Why are you Liberal?

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posted on Apr, 19 2007 @ 10:34 AM
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Because my opinion isn't the "be all- end all."

That's also why I'm an ATS member.

[edit on 19-4-2007 by Rasobasi420]




posted on Apr, 19 2007 @ 02:14 PM
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Good Question!!!!

Growing up and during college I was much more towards the right and very republican. It wasn't until after college that I spent some time backpacking around the world immediately after Sept. 11 and actually begun to saw how the world truly is, that when I returned I was very, very liberal.

To be honest, I think the only reason that I sided with the republican right, was because all my high school and most of my college friends were. I think during college and actually taking some good courses on government and the dark history of the United States is and actually started to question things.



posted on Apr, 21 2007 @ 12:10 PM
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IMO it's really simple:

Liberal: One who favors innovation and change to address social issues

Conservative: One who opposes change and prefers to deal with social issues in the same way as past generations rather than innovate

This gets away from the jingoism of the talk shows. In the 60's liberals were for increased rights for women, gays, minorities, a progressive tax code, government intervention to help the poor, students, etc. Conservatives were in favor of the status quo (as of 1920), ie, no income tax, no student loans, no rights for women. blacks, gays. Sort of where they want to go now.

Modern "conservatism" is actually liberalism in the true sense of the word in that the so-called conservatives are trying to legislate behavior.



posted on May, 1 2007 @ 08:59 AM
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I am a liberal because I embrace tolerance and feel that we all have to live in this world together. Why not help each other out?



posted on May, 2 2007 @ 09:00 PM
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I grew up believing John Kennedy’s famous, “Ask not what your country can do for you; rather ask what you can do for your country.” I grew up believing Martin Luther King Jr.’s, “I have a dream.” I grew up believing, “All you need is love.” I grew up believing the Earth is all we have so we’d better take care of it because moving is not an option. Besides, what good are property rights if the land is poisoned and cannot support life? I grew up believing that to change the world you must change hearts and minds first. I still believe these things. I believe that society is not just an aggregate of business concerns but a community of people. I believe that until the needs of all the people; from the mansion to the hovel are met, nothing will change. I believe that unless it is applied equally, there is no justice. I believe that if you truly want to help the poor, then they must be given a reason to hope. Because without hope why should they care, much less even try? I believe as the Rig-Veda said almost five thousand years ago, “Truth is one, sages call it by various names.” I believe that the truth of a religion is in whether it leads the heart to God, and that only the individual can determine that. In short, I am a liberal and proud of it. And, at this late date see no reason to change. I refuse to accept a grim hearted conservatism that has perverted Kennedy’s call to public service to read, ask not what you can do for your country, rather ask what tax cut and bailout your country can give to you.

I am sick and tired of liberal being used as an insult, a dirty word, and a scapegoat. We have a long and honorable history. Work eight hours a day, forty hours a week? Thank a liberal. Are you on Social Security and Medicare or Medicaid? Thank a liberal. If the air and water are cleaner today than thirty years ago, thank a liberal. A minimum wage other than what the bosses can get away with paying, safer workplaces and public education, unemployment insurance? Thank a liberal. Conservatives didn’t give us these things, indeed they fought them tooth and nail. In fact they still are and would eliminate or privatize them entirely if they thought they could get away with it and God knows they are trying. I will end my days objecting as vigorously as I can to their cold-eyed reptilian world-view until they cart me away to the re-education camps. I cannot even call them “The Right” anymore, they are so wrong.

When all the rhetoric is stripped away, the purpose of government is to provide a safe place to raise crops and children. The rest is merely icing on the cake. The question is, what is that a mandate for? Is it solely a mandate for internal policing and external defense leaving everything else up to a laissez-faire marketplace and the individual? Or, is it a mandate for broader social and environmental concerns as well? For the conservative the answer is yes to the first question. For the liberal the answer is yes to second also. Put another way, the conservatives claim the rights and freedoms of the individual are deemed paramount. For the liberal, the rights and freedom of the individual must segue with, and at some point give way to the greater concerns of community. The environment is a classic example of this.

