View Poll Results: Is Liberalism itself Illiberal?

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    4 28.57%
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Thread: Is Liberalism Illiberal?

  1. #31
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    Re: Is Liberalism Illiberal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cephus View Post
    Yes indeed, they do. That doesn't mean they want to turn back the clock or are opposed to worthwhile change, it means they don't move from things that demonstrably work to things that have not been demonstrated to work, just for the sake of change. It has to be earned.....
    Conservatives don't move from things that demonstrably work for them and the people in power. (by definition and in reality) Slavery and racial discrimination are perfect examples, they benefited the elites and most people at the time, but were unjust. Liberals prioritize freedom, equality and justice for all and considered the inconvenience to the elites and other beneficiaries of eliminating those practices, even if they are the majority, to be an acceptable price for a just system. Similarly, foreign policies that unjustly harm people in other nations (i.e invading to secure oil supplies) but benefit the residents of the USA are not acceptable to principled* liberals.

    * a category that excludes many, arguably most, politicians of any political persuasion.
    Last edited by Hard Truth; 04-02-14 at 06:01 PM.

  2. #32
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    Re: Is Liberalism Illiberal?

    Quote Originally Posted by grip View Post
    Liberals used to be for "freedom" and "free expression", and against "big brother (gov)" during the "hippy Era", so they've definitely changed.
    A little less hippy and a little more hip replacement. SSI instead of LSD.


  3. #33
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    Re: Is Liberalism Illiberal?

    Quote Originally Posted by RiverDad View Post
    Why should I or the Kochs be restricted to getting our message out via Youtube when liberals can use the reach of NBC News, the New York Times and messages embedded within the context of Hollywood productions to get their message out? This creates a very unlevel playing field.



    Like Candy Crowley?



    Now you're talking about corruption. I doubt that you're going to see many defenders of corruption showing up.



    Here's a problem - I'm actually scared of what the "common man" will do.
    You should be scared of everyone who isn't

    (1) lacking material self interest
    (2) possessing great knowledge and wisdom allowing them to see thousands of years into the future -- abundant scientific, economic, historical, and philosophical knowledge
    (3) motivated by concern for his country and the entire human race

    having much political influence. But the common man -- the middle class -- usually keeps things down to earth. Their existence is too comfortable for them to act as radical reformers or social engineers, they're used to working for everything they have, so they create a lot of wealth for society to share. They're educated enough to understand a threat to their society (internal or foreign), and they're invested enough that they will fight to defend it.

    Excess poverty and excess wealth create a kind of spiritual twistedness, a perverse desperation for "more" than no amount of handouts or riches will ever really fulfill. It's almost always the very rich or the very poor who push "their rights" to dangerous extremes and wind up pitting various stretches of society against each other.

    Aristotle made that observation of the states of Greece and their economic and political systems thousands of years ago. It was true of the Roman Empire and its true of countries today. When the middle class grows weak, society becomes less tethered and social and economic dysfunction becomes more acute.
    Last edited by Morality Games; 04-02-14 at 06:05 PM.
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  4. #34
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    Re: Is Liberalism Illiberal?

    Quote Originally Posted by MildSteel View Post
    Although the modern political system in the US is divided into two broad groups, liberal and conservative, the US political system as a whole is based on the notion of liberalism. In other words, both liberals and conservatives in the US embrace, more or less, the principle that a person should be free to do as he likes with minimal constraint. The difference in the two groups is essentially where they like to draw the line. This is in contrast to systems that exist in places such as Saudi Arabia and certain areas in Afghanistan. In these types of very conservative societies there is little or no embrace of the principle that a person is free to do as he likes. Rather the principle is that the activities of individuals should be highly constrained.

    When we examine the principle that the individual should be free to do as he chooses, we are immediately confronted with a paradox. What if the individual chooses to construct an environment that imposes restrictions on the behavior of others? Of course we say that the person has violated the principle that you can do as you like as long as you do not infringe upon the right to do the same. But isn't such an imposition itself a violation of the right of an individual to do as he chooses?

    Consider for a minute how this is problematic. For the sake of discussion let's call the type of liberalism and conservatism that are practiced in the US as localized liberalism and localized conservatism respectively. Typically, localized liberalism seeks to impose laws that do things such as legalize abortions, and grant equal rights to gays and racial minorities. However, some practitioners of localized conservatism feel that their right to do as they choose are violated when, for example they are forced to serve racial minorities in their business establishments. Do they not have a point? Are not the localized liberals violating the principles of liberalism itself when they impose laws that force individuals to live in an environment that they find uncomfortable or repulsive? Of course you can say that no one is forcing them to live here, they can go somewhere else. But still why should they have to do this? Should not a true liberalism be broad enough to accommodate all? If not, is liberalism itself illiberal?

    How let's step back and look at liberalism in a broader sense. Recently the Bush administration had a goal to try to impose a system of liberal values on the very conservative society that had been implemented by the Taliban in Afghanistan. However, many of the people there viewed this attempt as an effort to restrict them from living as they wanted to do. Do they not have a point? Is not this another instance in which liberal values themselves result in illiberalism?

    What do you think? Is liberalism itself illiberal?

