Wednesday, January 24, 2007

There Will Always Be A Need for Liberal Views

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One of my readers, Chief, posted the following as a comment at Mahablog:

We’ve moved recently, to a slightly smaller house, and in the unpacking process I came across the following:

St Louis Post-Dispatch dated Sunday, July 23, 1995 a short piece by Ed Higgins titled “Editorial View: Always Need For Liberal Views.” (Mr. Higgins was the editor of the Post-Dispatch editorial page and he was asked “whether his staff members still consider themselves liberals.”

Mr. Higgins responded, “Fashion not withstanding, the Post-Dispatch editorial page remains resolutely liberal, which is to say that we continue to believe in the perfectibility of man, in basic human rights and in using government to promote political equality, economic opportunity and social justice.’

“Though we do not change our basic principles with changing times, we do re-evaluate our positions to determine whether the initiatives were appropriate under one set of political and economic conditions are appropriate under another. For example, breathtaking changes in telecommunications mean there is less need for the strict industry regulation we supported in the past.”

“Liberalism has done a great deal for this country: Social Security, wage-and-hour laws, broadening of political rights, environmental safeguards and protections for civil liberties. And, in my opinion, were it not for liberalism, ours would be a less compassionate and less tolerant society.”

“Times may have changed and liberalism may be out of favor at the moment, but there will always be a need for the values it embodies; sooner or later people will again embrace a liberal outlook.”

Today's conservatives like to say that they are "optimists" -- always happy, cheerful, hopeful, and enjoying life -- and that liberals are "pessimists" -- filled with gloom and doom, naysayers, obstructionists, etc. But the truth is more the reverse: liberals believe that human nature is essentially good; that people everywhere want pretty much the same things: food on the table, loving family and friends, the blessing of being understood and accepted for who and what they are, a chance to learn and grow and improve themselves. Culture and religious practice are shaped by circumstance and history, not the other way around. Liberals believe that the purpose of government is to ameliorate the inequalities and evils that spring from that circumstance and history. If Americans are a "compassionate and generous people" as Pres. Bush is always saying -- most recently last night in the SOTU address -- it is because of liberalism.

1 comment:

Chief said...

To further amplify: Any large corporation, any multi-national corp has more than enough money to use to influence policy and law makers.

The average and even the rich citizen cannot come close to the amount of money it takes to effect policy changes.

Government is not the problem. The problem is big business worshiping at the 'Alter of the Bottom Line.'

This is the case where government can level the playing field for the common folk.