I’m not going to argue here that anyone who is not a Liberal and is on the Right like Conservatives and Libertarians, but who are lets say small d democrats and people who believe in at least some democracy and believe in things like limited government, rule of law, individual rights, free press, property rights, etc, are illiberal. Because small d center-right democrats if anything believe in liberal values. Free speech, freedom of choice, right to privacy, property rights, checks and balances at least in government, free press, rule of law, etc.
My argument is that there illiberal’s on the Right and on the Left. Far-Right and Far-Left, people who are so hard-core in their own political beliefs and believe they have all the right answers and that any form of opposition is not only a threat to them and to the people they claim they want to serve. People on the Far-Right who view a free press and open democracy as a threat to their political power. People on the Left who see free speech and individual choice as dangerous things because to means people may be offended and may make bad decisions with their choices. But if you look at Venezuela which is supposed to be a democracy and yet you have a socialist government there that also sees free democracy and a free press as threats to their regime and have clamped down on democracy and free press.
Illiberal means someone who is opposed to liberal principles. Like restricting free thought which is free speech or free behavior. The ability for people to live in freedom and make their own decisions. Someone who is intolerant, narrow-minded, unenlightened. Again, that covers people on the Far-Right like Nationalists in Russia and in other Slavic countries., theocrats and monarchs in the Middle East. But also Socialists in Venezuela, as well as Communists in Cuba, China, and North Korea.
Conservatives and Libertarians on the right, believe in free thought, free assembly, free choice, individual rights, free press, checks and balances, rule of law, limited government, democracy. Democratic Socialists believe in democracy at least, but also in a free press, but also at least some individual rights like privacy and even property rights in the sense they don’t want government running the entire economy, unlike Marxists.
Where Democratic Socialists would differ from Liberals, Conservatives, and Libertarians, is that they tend to value what they would call welfare rights over individual rights. They believe everyone is entitled to well-being and see the government as having the main responsibility in seeing that everyone is able to live well. Even if individual freedom and free choice is restricted to see that everyone can live well.
This discussion about illiberalism which generally gets to around what’s going on in Turkey and Russia right now which both are at best illiberal democracies where free press and democracy at are best heavily restricted there and where people in both countries have been arrested there simply for opposing the current government’s in both countries, is not about Liberals versus everyone else.
But people who believe in liberal values like free speech, free assembly, free choice, privacy, free and fair and elections, free press, rule of law, limited government, versus people who don’t. And people on the Center-Left like Liberals and Progressives (at least in the classical sense) and people on Center-Right like Conservatives and Libertarians, share these liberal values. Whereas people both on the Far-Left and Far-Right, Nationalists, Communists, and now Neo-Communists like in Venezuela, are the people in the world who are illiberal and practice illiberalism as a tool to accomplish their political objectives. And see their job as crushing the opposition by all means in order to accomplish their political objectives.