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You know you're not a "liberal" when...

 
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brian-hansen
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:50 pm    Post subject: You know you're not a "liberal" when... Reply with quote

It amazes me that I even need to write on this topic. Far more
informed minds than mine have, I am sure, done a better job of
analyzing this particular meme than I will, but I believe in
taking my own try before checking with authorities.

Following my favorite maxim, I will concentrate more on what
people do with it, than on what it is. How is it used?
It is a "control" word.

Whatever its actual meaning, it is used to trigger a visceral response
in the hearer. At the crudest level of interpretation it is an insult
word, like calling someone a racial epithet, saying that they were very
bad or evil. Of course this only works for people who have been properly
indoctrinated to have this visceral response, although constant
reinforcement / indoctrination can create this association, especially
for people with no idea of what "liberal" means. Basically, it is used as
a "hate" word.

Undeservedly so, in my opinion. I think that there is an essential
core to what it means to be liberal. It means that, ideally, there
is a "floor" of protection to be offered to the people that share
our society, no matter how poor they may be. There is a "floor" of
dignity, fairness, and survival that we are obliged to collectively
provide for those who are powerless to insist upon dignity, fairness
or survival for themselves.

The position of that floor may vary wildly, depending on the wealth
of the society in question. 21st century USA, despite recent financial
setbacks, is incredibly wealthy in terms of material goods and quality
of life for most of its citizens. We lose track of it quite easily, but
even the minimum wage worker enjoys a quality of life that kings of old
could well envy. We can afford to provide a floor that is consistent
with having a good opinion of ourselves regarding our society's treatment
of those who are unfortunate.

Perhaps you do not believe that there should be a floor. In many ways
this is an appealing philosophical position. In my view, it is fraught
with difficulties. Moreover, I believe it would be unpopular, framed
in this way, within a small-D democratic society. It does provide
one clear distinction, though: if you don't believe in a floor, then you
are not a liberal. If you do believe in a floor, then you might be.

Leaving aside for the moment where that floor should be, if you believe
that a society is obligated to provide a floor, then I expect you to
believe that we have a collective obligation to protect the idea of the
floor. I don't think one could be much of a liberal if one didn't support
protecting the idea of the floor.

I believe it was the Princeton philosopher, Nagle, who proposed a test
for evaluating ideas about the makeup of societies. Imagine that you
are about to be born into a society, but you do not know the position
you will be in (wealthy/poor, healthy/sick, blessed with intelligence,
charm and good looks, or the opposite). Now, how would you like for
the society to be organized?

To my mind, this argument supports both democracy, and the floor.
And freedom. Freedom within the context of protecting the floor.
That is, individual liberty. Liberty is a deeply liberal value.
If you don't believe in liberty, then you aren't a liberal.
I think the flip side of liberty is tolerance. You want liberty
for yourself, so you take extra effort to protect others' liberty.
If you don't want others to have liberty, then you are not a
liberal.

[Also, Nagles' test makes a place for "progressive" taxation -- taxation
based on the ability to pay. ]

Frankly, I would be surprised if anything I've written would be
even slightly controversial. These are the ideas this country was
founded upon, protecting liberties and providing for the common good.

Even without Nagle, even if I am middle class, or if I am wealthy,
it is in my best interest to live in a society with a floor, though
not always directly.

So, in my view, we've reached a kind of "climax political ecology".
Implicit recognition of this fact is why Obama was elected president
even in the face of charges that he was a socialist and would raise
taxes. These attacks have lost their power when people realize that
we've reached a kind of structural consensus: regulated free enterprise,
freedom within the context of protecting the "floor" of dignity, fairness
and survival; democracy. Political campaigns have been waged at the
margins: how high or low should the floor be? In each case, you
could measure the differences as small percentage changes in the trends;
the structure is set.

Do you know you're not a liberal?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another prominent meaning for the term liberal I derive from my high
school social studies class.

The difference between conservative and liberal was shown as a continuum
covering the spectrum of one's receptivity to "change". The spectrum
ran from "reactionary" (violently opposing change), through "conservative"
(resisting change), past the middle ground, to liberal (desiring change),
and, finally, radical (advocating immediate, fundamental change).

This sense has lost influence, I think, because it reveals the complexity
of understanding what might be meant by being conservative or liberal.
I may want housing prices to stay the same, or grow slightly, while hoping
that foreign policy might change significantly. That would be nuance.
It would make me both conservative and liberal. Depending on how
strongly I felt, it might make me both reactionary and radical.
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brian-hansen
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, if you oppose change, or you think that change should be
accomplished by violent means, then you are not a liberal.
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jabailo



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What could have happened in a prosperous society is that what people assumed became implicit.