The rape and pillage of the Earth is foolhardy at best and self-destructive in the long run. It boils down to this; unless we are willing to accept a massive die off of the human race to bring our population more in line with what the Earth’s resources can comfortably support, or change our lifestyles so that the resources we have are distributed more equitably, then we must nurture what we have. Already whole fisheries are collapsing and the rain forests, our main source of oxygen, are being destroyed at an alarming rate. The polar ozone holes are growing larger, the Earth is warming and deserts are spreading devouring precious crop lands. These events should be outside the realm of politics and be a matter of great concern to all of humanity. It is morally wrong to assert that the common resources that we all need and share can be owned by any one person or corporation and exploited for short term profits. This narrow minded vision will only lead to disaster. Chief Seattle said, ”The Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth.” The planet and all that is on it must be nurtured for all and held as a common inheritance. After all, if we waste and lay bare the Earth then we are, simply put, doomed. There is no other Earth to move to. Ways must be developed to cultivate what we have for the good of all and come up with alternatives for what we lack. If we must talk profits, to do so would reap in the long run far greater profits, to fail to do so will only reap the whirlwind.

Way too many are poor and way too many are starving, if not for food then for meaning, direction and hope in their lives. In the glaring disparity between the have’s and the have not, the seeds of hatred are sown. The extremes are vast. When the poverty level here in the United States would support a person like royalty in many parts of the world, something is terribly wrong. And, to add insult on top of injury, many of the well off here resent the poor their needs. When too many people are hungry and the talk of hope cruel, when justice is only for those who have, when whole communities have nothing left to lose, watch out. Desperation breeds desperate measure as terrorism has shown us. Underneath the global veneer of Nike, Disney, McDonald’s and Wal-mart, the old cultures and civilizations still exist and for many, they are still worth fighting and dying for.

If we really want to fight terrorism then we need to fight it by supporting responsible governments answerable to their people not to international corporations. Give real assistance to the poor in the form of honorable and decent ways of making a living, not a 10 cent (or less) an hour job in a Nike sweat shop or worse. Don’t pillage their environment and heritage in the search of a quick profit. Respect cultural traditions and treat people honorably and with justice. Fighting terrorism with bullets and bombs will achieve nothing but more bullets and bombs. The sad history of Israel has shown us that.

True justice happens when it is applied equally and the playing field is level. True justice happens when race, gender, sexual preference or nationality means no more or less than the color of an eye. True justice happens when the smallest and poorest among us can stand up and have their voices heard. True justice happens when it is finally realized it is the people not corporations that really matter. Whoever said the bottom line is profits lied. The real bottom line is people. If those who actually do all the work aren’t happy then they won’t do a good job or give good service. And, if the customer isn’t happy, there will be no profits. The same is true of wages, if workers are underpaid and can barely survive then they can’t afford to buy. Even those who think only of gains and losses should be able to realize that. People must be given a reason to hope and something to aspire towards and a minimum wage job at Wal-mart or McDonald’s isn’t it. Finally, true justice happens when we realize that no man is an island, that we are all in this together and that the fate of the least of us matters too.

Does that answer your question?



posted on May, 2 2007 @ 10:12 PM
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Garrison Keillor said it well (he usually does) in his book "Homegrown Democrat"... in it he said that he was a liberal because he was grateful.



posted on May, 24 2007 @ 06:04 AM
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I have no other choice

I am a liberal because of my personal experience.

I grew up in a socially conservative society that bound and repressed me at every turn. I grew to abhor conservatism and regard it as morally repellent. I agree with Bertrand Russel that there is no ethical justification for it.

My socially conservative country also had an episode of socialist government, the hangover from which is still felt today. The experience made me a lifelong enemy of any form of collectivism whatsoever.

Socialism and conservatism both emphasize the welfare and security of the community at the expense of the individual. I reject them both becuase I am a passionate believer in the value of the individual. Liberalism is my only rational choice.



posted on May, 24 2007 @ 12:38 PM
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I am a 'Liberal,' as the term goes in the USA.

I believe it is my right to be friends with who I want, regardless of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, nationality, income bracket, or political view.

