1816.

http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff1320.htm

Wayne