Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The True Liberals

Now that the Dems have abandoned the term “Liberal” for the more politically acceptable “Progressive”, maybe its time for Conservatives and Libertarians to reclaim ownership. Liberalism has become a dirty word in US politics, mainly because for many it has come to signify: Big Government, weakness on defense matters, and condoning immorality. However, according to Wikipedia "Classical liberalism emphasizes free private enterprise, individual property rights, laissez-faire economic policy, ... freedom of contract, and opposes the welfare state."

Economist Milton Friedman hated the modern vulgarism of the term, maintaining that “the consistent Liberal is not an anarchist”. Modern Liberals more closely associate themselves with Marxists ( as revealed by Sean Penn’s recent trip to Venezuela) than their pre-20th Century forbearers. An example of the original definition is revealed by our Founding Fathers, who were considered extremely liberal for their times. Imagine any current Democrat Candidate defying a mother government over high taxes, promoting States Rights, or advocating the importance of religion in government.

As odd as this may sound, True Liberals can mainly be found in the modern day Republican Party ( a rare exception being Sen. Joe Lieberman). These Social Conservatives can be likened to Harry Truman or Scoop Jackson Democrats, who were hawks on defense, but eager to spend the taxpayers’ money on a whim. Many on the Right, including President Bush, have sided with Democrats on education and immigration issues. It has been said that the Left “tax and spend” but Conservatives “borrow and spend”. In reality there is little difference.

Libertarians are the true Conservatives in an historical sense, who, like the old Taft Republicans believed in small government and a smaller overseas role for America. Candidates such as Ron Paul can also be compared to the America’s Firsters, who before Pearl Harbor were adamant in keeping the US out of World War 2. Republicans also quickly turned against President Truman when the Korean War turned for the worse after the Chinese invasion. Notice any similarity to our own times?