✪✪✪ Key Influences Of Political Progressivism

Wednesday, July 07, 2021 1:53:10 AM

Key Influences Of Political Progressivism



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The Political Impact of the Progressive Movement (1890-1920)

That's how I see Lincoln's view about equality there. I think Ken did hit on one of the fundamental places where you do get a divergence between progressive and conservative interpretations of the Declaration. It came out in the phrase he quoted when he referred to the laws of nature and nature's God as being the basis of the arguments in the Declaration. He's right, that is the basis of the argument there, this idea that there are the laws of nature and of nature's God, but that sentence is in some sense a belt and suspenders sentence. It means that for those who have a view that is a deist few or even an atheistic view, but nonetheless think that there are patterns in human life that support to the notion that things like the rule of law bring peace and so forth and those are durable universal patterns, they don't necessarily need a concept of a god to anchor them.

The phrase, laws of nature and nature's God gives you a basis both in a theological perspective and in a secular humanistic perspective for endorsing the ideals of the Declaration. Conservative interpretations have tended to, to rely heavily on a religious or theological interpretation, progressive interpretations have tended to rely more heavily on a secular humanist interpretation. That's an important thing to recognize because even at the moment of the writing of the Declaration in , the question of the role of religion in the foundation was a matter of compromise where there was an overlapping consensus, not shared agreement.

For example, in fact, Jefferson did not put the key terms about religion in the Declaration, he did not put in the language about divine providence or the supreme judge, Congress added those additions. He didn't even put in the word creator, that came in from either Ben Franklin or John Adams. The point is that the language and the Declaration is capacious, it permits people to embrace it regardless of whether their foundation for doing so is a secular humanistic foundation, or theologically inspired foundation.

Importantly, none of the religious words in the Declaration connect to a specific doctrinal tradition, they're not specifically Christian, they're not specifically Judaic, et cetera. At any rate, the point was that they developed open-ended language, yet the controversies, the disputes, disagreements among us with regard to interpretations at the Declaration tend to come because people pick one or the other pillars of justification and foundation for their ideals in the text.

Rosen: [] How fascinating to learn that Jefferson's really draft did not refer to the creator. Allen: [] He used the verb create, just to be vivid, he did use the verb create, but then Franklin and or Adam's turned that into creator. Rosen: [] I have to ask, was it, we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created with certain unalienable rights? What was the sentence? Rosen: [] Ken, take us to the Reconstruction Amendments. One of the really exciting things we have in our new exhibit about the Civil War and reconstructions is interactive as which will be online in September that allow you to look at early drafts of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments.

We see that an early draft of the 13th Amendment, had kind of Equal Protection Clause proposed by Charles Sumner, who insisted that equality of rights is the first of rights and invoked the Virginia Declaration of Rights written by George Mason saying that all men are free and equal in their life, liberty and property and endowed by their creator as such. Tell us more about the influence of the Declaration, which after all channeled Mason's Declaration on the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. Kersch: [] The angle light I'd like to take that on is related to that, but somewhat different, and that is the role of government and in particular the national government in making the enjoyment of these natural rights a reality.

I'm not abandoning your question because of course, Charles Sumner and what we call the radical Republicans, which is a controversial term, their view was not only that these rights are foundational, inalienable, but that the government In fact, that was the major issue or one of the major issues with the Civil War or Reconstruction Amendments, the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments. What I'm saying is the issue is less the principal than the constitutional mechanism for making sure that that principle is now enforceable by the government of the United States, going forward from the Civil War. The language of rights The 13th Amendment basically declares that chattel slavery, or involuntary servitude, unless in punishment for a crime for which one is duly convicted, shall not exist within the United States.

All of these The 14th Amendment, besides doing a lot of other things, guarantees the rights to privileges and immunities of all citizens, equal protection of the law and the due process of law, and the 15th Amendment concerns voting rights. What I would say in answer to your question is particularly relevant to the Declaration of Independence in its own way, is that for many people, the Declaration of Independence was a charter of limited constrained government.

Jefferson himself viewed government as a necessary evil and that is because he thought governments were the primary threat to individual rights. At the same time, however, there is this paradox or irony in the Declaration of Independence that it justifies and legitimated the establishment of a powerful government that itself implicitly is indispensable to the protection of rights. The political theory of the Declaration of Independence both empowers and legitimates government to protect rights and at the same time, says that governments are the greatest threat to rights.

