Our political titles are fundamentally dysfunctional. It used to be that a liberal was what we now call a classical liberal, an adherent to a political philosophy aligned with what we would now call libertarian values.
A liberal in the past was an advocate for greater freedom from government control, more individual responsibility for our own success or failure, and greater opportunity for our own individual pursuit of happiness. A liberal sought to create a more merit-based, egalitarian society through removing the entrenched structures of political power and privilege, freeing up the energies of the individual citizen to rise or fall based on his effort, abilities, and courage.
A conservative, on the other hand, sought to conserve cultural traditions and could find him or herself at odds with liberals in terms of wanting to preserve such things as government privileges for established families or groups or male-only voting rights. A conservative in the past would not be considered, in anyone’s wildest dreams, a radical. A conservative by definition wanted to keep things as they were.
So now we find ourselves in an odd position. The self-described liberals in America are those who want to maintain the present status quo — the insane body of draconian regulations, the huge tax burden, and the massive governmental work force that sucks up to 30% of our national income.
They want to maintain this and build upon its ossified structure like coral on a pacific reef. They want to bring further government control to health care, financial transactions, and industrial activities. There is nothing radical about this; this is government as it has always been — dictatorial, arrogant, and full of people impressed with their own power, ideas, and vision for how the rest of us should live.
The justification for their use of force is the progressive notion that true freedom is the freedom to have the government take care of all our basic necessities so that we can, in theory, fulfill their vision of our human potential.
Nice, warm, and fuzzy ideal. But it is no different from any other ideal imposed by force — the ideal of the Spartans to have a warrior society based upon absolute discipline, with everyday needs supplied by their Helot slaves; the ideal of Alexander the Great, or Napoleon, or Hitler to conquer the world; the ideal of the early progressives to weed out genetically inferior people through euthanasia and sterilization; the ideal of communists for a worldwide dictatorship of the proletariat.
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