I believe it is my right to have access to information from sources free of political pressure from Governments and Corporate powers..

I believe it is my DUTY, as a Patriot, to question the Government of the United Kingdom, and its BLATANTLY unsavoury dealings around the world. And asking questions gets you labelled a Liberal these days, so thats me.

I am pro choice regarding abortion. I feel that if the baby cannot be looked after properly, or the mother or the baby will suffer physically or mentally, or if the child is the product of things such as rape, then it is perfectly within the mothers right to choose.

I believe in ACCOUNTABILITY. This goes for Politicians, Corporations, Civil Servants, EVERYONE. Conservatives in the US do not seem to believe in this, and neither do the centre-right PseudoSocialists of the UK's New Labour, and they defend their corrupt leaders to the hilt. This in spite of blatant lies and corruption.

I believe Religion has no place in Politics. We all know what happened when two leaders imagined their 'God' told them to start a war...

I believe Corporatism has no place in Politics. We all know what happened when a bunch of tycoons pocketed key politicians in the US and UK...

I believe in Science. I believe that Science can be a better aid to us in key issues such as Global Warming than just simply taxing people. I believe that the BILLIONS that Governments and Corporations spend in setting up a new oil field for example, could present us a realistic cleaner energy tech in a pretty sharpish fashion, or even, for starters, cleaner versions of what we have now. On this front, I would encourage fellow 'Liberals' to go and see my good friend, Loremo, at www.loremo.com... , and also, see Loremo's stats at www.loremo.com... . I also believe that Stem Cell Therapy is going to improve many lives, an example being it will help improve sight to those with sight difficulties, and maybe even give sight to those who are blind.

I have compassion, something I find most Conservatives lack. The Pro Life Crowd, I feel, are hypocrites, and I bet most, if not all, would change their opinions were they placed in the situation that many women who visit Abortion Clinics face. The Pro War Crowd, I feel, are hypocrites, and I bet most, if not all, would feel anger and resentment towards a foreign nation that came to their country and bombed their cities and towns, and harmed their children through indiscriminate use of force, destroyed their nation's infratructure, let loose many hundreds of terrorists and criminals into the streets, and placed a meaningless, impotent puppet government in power. The Anti-Poor, Anti Social Support Crowd, I feel, are hypocrites, and I bet that they would want help from their government and fellow citizens if their luck was down due to no fault of their own.

I believe in freedom of religion. Faith is a spiritual thing, if you don't feel the touch of whatever God is the hottest one to follow this century, then you don't feel it. To say you do when you don't is just you lying to yourself.

Lastly, I believe in being allowed to determine my own destiny, being allowed to aim for the goals I want to aim for, as long as they are socially responsible.

And that's me, as a Liberal.



posted on May, 24 2007 @ 10:24 PM
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I am a Liberal because I'm too stupid and uneducated to learn anything about economics, and therefore think that socialistic policies will somehow make people richer.



posted on May, 24 2007 @ 10:29 PM
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Originally posted by Johnmike
I am a Liberal because I'm too stupid and uneducated to learn anything about economics, and therefore think that socialistic policies will somehow make people richer.



And that adds to this discussion how?



posted on May, 28 2007 @ 02:17 AM
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Originally posted by iori_komei


Originally posted by Johnmike
I am a Liberal because (I)... think that socialistic policies will somehow make people richer.

And that adds to this discussion how?

While not necessarily siding with Johnmike, I would submit that it adds to the discussion in the following way.

Americans think of communism in much the same way as they think of the Devil, and they think of socialism as the Devil in disguise.

Thus Americans who espouse the collectivist principles of socialism dare not call themselves socialists; to do so would be to ensure the opprobrium of their neighbours, the unwelcome attention of the authorities and the immediate failure of their programme.

Therefore American socialists have hijacked the word 'liberal' and used it to describe themselves. A large number of American 'liberals' -- the majority, I believe -- use this deception. Johnmike's contribution is to expose the deception and to highlight the fact that different participants in this thread have different ideas of what it means to be a liberal.

