Liberal =/= Left

Credit Karma Johmy
Apr 17, 2018 16 Comments

Since Blind is full of people complaining about “those liberals” it might be useful to have a larger perspective on the term.

Historically both what people in the US call liberalism and conservatism as well as libertarianism are all liberals, just ones to the right or left within liberalism. The more accurate description is “center-Left” and “center-right”. Essentially both agree on the importance of the market-based nation-state, trade of various levels of regulation or not, and do not believe in fixed social hierarchies.

In a more practical description for the US, liberalism (also called social liberalism) believes things work fine but there need to be regulations to prevent abuses of power or corruption. Conservatives tend to believe that regulation is not as necessary but policing is needed to keep order. Libertarians tend to think the market by itself will sort it all out for the most part. The Left however believes that something more fundamental must change either through reforms or through social movements with the hard-left believing that this need to happen via peaceful or violent revolution. The right believes that society needs more hierarchy and order or that social hierarchy is inevitable and beneficial. The far-right believes that democracy is a barrier to this “natural/traditional/Divine” order.

I think liberalism is conflated with leftism for a couple of reasons. One, there is some overlap in ideas just like conservatism will overlap with the right. Two, there has been no distinct left-wing party in the US, so the DNC “big tent” is about the left supporting liberal politicians (I think a large chunk of liberal supporters have views much further left than the official Liberals in politics and think tanks etc.) Third, until recently the left was popularly on the decline while official liberalism moved to the right in the mid-80s onward. Although Sanders calls himself a socialist and comes out of the last major period of popular leftism, his proposals would not have been unusual from middle-of-the-road Democrats in the 70s or 80s. But today he seems like a maverick on the left-edge of mainstream politics.

This last point, I think is also why some conservatives and the right explode at even the most modest liberal policies or views - politics have shifted right for so long that they simply have not seen a popular left in their lifetime so a pro-wall Street warmonger like Clinton seems like a Left-wing commie feminazi yadda yadda yadda to them.

To self-described liberals, unless you are really a “socially liberal, economically conservative” moderate type, I’d encourage you not to moderate your views to what politicians and the media tell us is reasonable and what liberals need to compromise on before even trying to pass legislation. Obama took single-payer healthcare “off the table” before even proposing anything because the Dems claimed that they need to “reach across” to conservatives - guess what, we all know they attacked a Mitt Romney pro-insurance plan from Obama as crazy left wing death panel madness. Who goes into any negotiation by offering the compromise version first?

To self-described conservatives: the next time you want to rant about liberals, remember that the population who support liberalism are actually to the left of the DNC and US liberalism is essentially the largest barricade against a left-wing movement in the US - mainstream liberals are your friends.

That is all - just a little perspective on a semantic pet-peeve. You can resume whining about “libtards” now.

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TOP 16 Comments
  • Capital One / Eng Nigiri
    Good post but you're still a Libtard Cuck.

    ❤️
    Apr 17, 2018 1
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      Lol! Thanks.

      On a side note “cuck” is so quaint, isn’t it? It always makes me imagine some Victorian mutton-chop dude fumbling with his monocle in a panic... 🧐 oh good heavens, what a scandal!
      Apr 17, 2018
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • People like you are the problem.

      Voting for someone who ends up losing is not a “wasted vote”. This whole concept of wasted votes is propaganda.
      Apr 17, 2018
    • You’re not considering the effects on behavior of the two major parties when you vote third party.

      What do you think Al Gore thought of third party voters in Florida?

      The option to vote third party or even voting against your views is akin to MAD, and can positively affect the quality of election results.
      Apr 17, 2018
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      I think both of you are correct. I have only voted 3rd party but I recognize that’s it a total uphill battle. Not only do Left voters feel pressure to vote for a Democrat lesser-evil, not only are grassroots left parties not going to get the corporate cash of their competitors, but the whole election system is maintained by the two parties (neither of which have internal membership-based democracy like some parties in other countries) who have no interest in giving any room to anyone else.

      But it’s also a catch-22 because you can’t have an alternative without actually trying to build and support it. Lesser-evils, at best, just defer what people actually want off into the horizon.

      For a long time I believed that the way around this impasse is a party more like a social movement. That way campaigning for elections is connected to actual efforts that help people even if the electoral effort fails. At the same time community organizing would give a campaign visibility and help prevent the kinds of (in my experience, untrue) attacks on groups like the Green Party that they “only show up for elections... only looking for fame...” or whatever.

      But IDK, I’m feeling a little more cynical about elections in general these days... something something 2016 :D
      Apr 17, 2018
  • Microsoft Lotl
    Great post. Take my like.
    Apr 17, 2018 0
  • Apple / Eng TaxPayer
    Wtf... I don’t come to blind to read stuff that’s going to need this kind of reflection....
    Apr 17, 2018 1
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      Lol, sorry - I was having a really long poo when I wrote that.
      Apr 17, 2018
  • Palantir / Eng Smurf0
    I don’t think people actually care about these differences. People just want a group to hate on / blame things on / etc and they want it to be simple. Hence they lump it all into one category.
    Apr 18, 2018 0
  • Uber DAmZP3
    Liberal does not mean what the word liberal used to mean.
    Liberal means "those people". Now you can only decide are you with them or not.
    Apr 19, 2018 0
  • Teva edOs26
    I’m socially liberal, fiscally conservative. Freedom is my credo. Trusting people is my credo. Liberals have my support as long as they don’t 1- increase my taxes to pay for idiotic short sighted ideas that will ultimately make whatever problem they are trying to solve worse, or 2- take away freedoms from law abiding people in order to prevent bad people from doing evil things.

    Both of these are stupid. I think many of the “left” are naive and poorly educated on history.

    Libertarian party is too weak to win.

    So I vote republican.
    Apr 18, 2018 1
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      Don’t 1 & 2 both fit with things like the Iraq war or the war on drugs? Aren’t these are bi-partisan?
      Apr 18, 2018
  • HealthNow / Eng Plateaux
    Man that was better than a math textbook at putting me to sleep
    Apr 18, 2018 0
  • It's a wasted vote. DNC vote is split with small parties, GOP is alone on the bible bashing side.
    A vote for x is a vote for GOP.

    If only two parties then maybe DNC would have won. If proportional voting then maybe the DNC forms a majority with other parties
    Apr 17, 2018 1
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      I guess it’s wasted depending on what someone’s objective is.

      If the goal is harm reduction then there’s a decent chance the Republican can be defeated. But if the goal is to change the direction of politics in the US or win progressive or left-wing or even liberal, really, policies, then harm-reduction or lesser-evil voting has not been effective in at least the last several decades. Instead each election cycle liberals are defending the same political ground while Republicans (and conservative Democrats) continuously chip away at it. The result are things like preventing abortion rights from being overturned but access to abortion shrunk to a level where it is practically inaccessible for some people.

      So, for the left, we’re stuck in a situation where if we vote for moderate Democrats, we loose ground slowly, and have no vehicle for pushing our politics forward. Leftists inside the Democrats (Jesse Jackson’s coalition in the past, Sanders supporters today) are bureaucratically marginalized and taken for granted (trotted out during elections to fire up the base, then returned to party irrelevance after) so I don’t think that’s viable. At the same time an alternative party can’t materialize overnight, so what is to be done?
      Apr 17, 2018
  • Uber DAmZP3
    Whatever you say, liberals are bad and we vote Trump&GOP.
    Apr 18, 2018 0

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