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Milton J. Madison - An American Refugee Now Living in China, Where Liberty is Ascending

Federalism, Free Markets and the Liberty To Let One's Mind Wander. I Am Very Worried About the Fate of Liberty in the USA, Where Government is Taking people's Lives ____________________________________________________________________________________________ "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Tolerance in the face of tyranny is no virtue." -Barry Goldwater-

Monday, May 08, 2006

Liberalism = Laziness...

The above should read:
Modern Liberalism=Laziness
Classical Liberalism:
Classical liberalism is a philosophy that supports natural individual rights, private property, a laissez-faire economic policy, measures to prevent the concentration of private wealth,a government that exists to protect the liberty of each individual from others, and a constitution that protects individual autonomy from governmental power. Many elements of this ideology developed in the 17th and 18th centuries. As such, it is often seen as being the natural ideology of the industrial revolution and its subsequent capitalist system.
Modern Liberalism [also known as social liberalism]
Like all liberals, social liberals believe in individual freedom as a central objective. However, they are unique in comparison to other liberals in that they believe that lack of economic opportunity, education, health-care, and so on can be considered to be threats to their conception of liberty. Social liberals are outspoken defenders of human rights and civil liberties, and combine this with support for a mixed economy, with a state providing public services that social liberals intend to ensure that people's social rights as well as their civil liberties are upheld
And this passage sums up some of the issues....
Modern liberalism may not be quite the correct name for what I have in mind. I use the phrase to mean the latest stage of the liberalism that has been growing in the West for at least two and a half centuries, and probably longer. Nor does this suggest that I think liberalism was always a bad idea. So long as it was tempered by opposing authorities and traditions, it was a splendid idea. It is the collapse of those tempering forces that has brought us to a triumphant modern liberalism with all the cultural and social degradation that follows in its wake. If you do not think "modern liberalism" an appropriate name, substitute "radical liberalism" or "sentimental liberalism" or even, save us, post- liberalism." Whatever name is used, most readers will recognize the species. The defining characteristics of modern liberalism are radical egalitarianism (the equality of outcomes rather than of opportunities) and radical individualism (the drastic reduction of limits to personal gratification). These may seem an odd pair, for individualism means liberty and liberty produces inequality, while equality of outcomes means coercion and coercion destroys liberty. If they are to operate simultaneously, radical egalitarianism and radical individualism, where they would compete, must be kept apart, must operate in different areas of life. That is precisely what we see in today's culture.

Modern liberalism is very different in content from the liberalism of, say, the 1940s or 1950s, and certainly different from the liberalism of the last century. The sentiments and beliefs that drive it, however, are the same: the ideals of liberty and equality. These ideals produced the great political, social, and cultural achievements of Western civilization, but no ideal, however worthy, can be pressed forever without turning into something else, turning in fact into its opposite. This is what is happening now. Not a single American institution, from popular music to higher education to science, has remained untouched.

(Robert H. Bork, Slouching Toward Gomorrah, pp. 4, 5, 6.)
I find the real central theme revolves around the line found above...
These may seem an odd pair, for individualism means liberty and liberty produces inequality, while equality of outcomes means coercion and coercion destroys liberty.
So can you argue that we have a choice, liberty and inequality or equality where our liberty is eroded to achieve that equality. I argue that we reduce our liberty through the forms of equlity that we choose to pursue as I discuss below.

But also, the above piece mentions "radical individualism and radical egalitarianism." Yes, radical in the sense that I argue that neither individualism is unlimited nor is egalitarianism achievable. But lets leave all this for a while and explore some of the background.

There is an old saying that I have heard many times,
Life is not fair.
Marxism was an attempt on making "Life fair" from an economic perspective. The concept of Marxism was a radical departure from the norms of the times. Its desire to create some kind of utopia was in response to the hardships of the times. However, the failure of Marxism and the communist ideology, although founded in fairness, equality and egalitarianism is that it was impossible to implement. The radical departure from the social/economic norms of the time, in Russia and China led to severe dislocations and led to the rises of political elite and a gross misallocation of resources. Human nature dictates that one achieves for ourselves and our families. To replace the state with the natural human desires was impossible to achieve. Therefore, political elites took the reigns and bastardized the philosophy. Used it for their own political ends.