As for American socialists, I don't know if they are even aware that they practise to deceive; take this statement from grover:


For the liberal, the rights and freedom of the individual must segue with, and at some point give way to the greater concerns of community.

This is simply not true, as any reader of fundamental liberal texts such as John Stuart Mill's On Liberty knows. Liberalism is all about the defence of the individual against the state. This is a million miles away from 'small-government conservatism' or libertarian fantasies of the death of the state. One of the principles of liberalism is concern for those who, through no fault of their own, do not do well under the system, but that is very different from exalting the collective at the expense of the individual. What grover is proposing, whether he or she knows it or not, is an obnoxious perversion of democracy known as dictatorship of the majority.

j_kalin said earlier that the American conservative position was closer to true liberalism than the American liberal position is. I don't agree with that statement -- I think American conservatism is awfully illiberal -- but I do agree that the American definition of 'liberal' is distorted, in the fashion I have explained above.

[edit on 28-5-2007 by Astyanax]



posted on May, 28 2007 @ 03:00 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
Americans think of communism in much the same way as they think of the Devil, and they think of socialism as the Devil in disguise.


I'll agree with that.




Thus Americans who espouse the collectivist principles of socialism dare not call themselves socialists; to do so would be to ensure the opprobrium of their neighbours, the unwelcome attention of the authorities and the immediate failure of their programme.


I don't think that's the case for the majority.
Case in point
I am a Socialist, and i tell anyone who asks, I honestly don't care what they think.




Therefore American socialists have hijacked the word 'liberal' and used it to describe themselves.


You can't really hijack a word, the modern definition of Liberal is based on the ideologies
of the New Deal and a Libertarian stance on social issues.




Johnmike's contribution is to expose the deception and to highlight the fact that different participants in this thread have different ideas of what it means to be a liberal.


His 'contribution' if it can even be called that was not meant to do anything except
be insulting, he hates anything that does'nt fit into his little idea of what the world should
be like, and so insults things he does'nt like.




j_kalin said earlier that the American conservative position was closer to true liberalism than the American liberal position is. I don't agree with that statement -- I think American conservatism is awfully illiberal -- but I do agree that the American definition of 'liberal' is distorted, in the fashion I have explained above.


The definition of words change over time, it's part of natural lingual evolution,
Classical liberalism is what we today call Libertarianism.

Modern Liberalism is more akin to Democratic Libertarian Socialism.



posted on May, 28 2007 @ 03:44 AM
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Originally posted by iori_komei
The definition of words change over time, it's part of natural lingual evolution,
Classical liberalism is what we today call Libertarianism.

You're wrong, I'm afraid. These are standard definitions in political science. The usages of lay persons are irrelevant.


I am a Socialist, and i tell anyone who asks, I honestly don't care what they think.

The point is that those who wish to change society must care what people think, because that is the lever through which change is effected.

You are -- dare I speculate -- young and possess only marginal economic and political influence. Nobody really cares what you say you are. But grow a little older, get politically active with a genuine programme to promote socialism, and just see how far your neighbours and the government will let you go.

[edit on 28-5-2007 by Astyanax]



posted on Jun, 3 2007 @ 07:00 PM
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grover:

For the liberal, the rights and freedom of the individual must segue with, and at some point give way to the greater concerns of community.



This is simply not true, as any reader of fundamental liberal texts such as John Stuart Mill's On Liberty knows. Liberalism is all about the defence of the individual against the state. This is a million miles away from 'small-government conservatism' or libertarian fantasies of the death of the state. One of the principles of liberalism is concern for those who, through no fault of their own, do not do well under the system, but that is very different from exalting the collective at the expense of the individual. What grover is proposing, whether he or she knows it or not, is an obnoxious perversion of democracy known as dictatorship of the majority.



(1) I stand by my statement... there has to be a place where rugged individualism and communitarianism meet and each give way to the other. THAT is NOT a dictatorship of the majority it is an acceptance that there is a place where individual rights give way to the needs of community and the demands of community step back and allow the individual precedence.

(2) Given modern American conservatism in the guise of the Republican party penchant for meddling in individual rights such as a woman's right to chose, among others, liberalism still stands in opposition to the monolithic state. A stance that the Republicans falsely claim as their own.


