|Source:Hoover Institution- Author Christoper Hitchens, on Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson, back in 1998.|
From Hoover Institution
I don't like to as a Liberal Democrat talk about liberalism and the Democratic Party as if they are part of the same organization. Just as if Conservative Republicans don't like to talk about conservatism and the Republican Party as if they are part of the same thing. Liberalism is a political philosophy and the Democratic Party is a political organization that Liberals have used over the years and use today to get elected and advance their political movement and accomplish political goals.
And even though the Democratic Party is the closest thing that we have to a liberal party in America, it's not a party that's just made up of Liberals, but a party thats very diverse and made up different political coalitions. Including Liberals such as myself, but Progressives, as well as leftists people who call themselves Progressives. ( Socialists, really ) But so-called Progressives who are more statist than liberal and believe that the role of government is to protect and defend people even at times from themselves.
And there are Socialists who sound like Liberals on social issues. People who are called Socialist-Liberals or in Noam Chomsky's case Socialist-Libertarians. So the Democratic Party is a coalition of democrats ranging from center-left to far-left with Moderate-Liberals in between.
I believe the future of American liberalism is very good and I don't just say that as a Liberal. But if you look at where the country is now and where we are going politically and that as younger we get as a country the more liberal-libertarian we are becoming with the belief that government's role is to try to create and environment where all Americans have a good shot at making a good life for themselves that we believe in opportunity.
And what Bill Clinton called an opportunity society where all Americans would have a good opportunity to make a good life for themselves and of course what they do with that opportunity is up to them. But that they would have the opportunity to make a good life for themselves while they are currently still growing up.
Or low-educated and low-skilled adults would have the opportunity to make a good life for themselves. And that all of this would be based on good education, education opportunity and the ability for all Americans to have good access to a good education. That's where the Democratic Party is economically and least the leadership. And that's how Liberal Democrats have countered the Goldwater-Reagan Revolution with the notion of the opportunity society.
The Democratic Party has transformed over the last eighty years. Going from more of a progressive party with a Dixiecrat-Confederate right-wing coalition in it. But today the FDR/LBJ progressive coalition is still there, the Dixiecrats are gone, but they now have a social-democratic socialist win in it. That at times are seen as part of the Far-Left in the Democratic Party.
Back pre Reagan-Revolution were the leaders of the party and represented what Franklin Roosevelt built. Back then and to a certain extent Lyndon Johnson and George McGovern built as the modern Democratic Party back then.
Today thats basically the old Democratic Party and today we are more of a liberal party. Very liberal on social issues, tough liberal internationalists on foreign policy and an economically. A liberal party that believes in what I just called an opportunity society and we've moved from a party that believed in the safety net or welfare state. That government's job was to take care of people, to a party that believes that a role of government is to make sure that all Americans have an opportunity to be successful in life and be able to take care of themselves.
I feel good about American liberalism and the Democratic Party today because of where we've moved as a party. And where we've moved as a country. Liberal Democrats are now in position to show Americans what liberalism actually is and not how it's been stereotyped. And that we aren't wild-eyed Socialists or Anarchists who are soft. But people who are responsible and do believe in freedom but we believe in freedom for all and not just the few or establishment.