So, during Reagan, middle class people expected that their jobs and wealth were solid. Meanwhile, incomes slowed down. Therefore, the only way to keep the party going was to push for a cut in taxes.

This is very typical human behavior...we see it all the time when we forget history, we remove safeguards. We fail to repair rusty fire escapes. And so on, until the next crises.

Then when we need the escape hatch, everyone screams "why didn't someone do something"!

At the same time, you can't spend all your resources for what amounts to insurance.

There has to be a balance...

For example, I'm a big believer in meritocracy. Everyone should be encouraged to do more and be more. People should be able to work hard, and make a lot of money. However, somethings are problematic. Money in a modern technological society, up to a certain level is a necessity of life, like air, or water. But after that level it becomes a toy, or a poker chip. So, we have this transition line where it's critically important to have money, but once reached, it's all Big Boy and Big Girl games. How does one handle that, when a person can get "all the marbles" and do things like destroy jobs and take away that base level necessity?

Health care. I've always been a believer in some type of mandatory base level health insurance...but I don't think it makes me a Liberal. In fact, just the opposite. One of the big barriers to entry for someone trying to start a small business is health insurance. Not only the entrepreneur but his employees have to be provided for, and this drains the start up capital and the willingness of people to work for a smaller company. So, health insurance entrenches the older entities.

Now, you could take that statement and play it a different way too. A staunch Conservative may say that well yes, but that's because these older companies survived and built barriers to entry to stave off competition. And you would say that about wealthy people too...it's just the laws of competition.

Still, some aspects of automata theory point to initial conditions as being critical to the current state. A person who gets a dollar in 1960 is wealthier than one who gets a dollar in 2006 (although in 2008 that may finally have changed)!

Who do we insure and why? Do we insure billionaires who get ripped off by stock funds while letting homeless people freeze on the streets of Seattle?
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So far as I can tell, you believe in a floor, so you might be a liberal.
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jabailo



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That would be a succinct way of putting it, but maybe not quite accurate.

Perhaps, we could use a slider bar noun ( http://you-read-it-here-first.com/viewtopic.php?t=254 ) ?

I'm Liberal for issues below the livable income.

I'm Conservative for issues above the livable income.

A more elongated version of why one might be Liberal below the livable income might be:

1. We no longer live in nature, where resources are acquired by foraging.

2. Therefore we are born into an artificial, man made world, where food, clothing and shelter are abstracted into money.

3. Therefore, anyone who is born into this world must be entitled to the basics. It would be wrong to construct such a world, and then to say to all new entrants, that it's up to them to find a way.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe that in my description I did not make any claims about issues that are "above the livable income". In my view, liberalism doesn't say much about that category. Being liberal is all about "the floor" and personal freedom. People or issues regarding being above the floor are included only very indirectly in the definitions I use.

I'm not certain... have I expressed this idea clearly enough?
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jabailo



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes. You floored me!

Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a new term I like a bit:

New Left Conservative

http://www.leftconservativeblog.blogspot.com/

http://inmedias.blogspot.com/2006/09/left-conservatism.html

Quote:
Norman Mailer's description of himself as a "left conservative" back during his 1969 run for mayor of New York City (by Bill Kauffman's book Look Homeward, America, mentioned in a previous post), I've been thinking that there was something useful to the term. Mailer has continued to use the label (for instance here), though in a rather idiosyncratic way. Basically, he wants to be an egalitarian, but he doesn't want to be a liberal, because liberalism simply isn't compatible, in his thinking, with "family, home, faith, hard work, duty, allegiance" and other "dependable human virtues," to say nothing of Mailer's belief in God and the Devil. But he can't be some sort of "compassionate conservative," because the folks that coined that term have turned out to be "flag conservatives": people who, according to Mailer, don't believe in living out American ideals so much as reifying them and turning them into something that can be served by military might, something that can be imposed by force. So he sticks with "left conservative," though he allows he has to constantly explain that description to everyone who asks about it.
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brian-hansen
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The question remains. Do you know you're not a liberal?
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jabailo



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So then.

Does that mean you:

1) don't believe in a "floor"?
2) don't believe in personal liberty for yourself?
3) don't believe in liberty for others (tolerance)?
4) don't believe that any change should happen in society?
5) believe in violent change?

