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Monday, 29 October 2012

A 'Liberal' Dichotomy


Language changes, so do ideas, beliefs, our understanding of nature and our knowledge. Some ideas and beliefs do become untenable in the light of scientific discoveries, others are so deep rooted in a person's psyche that they cannot bring themselves to see any other point of view. This brings me to the "dichotomy" that has puzzled me for some time. Why is it that so many who proclaim themselves ideologically "liberal," adopt often extremely illiberal and intolerant positions? Why do they strive to shut down debate and often trot out the mantra that 'some freedoms/rights must be restricted' in order to promote others that have little foundation in either reality or, until recently, law?

The classic example is the "liberal" meme that labels anyone who disagrees with the latest 'liberal' idea or mantra as a 'fascist.' What drives so-called 'liberals' to seek out 'offence' everywhere they look? Surely, if the Oxford English Dictionary is correct in its definition of the word, a "liberal" is one who is tolerant of all points of view? One who is prepared to listen to someone else and seek accommodation? 

I would regard myself as a 'natural' conservative, but I would also consider myself as 'liberal' in many of my views. I don't agree with extremism in any of of its guises and I certainly do not support the suppression or oppression of any group on the grounds of race, creed, gender or sexual preference. Obviously there are things I draw the line at, and I would have to state that I don't believe in "revolution" as a tool for effective or long lasting change. Revolutions frequently cause more injustice and alienate more people than they benefit. Evolutionary change takes longer, but is often far more effective - but present day "liberals" seem to have adopted the concept that only a revolution can produce the Utopia they want as quickly as they want it. Again, we hit the dichotomy. When the pitfalls are pointed out, you get one of two responses - "those who won't be 'reasonable' about this must be marginalised" or "some people must lose out in order for the majority to benefit."

I always have a problem working out who the 'majority' are when, quite often, the evidence suggests the 'beneficiaries' will be fewer than 20% of any given population.

It does appear sometimes that in their pursuit of securing the 'rights' of some popular minority group or position they see as 'oppressed,' they are prepared to sacrifice the interests and the rights of the majority. It does frequently appear that "liberal" has become synonymous with dictatorial. Increasingly the stance of 'liberals' has become one of imposing a draconian regime to compel. Persuasion has been abandoned, and so has accommodation. Ancient 'rights' to freedom of expression, freedom of choice and even freedom of movement are now under threat. That last being one of the prime targets of the attempts to impose restrictions on travel in personal vehicles and force everyone - except the ruling and liberal elite - into public transport. 'Liberals' have invented a new range of 'rights' for criminals and minorities which, it appears, always trump the rights of the majority to see justice done or to exercise the right to dissent from the 'common ideal.'

This, then, is the dichotomy. It appears that 'liberalism' has adopted the tactics and the methods of the very ideology they purport to despise and wish to stamp out - fascism.

A truly liberal dichotomy. 

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