    To be clear, I'm not trying to make a value judgement here as to what is right and what is wrong. I'm just asking the question. I think its rather interesting.
    To get the academic notion of 'liberalism' you need to look at John Rawls. John Rawls has compiled the strongest defence of liberalism as a political doctrine:

    John Rawls - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    John Rawls (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

    Rawls seminal work has to be 'A Theory Of Justice':

    "In A Theory of Justice, Rawls argues for a principled reconciliation of liberty and equality. Central to this effort is an account of the circumstances of justice, inspired by David Hume, and a fair choice situation for parties facing such circumstances, similar to some of Immanuel Kant's views. Principles of justice are sought to guide the conduct of the parties. These parties are recognized to face moderate scarcity, and they are neither naturally altruistic nor purely egoistic. They have ends which they seek to advance, but prefer to advance them through cooperation with others on mutually acceptable terms. Rawls offers a model of a fair choice situation (the original position with its veil of ignorance) within which parties would hypothetically choose mutually acceptable principles of justice. Under such constraints, Rawls believes that parties would find his favoured principles of justice to be especially attractive, winning out over varied alternatives, including utilitarian and right-libertarian accounts." [...]

    A Theory of Justice - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Of course, you cannot advocate for Rawls without first accepting social contract theory:

    "In moral and political philosophy, the social contract or political contract is a theory or model, originating during the Age of Enlightenment, that typically addresses the questions of the origin of society and the legitimacy of the authority of the state over the individual.[1] Social contract arguments typically posit that individuals have consented, either explicitly or tacitly, to surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority of the ruler or magistrate (or to the decision of a majority), in exchange for protection of their remaining rights. The question of the relation between natural and legal rights, therefore, is often an aspect of social contract theory. The Social Contract (Du contrat social ou Principes du droit politique) is also the title of a 1762 book by Jean-Jacques Rousseau on this topic."

    Social contract - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    That pretty much sums up the doctrine of liberalism (from academia). With all other, both diametrically opposed and similar, bench marked against Rawls work.

    Paul
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  5. #35
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    Re: Is Liberalism Illiberal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    You should be scared of everyone who isn't

    (1) lacking material self interest
    (2) possessing great knowledge and wisdom allowing them to see thousands of years into the future -- abundant scientific, economic, historical, and philosophical knowledge
    (3) motivated by concern for his country and the entire human race

    having much political influence. But the common man -- the middle class -- usually keeps things down to earth. Their existence is too comfortable for them to act as radical reformers, they're used to working for everything they have, so they create a lot of wealth for society to share. They're educated enough to understand a threat to their society (internal or foreign), and they're invested enough that they will fight to defend it.

    Excess poverty and excess wealth create a kind of spiritual twistedness, a perverse desperation for "more" than no amount of handouts or riches will ever really fulfill. It's almost always the very rich or the very poor who push "their rights" to dangerous extremes and wind up pitting various stretches of society against each other.

    Aristotle made that observation of the states of Greece and their economic and political systems thousands of years ago. It was true of the Roman Empire and its true of countries today. When the middle class grows weak, society becomes less tethered and social and economic dysfunction becomes more acute.
    Aristotle lived in a unified polity. He didn't have one part of Athenian society consisting of Persians, another part consisting of Illyrians, and yet another part consisting of Thracians, and all competing against each other in order to grab as much as possible from the Athenians.

    If you want to apply Aristotle's wisdom, then you have a far, far larger problem to fix first in order to establish the foundation upon which you're going to implement the resurrection of the society you wish to see again.

  6. #36
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    Re: Is Liberalism Illiberal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hard Truth View Post
    His statement is completely consistent with the definitions of conservative and liberal and the actual tendencies in the USA's politics.
    Except that the neo-cons appropriated the term conservative. It still means what it means, no matter what the people who stole it claim that it means.
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    Re: Is Liberalism Illiberal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hard Truth View Post
    Conservatives don't move from things that demonstrably work for them and the people in power. (by definition and in reality) Slavery and racial discrimination are perfect examples, they benefited the elites and most people at the time, but were unjust. Liberals prioritize freedom, equality and justice for all and considered the inconvenience to the elites and other beneficiaries of eliminating those practices, even if they are the majority, to be an acceptable price for a just system. Similarly, foreign policies that unjustly harm people in other nations (i.e invading to secure oil supplies) but benefit the residents of the USA are not acceptable to principled* liberals.

    * a category that excludes many, arguably most, politicians of any political persuasion.
    Yeah, not so much for either of those definitions in practice but keep trying.
    There is nothing demonstrably true that religion can provide the world that cannot be achieved more rationally through entirely secular means.

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  8. #38
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    Re: Is Liberalism Illiberal?

    Quote Originally Posted by MildSteel View Post
    Although I hear what you are saying, it's impossible to get around the fact that, in practical terms, it is a value judgement that imperfect people will make.
    If people feel they are unable to make value judgments on the society that they take a part in, you will immediately get disaffection and probably eventually a revolutionary attitude. People will never be happy with a code of conduct that they can't get emotionally involved in.

  9. #39
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    Re: Is Liberalism Illiberal?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1750Texan View Post
    A little less hippy and a little more hip replacement. SSI instead of LSD.

    Have a hip replacement, while on LSD. ;0
    Einstein, "science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

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    Re: Is Liberalism Illiberal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Konig View Post
    Your question, as I understand it, is meaningless at best, disingenuous at worst. Can you please elaborate?
    I fail to understand what is meaningless about it. I explained what I meant in the original post. Basically the question is whether liberalism can accommodate a value system that in opposition to the values of liberalism. And if not, doesn't it's inability to accommodate such values place it in contradiction to the values of liberalism itself?

    I don't know what else to say. Again, I'm not trying to make a value judgement on whether that is right or wrong, I was pondering the question earlier this morning and I thought I would find out what others had to say.

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