Core liberal values

(9AM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

Freedom of (and from) religion is a core liberal value.  There are good reasons why core liberal values are fundamentally American values embodied in our Constitution deriving directly from Enlightenment philosophy.  The following anti-rational, blindly racist and stupidly insular sentiment (emotional outburst?) common to current right wing “thinking” is decidedly anti- or counter-Enlightenment in its expression on so many levels as to be automatically revolting to a modern, liberal mind:

“Everything I ever needed to know about Islam I learned on 9/11”


Liberalism defines modernity.  The exact specification of liberalism will vary between taxonomists, but some very general themes emerge from a period of time designated as the Enlightenment.

By my provisional tally, liberal or Enlightenment values include the assumption of universal foundations in humanity (all humans are created equal, have a common human nature and are of equal moral worth and status), the reliance on reason (think for yourself, question blind obedience to church and state), the value of individual autonomy (personal freedom, self/democratic rule, freedom from slavery or enthrallment to arbitrary authority), the centrality of economics to society (individual property rights, self-interested competition in fluid markets, taxes, and the need for governmental regulation), and a belief in progress (e.g., evolving from faith or blind obedience to reasoned, personal enlightenment, improvements in social structure via self-rule and free trade).

In short, maintaining social cohesion through arbitrary authority (The divine rule of Churches and Kings) was rejected in favor of self-rule through a reasoned and mutually agreed upon social contract in which individual freedom and social cohesion were thought to be optimized.  For those things that we must agree upon mutually, we rely on reasoned agreement, we set up a game fair to all, no matter how the table is turned.  For maximizing individual autonomy, we allow one another to get our subjective freak on however one likes, as long as it doesn’t impinge on the mutually contracted social agreement, helping to satisfy our urges for idiosyncratic emotional and spiritual subjectivities that arise by design or accident from a universal human nature.

There have since been post-modern attacks on modernity and liberalism, but we can argue about those at a later time.  Currently, we live under a modern, liberal social contract.

If Howard Dean, Harry Reid, or anyone else wants to re-write the Constitution, we have a mutually agreed upon process for changing our core liberal values.

As far as I know, no laws currently prevent Howard and Harry from holding a seminar with Pam Geller on the evolution of Abrahamic monotheism during our military and cultural assault on other parts of the world, so let them get their personal freaks on in that respect, but they should quit informally fucking around with basic Constitutional rights.  


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  1. who think “liberalism is a mental disorder,” the second most recommended google search when you type in “liberalism.”

    It’s like they have their brains in backwards.  We’re obviously talking past one another, but if they don’t get liberalism, then they don’t get the Constitution, which explains a lot.

    • Edger on August 20, 2010 at 10:22

    The Anonymous Liberal uses in his banner:

    “The essence of the Liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment.”

    -Bertrand Russell

    It’s being able to learn and grow and embrace new knowledge. It’s lack of fear of the world, and especially of fear itself. It’s being appreciative of the differences in peoples and enjoying them for who they are, not judging them for what they are not.

    In fact the only things I can think of that liberals won’t tolerate are intolerance, hate, and bigotry, and people who try to pass them off as “points of view” deserving of equal consideration… and the inability or unwillingness to understand Russell’s statement.

  2. I mean, that someone would take the time, effort, and cash to do that….. sick.

  3. “Everything I needed to know about Christianity I learned on 8/6”                                       1945

    Maybe: Substitute Saudi Arabia and the United States?

         but that makes us think of other things

         So Bertrand Russelish

  4. bill of rights. It is , in part and only a part, a result of it.

        Studying democracy will reveal that one of its  many shortcomings is a tendency towards conservatism. Others are militarism, disregard for minorities and immigrants and warlike tendencies.

         The rhetorical war that D’s are engaged in with R’s is a phony war, a for profit war and is not a struggle for human rights and social justice. Dean may like it to be so but only local community activism that competes with the private sector in creating jobs will have enough credibility to persuade a population beholden to plutocrats and the power establishment. (More on that another time)

           Time and money given to the party is a waste and a distraction from building your community. Wrath is misplaced as is most wrath. The era of meaningful protest is over because there is not enough democracy left to protect it. It only nurtures the right wing hate machine; local community efforts that produce social justice will discredit conservatives, not counter volleys of rhetoric that strengthen them. Get smart, ask yourself what exactly you are accomplishing.

         Of course, you don’t understand conservatism because you don’t stand for it. But, it is easy to describe; it is cynicism, nihilism, political dominance, incoherence and self destruction.

         The rhetorical war that D’s are engaged in with R’s is a phony war, a for profit war and is not a struggle for human rights and social justice. Dean may like it to be so but only local community activism that competes with the private sector in creating jobs will have enough credibility to persuade a population beholden to plutocrats and the power establishment.


  5. Are you a little quick on the trigger? What you apparently have in common with ARC is mistaking the obvious for the essential or just seeing your own comments or not really having one.

        You used a double negative, so I’m not sure what your hurriedly composed response means.I never said anything about what kind of document the constitution was.


           Confusion reigns because many D’s will not accept that the 18th century concept of a rational government is a legacy branch sharing power with the non elected financial establishment oligarchy and the even bigger non elected power establishment. They see chaos and have simple minded, emotional responses to it.  I cannot respect that nor will I fall into the trap and contribute rhetorical response of indignation that only nurture the right wing hate machine.

       The right wingers find it funny that Liberals are so willing to make fools of themselves, I do not.

       Electoral politics is a dead end, there is work that has practical concrete and local effects and people are wasting the motivation that anger can produce on the right. It is disgusting.

  6. but if your pride in being an authority on Liberalism drives you to pick the fly shit out of the pepper, go ahead.

        The point is, electoral politics is a dead end. It is a perversion of its original function which is narrow but important in a democracy.

       Partisan fighting or cheerleading is a waste of money and time that can be better spent in a community struggle for social justice.

         From that, a Liberal point of view or progressivism will be historically recognized as happened like the constitution and bill of rights not the bullshit stories advanced by pols of all sizes and shapes seeking political dominance.

        Regardless of justifications advanced, that quest for political dominance is a neocon tactic.

    • RUKind on August 21, 2010 at 03:50

    I learned when they elected a Hitler Youth pedophile enabler. At best.

    And I graduated from a Catholic high school – agnostic.

    Actually, that Confederate flag in the guy’s rear window represents racist, anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic values.

    Add in Islam and anyone with a GED or better and this guy has some problems.

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