Liberalism Is a Fallacy

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Punk
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Liberalism Is a Fallacy

[i]by John Trail [/i]
[b]Liberalism is a fallacy....[/b]
[i]April 15, 2007 01:58 PM EST[/i]

Pondering deeply the dark cloud of confusion, division, and instability that I see communicated through so many channels. The obscene violation of truth by the Democratic Party, the embracing of socialism, communism, and the alliance with the enemies of the Untied States of America, and everything that this country truly holds dear.

Liberalism, is a fallacy of privilege without responsibility, honor without character, ethics without standards, it is a complete wash of decency, and morality. [...]

[url=http://www.theconservativevoice.com/article/24293.html]Full Article[/url]

FLAMMENWERFER
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Liberalism Is a Fallacy

DANG!---another wishy-washy, namby-pamby, squishy-squashy pussy footing, mealy-mouth critique of that malodorous putrescence. PUNK FREUD, can't you find some one willing to speak the TRUTH without a lot of euphemism and circuclocution?

Punk
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Liberalism Is a Fallacy

I don't know what you said, but I sure like the way that you said it :D

Basically, it boils down to this:

Classical Liberalism (ie Libertarianism): Creates Liberty, or Equality, by granting Freedom rather than Restriction (on the People. Opposite on the Government)

Modern Liberalism (ie Dumbassedness): Creates selective liberty, or inequality, by restricting Freedoms (on the People. Opposite on the Government)

FLAMMENWERFER
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Liberalism Is a Fallacy

The expression Dumbassedness is new to me, but I believe I grasp the gist. If anything the author credits contemporary American liberalism with more coherence than it actually possesses. In my youth it had a sense of purpose and confidence that has degenerated today into a confused set of attitudes and poses.

Vikingstar
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Liberalism Is a Fallacy

Would it be fair to say that in "classical liberalism", the individual is enhanced, but in the modern version of "liberalism" the individual is subsumed to the mass or class?

FLAMMENWERFER
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Liberalism Is a Fallacy

VIKINGSTAR. That is exactly reason Ayaan Hirsi Ali abandoned the Dutch social democrats:

“...although the Labor Party had come to seem the right party for me...many things about me had never fit with Labor’s ideas. Social democracy is grounded on the rights of groups of people, not individuals. The Liberal Party may not have been as cuddly as Labor, but its philosophy was grounded in the values of personal freedom. My ideas felt more comfortable there.”

Continental Europe uses "liberal" in the 19th century sense. The Dutch liberals are called "right-wing" there, but they are for gay rights and abortion.

Vikingstar
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Liberalism Is a Fallacy

Therefore those of us who style ourselves as some variant of "conservative" are in fact "classical liberals". The modern version of "liberalism", which has always seemed to me akin to Marxism, has struck me as destructive to the individual.

FLAMMENWERFER
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Liberalism Is a Fallacy

VIKINGSTAR: "Classical" liberalism in Europe was secular-minded, less so in the UK and the US. There is a common stress on individual rights and individual responsibility which is linked to a preference for free markets and free enterprise.

Incidentally, there are a number of conflicting strains in American coservativism: libertarianism vs. traditionalism is the strongest of them. It appears to me that the conflicts on the Left are largely about tactics. The hard Left really does hate the US; because they see it as the Great Satan of Capitalism, although there is a small faction on the Left (e.g., Tood Gitlin, the "patriotic Left) who are critical of this hostility.

The liberals don't really share this hostilty. It's just that relativism leaves them incapable of making a case for their own country. Amy Gutmann of Princeton declares that it is "repugnant" that American students should learn to be above all citiznes of the US. This kind of mind set leaves them, for example, without any logical reason to oppose unlimited immigration into the US.

Andrew Ian Dodge
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Liberalism Is a Fallacy

The left, in colusion with conservatives, has hijacked the term "liberal" and quite literally turned it on its head. The modern liberal establishment is illiberal, dogmatic, pathernalistic and authoritarian. Its socialism not liberalism.

Michael Vaughan
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I liken it to the term "Liberal Democrats"

...a certain political party in Russia.

Andrew Ian Dodge
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Liberalism Is a Fallacy

At the risk of being pedantic there is a difference between communism and socialism just as there is between NAZIsm and fascism. Then again some believe fascism, at least in the Italian sense, to be a Marxist heresy.

Economike
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Liberalism Is a Fallacy

Modern American-style "liberalism" (I'm thinking, for examples, of FDR and LBJ) acheived intellectual respectability through Keynesian macroeconomics, which justified central government intervention to redress "market failure."

