Here is David Shuster’s superb Comment of the Day, which is wise and greatly appreciated, on the post No, It’s Actually Allison Benedikt Who’s A Bad Person.
“Can we please drop/reform the “liberal” and “conservative” labels already? You state that Benedikt is a bad liberal; not quite true, she is utterly illiberal. She argues for state-compelled coercion circumventing individuals’ choice of how to raise their children. Her argument rests on illogical Marxist claptrap that prioritizes “the good of society” ie: the collective, over individual free will. I take back my previous statement, she is not illiberal, she is positively anti-liberal.
“I realize that this is quibbling over semantics, but in this case a rose by any other name really does smell differently. The Left and Democrats in general have self-identified for decades as “liberal”. While this label may have been appropriate 50 years ago, it certainly is not now. The Republicans’ social conservatism is rightly derided as illiberal in that it expects individuals’ sexual preferences to be dictated by the state. However, the Democrats’ claims of being “liberal” are becoming more laughable everyday; so much so that they have essentially become a parody of the classical liberal values they assure the population that they stand for. In fact, it appears as though the only things the Democrats envision people being free to do are the things the social conservatives oppose; in short, the Republicans want the state in your bedroom, the Democrats want the state everywhere else.
“We don’t have a “conservative” party and a “liberal” party, we have two statist parties with no alternative. Take gay marriage. I gave tentative applause for the Obama admin taking an explicit stand in support of it (truth be told, IMO the true “liberal” stand on this issue would be for the state to get out of the marriage business altogether, straight, gay, polygamous, whatever and let freedom of association dictate how people live with one another, but I guess that makes me a radical…). However, look at the illiberal consequences of this stance; wedding vendors with an admitted religious opposition to gay marriage but no prejudice against gays personally being forced by the government to render services against their will to gay weddings (see NM supreme court case). It’s beyond belief and IMO a violation of the 13th amendment; how can that be considered “liberal”?
“The Republicans jumped the shark long ago by aligning themselves with the Religious Right, but the Democrats didn’t take long to follow them right over the deep end by embracing equality of outcome, positive rights and central economic planning. The continued malaise of the US economy, division of the country along racial, ethnic and class-based lines and Obama’s “l’etat c’est moi” attitude toward domestic policy-making are all direct consequences of the Democrats’ slow transformation over the past fifty years. They are not “liberal” or “progressive”, they are regressives who insist on rehashing collectivist and socialist ideas that have failed dozens of times in the past century; they are Diet Coke Marxists.
“If only one good thing comes out of the train wreck Bush 2 and Obama administrations, I hope its people waking up to these truths. Both parties want the state to dominate you. Vanishingly few of our elected leaders care one iota about the individual, negative rights guaranteed in the Constitution. I haven’t been registered with either major party for 20 years, I try to make an honest determination which candidate for every office for which I’m voting has the strongest record on protecting my rights from being trampled by the state. Often this means I end up voting either Libertarian or not at all. Hopefully the mask has slipped off both major parties enough that a plurality of people will begin to feel the same way. But instead, we get caught in meaningless labels of “liberal” or “conservative” that categorize us into an ideological camp complete with a cult-like dogma which we must swallow whole. Those that fall outside the group are akin to Emmanuel Goldstein, deserving of destruction and our two-minutes’ hate whenever our leaders command us. Franklin gave us our Republic… if we can keep it. While it may not be completely gone, the people interested in preserving it seem to be growing smaller in number all the time.”