I used to be a liberal
Politically, until recently, I used to be a liberal.
Liberalism used to mean, as Friedrich Hayek put it, “the fundamental principle that in the ordering of our affairs we should make as much use as possible of the spontaneous forces of society, and resort as little as possible to coercion”. Sixty years ago Hayek was saying, “That socialism has replaced liberalism as the doctrine held by a great majority of progressives does not simply mean that people have forgotten the consequences of collectivism. It has happened because they were persuaded of the very opposite of what these men had predicted”, and that’s even more true nowadays.
You find liberals defending Mao, and splitting hairs over whether it’s fair for a book to claim that Mao was responsible for the deaths of 70 million people, when in fact it was “only” 20 million. The same people who claim to be against homophobia and injustice in this country choose to ignore the persecution of gays in Castro’s Cuba (where men have been sent to concentration camps for being gay, and AIDS patients are compulsorily interned) and in Muslim countries, where it gets you a death penalty.
Liberals rant about the glass ceiling in our country while not speaking a word against women being killed for having been raped in Iran – at times by being buried in the ground up to their necks and having small stones thrown at them until they die. That countries like Iran stand against the modern world poses no contradiction to liberals, even when liberalism used to be synonymous with modern ideals back when the very definition of modern stood for liberal.
Liberals rant about 2000 soldiers dying in Iraq while dismissing 2,996 murdered on the morning of September 11 by saying it was just “sand thrown in America’s eyes”. Liberals fuss about one CIA agent’s cover being blown, which in their eyes warrants an investigation, while leaks on confidential information on the war against Islamic fascism are applauded and any investigation should be called off. Liberals believe that the USA has no enemies, that there is not much in the way of danger, and that we’d all live in peace if only we’d turn our swords into plowshares, no matter how much evidence there might exist to the contrary.
The United Nations is a morass of corruption and crime supporting a cadre of tyrannies but liberals speak of it as if it were a moral compass for all government. The 12 stars in the European Union’s flag were inspired by the Virgin Mary, but now the EU wants to spell Christ with a lower-case “c”, so liberal political correctness supersedes grammar.
Liberals believe that children as young as ten should not be taught abstinence in school even when age-of-consent laws exist, that you are ready for sex because you can place a condom on a banana, and that a condom is sufficient protection against pregnancy and venereal disease (or sexually transmitted diseases, if you prefer the term), no matter how young you are. Liberals believe that parents should not be the primary source of information on sex and human relations to their very young children and that government-run schools are the only educational game in town.
Liberals object to immigrants being taught in school traditional American values, such as the work ethic, the value of thrift and deferred gratification, and the role of Christianity in the creation of our country, and the compulsory teaching of the English language, all in the name of multiculturalism and diversity. Liberalism thinks all cultures and religions are equal. Liberalism thinks that minorities should be seen and heard only when convenient to the liberal point of view.
Coercion, collectivism, and governmental disregard for the value of the individual have become part and parcel of liberalism.
Liberalism used to aim towards setting a standard for the quality of life for all men and women, and people like William Morris, an early socialist and one of the heroes of my youth, believed in the social value of individual craftsmen’s work. Now liberals believe in government as provider of all. The value of individual responsibility and the cohesiveness of the family have been lost to liberalism. The morality that inspired the enactment of labor and child protection laws by liberals in the last 120 years is the same morality that is scorned by modern liberals.
As Hayek said, liberalism has essentially been persuaded.
For that, I am a liberal no longer.