I agree that if any one of these is true for you then you
are not a liberal.
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jabailo



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another definition:

http://www.conservative-resources.com/definition-of-liberal.html

Quote:
[7] The definition of liberal can be divided into 6 key principles:

1. Belief in positive law
2. Faith in progress
3. Preference for equality over liberty
4. Belief in the benevolence of government and individuals
5. Belief in the perfectibility of human beings
6. Belief in the community


He begins by saying:
Quote:

[4] Properly understood, then, the definition of liberal is either an American-style conservative or a modern liberal. Generally speaking, liberals (i.e. both "conservatives" and "liberals") believe in the rule of law, individual rights, democracy, the division of powers, the relative freedom and equality of individuals and free markets. What liberals bitterly disagree upon, however, is the interpretation of these beliefs.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm non-plussed
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jabailo



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

(No hyphen, nonplussed, "A state of perplexity, confusion, or bewilderment." http://www.thefreedictionary.com/nonplussed )

He gets even more topsy-turvy:

Quote:
[3] (Note that a Republican is not necessarily the same thing as a "conservative" and a Democrat is not necessarily the same thing as a "liberal," as party affiliations are often wrongly used by journalists and pundits as synonyms for political outlooks. Also note that the mere fact that someone calls oneself a conservative or a liberal does not make that someone so.)
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brian-hansen
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

good point on the spelling. I realize that this was not the term
that I wanted to use.

More accurate:

I'm unimpressed with and disappointed by your response.
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jabailo



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll give you the digital answer, then the analog.

1) don't believe in a "floor"?

No.

I have two problems with a "floor", the more important one being: is it possible to define a floor? By that I mean, part of Liberalism is a belief in man over nature: The planned and managed economy where a centralizing intelligence can say "yes, a Floor is 27.3K per annum". Then secondly, can such an entity in reality supply that to the 6 Billion and counting people around the world.

2) don't believe in personal liberty for yourself?

Yes.

I believe in a high degree of personal liberty. In the current state, I feel there are more restrictions than privileges. But I believe the new administration my swing that balance the other way.

3) don't believe in liberty for others (tolerance)?

Yes (tolerant of others).

But, my experience with others in the past few years indicate that many are willing to misuse societal liberties to abuse others....those in authoritarian situations but even more those who happen to be part of the dominant societal paradigm.

4) don't believe that any change should happen in society?

Yes (change should happen).

Although, again, I would say "change does happen" whether I want it to or not. So not an issue for me.

5) believe in violent change?

Yes (violent change can occur).

As in #4, it happens, and there's usually nothing we can do to change that (American Revolution, French Revolution).

So, no, I don't consider myself a Liberal...
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jabailo wrote:
1) don't believe in a "floor"? No.

I have two problems with a "floor", the more important one being: is it possible to define a floor? By that I mean, part of Liberalism is a belief in man over nature: The planned and managed economy where a centralizing intelligence can say "yes, a Floor is 27.3K per annum". Then secondly, can such an entity in reality supply that to the 6 Billion and counting people around the world.


This is a bit confusing. A few posts back you seemed to believe in
the floor. Liberal for "below livable issues". For a wealthy country
like the US, I put the floor somewhere around the level of a) someplace
to sleep at night, b) food, and c) a chance to get health care, especially
preventative care. I should also put in some level of justice and
dignity. If we were poorer, then it might not be so nice. Still,
I don't think it is arbitrary, as you seem to suggest. Nor is it 27.3K.
And, so far, I'm not extending it to the world outside the borders of
the governments where I have a vote.

Quote:
5) believe in violent change? Yes (violent change can occur).

I suppose one could interpret my question in this way, but it certainly
surprises me that you do, given that I think I made this clear in
an earlier post. I'm not asking whether you believe it possible, but
whether you want it.

Quote:
So, no, I don't consider myself a Liberal...


I guess I get it: you don't think that there should be a "floor" of
survival, dignity and justice for "all". If that is right, then yes, you
are not a liberal.
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jabailo



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I guess I get it: you don't think that there should be a "floor" of survival, dignity and justice for "all". If that is right, then yes, you
are not a liberal.


What I said is that it may be impossible to create or even define such a floor.


But enough about me...what about Brian?

What quantitatively constitutes a floor...not just for the United States, but for the world.

Secondly, I am guessing you call yourself a Liberal. However, your own life and your work has some of the elements that would build a more Conservative type. You are independent from organizations (although you can work with them, you don't seem to join them, you maintain your individuality). You run small businesses. You're careful with money, you invest and you own property. You deal with the marketplace and estimate values based supply and demand, not on corporate or organizational dictates.