Actually, the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments added to Article One's grant of power to the national government and specifically to the US Congress. For Conservatives and liberals, this is going to be a point of contention ever since, many conservatives today still look back to the 18th century and view the Declaration as a charter of very limited government, but the Civil War Amendments, and this is what Lincoln meant in part by a new birth of freedom, is that we've learned from slavery that governments are not necessarily the chief threat to rights, that federalism does not protect rights as we might have initially thought, and that we need a newly empowered Congress and national government to enforce rights.

In that sense, Lincoln, and certainly the radical Republicans, really were conceiving of a new understanding of the constitution and a new addition to powers of the national government to protect rights of people. Rosen: [] Danielle, we have at least three more eras to get through so let's get to it. I'm going to ask you now about the Progressive Era and you'd mentioned the invocation of the Declaration by women's suffrage advocates at Seneca Falls. Tell us about that and of other indications of the Declaration during the Progressive Era, including by conservatives on behalf of property rights.

Allen: [] The key feature of the Progressive Era is of course the achievement of the right to vote for women, and we are all just going through our conclusions of celebrating that th anniversary on that front, and the language of the Declaration was a very common feature of that effort. I think it's important then also to recognize that the nature of the conversation about rights has itself been one always about the evolution of context and the concept there. FDR for example, then famously elaborated an argument about four freedoms but those four freedoms stand in a slightly different relationship to the kinds of freedoms articulated in the Declaration.

They include, the freedom from want and freedom from fear alongside the freedom of religion and your more conventional views about freedom. This is a moment in the 20th century where a question is being put on the table about social rights alongside political and civil rights. At the founding, the concepts of freedom and equality were really tied to a picture of political equality and where what you were talking about was the right to participate in the political process, to run for office, to vote. Those were restricted rights to start but the rights continually broadened.

Then we include new groups in those political and civil rights, but then in the early 20th century, what you start seeing is the conversation about expanding the rights category to include social rights. That then really crystallizes in the UN Declaration of Rights, which lays out a big picture of human rights, which includes the political and civil rights that have always been a part of the American tradition and also includes economic rights and social rights. This is the point at which the conversation starts to take on a really different shape as a big human rights discourse also begins to evolve. All of that, which we're now very familiar with in the early 21st century, does have its origins in the Declaration of Independence, but it's really important to see the way in which that progressive moment, that mid century World War II moment, begin to add social rights and economic rights into the discussion of what kinds of rights a government has an obligation to secure.

On that last point, I think it's important to say that again, the Declaration itself is a motor of change because when it lists those core rights, it does so as providing a set of examples. That's really the topic that the mid 20th century takes up as social rights and economic rights come into view for deliberation and consideration as basic things the government ought to secure and protect.

Rosen: [] Ken, as Danielle so powerfully said, the Declaration discourse was expanded during the Progressive Era to include not only the 18th century natural rights, but also social and economic rights and Franklin Roosevelt in his Commonwealth Club Address on the Declaration of independence in , invoked the Declaration on behalf of the protection of social and economic rights. Later, in his Four Freedoms speech, he invoked the Declaration on behalf of a second Bill of Rights, which included the right to a remunerated job, adequate clothing and so forth.

Conservatives responded to the new deal by objecting to its expansion of government authority and its attempt protect social economic rights. What's so fascinating for our discussion, is that in their reaction to the new deal, they once again invoked the Declaration in attempting to repeal it. This is a story that you tell so powerfully in your new book, Conservatives and the Constitution: Imagining Constitutional Restoration in the Heyday of American Liberalism.

Give us a sense of the different strands of the conservative movement that invoked the Declaration in their opposition to the new deal. Kersch: [] Well, Jeff, progressives at the time spoke to different categories of thinking about the Constitution that get to the question that we're talking about today. Progressives, and I'll talk about conservatives next because obviously that's the other side of the coin here, progressive historians distinguished between what they called the spirit of the Declaration versus the spirit of the Constitution.

