End of the Republic

The American Republic is in decline. The decline is self-inflicted, a sort of suicide by choice. Why are people deciding to follow the "Road to Serfdom" over the "Road to Freedom"?

Name:
Location: Chesapeake Beach, MARYLAND, United States

Monday, November 01, 2004

Liberal, Conservative, or just plain confused???

I recently sent this as an e-mail to the Washington Grove town e-mail list. What is Washington Grove? I live in the town of Washington Grove, Maryland: http://www.washgrov.sailorsite.net/

This little town seemed like the ideal community to settle into and raise a family. It appeared peaceful and full of wonderful eccentrics. My wife and I were to discover that the town is run by "mob rule". It is a pure democracy, the kind this nation's founders warned us about. There is also a great undercurrent of "white guilt" which guides the town policies. The ruling clique are horrified that they were born white Americans with some ability and they want to serve the sentence for their crimes. Unfortunately, it is not enough for them to just punish themselves. They have to punish everyone else who may have the misfortune to come accross their path. More on Washington Grove later. For now, it is enough to know that they would classify themselves as "liberal".... even though they have no idea what that word really means. Off to the e-mail I sent:

_____________

Evidently some of you are confused. You are not sure what to call yourselves. I just witnessed it on an e-mail with the following signature:

Liberals and damn proud of it!
It is evident to me that there are quite a few people who do not know what a liberal is. Let's go to the dictionary and find out!
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=liberal

A: Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
B: Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
C: Of, relating to, or characteristic of liberalism.

I have noticed that there are quite a few in the Grove who are limited to traditional and orthodox ways. In my encounters, I have found the town to be ruled by authoritarian attitudes and views. Many of the "hot button" issues raised in this forum seek to protect the Grove from reform, progress, or radical change. Nor is the town free from bigotry, it may be tolerant of racial issues, but there are many who are against any new ideas. I bet there are quite a few people out there wishing that I would move out of town. Broad minded? That does not seem to fit either. There is a clique in town and either you agree with all of its ideas, or you are not welcomed in the community. As a matter of fact, I remember that the silencing of opposition was the FIRST thing proposed at a certain town meeting. Broad minded people like to engage in educated discussion - not just "cheerleading" on the sides like practically all of the recent "political posts".
So, what is this "characteristic of liberalism"?
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=liberalism
A: The state or quality of being liberal.
B: A political theory founded on the natural goodness of humans and the autonomy of the individual and favoring civil and political liberties, government by law with the consent of the governed, and protection from arbitrary authority.
C: An economic theory in favor of laissez-faire, the free market, and the gold standard.

This definition is more of the "political liberal" variety. Is it what you thought it was going to be? I do not think the people who claimed to be a liberal in their e-mail are actually proud to be "in favor of laissez-faire, the free market, and the gold standard". I do not think they believe in "the natural goodness of humans" (do we not destroy the environment, greedily cheat each other, etc.?) nor do they favor the "autonomy of the individual" (if they did, they would not be for such things as a national health care system, the social security system, or any other governmental redistribution program). Of course, "government by law with the consent of the governed" must be a foreign concept to many in the Grove. My political liberty was stolen from me as the town decided to speak on my behalf without my authorization. If the Grove can take that sort of action, then there is little protection from arbitrary authority. In fact, was there not a debate a few months back about people who violate town code and are not punished? Why are some allowed to get away with violations and others pursued? I detect a certain arbitrariness in the manner the town governs itself. The Grove may have laws, but it does not have rule of law - nor does it have the complete consent of the governed.
So, Liberalism is IN FAVOR OF LAISSEZ-FAIRE, THE FREE MARKET, and THE GOLD STANDARD. It favors INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS (and their corresponding responsibilities). It is a "live, and let live" attitude. Certainly not the attitude of a people who want a national health care system. Not the attitude of a people who want an Amendment against gay marriage. Not the attitude of a people who would force an official government anti-war resolution upon all of its citizens. It is not the attitude of Democrats, Republicans, nor is it a characteristic of the town government. It is DEFINITELY not a characteristic of quite a few people on this list who think themselves as "proud liberals".
__________________________
How about Conservative?
A: Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change.
B: Traditional or restrained in style: a conservative dark suit.
C: Moderate; cautious: a conservative estimate.
Of or relating to the political philosophy of conservatism.
Traditional views and values.... Opposing change. These seem to be KEY features of the Grove. Opposition to the changes on nearby land. Closing down the bridge or part of Washington Grove lane. Preserving the appearance of the Grove and its buildings. Holding old-fashioned values and not having a strong desire to reconsider them. The Grove is traditional and restrained in style. I think this description is more applicable to many Grove residents.
conservativism : a political or theological orientation advocating the preservation of the best in society and opposing radical changes
Seems that the people in the Grove have decided that their lifestyle is the "best in society" and should be preserved. I think that there are quite a few residents who are opposed to radical changes.
________________
It seems to me, if the shoe fits, wear it. And wear it proudly. But do not call yourself something that you are not. If the Grove wishes to conserve its nature and resist change (even ideological change) - then admit it. Be proud of what you are: Conservatives.
I hope I made it obvious that the meaning of "liberal" and "conservative" has gotten lost over time. Historically, the conservatives were those who wished to maintain the aristocracy and government by a select few. They wished to "conserve" the old ways of doing things. The liberals wanted freedom. They desired freedom in politics and economics. They fought (and died for) individual rights and for freedom of action. You may think to yourself "but the definitions in the dictionary do not describe either political party today". You are correct. There is a word to describe the political attitudes/philosophy of all the major political parties today: (https://mail.imf.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=totalitarian)
I am only going to set the record straight.
Justin Matz
A LIBERAL (according to the real definition of the word) and proud of it.