For example, you now own 2 houses and may own a third. Yet, there are probably people on the streets of Portland dying of cold...families with children starving. Would a Liberal be inviting them in to share the warmth?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where the floor should be, and how to think of citizens of other
nations or states become much less clear. That is why I wanted
to establish the "black and white", as you call it, first. After all,
why should I develop a detailed picture of what is/could be/should
be the floor, if you don't believe that *any* level is required
or justified?

In other words, that a floor is an essential part of our national
identity is a precondition to discussing where it should be.
I don't know how to proceed exactly. Frankly, I start to think
of you as some kind of monster. You don't believe in a floor.
People having epileptic fits in the street should be left to pull
themselves up by their own bootstraps? Pretty Dickensian.
Honestly, I think you must believe in a floor, but now say you
don't so that you won't need to accept that you are a liberal.
By my reading (plus interpretation), I think you probably are.

But what about Brian? I think I don't know that I'm not a
liberal. That is, none of the 5 tests I described ruled it out
for me.

===========

Your description of me, which I think could be fairly
described as pretty accurate, and somewhat flattering, is still
quite puzzling to me.

You seem to have the notion that those qualities and actions
you attribute to me are antithetical to being liberal. I took the
time to lay out my assumptions about the "core" values of liberalism,
and to let you agree or disagree with them in a clear and orderly
way. Apparently, you expect me to think that "owning property",
just mentioning the first one that caught my eye, is incompatible
with being liberal. I frankly do not see the connection. The same
is true for all of the qualities you attribute to me.

It seems like either you are I have a seriously warped idea of
what liberalism may be. I don't discount that it might be me,
but at least I laid out all my assumptions.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding your example (I notice I didn't address it):

You seem to be employing a *lot* of unexpressed assumptions
about what it means to be liberal. It doesn't mean "good".
It doesn't mean "kind". It doesn't mean "like Jesus". It doesn't
mean disregarding self-interest. It doesn't mean "giving away
everything".

The fact that I haven't taken a homeless person into my home
no more implies that I am not a liberal than the fact that you
might take one in implies that you are not conservative.
It is, in short, a canard.
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jabailo



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, doesn't it assume the perfectibility of people?

Isn't the classic Liberal the guy who wants to retrain the cold blooded killer?
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been very careful so far in laying out my view of core
liberal beliefs. I think it's fair to ask whether there are other
beliefs beyond the 5 that I outlined.

In my view, the "perfectibility of people" is not a core
liberal belief. Certainly I don't feel obliged to write something
like "if you don't believe in the perfectibility of people then
you are not a liberal." To the extent that I understand what
it means, I do not believe it. I try not to believe absurd things.
The other part is that I don't know what it means.

I guess you could find a liberal who exemplifies your example,
just like you might find someone with a label you embrace who also
exemplifies it. Maybe you'd find a higher percentage amongst
self-identified liberals, I can grant you that. But it is not a core
liberal belief. At least, not in my view, and not in the definition
that I am laying out (in black and white).
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jabailo



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a use of the term that plays on its over defined nature:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=liberal%20definition

Quote:
A watered-down definition of a word.

So called because liberals use certain words so often that they lose their true meaning.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Am I to take it that the author believes that overusing terms
until they lose their meaning is a core liberal value?

I don't suppose that you believe this.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a members of the Fourth Estate, we merely report the news.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's hardly news that someone feels secure at taking
an unfair shot at what it means to be a "liberal".

My posting is the news. Man bites dog.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:18 am    Post subject: Re: You know you're not a "liberal" when... Reply with quote

brian-hansen wrote:
used to trigger a visceral response
in the hearer...


Yes, it's disheartening when words become Skinnerian instead of intellectual.

Quote:
people with no idea of what "liberal" means
.

Or there are so many contradictory meanings that it becomes moot to discuss.

Quote:
It means that, ideally, there is a "floor" of protection to be offered to the people that share our society, no matter how poor they may be. There is a "floor" of dignity, fairness, and survival that we are obliged to collectively provide for those who are powerless to insist upon dignity, fairness or survival for themselves.


Everyone might agree that a floor of some sort should be there. However, a Liberal might think that it's the Government's role to provide it en masse, whereas a Conservative might think it's the role of private charity from the well off to provide it to individuals.