For progressives, the spirit of the Declaration meant democracy, the power of the people to set their own direction, to make their own laws that they think will best serve their needs and advance their rights. The spirit of the Declaration embraced change, it embraced revolution, it embraced popular sovereignty. I think the way progressives would think about the developments that Danielle was talking about towards social and economic rights, and certainly FDR invoked the Declaration of Independence for this very purpose in his famous Commonwealth Club Address is, he invoked the Declaration for first of all, the idea that the Constitution is a FDR said that essentially, the country is not That the people are suffering, they are not able to exercise their rights, they are not able to make them a reality in their day to day lives and therefore the compact and the compact theory that underlies the Declaration and also its promise of popular sovereignty was being violated.

FDR was invoking the spirit of the Declaration that progressives were talking about and of course he got his start as assistant secretary of the navy in the Wilson, he came out of the Progressive Era. In the Progressive Era , the conservatives identified progressives as upholders of the constitution and they viewed that many progressives, particularly the radicals as a negative but they appealed to the spirit of Declaration Independence in the positive. Let me just add, to move forward to the new deal and the things that Danielle was talking about, one of the things that changes under Franklin Roosevelt is current conservatives basically label new deal liberalism, just another form of progressivism.

By that they mean, it's purely majoritarian democratic and it does not heed the spirit of the constitution that I just mentioned, protection for minority rights, protection for property rights and adherence to constitutional principles of limited government. I think what changes under FDR, particularly because of what's happening in the broader world with the rise of Nazi-ism and World War II and Hitler, is that FDR, unlike the progressives or most progressives, re-embraces the language of rights and implicitly re-embraces the limited government spirit of the Declaration while also embracing an active government spirit of the Declaration. Therefore, he affects a synthesis.

To conclude, I would just say, what are the four freedoms, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion. Those are what we call negative liberties, they are restrictions on the power of government and in that sense they are very Jeffersonian. That is in the spirit of the Declaration as refracted through the Civil War Amendments that calls for more government. The Four Freedoms speech, FDR synthesizes that and says the issue isn't government limiting government or empowering government, it is doing one in one case, doing the other in the other case, to fulfill our contract to the people to advance the public interest and to advance the common good of our constitutional democracy.

Rosen: [] Well, it's time for closing arguments in this fascinating debate. Danielle, my question is, are progressives in the post New Deal era from to the present, also continuing to invoke the Declaration on behalf of efforts continually to expand equality and popular sovereignty, or has Declaration language fallen out of fashion among progressives in recent years? Allen: [] As Ken said earlier in this conversation, use of the Declaration is ubiquitous and so you can find it all over progressive or left leaning political movements as well. It's relevant to this effort to do Equal Rights Amendment and women's rights, it comes up in various places in that context.

Again, of course Martin Luther King so famously invokes it in a letter from the Birmingham jail, the Black Power movement even repurpose the language of the Declaration. Then you find surprising things outside of this country, like Ho Chi Minh's rewriting of the Declaration as he tries to establish independence for Vietnam, so it's uses are astonishingly wide and varied.

I will just share that I myself, a couple of years ago, published an op-ed in The Post, rewriting the Declaration to argue for a Declaration of Independence from the war on drugs. You could call that a kind of blend of progressive and libertarian position. It really is a rich document because it does set up a framework for judging what the purpose is of a democratic government should be, what our responsibilities are to one another and what the tools are that we have for bringing about adjustments to the framework for mutual living arrangements. As I said at the start, it's for everybody, it has been used as much on the left as on the right. I think perhaps the conversations are more consolidated on the right than on the left, they're perhaps a bit more spread out and disparate on the left so perhaps not as visible, but the text and the ideals of the Declaration are very much alive across the political spectrum.

Rosen: [] Ken, the last word is to you. How are conservatives continuing to invoke Declaration language in our constitutional debates today ranging from abortion and fetal life to gay marriage and the scope of limited government? Kersch: [] As you mentioned, Jeff, the Declaration of Independence plays a major role in contemporary conservative thought and contemporary conservative constitutional thought, particularly within the conservative movement generally but also in some cases on the Supreme Court, and I believe you mentioned Clarence Thomas in that regard, who is acknowledged as someone who's picked up on this.

I think we might see even more of it in the future on the Supreme Court, as a new Republican justices are appointed. Essentially the work that citations to the Declaration of Independence are doing in the contemporary conservative movement, is really to emphasize that conservatives believe that this country is founded upon certain timeless principles of natural rights, natural right and also natural law. They essentially argue that progressives and their legatees ever since the Progressive Era , have repudiated the framework that the polity needs to be anchored in certain grounding foundational principles. They charge progressives and liberals with essentially abandoning both the principles of the Declaration of Independence and relatedly, the Constitution, which they argue is inextricably linked to the Declaration of Independence.