This political movement has been adrift from its economic underpinnings since the failure (i.e. stagflation) of the Keynesian model in the Nixon-Carter years. Central planning failed. The market didn't.

American liberals are reflexive central planners in search of a policy agenda. They're lost. Have some pity for them.

FLAMMENWERFER
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Liberalism Is a Fallacy

Pity ECONOMIKE? I've tried and tried the until sweat bedews my brow, my eyes bulge from my head, and my nose bleeds. It's just not working. If only they would acknowledge their errors. Then I might manage.

Andrew Ian Dodge
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Liberalism Is a Fallacy

Pity surely you jest? Considering the damage they did it is nothing but contempt.

Lucille
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Liberalism Is a Fallacy

[quote="Punk Freud"]

Basically, it boils down to this:

Classical Liberalism (ie Libertarianism): Creates Liberty, or Equality, by granting Freedom rather than Restriction (on the People. Opposite on the Government)

Modern Liberalism ...[/quote]

... means never have to say "I'm wrong." :roll:

Economike
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Liberalism Is a Fallacy

[quote]Have some pity for them.[/quote]

I take your point, Flammenwerfer and AID. It's hard to pity the invincibly ignorant.

I do think, nonetheless, that much of the arrogance of the modern liberal arises from compensatory defensiveness. He experiences a nagging sensation that he's not making sense, but just can't muster the courage to confront his own biases to learn why.

FLAMMENWERFER
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Liberalism Is a Fallacy

If I were now at the beginning of my career as a historian, I would devote myself to recording the temper of the times in as detached a way as possible with a view to writing about current events as history forty years in the future.

Memory of what American liberalism meant at the beginning of the 'sixties seems to have almost entirely faded. They were full of confidence with the end of the Eisenhower "interregnum." Walter Wolfgang Heller, the JFK/LBJ economics advisor assured us the Keynsianism spelled the end of booms and recessions. Robert Strange MacNamara's whiz-kid systems analysts were going shove aside the professional soldiers and revolutionize the conduct of war. The War on Poverty was going to end structural poverty. Cliometrics was going to put historigraphy on a new track. Rehabilitation programs were going to revolutionize the penal system. Political Science was about to become fully scientific---it only needed its Keynes to finalize the process. Social science tackled the problems of transforming third world countries with development programs and foreign aid.

Social science allied with governmental power was going to tackle every social problem.

None of that confidence remains. Liberalism today is an intellectual nullity. Who even remembers Nancy Peolosi's New Directions for America with its feeble mish-mash of poll-tested "initiatives?" Yet it's been only a few months since it was announced.

Andrew Ian Dodge
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Liberalism Is a Fallacy

Pelosi and her ilk are socialists who believe the state is there to meddle and solve all the nation's problems. They are paternalistic and patronising assuming that citizens do not have the intelligence or skill to do things on their own.

LewistonLiberal
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I came to this thread expecting idiocy, but was met by some pretty reasoned debate..

I have a couple of questions:

If Pelosi is a "socialist" who wants the state to "solve all the nation's problems..."

What are the Republicans who voted en bloc to let the Federal Government completely control the agendas taught in our local schools nationwide? Or what are Republicans who fight to overturn [i]state[i] government's choices to allow the use of Pot for medical purposes (recognizing we use cocaine all the time for medical purposes)? What are Republicans who passed the Patriot act which allows the greatest latituted to the Fed Gvt to spy on its citizens?

Someone else said modern US liberals had done severe "damage" to the US... What severe damage did 8 yeasr of Clinton do to us? (I'd ask you to leave out the assertion 9/11 is his fault.. I already know that one).

c.

Andrew Ian Dodge
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Liberalism Is a Fallacy

The vast majority of Republicans are as statist as the Democrats. They wish to meddle just as much as the Democrats, just in a different way. It could be argued quite easily that the Republicans have drifted farther away from their ideals than the Democrats have. That is an interesting discussion. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats as parties could be refered to any way as "classical liberal".

FLAMMENWERFER
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Saying the liberalism is intellectually vacuous is not the same as saying it is impotent. The traditional American dislke for the government now coexists with habits of dependency. The citizenry of all the welfare states adapt to two principals: grab the goodies any way you can; avoid taxes every way you can. America is exceptional in having tax limitation movements. As far as I know these do not exist elsewhere, or they are just in the larval stage. Otherwise we hobble down the same path.

The majority of elected Republicans are politicians first, conservatives second---if at all. I suppose that if the Libertarians ever became a major party, the same result is to be expected.