[edit on 3-6-2007 by grover]



posted on Jun, 4 2007 @ 03:25 AM
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The basic premises of liberalism


Originally posted by grover
There has to be a place where rugged individualism and communitarianism meet and each give way to the other. THAT is NOT a dictatorship of the majority it is an acceptance that there is a place where individual rights give way to the needs of community and the demands of community step back and allow the individual precedence.

Your response betrays a certain confusion. I urge you to read John Stuart Mill's essay on liberty and find out what being a liberal really means. Pay particular attention to the phrase tyranny of the majority.

Meanwhile, you may find this page useful. It contains a brief exposition of the real differences between different political positions as well as a mention of the objections to Mill (see what you think of them).



posted on Jun, 4 2007 @ 06:47 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
The basic premises of liberalism


Originally posted by grover
There has to be a place where rugged individualism and communitarianism meet and each give way to the other. THAT is NOT a dictatorship of the majority it is an acceptance that there is a place where individual rights give way to the needs of community and the demands of community step back and allow the individual precedence.

Your response betrays a certain confusion. I urge you to read John Stuart Mill's essay on liberty and find out what being a liberal really means. Pay particular attention to the phrase tyranny of the majority.
.


I have read Mills thank you very much and I know exactly what I was trying to say.

You fail to emphasize the second part of of my sentence and so take it out of context:
and the demands of community step back and allow the individual precedence

There are plenty of points where the individual rights give way to the demands of community and equally there are plenty of points where the needs of community give way to the rights of the individual... simple examples would be are you allowed to drive as fast as you want on whatever side of the road you like? No of course not... the need for order on the road (community) imposes on your desire to floor it. Conversely does the state tell you which position to make love to your wife in? Of Course not...in such matters the desires (pardon the pun) of the individual becomes paramount.

While those are very simple examples the point I was trying to make in matters such as the land owner (or business owner's ) right to do what they want on their own property by needs be limited by their effect on the community around them. Should I be allowed to dump toxic wastes on my property (individual right) when it leaches into the water table (needs of community)... from what I have seen and heard from some conservatives they would assert that yes if I want to I should be able to dump those wastes indiscriminately without regard to community because to do so would be to impose on individual rights. But in asserting your rights to be a pig, you interfere with the communities right to have clean and safe drinking water.

Examples such as this could go on and on. When I said that when all is said and done the purpose of government is to provide a safe place to raise crops and children that is a stripping the issue down to its bare bones. The same is true when I said that the question is then is that a mandate solely for police and military action leaving everything else up to to the individual, (an Ayn Randian assertion) or is it a mandate for a greater range of protections such as environmental protections... those are basic questions about the nature of government involvement or activitism that dog us to this day.

It is not a dictatorship of the majority.



posted on Jun, 4 2007 @ 11:49 AM
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At the core of the liberal idea lies... what?


Originally posted by grover
I have read Mills thank you very much and I know exactly what I was trying to say.

That's good, it means we both know exactly what we're trying to say.

Your conception of liberalism appears to include some concept of the duties of an individual with respect to the community. You've said as much.

This conception may be either conservative or socialist -- both groups consider society, or the community, as something that needs to be maintained in its own right -- but it is certainly not liberal.

At the core of liberalism is the concept of the value and sovreignity (over herself) of the individual.

The community may only make demands on the individual when she endangers, or is likely to endanger, another individual. The term 'danger' may be fairly liberally -- what else? -- interpreted. In a liberal society it is individuals, not society or the community, that have rights and expectations of one another. This is vitally important to remember.

Since some kind of constituted authority must evolve in order to ensure the enjoyment of these rights and the discharge of these expectations, and because many of them are discharged and enjoyed collectively, it may appear that the distinction I am drawing is largely semantic.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

It is the appeal to community -- to race, to religion, to 'family values', to the motherland, to the purity of the volk -- that leads ultimately to tyranny. The liberal safeguard against this is the sanctity of the individual. That is what is eroded when we begin to talk in terms of familes, tribes, communities and society instead of men and women.