Quote:
The position of that floor may vary wildly, depending on the wealth
of the society in question. 21st century USA, despite recent financial
setbacks, is incredibly wealthy in terms of material goods and quality
of life for most of its citizens. We lose track of it quite easily, but
even the minimum wage worker enjoys a quality of life that kings of old could well envy. We can afford to provide a floor that is consistent with having a good opinion of ourselves regarding our society's treatment of those who are unfortunate.


The size of our economy is tremendous as you say. I look at the sums discussed in some of these bailout and public works projects and divide by the number of recipients and sometimes it amounts to hundreds of thousands per person! I often propose just giving them the money directly and forgetting about the mediating "project" or "rescue".

Quote:
Perhaps you do not believe that there should be a floor. In many ways this is an appealing philosophical position. In my view, it is fraught with difficulties. Moreover, I believe it would be unpopular, framed in this way, within a small-D democratic society. It does provide one clear distinction, though: if you don't believe in a floor, then you are not a liberal. If you do believe in a floor, then you might be.


Again, who provides it (Government, individuals) and how (welfare, charity) are the questions for me.

Quote:
I believe it was the Princeton philosopher, Nagle, who proposed a test for evaluating ideas about the makeup of societies. Imagine that you are about to be born into a society, but you do not know the position you will be in (wealthy/poor, healthy/sick, blessed with intelligence, charm and good looks, or the opposite). Now, how would you like for the society to be organized?


Sure, at that level it's more of a business decision. Do you want insurance or not?
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 11:25 am    Post subject: Re: You know you're not a "liberal" when... Reply with quote

jabailo wrote:
Or there are so many contradictory meanings that it becomes moot to discuss.


People who want to use Liberal as a hate word do not seem to be
bothered by its multiple meanings. As someone who is aiming to
rehabilitate the term, I'm not going to let that slow me down much
either. My approach: start from first principles and build up the
meaning that makes sense to me. It may be that after enough
additions and refinements that I will discover that I am not a
liberal, but I'll take that chance.

jabailo wrote:
Everyone might agree that a floor of some sort should be there. However, a Liberal might think that it's the Government's role to provide it en masse, whereas a Conservative might think it's the role of private charity from the well off to provide it to individuals.

In my view, if you believe that there ought to be a floor, then you
might be a liberal. If you don't, then you are not.

jabailo wrote:
Again, who provides it (Government, individuals) and how (welfare, charity) are the questions for me.


Okay, I'll take up this topic, since it interests you so much.
Do you see it as a Conservative position, or "anti-liberal"
that there should be no police service, emergency room access,
social security, etc.? Perhaps these should not be provided
by government, but by charities. If you believe this, then
I have to say that you are not a liberal.

jabailo wrote:
Quote:
I believe it was the Princeton philosopher, Nagle, who proposed a test ... [I recently heard someone saying that
this was Rawls, not Nagle]


Sure, at that level it's more of a business decision. Do you want insurance or not?


Yes. I want insurance. If you don't then you probably aren't a liberal.
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jabailo



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not much of a floor...

http://spdblotter.seattle.gov/2008/12/22/spd-officers-find-shelter-for-60-displaced-people/

Quote:
On 12/21/08, at 9:48 p.m., 911 received a call of a disturbance involving 60 people outside the Pavilion Shelter, at the Seattle Center. According to the caller, a Greyhound Bus dropped the people at the shelter and advised them that they could stay there. When they attempted to get into the shelter they were informed that they were full and did not have room. Before the group could return to the bus, it had left. The displaced people were out front of the shelter and were very angry.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been churning this thread for a long time and just reread most of it. I also posted a thread on egalitarianism (and noticed the term was used in quote here from Norman Mailer!).

Egalitarianism solves some of my apprehension about a "floor". My apprehension derived not from my willingness to provide such, but from my inability -- the inability of us as a society to ever manage the market enough to define such a thing.

Egalitarianism is different from Liberalism the way functional programming might differ from object oriented. With egalitarianism we basically split the profits from USA, Inc. The President is basically the CEO, and most of us are primarily concerned with our wallets more than our Rights. Well, lets say, that we feel most rights are derived from having the bucks to afford those rights...as every pipsqueak with a thin bankroll knows.

So, egalitarianism says we all share the success and the tragedy. That is all that I wanted to say about a "floor"...that we all hang together...or we shall or hang separately!


