I’m liberal. I’m not ashamed to say it. In fact, I’m proud of it.
Wikipedia defines liberalism as:
Liberalism emphasizes individual rights and equality of opportunity. Within liberalism, there are various streams of thought which compete over the use of the term “liberal” and may propose very different policies, but they are generally united by their support for political liberalism, which encompasses support for: freedom of thought and speech, limitations on the power of governments, the rule of law, an individual’s right to private property, and a transparent system of government. All liberals, as well as some adherents of other political ideologies, support some variant of the form of government known as liberal democracy, with open and fair elections, where all citizens have equal rights by law.
According to author and philosophy professor Peter Vallentyne, “Liberalism comes in two broad forms. Classical liberalism emphasizes the importance of individual liberty and contemporary (or welfare) liberalism tends to emphasize some kind of material equality.” In Europe, the term “liberalism” is closer to the economic outlook of American economic conservatives. According to Harry Girvetz and Minoque Kenneth “contemporary liberalism has come to represent different things to Americans and Europeans: In the United States it is associated with the welfare-state policies of the New Deal program of Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whereas in Europe liberals are more commonly conservative in their political and economic outlook”. In the United States, “liberalism” is most often used in the sense of social liberalism, which supports some regulation of business and other economic interventionism which they believe to be in the public interest. A philosophy holding a position in accordance with Scottish pioneer of political economy Adam Smith, that laissez-faire economics will bring about a spontaneous order or an invisible hand that benefits the society, is referred to as “classical liberalism.”, of which US-style libertarianism may be considered an extreme example.
Liberalism has its roots in the Age of Enlightenment and rejects many foundational assumptions that dominated most earlier theories of government, such as the Divine Right of Kings, hereditary status, established religion, and economic protectionism. Instead, it founds itself on the assumption of the equal dignity and worth of individuals.
By that standard, this is a liberal blog. I’d say we’re pretty obsessed with equality of opportunity and a transparent system of Government around here.
Wikipedia defines Progressivism as
Progressivism is a political and social term that refers to ideologies and movements favoring or advocating changes or reform, usually in a statist or egalitarian direction for economic policies (government management) and liberal direction for social policies (personal choice). Progressivism is often viewed in opposition to conservative ideologies.
In the United States, the term progressivism emerged in the late 19th century into the 20th century in reference to a more general response to the vast changes brought by industrialization: an alternative to both the traditional conservative response to social and economic issues and to the various more radical streams of socialism and anarchism which opposed them. Political parties, such as the Progressive Party, organized at the start of the 20th century, and progressivism made great strides under American presidents Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson.
Ideologically, that makes me and this blog a Progressive blog. And ideologically, therefore, I am a Classical Liberal Progressive (or a “Moderate Liberal”), if you want to get down to the nitty gritty technical term of liberalisticims.
But I am not, in fact, a Progressive by identity. I am a liberal. Because in today’s American Political Culture, being a “Progressive” makes you a Right Wing Fundie in liberal drag. Sad, but true.
Liberals have been demonized for quite a while in this country. I’d say it probably started with the Reagan Era, when Religious zealots and Conservative Southern Democrats took over the Republican Party. Around that time, a lot of wealthy and privileged former self described College “Liberals” moved to the Republican Party, declaring themselves “Conservatives.” Publicly, they took up the cause of Militarism and Religious Fundamentalism, but privately they were hypocrites, and their activities are well-documented in one of my favorite books, Blinded By the Right, by David Brock (I quote it often).
Hillary Clinton called their politics of personal destruction political activism “A Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.” She was mocked for it in the media, but she wasn’t wrong. Ever since Nixon’s Resignation, these kooks had been using corporate sugar daddies like Richard Mellon Scaife to fund their agenda in the media and in interest groups.
Old farts like Pat Robertson and James Dobson and Newt Gingrich come to mind, but they weren’t the only tools involved in the process. Jokers like Andrew Sullivan, Ariana Huffington, and Chris Matthews cheered for some of the worse disasters of my Generation: CDS and the impeachment of Bill Clinton, the election of George W. Bush, and the War in Iraq. And they did it all under the guise of their Gung Ho “Conservatism.”
Then, around the time of the mid term elections in 2006, they had a Come-to-Jesus moment and left the Republican Party, hilariously declaring themselves icons of the “New Left,” and by extension liberalism itself. Most of them had gotten their starts by smearing the Clintons, whom they declared were Republicans in drag. Sadly, the irony was lost on them and their projection continued. And even worse, they gained an audience. They and their followers coined themselves “The Progressive Movement.”
It wasn’t long until “The Progressive Movement” began cheering for their new standard bearer, Barack Obama. Again, the irony was lost on their audience. These imbeciles had spent the past two decades decrying all things liberal and good, why would anyone vote for the candidate they were peddling on places like Politico, the Huffington Post, and Daily Kos?
Well, I’m not like a lot of people. I don’t actually think Americans are stupid. Hillary won the popular vote. But the damage is still done. We have Bush the Third as our POTUS.
Today, these “Progressives”- Right Wing Fundies in liberal drag- and their allies in the media do the same thing to Sarah Palin and her family that they did to Bill Clinton and his family. The tactics are exactly the same. They slander her, spread rumors about her, and attack her and her children in the most gratuitous and revolting ways imaginable. They accuse her and they accused Bill Clinton of doing and being exactly what they are- power hungry, morally depraved, and ruthless- capable of doing and saying anything to obtain their victories.
I don’t believe in coincidences, and neither should you. The media is neither “liberal” nor “conservative.” The media is corporate. Since the emergence of a twenty four hour news cycle, they’ve depended on their sponsors and their ratings for profit, and don’t you know? Follow the money! You just have to watch CNN for one day to understand. The graphics in Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room are eerily similar to the graphics from Obama’s campaign and the DNC and RNC. A panel of all-male, white reporters will solemnly declare that Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin are just whining- the Political coverage of them isn’t sexist and they are just trying to score political points with women. Then they go on a break and in the first commercial a woman is debating a Swiffer mop. A special about Al Gore’s Global Warming Documentary is solemnly discussed and Al Gore’s credibility is questioned with deep concern. Then they disappear and the screen explains, “This program has been sponsored by GM and Chrystler Motors.”
And again, the irony is lost on the audience.
Hillary’s famous “Right Wing Conspiracy” disguised as a Left Wing Conspiracy isn’t gone. It’s been with us this whole time, mouth breathing down our necks and leering at us like a bothersome lover.
And it’s rick rolled us once again.