Sunday, June 15, 2008

Why I Am A "Liberal"

Some days, I really long for the rich variety of political parties and positions available in Europe. You can identify yourself as a Communist or a far-right neo-fascist, or any one of a number of positions in between. Here in America, you’re basically handed three stances to choose from: conservative, liberal, or libertarian. They are simplistic, blunt-object categories, but they’re what we have to work with. Given these limitations, I would identify myself as a liberal. Why?
  1. I believe we have a moral obligation to help the least among us, rather than practice the Social Darwinism of the conservatives.
  1. I believe we have a moral obligation to stand in solidarity with all our fellow citizens to ensure that all of us enjoy the same level of civil and human rights, rather than the "I got mine, fuck you" attitude of the conservatives.
  1. I believe we have a moral obligation to demand that our government be "activist" in the best sense -- building alternative infrastructures (anyone who's ever traveled on Europe's public-transportation system knows what I'm talking about), improving the lives of the poor, providing top-shelf education and medical care to all citizens, supporting the arts -- rather than the attitude that government should be "drowned in a bathtub," except of course when the opportunity comes along to increase control of the population or blow some shit up somewhere in the world, which is the attitude of the conservatives.

Plus my paternal grandparents were IRA, and after my paternal grandfather died too young, my paternal grandmother became a union organizer and card-carrying Communist. They say that sort of thing skips a generation, so I figure it must've leaped clear over my Dad and landed square on my shoulders. :-)

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