Last edited by jabailo on Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 2:37 pm    Post subject: Seven Habits of Truly Liberal People Reply with quote

Alan Wolfe's persuasive portrait of liberalism.

http://www.slate.com/id/2210158/

Quote:
Four of these dispositions will be quite familiar: "a sympathy for equality," "an inclination to deliberate," "a commitment to tolerance," and "an appreciation of openness." We're used to the portrayal: liberals as talky, tolerant, open-minded, egalitarians. It's not surprising, then, that these types are at home in the garrulous world of the academy—or that bossy preachers, convinced they have the one true story, do not care for them much. But Wolfe's sketch of the liberal adds three unfamiliar elements to the picture: "a disposition to grow," "a preference for realism," and "a taste for governance."
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Liberal is...Evil
by Gary Hart


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gary-hart/liberal-isevil_b_472854.html


Quote:
"War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength." Once again we turn to George Orwell to understand the perverse need of some among us to reverse the meaning of words. As the author of 1984 knew, totalitarianism begins with the perversion of language.

Thus, it is not accidental that the rise of the new right began with demonization of perfectly sound words like "liberal". Hence, Roget gives these synonyms for liberal: magnanimous; benevolent; open-minded; generous; and unselfish.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Health Care Reform Boosts Community, Liberty... and Farms!

http://madvilletimes.blogspot.com/2010/03/health-care-reform-boosts-community.html


Community does not take away liberty; community is the basis of liberty.

Health care reform gives us more economic liberty. Consider job lock: right now, lots of people are sticking with jobs they don't like, jobs they aren't optimally suited for, simply to cling to their employer health plans. Make health insurance easier to get and keep, and people will feel more free to pursue new jobs and even self-employment.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The New American Supermajority

http://spectator.org/archives/2010/09/01/the-new-american-supermajority/1

The article initially describes how

Quote:
Brooks reports that 70 percent agreed they were better off in a free market economy.


He defines this as the New American Supermajority.

He then goes on to discuss a "social floor":

Quote:
Included among the moral foundations of liberty is the principle of equality. "But for the large majority of us, this means equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome…. If this leads to income inequality -- above some acceptable floor -- so be it." In other words, the 70% supermajority accepts safety net programs for the truly needy, to ensure that no one suffers in deprivation. But they do not support going beyond this to income redistribution, taking from the successful to give to the less successful just to achieve more income equality.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where Are the Liberals?

Quote:
The most important explanation is what you might call the Instrument Problem. Americans may agree with liberal diagnoses, but they don’t trust the instrument the Democrats use to solve problems. They don’t trust the federal government.

A few decades ago they did, but now they don’t. Roughly 10 percent of Americans trust government to do the right thing most of the time, according to an October New York Times, CBS News poll.


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/10/opinion/brooks-where-are-the-liberals.html
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steyn, on the "Floor":

Quote:
Freedom is messy. In free societies, people will fall through the cracks—drink too much, eat too much, buy unaffordable homes, fail to make prudent provision for health care, and much else. But the price of being relieved of all those tiresome choices by a benign paternal government is far too high. Big Government is the small option: it’s the guarantee of smaller freedom, smaller homes, smaller cars, smaller opportunities, smaller lives.

-After America: Get Ready for Armageddon


https://kindle.amazon.com/work/after-america-ready-armageddon-ebook/B0028OKGNM/B0055TH3V0
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mitt Romney pays lip service to the "safety net". It's being there is the reason he gave for "not caring about the poor".
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

brian-hansen wrote:
Mitt Romney pays lip service to the "safety net". It's being there is the reason he gave for "not caring about the poor".


Seems reasonable.

With a safety net, one has no reason to feel guilty.

I've often used this as an argument for a safety net.

Which would you rather have, streets full of derelicts and muggers?

Or people getting a modest sinecure and their own homes, leaving the streets safe to travel?

I vote...the latter.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So what do you think of Steyn's views then?
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only work I've read is American Armageddon, and I found it truly humorous and making some good "touche" points when it comes to hypocrisy or just wrongheadedness.

The problem area comes on something I've been expressing in blog comments on sites like Red State and that's the current descent of Conservatism in to Curmudgeonry. It's one thing to advocate traditional Conservative viewpoints like the least amount of government, or less centrist policy or smaller budgets.

But it is another thing to just grouse on your front porch about anything and everything invented in the last 50 years. In fact, much of my criticism of the current Democratic Centrists is a McLuhanesque critique of them not understanding The New as much as they think. Overall, I'm disappointed, post-Bush, that both parties have a very dour, myopic and pessimistic view of the near future...when so many possibilities are opening rather than closing...more so than ever!
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