taking liberties with labels
Some mornings there is absolutely nothing I want to write about. Then there are days like today, when my blog-to-do list is a mile long. I'll start with The Denver Post and Henrietta Hay's What is a Liberal? (link via Daily Pundit)
Ms. Hay is a knee-jerk liberal and proud of it. Good for her, I say. It's good and American to stand up for what you believe in, even when others may call you a fool for doing so.
Generally, when I talk about liberals on this site, I am referring to the far left liberals. This is why I hate labels. There are too many sub-genres of the political genres. Liberal, far left liberal, moderate liberal. And all the same for conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, etc. I'd rather take ten minutes to explain my politics to someone who asks then just slap on a name tag that says "Hi! I'm a Conservative!"
The problem with trying to fit yourself into one group and then applying a definition to that group is you end up sounding like you just walked out of Broad Brush Painting 101. Inasmuch as defining a certain politic puts those within that politic into a nice square hole, you also keep out anyone who may adhere to only part of your square. Politics should be a venn diagram, not a bunch of neat little boxes.
Ms. Hay defines liberals as thus:
In today's world, the liberals are the idealists, the people who still believe, in spite of everything that has happened, that they can make the world a better place for everybody. Realistically, they know they're outnumbered, but it is a belief that shapes their lives.
Not only liberals think they can make the world a better place. Conservatives and moderates believe that also, they just want to go about it in different ways. Also, idealists do not think realistically, which is why one cursory glance at any liberal website will leave you with the impression that the liberals are not, in fact, outnumbered, but they believe they are louder and greater in number than any other political force.
They believe that government is inherently good, that it can make the human condition better. They believe that we have some obligation to our fellow human beings. They believe in personal freedom, in freedom of speech and religion. They believe in the common good, the things people cannot do alone.
Well, Ms. Hays, I am not a liberal, but I certainly believe in obligation to my fellow human beings, personal freedom and freedom of speech and religion. My main problem with liberals is they think they have cornered the market on inate goodness and altruism. They think they are the only ones who want freedom. Conservatives want it too, and they want it for everyone, not just Americans. The people of Iraq do not have the freedoms that liberals covet so dearly, yet those same liberals don't want us to enforce a regime change in order to give the Iraqi people those very freedoms.
The liberal thinks government can make the human condition better. The conservative thinks government always makes things worse.
Hmm. From everything I see in the media and on various websites, it seems that the liberals are the ones who think the government makes everything worse, and most of them think that less government would make the human condition better.
It takes a long time to create a true liberal. They usually start young and enthusiastic, and are sure they can save the world. But finally they come face-to-face with unfiltered reality. Either they go by way of yoga, guitar lessons or just plain dropping out, or they stay in there swinging.
I was young and enthusiastic once. I thought I could save the world. I wore my No-Nukes t-shirt and listened to Jefferson Airplane and channeled every dead hero from the 60's. Reality certainly did kick me in the ass. I don't know which portion of reality it was, most likely the Iran hostage ordeal. My road to the middle started then, and just reached it's destination now, although a little further to the right than I thought I would end up. I did not go by way of yoga, nor did I stay in there swinging. I changed course, as did so many of my idealist classmates of those days. It may take a long time to make a "true" liberal, but all it takes is one dose of ass-kicking reality to make one turn tail and run from that course.
Liberals are not criminals. They are not traitors. They are patriotic Americans. They love their families. They go to work and complain about traffic circles. Most of them probably have cats. Most of them are Christians. Most of them are Democrats. Some of them are Republicans. Most of them say, "You believe your thing and let me believe mine."
They are not criminals, no. Not unless they are vandalizing property in the name of activism. They are not traitors, no. Not unless they are supporting an enemy country's leaders over their own, not unless they go to that country and openly blast the president on enemy soil. Not unless they kill a cop in the name of sending a message.
I love my family. I complain about traffic. I go to work. I am not a liberal.
Most of them own cats? Most of them are Christians? Where did this woman get her data from? Most liberals I know would not go anywhere near the Christian church.
Most of them say, "You believe your thing and let me believe mine."
Hardly. Most of them say "You believe your thing and I will tell you that you are wrong and will not listen to your response."
Of course, that's true of people other than liberals. But so is everything Ms. Hays said.
Just reason #106 why I Hate Labels.