So, now we have Marxism light, socialism, manifested in utopian distribution of some parts of the spectrum of wealth. Particularly prevalent in the declining European economies and a drag on American wealth creation, socialism of the 1950s varied has mutated in the horrible political correctness we see today. Why is that? Because even the socialist tendencies founded on utopian wealth redistribution have not created the social and economic harmony that it desired. The high tax states have not created the wealth necessary to compete with the low tax states and have not kept up with rising living standards. Western Europe economies have grown, on average 3/4 of a percent less than the US over the last 25 years and have seen their per capita GDP fall behind by nearly 50%. Even in France, the nation with the highest tax burden on earth, has attempted to liberalize their moribund economy by lowering taxes and cutting restrictions on business. Much of these changes, however, have met with fierce resistance as the populace tries to fight off the ultimate day where they have to face reality.

So, why do I argue that [modern] liberalism is laziness? It is a philosophy seeking a mission. Now we are still saddled not only with the vestiges of utopian economic equality but the yoke of political correctness and the Escher-like map of social engineering. Liberalism is like trying to convince water to flow up hill since "its the right thing to do." Seems like a silly thing to try and yet, it is tried every day.

In the US, trillions of dollars have been spent on the fight against poverty and there is yet no agreement or signs that this money has been well spent. Where has all the money gone? And what would have happened if the money was never spent that way? So, we can argue, unconvincingly, that the plight of the poor would have been worse with out the flood of monetary assistance. In fact, it appears as if economic growth has done much more in alleviating poverty than socially directed spending. In China, 100s of millions have seen their fortunes improve not due to profligate central government spending priorities but by the unshackling of the economy held down by years of mis-directed communist priorities.

And political correctness now sweeping the times...
Political correctness (also politically correct, P.C. or PC) is a term used to describe language that appears calculated to provide a minimum of offense, particularly to the racial or cultural groups being described. The term is normally used in a pejorative or ironic sense, and is a frequent target for comedians and satirists.

The concept has been extended by conservative and some liberal (Hentoff 1992, Schlesinger 1998, Brandt 1992) commentators, particularly in the United States, to describe what they see as a larger left-wing "political correctness movement" focused on censorship, multiculturalism, identity politics, social engineering, and influencing popular culture through venues such as music, film, literature, arts and advertising.
So, we now are going through an Orwellian transformation, where we are being directed to think, act and believe a certain way. And I suppose that if we don't, then all the groups that have been affected by this non-PC behavior have an excuse for their underperformance.

A fine example of PC is when when someone that I am close to told the minister in her church that she was going to stop attending if the children sang the song "Jesus loves all the little children."
"Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world,
Red and yellow, black and white,
They are precious in his sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world."
this ofensive material was cited as being exclusionary. I guess if one recognizes that people are of different colors, then its not PC. Or maybe some of the colors not mentioned may feel excluded. Or maybe, even that they are just children, just mentioning color without mentioning sexual orientation is the offending problem with this. But it mazes me that these PC liberal Democrats sit around analzing every day material and trying to figure out how this material is offensive or maybe could be offensive to someone, somewhere.

See, where I believe that liberalism=laziness, is that through recent times, we have provided excuse after excuse for certain groups to justify their underperformance or why they just don't feel that they don't fit in. It isn't the problem or the result of thought or behavior of the "injured" party but the fault of the rest of us that are impacting their ability to perform. By choosing these themes such as political correctness, we have chosen an impossible goal. One not founded in true human nature like the problems with Marxism. And as a result, these "affected" people don't even have to try, since they are destined to fail due the predjudice and inequality inherent in our cultures because we haven't addressed the "correctness" of what we are saying or doing.

Why work at anything if the landscape is so so stacked against one, that one is destined to fail? So, don't do anything. Demand that the government solve every problem, from healthcare to poverty, and require that "rich" people pay for it. As a liberal, one can wash one hands of the problems by demanding action from a third party. No need to get ones hands dirty actually doing something about it. And then when the government fails, say that there wasn't enough money thrown at teh problem or blam George W. Bush. He is a convenient scapegoat for lazy liberals these days in teh echo-chamber of liberalism.

I am sure that I will have much more to say on this topic.

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