Liberalism and America

What it used to mean:[*1]

“Classical liberalism” is the term used to designate the ideology advocating private property, an unhampered market economy, the rule of law, constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and of the press, and international peace based on free trade. Up until around 1900, this ideology was generally known simply as liberalism. The qualifying “classical” is now usually necessary, in English-speaking countries at least (but not, for instance, in France), because liberalism has come to be associated with wide-ranging interferences with private property and the market on behalf of egalitarian goals. This version of liberalism — if such it can still be called — is sometimes designated as “social,” or (erroneously) “modern” or the “new,” liberalism. Here we shall use liberalism to signify the classical variety.

Emphasis mine. By this definition, I pretty much qualify as a liberal–of the classical variety, that is. The “progressives” in the United States, following their intellectual allies in Europe (mainly Germany and England, but also France) have debased the term “liberal” to mean “socialist.”

This is a big part of why I put the word “progressive” in all its various forms in quotes. The people who call themselves “progressive” are anything but. Their worldview is one where they would be right at home in the Dark Ages–with themselves, perhaps, as the hierarchy of the Church and the associated nobility, of course. That leaves the rest of us to play the roles of peasant and serf.

Oh, yes, very progressive. Very liberal.

Very deceitful.

Classical liberalism is THE American political philosophy. It is here in the United States that it found its greatest flowering, and it was here that classical liberalism it demonstrated its unique power to raise individual human beings to a standard of living unparalleled in the history of mankind.

It is this political philosophy that the “progressives” want to throw away, in preference for their neo-feudal Dark Age collectivism.

Oh, yes, very, very progressive.

It is time to take a stand. If you embrace progressive ideals, you are not truly an American. You may be a European, or a “citizen of the World,” whatever the hell that means, but you are throwing away the one thing that truly makes an American an American.

America is not about a skin color. America is not about a language. America is not about land. America is not about how much money or stuff you have, or how vigorously you wave the flag, or how strongly you feel compassion for those less fortunate than you.

America is an idea. That idea is classical liberalism.

Embrace the idea and you’re American. Go down another road, and be something else, but you are not an American. You may be a citizen of the United States, but you are not an American.

If this offends you, consider this: I do not question your “patriotism.” Oh, no, nothing so narrow or jingoistic as that. I question your wisdom.

History teaches that no political system is superior in providing the greatest good for the greatest number than classical liberalism.


If you want to argue, start by citing a counterexample to the amazing rise of the United States from colonial wilderness to possibly the most powerful country in the world in little more than one hundred years. You won’t be able to, because no such counterexample exists in the history of the world. None.

So, if you think I’m calling you un-American, I am not questioning your patriotism. I am questioning your wisdom.

Cordoba Center

UPDATE: Has decency finally descended onto the Cordoba Center organizers?[*1] If so, I may need to retract my judgment of them as boors (while still stipulating that their behavior to this date has been very boorish indeed.)

UPDATE II: Latest word is that Islamic boorishness is alive and well in the Big Apple. Stay tuned.

The people who think it’s about Islam are mistaken (at best.)

The controversy isn’t really about a religion. It’s about tact.

It’s about boorish behavior.

Nobody’s immune to boorish behavior (despite the massively over-inflated egos of various members of the Ruling Class–in fact, they seem most drawn to such behavior.)

Perhaps this is why, for the most part, the Ruling Class sees no issue with the Cordoba Center, but is aghast at the reaction of the People Class, who still see boorishness and lack of tact for what it really is.

Simple lack of respect.

A group that truly respected the feelings and sensitivities of other groups would not be doing what the backers of the Cordoba Center are doing. The fact that they continue to push forward, despite the heartfelt expressions of anguish (which all too easily slip towards anger, if not rage) speaks poorly of their own characters. The site of their proposed center is two buildings away[*2] from the Ground Zero crater. Not two blocks. Not two miles. Two buildings.

Too close for a large number of people, including and especially the relatives of the victims of the 9/11 attack. And that’s where religion does enter into it. The attackers were Muslims, and they were attacking in the name of Islam. The worldwide community of Muslims have not done a particularly good job of unequivocally repudiating the attack in general, and the tactic of terrorism in general. Many Americans still remember the joyful dancing in the streets of the Middle East after 9/11.

It is difficult to see the Cordoba Center as not dancing upon the graves of the over 3,000 people who died in the World Trade Center attacks. The pleas of the backers that this is somehow intended to bring some sense of healing between Muslims and the rest of us–well, that strikes most of us in the People Class as ludicrous on its face, and rather insulting too.

Is there a religious and a cultural component to the opposition to the Cordoba Center? Sure–absolutely–tribalism, religious conflict, and cultural clashes are intrinsic to the human condition. But it’s precisely that fact that makes the Cordoba Center so inflammatory. If the 9/11 attacks had not happened, then this would not be a national controversy.

But it did.

And it is.

A group which was really interested in healing and in showing sensitivity and tolerance would see the growing protests, the anguish, the outrage at their plans, and they would step back and reconsider. But that’s not what the Cordoba Center planners have done. They have pushed forward, they have dug in, they have hunkered down, they have determined if not demanded to have their way–healing, sensitivity, and tolerance be damned.

They are, in short, boors.

You can usually tell what a Democrat REALLY thinks . . .

because that’s what he’s accusing Republicans of . . .

Latest example:

Texas Democrat Bill White, running for Governor, who says:[*1]

“We need a governor who’s a servant, as opposed to Rick Perry, who wants to be treated as master.”

Translation: “I, as a selfless and right-thinking Democrat, pure and clean as the wind-driven snow, basking in the wisdom and rightness of my own thoughts and whims (and it is the service of those thoughts and whims to which I refer as ‘service’), shall be your lord and master, and you’ll gladly give to me that crown because I’m so much smarter than you are. Vote for me, peasants! You’ve done it so often before! Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

Democrat politicians and “progressives” refer to those whom they want the political approval of as: “My People.” (Usually in the possessive sense, secondarily in the tribal self-identification sense, when they think they can get away with it–viz. Sherrod, Shirley.)

Liberty-lovers, constitutionalists, and an increasing number of Republican politicians–the ones who want to keep winning elections, anyway–refer to those whom they want the votes of as: “We, The People.” Not the royal “we,” but an expansive, inclusive “we.”

Those two worldviews are fundamentally incompatible. One is Dark Age feudalism–a small minded, cynical tribalism that seeks to divide people and set them one against the other. The other is Enlightenment-age liberalism which seeks to unite all of humanity under one constant and certain rule of law.

This is THE issue of the 2010 and 2012 elections in the United States.

The Dark Age, or the Enlightenment.

Time to choose.

Oh, God help me . . .

Bill O’Reilly is so far outclassed by Glenn Beck intellectually that it’s actually kind of uncomfortable watching them go at it on O’Reilly’s Fox News program . . .

And when is the last time that ANYONE was outclassed intellectually by Glenn Beck?

O’Reilly is the quintessential Pinhead. Too bad he doesn’t realize it.

The only response to unacceptable speech is more speech

I’m in.

Greg Gutfeld[*1] of Fox News’ Red Eye With Greg Gutfeld[*2] proposes a Muslim-friendly, gay-friendly bar[*3] as close as is humanly possible to the Cordova Initiative mosque/community center in New York City.

I am SO in. This sucker will make money HAND OVER FIST! (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

Plus, it will offend the easily offendable, which is ALWAYS a good and socially worthy endeavor . . .