Ask Auntie Pinko
Dear Auntie Pinko,
Why is it that every time a Liberal wants you to agree to something,
they bring family members into it, as if that makes it okay. Like
it's okay to be gay because we all have family members or friends
who are gay and so it's alright. Or, it's okay to get an abortion
because we all know someone who needed one and had it for the "right"
reasons, so abortion is okay if it's for the "right" reasons.
It seems to me like the only thing Liberals think is always
immoral is "intolerance." Anything else - promiscuity, adultery,
or whatever, is okay, as long as we're not being "intolerant."
Well, I believe there are some things that are always wrong
and always immoral, and that I shouldn't have to approve of them
or even "tolerate" them. Is there anything, besides "intolerance,"
that liberals think is always immoral? Or is it just liberals and
their families and friends who are "exempt" from morality?
Once again, Auntie cannot speak for all who identify ourselves
as liberals. I can speak authoritatively only for myself, and not
authoritatively but confidently based on my observations of those
I know well and interact with regularly. I hope that's good enough!
Let's get a couple of things clear right off. None of the liberals
I know (including myself) believes that morality applies only to
people they don't know, or that their family and friends are exempt
from morality by virtue of being close to us. However, I'd be willing
to concede that liberals certainly have a much keener awareness
of the potentially subjective nature of the moral judgments humans
apply to one another.
And I'd be willing to concede, too, that the average liberal tends
to err on the side of moral relativism, as opposed to moral absolutes.
Both relativism and absolutism, carried too far, are erroneous approaches
to moral judgment. Both are harmful, both have potential for long-lasting,
wide-reaching negative consequences.
The nature of these two errors is perhaps one of the best ways
I know of to illustrate the downsides of both liberal and conservative
approaches to public policy issues. For example, liberals favor
a justice system that puts the presumption of innocence in favor
of the accused, and takes all possible measures to ensure that an
innocent person is rarely, if ever, convicted and imprisoned or
killed. Conservatives feel that a justice system so biased in favor
of the accused that it allows criminals to go free and commit more
harm in the community makes that system culpable for the further
Both negative consequences - an innocent person imprisoned, a
criminal set free to commit more crimes - are intolerable. Yet no
system that we've been able to devise yet can ensure that one of
those outcomes won't occasionally occur. And so we must, in effect,
choose our error, and abide by that choice in the full knowledge
that we are guaranteeing at least some intolerable negative consequences.
Liberals find it easier to live with the notion that a criminal
might slip through the system, than that an innocent person might
be falsely imprisoned. Conservatives find it easier to live with
the idea that an innocent person might suffer imprisonment, than
with the idea of an unconvicted criminal repeating their crimes.
In the public arena, morality is rarely unambiguous, and almost
never simple. Taking only one of the examples you raised, there
are those who truly believe that it is immoral to abort a pregnancy,
even when the life of the mother is endangered. There are those
who believe that it is immoral to abort a pregnancy, unless the
life of the mother is endangered. There are those who would force
the victim of incest or rape to bear a baby resulting from that
crime, and there are those who would allow the woman so victimized
to choose to end that pregnancy. There are cogent arguments to be
made on behalf of the "morality" of all of these points of view.
Most of the liberals I know have very well developed moral sense.
The fundamental common denominator seems to be the golden rule -
do as you would be done by. Whether you attribute this to Judeo-Christian
moral tradition, to the philosophical humanist tradition, or to
some other source, it seems to be a universal human constant, and
liberals are neither exempt from its application, nor immune to
I hope this helps you understand us, Rick, and thanks for asking
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