No sane, sensible liberal would quarrel with the strictures you propose as examples, grover. Uninhibited driving is a danger to other road users (individuals). Uninhibited pollution endanges the livelihoods of farmers (and much else), while contaminated crops poison people. These are all dangers to individuals. Therefore those who wish to do these things must curb their desires, or have them curbed by others.

You fear that liberalism, so expressed, may degenerate into libertarianism. It cannot if the liberal principle is clearly understood. Libertarianism is all about the freedom of the individual who's doing the talking; it ignores or forgets the freedoms and rights of all other individuals. Libertarianism is liberalism with rampant egomania.

I agree that government and law enforcement are necessary to prevent the war of all against all. Such a war, the seeming opposite of a dictatorship of the majority, is also, paradoxically, its inevitable outcome. Libertarians seem not to realize this, or to want to hasten the process.



posted on Jun, 4 2007 @ 01:15 PM
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Classic liberalism, has not, as far as I can tell ever really been part of the political liberalism of this country, or for that matter any other either. The same could be said about the philosophers that have inspired the conservative thought process as well.

What we have then, at least in this country are two center parties, one slightly left of and the other slightly right thereof. In both cases there have been far left and right factions. The big difference is that the far left faction NEVER had a chance at real power in this country; at every turn where it could have, it was suppressed; by the red scare at the end of WW1... McCarthyism in the early 50's and the crack down on the radical left in the 70's. However at the same time the far right of the conservative movement has methodically planned and made its grab for power. It has not completely succeeded and the odds are it won't either but that has not changed the fact that since 1994, they have radically altered the nature of the interface between individual and government and not to the benefit of the individual. In both administrations in which the right was dominate (in my life time) Reagan, and bush minor's, the country has been left with massive deficits and a far larger government footprint than before they took office. In both cases however the right has claimed to have done the exact opposite. The liberals in this country in the meantime have been stymied by the conservatives seeming success and have, to their detriment tried to mimic them.

People do not want a choice between conservative and conservative lite, or even liberal vs liberal lite... they want honest and distinct choices and this is one of the main reasons why voting is on the decline in this country, a lack of a viable choice. If you read a script written for a center left candidate besides one written for a center right candidate, and without the name or party attached, a soul would be hard pressed to tell the difference and this does not bode well for the country.

ALL political theories that I have read, except perhaps that of Ayn Rand (lousy writer), socialist, capitalist, liberal or conservative agrees on the interface between the individual and community, and there cannot really be any form of community without such an interface. Rands extreme individual against the world fantasies have no place in a real world.

If anything my personal political thought leans heavily towards social liberalism with a heavy dose of Fabian socialism thrown in for good measure.


[edit on 4-6-2007 by grover]



posted on Jun, 5 2007 @ 12:48 PM
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Why, again


Originally posted by grover
Classic liberalism, has not, as far as I can tell ever really been part of the political liberalism of this country, or for that matter any other either.

England.

The Constitution of the United States of America is also a liberal document.

Alexis de Tocqueville wrote a book about it, including an examination of the problems over the long term. He predicted that the provisions of the Constitution would, over time, lead inevitably to concentration of power in the hands of the Executive.

There are other countries too. India, at root, has a pretty liberal system of government, though the socialist policies of the Congress party and its lefit-wing allies have tended to disguise that for most of its history as an independent state.

I am not English or American, neither am I Indian. I grew up in a harder political school. I have experienced liberal democracy and many of its alternatives. I know which one I choose.

That is why, as I state above, I am a liberal.



posted on Jun, 5 2007 @ 01:04 PM
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I don't know that any of those countries had (or have) a "true" classic liberalism. Most I would say practice a form of social liberalism. The thing is philosophical writings such as Mills are idealistic, when it comes to putting them into practice, is where they either get diluted or corrupted. I have a strong distrust of putting any form of ideology into practice, including my own. I would rather a pragmatist any day. We are currently experincing in the United States what happens when people or party put ideology above and beyond everything else and it is not pretty. I have read Democracy in America and I know our constitution is a "very liberal document" despite claims of those who say it is not.





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