Clinton re-appointed Greenspan, actually continuing the monetary policy initiated when Jimmy Carter appointed Paul Volcker. He it was who proclaimed that "the era of big government is over." His triangulation politics pretty much precluded any drastic changes from the course Reagan set. He claimed credit for the welfare reform the GOP congress forced upon him---infuriatinog the leftmost wing of the party. He agreed that abortion was a bad thing, not a good thing. He made a show of piety. He vowed to fix affirmative action, an admission of its inequities.

Clinton had no ideology that I can see. He catered a little bit to the liberals in his party, a little bit to the GOP Congress.

Economike
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Chris -

I take your point about Republican inconsistency, but who can deny that the two major parties are distinctly different? Politics and consistency are incompatible.

I disagree with AID that the vast majority of Republicans are as statist as Democrats.

As Keynes himself wrote (if memory serves) "Most practical men who believe themselves free of all intellectual influence are generally the slaves of one defunct economist or another." I think this is profoundly true. Most people's political beliefs are based upon what they believe is economically possible, even when they are unaware that their habits of thinking are based on on obsolete economic models.

Flammenwerfer recounts much of the hubris that arose from the Keynesian episode. Keynes' economic model, which he intended to explain the Great Depression, assumes that a free market is inherently unstable due to cyclical periods of [i]insufficient demand[/i] (which the classical ecoomists would have termed a [i]general glut[/i]). In the Keynesian model, insufficient demand must be corrected by fiscal and monetary stimulus by government. Before Keynes, liberalism's economic model was classical; it assumed that markets were self-correcting if only the government protected the institutions of civil society. For Keynes, the market sometimes led people to act against their own interests, but clever economists could advise politicians how to get the economy back on track, fooling the market into thinking that production was increasing even when it wasn't. (You will perhaps recall the famous example of the government paying people to dig holes and fill them back up as a program of economic stimulus.) The ascendancy of the Keynesian model changed "liberalism" - Keynes granted permission to devise all sorts of new government programs, taxing and spending with nothing but salutary consequences. The New Deal and the Great Society ensued.

As it turned out, Keynesian economics as put into practice by liberals didn't succeed. Keynes, to some extent, explained how to get an economy out of recession but he had nothing to say about expanding an economy beyond its previous size. After Keynesian stimulus finally resulted in stagflation in the 'seventies, an economic model with more predictive power, supply side economics, was found to succeed. As predicted, supply side policies resulted in economic expansion and the general rise in prosperity we presently enjoy.

If we're thinking of differences between Republican and Democrat, consider the Republican idea of "the ownership society" (George W. Bush's phrase). Since Reagan, the proportion of households owning stocks has increased from roughly one-fifth to one-half of households. Middle-class wage earners hold trillions of dollars in tax-deferred accounts, an innovation from the early congressional supply-siders (Kemp, Thomas, and Roth, for examples) in the Carter years. The great trend is away from workers remaining dependent on employers, unions, and government to own and manage savings toward individual ownership of portable wealth. I'm not much exaggerating to say that Keynesian liberals hate and fear this trend, believing that if the government does not function as the people's financial intermediary then the people will suffer when the market inevitably fails, as Keynesian economics takes for granted. Also, the expanding [i]ownership society[/i] tends toward less dependence on government and a pro-market (Republican) orientation.

Liberals are stuck in the Keynesian habit of thinking that direction by government is safer and surer than letting people voluntarily manage their own wealth.

It has been said that liberals are central planners in search of a policy agenda. It is the mental habit of liberals to seek power long after the Keynesian framework that informed that habit has become obsolete. They know we're never going back to the discredited tax and spend policies that ended with Carter, but they can't give up the idea that the government should do something, whatever that might be, and they're the ones entitled to run it.

LewistonLiberal
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Liberalism Is a Fallacy

Econ:

You write amazing responses... (and you can too Flame... when you're not flaming me!)... unfortunately I don't have time between calls to read 'em!!

I'll be back.. I have to read it carefully..

c.

Punk
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Liberalism Is a Fallacy

[quote="LewistonLiberal"]I came to this thread expecting idiocy, but was met by some pretty reasoned debate..[/quote]

Ditto re: your response-- welcome to reasonable discussion.

[quote="LewistonLiberal"]If Pelosi is a "socialist" who wants the state to "solve all the nation's problems..."What are the Republicans who voted en bloc to let the Federal Government completely control the agendas taught in our local schools nationwide? Or what are Republicans ...[/quote]

I don't think anyone in this thread was arguing or even made a point that [some] Republicans were not Liberals. Real conservatives and Libertarians stopped using the two interchangeably long, long ago (some of us never used them interchangeably).

