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Yavin4 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 08:32 PM
Original message
My Very Simple Definition of Liberalism
Liberalism is the political philosophy that believes that government, in all forms, is a tool of the people against the powerful. Government through the legislature and the courts serves as the people's mechanism to level the playing field between those with immense wealth and power and those with none.

Government has to serve the needs of all of its people regardless of race, sexual orientation, sex, religion, ethnicity, or country of origin.

Government should never intrude on the privacy of the people unless actions taken in private harm other people. For instance, government should not decide whether or not you have an abortion, but government can intervene if you hit your spouse or your kid.

Government is the people's tool.
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Daphne08 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 08:34 PM
Response to Original message
1. That's pretty much what the Constitution says n/t
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orpupilofnature57 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 08:36 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Kick!!
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SammyWinstonJack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 08:35 PM
Response to Original message
2. And so it was written. nt
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ClassWarrior Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 08:35 PM
Response to Original message
3. That sounds like modern Progressivism to me.
But you say potato and I say potahto.

B-)

NGU.


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orpupilofnature57 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 08:37 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. A rose?
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ClassWarrior Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 08:42 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. By any other name. By the way, may I use it, Yavin?
NGU.


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Yavin4 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 09:08 PM
Response to Reply #8
13. Go Ahead
You may use it.
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 08:39 PM
Response to Original message
6. I'd rather say "a tool to balance power" rather than "against" the
powerful. But that's me.
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lostinacause Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 02:09 AM
Response to Reply #6
15. The distinction is very critical. Balance is gain orientated and
against is loss oriented.
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NAO Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 08:39 PM
Response to Original message
7. The greatest lie the devil ever told...
In the movie The Usual Suspects, Kevin Spacey says,"The greatest lie the devil ever told was convincing the world he doesn't exist."

Well, the greatest lie that the wealthy and their powerful corporations ever told was that 'Big Government' was the enemy. All that freeper rage and resentment is legitimate, it is just mis-directed. They should be stewing at the corporations who pay them pennies for a dollars worth of labor. They should be angry at the companies who pollute the air and water their children need to live. And they should resent the execs cutting pay, benefits, and jobs so they can have higher profits for the stockholders.

But instead they are raging against 'Big Government' and "government regulations' - regulations that are designed to protect them and to regulate their oppressors.
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kpete Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 08:51 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Liberal as defined in the dictionary:
Tolerant of different views and standards of behavior in others

This is how I see myself, an old-fashioned, dying breed, bleeding-heart liberal, AND PROUD OF IT!!!
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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 09:02 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. I always like the sense of Inclusion that Liberal implies.
Its Greatness, because the Whole really IS greater than the Sum of its Parts.
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lostinacause Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 02:06 AM
Response to Reply #7
14. In some sense everything that you have mentioned while also being a
problem is a blessing. Firms are very effective tools for generating wealth. In some cases the goals of firm are the goals of society. Paying wages and employing people is beneficial to society. Pollution is in a way beneficial too. For production, and by extension wealth, pollution is a necessary byproduct. Without it we would not be able to have the standard of living we do today. Obviously there is an optimal amount of pollution that should be emitted. That amount is with out question greater then nothing.

In my opinion the idea of the oppression of workers clouds the way people view intervention. It typically gives the impression that intervention is something that has to be placed on firms. The best type of intervention is not to behave that way but rather to make both parties better off.
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seafey Donating Member (204 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 10:31 AM
Response to Reply #14
19. I respectfully disagree...
I think corporations are not beneficial to all of society. They are beneficial to themselves. They get subsidies (corporate welfare), tax breaks, and broad powers to influence government. Campaign donations keep laws affecting their bottom line out of the way, while the wealthy keep on getting wealthier and the poor keep on getting poorer. Pollution benefits wealthy people consuming products that caused the pollution, but harms the poor people who live in the industrial areas most harmed by this pollution. Healthcare for these same people is awful, while those at the top of the corporate heirarchy have excellent healthcare. Employee benefits drop continually, wages don't keep up with inflation, and not to mention the outsourcing to foreign labor which again, benefits the wealthy and leaves the poor without jobs at all. So in the end, corporations really just set the divide between the rich and the poor, making that gap bigger and bigger the more time goes on.
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lostinacause Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-07-05 01:38 AM
Response to Reply #19
24. In those cases it is not the firms that cause the problems it is the
political institutions. America has policies orientated towards economic efficiency rather then equality. A major positive effect is that the average American has a higher income then just about any other nation on the planet. The major negitive associate with that is a high amount of economic determinism and a class of people who is not as well of as others. (When you compare the average person below the poverty line they have a higher standard of living then much of the world does.)