(Other resource)Mirriam-Websterhttps://mail.imf.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary%26va=liberal%26x=15%26y=13https://mail.imf.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary%26va=liberalismhttps://mail.imf.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary%26va=conservative (Also includes this as definition: a : tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions)
https://mail.imf.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?va=conservatism (Also includes: a : disposition in politics to preserve what is established b : a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change)
Hyperdictionaryhttps://mail.imf.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.hyperdictionary.com/search.aspx?define=liberalhttps://mail.imf.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.hyperdictionary.com/search.aspx?define=liberalismhttps://mail.imf.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.hyperdictionary.com/search.aspx?define=conservative (Includes: Opposed to liberal reforms).http://www.hyperdictionary.com/search.aspx?define=conservativism

_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+

Words have meanings. I would prefer if people used those terms correctly.

JTM

3 Comments:

Blogger speaking the truth said...

I once asked a wise Political Scientist what the difference was between a Liberal and a Conservative. Instead of giving me a long drawn out lecture, he gave me the following answer:

A Liberal is an idealist. Ideally, they have great ideas but they are not realistic.

A Conservative is a Realist – Their ideas take on a more realistic point of view.

Agree or not, there is truth in the above definitions. I know I’m going to catch grief from a lot of people but let me say that this is just the beginning…I speak the truth!

November 4, 2004 at 12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My only comment to the TRUTH's response is to remember that what Conservatives consider "normal" and "traditional" by today's standards were once thought of as Extremely Radically Liberal only a few generations back. Don't forget that it was the Conservatives who would have kept British Royal Rule over the colonies, but it was the Liberals who envisioned a country free of tyranny.

November 5, 2004 at 10:57 AM  
Blogger J. Thyme Matz said...

A liberal is an idealist, but a liberal is also a person who recognizes that the government is a dangerous, but necessary, tool. The liberals discovered the nature of man during the enlightenment. The liberals discovered that man had to be free, both from the shackles of God (religion) and from their fellow man (government). The liberals implemented their "ideals" whenever/whereever possible and achieved a record yet unparalleled in any of the so-called "people's states". The liberals established constitutional republics founded on the belief that governments are the oppressors and causes of man's suffering and not the cure. The implemented, to the best extent possible, their political philosophy of laissez-faire, rule of law (with consent of the governed), free markets, and individual autonomy. Slavery, child labor, disease, illiteracy, and starvation all decreased - each to the extent of a country's liberalization. The anti-globalization protestors are right. The world has two sets of nations: the haves and the have-nots. Ask yourself what it is the "have-nots" are missing. The answer is freedom. If you look at human suffering overall, you will find that the people in the most liberal (dictionary definition) are the ones who suffer less. The most authoritarian countries have the worst records in terms of life expectancy, children mortality rates, illiteracy and poverty.

JTM

November 6, 2004 at 3:45 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home