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Monday, February 2, 2015

The New Republic: Opinion: Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig: "Catholic Upbringing Made Me a Libertarian Activist": The Liberal Society Notion of Freedom

The New Republic: Opinion: Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig: Catholic Upbringing Made Me Libertarian Activist

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I believe in both economic freedom and personal freedom. The idea that people should have the freedom to manage their own economic and personal affairs. Be able to make their own decisions in life as it relates to their financial and personal lives. What they do with their own time is their own business, as long as they aren’t hurting innocent people with what they are doing. I want taxes fairly low for everyone, at least compared with the rest of the developed world.

But I also want government there to do things for the people that we can’t do for ourselves, or do as well even in the economy. Smart regulations to protect the innocent from predatory behavior. Infrastructure, social insurance, but just for people who need it while they get themselves on their feet. Not a welfare state designed to take care of us for us. Again I believe we should have the freedom to be able to take care of ourselves. And that it is the job of government to see that we all have that. Not take care of us, but to see we all are able to live in freedom. Which is a big difference between a Liberal Democrat and a Social Democrat.

I’m not a fan of the welfare state on the Left, that’s wants government big enough to take care of everyone for them. And I’m not a fan of the nanny state on the Right. That wants certain behavior in life to be outlawed because it offends their moral and religious values and they see it as dangerous to a civilized society. Things like homosexuality, adult entertainment to use as examples. But again another issue I have with the Far-Left in America is that I’m not a fan of the nanny state on the Left either. That would also outlaw certain behaviors they see as dangerous, because they’re concern with our general well-being. And believe that individual choice has to be limited if not eliminated so we don’t make bad decisions with our personal lives as well. Things like what we can eat and drink, how we can communicate with each other. To use as examples, things like prohibition and political correctness.

So now having see what I believe in and the values and vision that I have, do you see me as a Libertarian because I believe in both economic and personal freedom. Libertarians don’t believe in government economic regulations, or the public safety net.

Am I a Liberal because I believe in personal freedom, privacy, freedom of choice and civil liberties. And I also believe in the public safety net, infrastructure, education, empowering poor people to be able to live in freedom on their own. I would definitely say yes. But keep in mind, American Liberals today get stereotyped as European Democrats. People who would be called Social Democrats or Socialists in Europe. People who believe in the welfare state, the superstate. They want a government big enough to take care of everyone. And again today’s Liberals supposedly don’t believe in freedom of choice. And see it as dangerous because they believe it means that people will make bad decisions. Today’s so-called Liberals believe in both the welfare state and the nanny state.

Keep in mind, Liberals are center-left. Most Americans are somewhere between center-left and center-right and the people who tend to decide presidential elections tend to be even closer to the center than that. Instead of being close to one of the forty yard lines, they are between the 45 and 50. And Americans tend to want the freedom to be able to manage their own affairs themselves, economic and personal. So if you want a government big enough to take care of everyone, you’re not center-left. Now you may be center-left in Britain, France or Sweden, but those countries are further to the Left of Americans anyway by in large. And if you want a government that big in America, you would be Far-Left in this country and not a Liberal. At least overall, even if you may have some liberal leanings.