Source:The New Democrat
“Living as they do in a bipolar political world where politics consists of Democrats and Republicans and no other ideology is real, media corporations in the United States use left, liberal and Democrat as synonyms. This is obviously wrong and clearly untrue—Democrats are a party, leftism and liberalism are ideologies, and Democratic politics are frequently neither left nor liberal but far right—but as Orwell observed after you hear a lie repeated enough times you begin to question what you know to be true rather than the untruth. Sometimes it’s useful in this postmodern era to remind ourselves that words still have meaning, that distinctions make a difference.
Let us now delineate the difference between liberals and leftists.”
Read the test of Ted Rall’s piece at LA Progressive
“Tell the average American you’re a liberal and they’ll assume you’re on the political left. Yet, leftists and liberals hold very different positions on key issues. In this video, Dennis Prager explains how the tenets of liberalism like a belief in capitalism and free speech have more in common with conservatism than with the identity politics and racial resentment preached by the left.”
I believe the best way to look at the differences between Liberals and what both Ted Rall calls Leftists ( people who I call Socialists ) is to look at the differences between liberal democracy and social democracy: Liberal, believe in democracy, which is what liberalism was founded on and is all about. Democratic Socialists, ( let’s call them ) believe in democratic socialism/social democracy. If you understand the differences between these two ideologies, you then know what it means to be a Liberal and what it means to be a Socialist. Which would make you politically smarter than almost everyone else in America.
According to Wikipedia
“Liberal democracy is a liberal political ideology and a form of government in which representative democracy operates under the principles of classical liberalism. Also called Western democracy, it is characterized by elections between multiple distinct political parties, a separation of powers into different branches of government, the rule of law in everyday life as part of an open society, a market economy with private property and the equal protection of human rights, civil rights, civil liberties and political freedoms for all people. To define the system in practice, liberal democracies often draw upon a constitution, either formally written or un-codified, to delineate the powers of government and enshrine the social contract. After a period of sustained expansion throughout the 20th century, liberal democracy became the predominant political system in the world.”
So liberal democracy ( or liberalism ) is a philosophy based on individual rights, the rule of law, limited government, self-government, freedom of choice, personal responsibility, separation of powers, equal justice, equal rights.
Liberals do not believe big government knows best. Or that people are stupid and need government to run their lives for them. Or that capitalism is racist. Or personal freedom is dangerous. Or free speech is bigoted. Or European-Americans ( or what the Left calls White people ) are bigoted and racist. Or that women are superior to men. Or that ethnic and racial minorities ( people that Leftists call “people of color” ) are incapable of hearing anything that’s negative and even hateful about them and therefor deserve special protections from critical and even hate speech about them. Or that Communists and communism is actually misunderstood and that and communism is actually a progressive ideology and that it’s the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives who are the real authoritarians.
So what do Democratic Socialists/Social Democrats or let’s just call them Socialists or what Ted Rall and Dennis Prager calls Leftists believe in?
Well, according to Wikipedia
“Social democracy is a political, social and economic philosophy that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a liberal democratic polity and a capitalist mixed economy. The protocols and norms used to accomplish this involve a commitment to representative and participatory democracy, measures for income redistribution and regulation of the economy in the general interest and welfare state provisions. In this way, social democracy aims to create the conditions for capitalism to lead to greater democratic, egalitarian and solidaristic outcomes. Due to longstanding governance by social democratic parties during the post-war consensus and their influence on socioeconomic policy in the Nordic countries, social democracy has become associated in policy circles with the Nordic model in the latter part of the 20th century.”
Sounds very different from what Liberal Democrats believe in which is liberal democracy. And I’m talking about the Eugene Debs, Henry Wallace, Norman Thomas, George McGovern, Bernie Sanders wing of socialism. Not these hipster-leftists who believe that Che Guevara was a good man and wear Che t-shirts and hats. But people actually do believe in freedom and even individual freedom, but want a national government big enough to ensure that no one has so much money and freedom, while other people have so little and have to struggle just to survive in life.
Bernie Sanders, is not ant-freedom, but anti-excessive wealth and wants taxes so high across the board to ensure that everyone has the basic necessities in life and that no one has what he would call too much. Which actually puts Bernie to the Right of people who I’ve already laid out about what hard-core Socialists or Neo-Communists actually believe in and that Liberals don’t believe in having to do with personal freedom and free speech, as well as identity politics.
Dennis Prager is right about another thing: Liberals and liberalism is misunderstood by not just the so-called mainstream media ( another way of saying popular media ) but also by people who call themselves Liberals or Progressives, ( who are actually closeted Socialists ) but people who in actuality are actually very illiberal and even regressive. To the point that they call people like Thomas Jefferson, ( the father of liberal democracy ) Wendell Willkie, ( perhaps the last Classical Liberal Republican ) and President John F. Kennedy, ( the last Liberal American President ) Conservatives, because all of these men supported individual freedom and believed in capitalism.
But that’s only because for one: they’re still afraid to be called Socialists and are still stuck in the political closet, but also because they’re so far to the left now ( and are too high or drunk to see that ) that Liberals now look very conservative to them. Just the way that the liberal parties in Europe and Australia are called conservative in America and other places, even those the so-called Conservatives in Europe like in Germany with the Free Liberals, but go down under to Australia ( pun intended ) and the so-called Conservatives they are self-described Liberals. The so-called Center-Right in Australia, is the Liberal Party. Because the Center-Left party there, is the Labour Party of Social-Democrats and Socialists.
So, if you’re actually interested in Liberals and liberalism and actually have other things to do than to stare at your phone at your favorite coffee house ( or wherever you decide to hang out at ) or want to know what rehab or jail your current favorite celebrity is staying at, then read up on liberal democracy, Thomas Jefferson, Wendell Willkie, and John Kennedy. If you want something other than a popular definition of the most popular and dominant political philosophy not just in America, but in France and Germany as well. An ideology that Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and other authoritarians, including Socialists around the world all hate, which is liberalism and liberal democracy.