As far as the particular issues you mentioned, abortion, fetal personhood, gay rights, conservatives have a particular reading of the meaning of the Declaration of natural rights in the Declaration of Independence. There's a considerable debate about the terms of this, but much of what's driving this is broadly a statement that Jefferson and the Founders believed in natural law. Essentially, they end of the argument and obviously in some sense that is true. I'm not going to go into it, but I would dissent a bit from Danielle Allen saying that the creator reference, which is an interesting point that she has made and an interesting argument, but essentially what the concurrent conservatives are doing is that I think that's fairly clear.

If you want to know what the natural law is, why not look to Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica? Jefferson would not have agreed with that. It's that these understandings of natural law are true and it is true that these religious thinkers had explicated the natural law, but that natural law is reasonable and it is sensible. The argument is essentially that abortion can never be a right because it violates the moral law, the fetus is a person because it's consistent with moral law, there can be no gay rights because that is inconsistent with the moral law. By returning to the Declaration as a foundation and importing that into the Constitution, they are essentially working to align the Constitution with their understandings of right and wrong, which are found in natural law and in correct thinking, understandings of natural rights.

They wanted to return By the way, I would just add, they said that was understood clearly at the time of the founding, the Founders operated within that framework, and the progressives repudiated it and it's time for us to return to the original understanding in which it is not only the correct understanding of rights, but also was part, implicitly, of the bargain, the compact, the contract of the original Constitution that was ratified by the American Founders.

Rosen: [] Thank you so much, Danielle Allen and Ken Kersch, for an absolutely riveting, rich and illuminating discussion of the relation between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution throughout American history. Danielle, Ken, thank you so much for joining. Research was provided by Lana Ulrich and the constitutional content team. Dear We the People friends, your homework this week is obvious. If you succeed in both homework assignments, then write to me and tell me what you thought of both books, [email protected]. Please rate, review and subscribe to We the People on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts, and recommend the show to friends, colleagues, or anyone everywhere who's hungry to understand the relationship between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

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Neo-liberal is economically conservative and socially liberal. That works! Social liberalism is common sense, everyone socially treated equal. Economic conservatism is to make the rich richer and poor poorer through divide and conquer tactics and oppressing labor movements! Mindfulness or Conservative thinking?? It is defeatist thinking. How about.. I mean hey its not so far removed. What ever happened to civil discussions among caring people with different views?

We can appreciate each others differences in thought if we are willing to listen respectfully to each other without trying to define one another in some specific category. I disagree with the last 3 paragraphs of your opinion piece, as I have found them to be quite the opposite in my 55 years 30 of which have been politically active. I have long called myself a social conservative. I think it is very important to have standards for behaviour etiquette and defined roles. The problems with this system is not that it exists, but the lack of flexibility and the value placed on them. There needs to be more discussion around finding a balance instead of so much effort being spent on trying make a utopia.

As it stands now the social pendulum swings back and forth. People cannot make the right decisions all the time nor can they make the right decisions if they are not allowed to. I must apologize, but I got about half way through this article and realized this person was so clueless about how normal people live and think that she was completely irrelevant. It really is sad to see someone that is so out of touch with reality that she is just never going to be able to relate to normal people. At least she can reside peacefully in some ultra liberal northeastern university and live out her life cluelessly, perhaps ultimately like a zoo exhibit as an about to be extinct human unsuccessful genetic deadend.

I understand your assessment, but I strongly disagree with it. Yes, people are different, and some are relatively clueless, as you say, about others. But some readers of this article have said they also have had to do this. Going along to get along is not a virtue, but the foundation of every problem we have faced in the past, and will face in the future. Classical liberalism is i. Then honestly tell me where you would rather live. I think one mistake that is made is the use of the work Liberal in the context you apply I would argue that Communist and Dictatorial societies are called Conservative, but bears little if any resemblance to what we refer to as a Conservative politically in the USA.

This was a painful read. The author treats American Preservationists as if they are a majority of Republicans. Republicans are merely co-belligerents against a common enemy. I agree with this article, but would take it a step further. This probably also lies at the core of why conservatives are often perceived as being more attractive than liberals, as well. Most people find genuineness and authenticity to be attractive traits, in general. At least most Americans believe that individual liberty is part and parcel of the American Dream, inbred with our conscious genes of the spirit and leaving the deepest imprint on our National Soul.

