What they think (IMO) again

Since it’s a popular topic, I recently remembered having given a charitable description of “conservatism” before, & I’ve agreed with the idea of a split between modern liberalism & progressivism, here’s what I gather mainstream liberals believe:

“True freedom is not just absence of force, but the ability to pursue self-actualization.  Being at bottom of the hierarchy of needs is an obvious limit to this.  Therefore, ideally society should make an effort in some form to ensure a minimum standard of living.  For the most part, the benefit to such outweighs the cost.”

Ok, that’s the gist far as I can tell.  I’ve described both conservatism & modern liberalism as ideally as I can see.  The issue with conservatism is obvious: the concept gives no real indication of where to go from there, consisting of an aversion to societal shift and little else.  As a result, it degenerates into whatever the hell people think will maintain the current order, ignoring the question of whether that order is worth defending in the first place.  In the U.S., this lead to such incoherency as defenders of torture & pre-emptive war suddenly going all “Smash the State!” when the person heading it has a D next to their name on CNN, and name-checking as philosophical inspiration three people who vehemently disagreed with each other on a lot.  As I said before, if both Rush Limbaugh & people like Daniel Larison are conservatives, then conservatism is meaningless.

Modern liberalism, on the other hand, has a quite different issue.  Consider the following quotes:

-“I’m in favor of a modest and well-designed social safety net.”
-“I’m broadly willing to use a negative income tax to top off the incomes of those whose labor is not sufficiently productive to support themselves in minimally decent style.”

Both are expressions of a general agreement with the idea of a minimum standard of living being provided for collectively.  Without clicking on the links, tell me: could these people be liberals?  If not, why not?

Any mainstream liberals who read my site, I’m going to put my point in the comments to this post.

About b-psycho

Left-libertarian blogger & occasional musician.
This entry was posted in philosophy/life. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What they think (IMO) again

  1. b psycho says:

    I’d argue that if I’m not far off with my interpretation of the modern liberal ideal, then anyone from the typical culturally-tolerant person that defends current social spending to a Georgist citizens dividend proponent is included. Hell, the only thing keeping ME from inclusion is that I question the alleged need for government at all.

  2. Pingback: Posts about Rush Limbaugh as of August 15, 2009 » The Daily Parr

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