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Friday, October 29th 2010

10:20 PM

The Liberal Agenda

One of my friends posted a facebook post about how liberals and conservatives seem to have different genetic makeups. There was a quick discussion about liberalism being a birth defect (ha ha) and then someone brought up 'the liberal agenda.' I'm not sure I know what the liberal agenda is, but I'm pretty sure it's not whatever the poster thought it was. So, I thought I'd try to put together a liberal agenda and see what's so hateful about it.

We believe that justice should apply evenly and not be based on wealth, race, religion or sex. Clearly thare are those who believe differently.

We believe that society, working through the institution of government, has a role to play in protecting consumers, policing corporate self-interest, and providing a safety-net for those who would otherwise have nothing. Reasonable people may argue that libertarian self-interest could achieve these goals or, if not, that private charity could fill any gaps. Liberals don't deny the benefits of private charity (and tend to support charities generously). We also believe in market approaches when possible. We also believe neither fully meets the needs.

We believe that governments should generally not interfere with individuals social life. Thus, we support prayer in schools, where this prayer is the result of students freely choosing to pray, but oppose government-mandated prayer. (This is an area where many 'social conservatives' disagree, believing that school officials should be able to impose mandatory prayer on students with taxpayer support).

We believe that opportunities should be made available to all. As a result, liberals tend to be active in supporting public funding of schools and universities.

No liberal I know has an agenda of banning Christianity, replacing Christianity with Islam, replacing our mixed economy with complete government ownership of all means of production (although I know some communists who believe this), forced marriage between races, or any of the other weird things we are sometimes accused of.

Most liberals I know believe that our conservative friends have the interests of our country at heart. We recognize that some traditionally liberal policies have unintended but undesirable consequences (traditional welfare, for example, has tended to fragment low-income families because this aid was generally only available to single parents with children) but generally don't think a recognition of problems always requires wholesale rejection of any attempts to improve the world. We would prefer for our conservative friends to similarly accept that we are attempting to do our best for our country, rather than assume that our disagreements reflect some evil intent on our part. Clearly there are evil liberals, just as there are evil conservatives. In my experience, however, this is the exception rather than the rule.

I'd welcome any feedback.

Rob

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