The New Democrat Online

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Rehmke on Classical Liberalism: What Liberalism really is



What is liberalism and what is it about, well at least in America and I'm not talking about how its stereotyped today. But back in the day liberalism was thought to be about freedom, for the people to live their own lives. And that government was there to protect people from being hurt by others. But not to dictate how people meaning adults live their own lives, perhaps encourage healthy behavior like exercising for example and eating well. And perhaps discourage unhealthy behavior like with tobacco and alcohol taxes as examples. But that the people had the freedom to live their own lives as they see fit as long as they are not hurting anyone else with their freedom. That people meaning adults, had the right to be jerks (for lack of a better word) as long as they weren't physically hurting or threatening others. And that people meaning adults, had the right to even be stupid as long as their stupidity wasn't hurting anyone else. To use as example liberals tend to be for legalizing but with regulation and taxation of marijuana. That it should be legal but that it should be treated like alcohol and tobacco and not be encouraged. That people could own firearms even support the 2nd Amendment, but that people can't shoot innocent people with their firearms. That a role of government was to protect people from the harmful actions of others but not try to protect people from themselves. Liberalism and liberal both come from the word liberty meaning freedom. Not socialism or Democratic Socialism, liberalism is about Maximize Freedom and Responsibility for the Individual. As long as they are not hurting anyone else with their freedom. As well as Equality of Opportunity not Economic Justice which is a Socialist Value, two different things.

As much as the Far Right and even Mainstream Conservatives like to try to tie liberalism as a Socialist Ideology and in America trying to make America more like Europe. And they've been very successful in doing that the last thirty years, the Right Wing is simply dead wrong. Whether they realize it or not, because liberalism has more in common with libertarianism or Conservative Libertarianism, then it does with socialism or Democratic Socialism even. There are actually several definition of liberal, the political definition meaning one who believes in liberty. But there's a more common one meaning more or a lot, I want a liberal amount of food or water, vacation time whatever the thing is. That I believe people get confused with especially when they are talking about the Role of Government a fascinating topic for me as a blogger. When someone says they want a liberal amount of government, meaning they want a lot of government. Or that Government Program is not liberal enough, meaning its not big enough it doesn't spend enough money. That person automatically gets classified as a liberal, when in fact they might just be someone and in a lot of cases this is true. Someone who wants a big Government Program created or made bigger. A lot of American Politicians today who get classified as liberal because they want liberal sized Government Programs. Are actually not but they are socialists or Democratic Socialists, the Bernie Sanders and Dennis Kucinich's of the World. Major believers in the Welfare State and Democratic Socialism.

To give you another example that I know your just dying to here, when Developing Countries are talking about moving their economy's from a Command and Control Economy. Meaning the State owns the Means of Production of Society Socialist Economy. And they are talking about liberalizing the economy, meaning opening it up with privatization and giving the people Economic Freedom. Again there's that word liberal again meaning liberty and in this case Economic Liberty. The ability of one to set their own course in life and not be dependent on government for their Daily Survival. Because they now have the ability to take care of themselves and get a good job in the Private Sector. Capitalism is basically Liberal Economics because you give the people Economic Liberty to take care of themselves and not be dependent on government to survive financially. And your taking a risk that they won't mess it up. When you make a Liberal Investment, your making a big investment and generally taking a lot of risk as well. Which would make Socialist Economics Conservative Economics in a sense, conservatism has a lot of diversity in it. Because you keep the power with the State and really limit the ability if any for people to take risks on their own. Low Risk is very conservative, a Low Risk investment is a Conservative Investment.

So when you here someone especially a politician or Public Official, called or is viewed as a liberal, you should have an idea of why they are being labeled that. Because it could mean that they believe in Individual Liberty like myself which why I'm a liberal. Or it could mean they just want a lot of something a liberal amount of whatever something is.

Click on the link of the blog to see Mr Rehmke give a lecture on Classical Liberalism