To (sort of) quote Forrest Gump's mother: "Liberals is as Liberals does".

The Republican party (IMHO) is much farther Left today than ever. Much of what they support that some call "Mainstream" is just embracing populist (ie Liberal) ideas. I think many of the so-called Moderate Republicans just want to be popular and loved (ego trip) more than actually look out for and uphold the US Constitution.

Bread and Circuses on both sides of the aisle.

Andrew Ian Dodge
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There are some notable exceptions to the statist Republicans but they are few and far between. How often have you heard a Republican in Congress call for a cut in the size of the state?

FLAMMENWERFER
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ECONOMIKE: "central planners in search of a policy agenda" is good. A majoirit of the liberal intelligentsia were enthusiastic over Stalin's Five Year Plans in their day. This despite a number of obvious absurdities, e.g., the slogan "complete the five year plan in four years"---what kind of "planning" does that imply?

After WWII the consensus among the liberal economists was the only central planning could avert a second Great Depression. The public had had enough of war-time controls, so that dream faded.

What an outcry when Sputnik went up and Khrushchev boasted that the USSR would "bury" the US! I remember articles by such liberal luminaries as Arthur Schlesinger and John Kenneth Galbraith pointing out the superiority of central planning over the chaos of the market.

The Next Big Thing was Japanese Industrial Policy. Japan, Inc. was taking over the world. Americans must learn to think Japanese, act Japanese! My God!---nine of the world's biggest banks (in assets) were Japanese. Then that economy went into a fifteen year recession and the liberals move on to the kind of "Economic Development" schemes now recommended by the Brookings Report.

They have learned from these past failures, only that they were, individually failures. They have given no thought to why they were failures, and spent no time reflecting on why they fell for them.

Andrew Ian Dodge
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And the latest of these idiocies is the campaign to wreck the world economy by pushing weak science on "man-made" global warming.

FLAMMENWERFER
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A.I.D. It is reasonable to assume that a significant part of the GlobWarm enthusiasm stems from the prospect of a huge governmental intervention: controls, resitrctions, directions, initiatives, prohibitions---all the exercises of power that seem to excite the liberals.

Robert Heilbronner was probably the most enthusiastic and eloquent adocate of central planning systems among American economists (I look to ECONOMIKE to confirm or correct this judgement).

With the collapse of the USSR, he renounced his life's work and conceded that the superiority of the free market in delivering the goods was established.

BUT, he went on to implicitly affirm that socialism was a superior system for managing scarcity, i.e., that we must depend on Almighty Government to manage the enivronment.

New pathology, same old Snake Oil.

Andrew Ian Dodge
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Yep commies and socialists became greenies in spite at having lost the arguments.

francisz
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Interesting discussion – I have learned a lot from it. Would you all be willing to back up a bit further – beyond economic theory and consider for a moment an older, more pervasive question? Keynes raises the issue of the general slave – and it is this issue that repeatedly drives economic and political progression (or regression, as it may be). The issue as old as Plato, with his ‘ruling elite’ and Aristotle’s notion of the ‘natural slave’ – and it suggests to me a difference in perspective that characterizes what we label as liberal and conservative.
In the Republic, Plato did not allow for the progression of the masses – his state was authoritarian and governed by intellect. Aristotle, in his Ethics, allowed for the progression of the natural slave towards virtuous citizen. Intellect is but one means of progression, morality is another, virtue a third, and so forth. I think in some ways we can apply these two perspectives to the issue today: do liberals, who promote a welfare state and have thus created a class of dependency promote a Platonic political system that does not allow for individual progress? I would answer yes, but I am very interested in your opinions.

(The most alarming thing for me, as Flammenwerfer has articulated, is that this Platonic outlook has abandoned the Platonic ideal of intellectual rigor (its great saving grace) and is sailing without a rudder.)

I think conservatives tend towards Aristotle’s sunnier outlook – and his assumption that most men aspire towards virtue. I do think conservatives over apply economic theory in the political sphere and I would argue that this creates a class of consumers (as opposed to dependents) rather than participating citizens.

Andrew Ian Dodge
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Yes, I agree with your Platonic assertion. Why else would the left be so bent on the destruction of the state education system? An educated populace would question the "concensus" far more than an uneducated one. The left whether in schools or universities does it best to quell all debate that does not meet their objectives. This is happening in the UK as well.

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