Source: The New Democrat
On this overcast, ugly, cool Memorial Day in the nations capital just outside of Washington, I thought as we celebrate as a country the lives of the people who died for our freedom, I would explain how we got that freedom as a country and the philosophy that our freedom and individual rights is based on. Whether you want to call it classical liberalism or as I prefer just liberalism, liberalism is what our individual freedom and individual rights are actually based on. No other political philosophy has given us that. As well to speak to The Economist piece, do I believe liberalism is in trouble in America and around the world or not.
Liberalism is based off of liberal democracy and the principles of what’s called classical liberalism. Representative democracy where the people elect their leaders and politicians. But what also comes with liberal democracy is individual rights and things like separation of powers. A free press for example so government can’t control both their own operations and enforcement, as well as the information that the people receive in the country. As well as free speech for individuals so people aren’t arrested or detained simply for disagreeing with the government or anyone else. And that right to express themselves so long as they aren’t falsely accusing, harassing people, or inciting violence. And that even covers offensive and hate speech. ( Sorry, political correctness warriors )
But not just a constitutional right to free speech which is a liberal right to free speech which covers a lot of ground, but individual rights, freedom, self-determination in general, that comes with limited government with again separation of powers, as well as the rule of law. People have the freedom over their own lives in a liberal democracy, but not the freedom to take someone else’s freedom away from them, especially the right to life ( another liberal individual right ) unless it’s in self defense. Our Founding Fathers ( our Founding Liberals ) didn’t create America because they wanted to bring the British authoritarian monarchy here, but because they wanted to get away from it and create a liberal free society based off of self-determination, individual rights, and limited government.
Do I believe liberalism is in trouble in America and around the world? Yes, but because you have two competing authoritarian populist factions that don’t believe in freedom and see it as dangerous. The Nationalists on the Far-Right, who don’t believe in immigration, integration, multiculturalism, the rule of law, a free press, would like to see views that are critical of them be outlawed and the people who express those views be jailed. We see this with the Donald Trump movement in America, but also with Nigel Farage Nationalists in Britain.
And we see it with young people in America and in Europe on the Far-Left. Who have more respect for Karl Marx and Che Guevara and see Communists and Socialists as their pop culture icons as well as ideological heroes. And look down at people like Jack Kennedy, Tom Jefferson, and other Liberals who gave us our liberal democracy and freedom. They see Liberals as corrupt and bigoted, but Communists as great people who should be celebrated. it’s not just the Bernie Sanders social democratic wing ( or Democratic Socialists ) that young people in America and in Europe are in love with ideologically and culturally, but authoritarians who are even further left of the Democratic Socialists in America and in Europe.
As long as you have these two growing political factions in America and in Europe, that see political diversity as a dangerous thing and that the other side aren’t just political opponents, but enemies, with both major political parties in America expecting their political party to nominate someone from their fringe wing or they won’t bother voting in the general election, liberalism and liberal democracy will be in danger in America. You’ll always have a President who believes that anything critical of him should be punished and not allowed to get out in the public, especially if it’s true. And an opposition party that believes they should not only defeat the party in power, but replace it with their own fringe and replace the Nationalists with Socialists and Communists, the people who believe in liberal democracy and freedom in general, will suffer.