As far as pollution is concerned; people don't tend to realize the benefits that it provides. There are obviously some whose benefit is not as the cost but they make up a small percentage of the population. Also the level of pollution in America has been going down for many pollutants. Particulates for example have been decreasing in absolute terms since the 1970. The reason that this has happened is intelligent (for the most part) laws about pollution and technology improvements used to make industry greener. There are a series of models that deal with the eventual downward trend that happens as nations develop. Other forms of pollution have started a downward trend in terms of absolute amounts. As far as I know the level of pollution per unit of wealth generation for all pollutants has already decreased.

Most of what you are talking about in the later part of your paragraph deals with trade policy and the current situation around it. It is complicated and I am tired so I will wait until tomorrow to address this issue. It too is the fault of political institutions. Though it may be seen as bad I believe it follows a similar pattern to the so called curse of natural resources. That is that America has taken advantage of gains from trade early on making their present situation look worse then it actually is. The fact that neither Clinton nor Bush have addressed the situation is also problematic for future growth potential.

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Yavin4 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #14
22. The Rights of The Corporation Are Secondary To The Rights Of the Citiizen
Nothing in my post prohibits a corporation from existing nor from making a profit. However, the rules should be that the corporation's rights are secondary to the citizens rights.
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lostinacause Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-07-05 01:44 AM
Response to Reply #22
26. I don't believe I said anything about the right that corporations have.
Corporation rights are a tool to accomplish policy goals. Having a good set of property rights for corporations has a great deal of positive effects. A good set of property rights will do everything from reward innovation, to increase investment and reduce pollution. (What constitutes a good set of property right is highly subjective)

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mcscajun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 08:36 AM
Response to Reply #7
16. The quote is...
Edited on Sun Nov-06-05 08:46 AM by mcscajun
"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."

:)

"Lie" is nowhere in there.

Damn, I Love that film. :)
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seafey Donating Member (204 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 10:22 AM
Response to Reply #7
18. Not to mention immigrants
For some reason I always hear SO much talk from them about immigrants being the problem! WTF?
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lostinacause Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-07-05 01:47 AM
Response to Reply #18
27. From a wage standpoint immigration can be bad.
Americans end up having to compete against workers who are willing to work for much less then they are. If there were no restrictions to the number of immigrants that enter America the wages would surely go down.
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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 08:49 PM
Response to Original message
9. I like this very much, because it goes with what I've been trying to
Edited on Sat Nov-05-05 09:06 PM by patrice
think about saying about "Social Programs" or the Responsibility the Group-entity has to each Individual, and awareness of Abuses, and what "Life" values mean especially in light of the fact that the Group Profits so much from the Work of individual. These are free persons, who's basic, self-evident, rights include self-determination of their own Lives/Economic worth.

Wage-slaves unite! There's a lot of Money being made off of you.

I agree Yavin4, "Government" defined as that which is one, or more, tool(s) of the people against the greater Economic powers, Corporate Citizens, in which few people have dis-proportionately large effect on Many Others + re-engineered Ratios of Few:Many : Many:Many. Government perceived in this manner would use empirical research to address the experiences of the People, one of Their Tools for Self-Research and Planning in Freire-ian (as in Paulo Freire) Communities.

I'm reading H. Zinn right now, so I think History supports what you are saying pretty clearly Yavin4, should include also the necessity of each Individual's economic rights in larger Economic Systems, the necessity of Government to improve the power-ratios with Social Benefits, like Medical Care and Social Security, the primacy of these values for Individuals in Economic Groups, ***to recognize the Responsibility of the Group to individual group members.***

Why would you have a Government otherwise? There is no other purpose I would want from government, only that it should create functional Tools for the Education and Benefit of the People.

Thanks Yavin4.
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jsamuel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 08:51 PM
Response to Original message
11. unless you consider that unborn child "other people"
Edited on Sat Nov-05-05 08:52 PM by jsamuel
that debate is not that simple my friend
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ErisFiveFingers Donating Member (354 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 08:45 AM
Response to Original message
17. Nice post. n/t
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Swede Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 11:48 AM
Response to Original message
20. Libre is the root word of liberal,it means freedom. Conserve is the root
of conservative,it means use sparingly.
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 03:24 PM
Response to Original message
21. Commie bastard! n/t
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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 03:37 PM
Response to Original message
23. Nah -- liberalism means you love smut and promote abortions
Just kidding. :)

Actually, that's a great definition.

Too bad the freepers and the fence straddlers can't get that through their thick skulls. Nobody who doesn't have a vested interest in protecting the powerful should be able to argue against those basic tenants. It's just common sense.

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DanCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-07-05 01:42 AM
Response to Original message
25. Very succint but I can break it down to three words. The golden rule .
I firmly believe that liberalism is the political equivalent to the golden rule - do unto others as they would do onto you.
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neebob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-07-05 02:54 AM
Response to Original message
28. I told my mother (who thinks it's bad to be liberal)
that it's just a belief in a society where laws enable everyone to live together in something resembling harmony and everyone is taken care of to some minimal degree.
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