And history cannot be rejected by all. We need a term to identify with its historically divine upbringing. Although retaining the term classical. Being somewhat liberal myself I personally believe it has much to do with the law of attraction. Many of them believe the same as I that we all have preservative instincts toward values as well as liberal instincts toward values. And the same discovery of friendship and familiarities must also be true about self-avowed conservatives, other than the ones I personally know. Belittling the spiritual sovereignty image, likeness, and potential of themselves and others as well, known by their idiosyncrasies of extreme antipathy and hatred.

It puts them in their proper place. And that can not exclude certain self-avowed conservatives who have the same uncivilized qualities and demeanor. The changes from recognizing our cultured divine qualities to gradually displacing them with ignorance and secularization were for the worse, and not for the better optimal growth and health for a nation conceived and born with sacred guiding principles. However, one of the brightest rays of hope, shining from enlightened conservatives, liberals, libertarians, moderates or progressives no matter what their mix and brand of ideologies may be can see through the demonization of the uncivilized leftist mentality.

Their transforming influences work. For example, it is a term that references the discussion of free will and to what extent there is free will, fate, or divine purpose and intervention and such. That is a broad and interesting discussion that is not unrelated to political liberalism and instead shares roots with it. It was either Mill or Locke that noted that the use of the same term for both things that is, liberty was unfortunate.

Regardless of what hand they must write with, or what ideology they stand by. God loves us all. Judeo-Christian worldviews easily fleshes itself out as shown in this article? Is it an inaccurate generality to say that liberal mindsets, statistically speaking, lean more towards pluralistic or atheistic moral codes and conservative mindsets lean more towards Judeo-Christian moral codes? If we can be honest and agree that there is a decent correlation albeit not absolute between these two moral codes and their political implications, one can easily see why conservatives would be united under social expectations, given that conservatives are generally united under the same source of moral code — the Bible.

The very concept of atheism suggests that every man adopts for himself whatever is fitting for himself and implies that people are different and can and should live by different systems if desired. This is precisely why we can observe atheists that are both conservative and liberal politically albeit the vast majority liberal while there are virtually no Christian that would support various liberal positions, such as abortion, for instance, or would at least shamefully and secretly support it for personal benefits because it would go against their own moral code. This is not suggesting that conservatives live by their moral code any better than liberals live by theirs. Tis not true. This is because the Left owns and operates the media and public squares for the most part.

Liberal ideas dominate the media and the things our children see and hear from day one of their existence and any attempt conservatives have at fighting this is met with strong, condeming resistance. We all grow up hearing and knowing the liberal position. To be conservative in this country nowadays, you have to search for it. Could you imagine how frustrating it would be to have searched for truth, found the albeit unpopular position, and agreed with its premise and interpretation after much research only to find opposition that not only severely misunderstands your lifestyle and values but also wrongly accuses you through conflation of ideas, half-truths and smear campaigns?

Would you want to have anything to do with people that did such things to you? Precisely why the red areas are entirely rural and the blue areas are in the top cities of america…. That would be weird anyway. So the point of my post is that I feel this kind of dialog needs to happen hundreds of thousands of times. At deeper levels of every single point, we all want the same things. Yes there are those who care only about money and power. Without a doubt this is true. I deserve some of that. And the Bible has no tolerance for laziness. I read an article a couple years ago called A Bitter Pill, why health care costs are crippling America, published in Time magazine..

Something like that anyway. It was a good read. I believe in government health care now. Well honest government healthcare. And certainly if the parties cannot lay things aside and work together to fix this issue. Right now the Dems main focus is to make sure Trump fails. Like cutting off their nose to spite their face. But come on. Especially since social media has come into power. All we care about is defeating the other party. Yes people like you and me. We are not the crooks. We are the victims. The show from Washington is to keep us focused on hating each other so that absolutely nothing ever changes. My point is that in that story two things are revealed. Pharmaceuticals are high because both Dems and Reps have screwed the US on this issue.

Do the homework. The healthcare lobby owns both sides of the aisle. Both sides. Because we are so entrenched in our ideologies, those in Washington get the last laugh. Because the media, liberal and conservative keep the issues hot and in our face, well we keep thinking the enemy is the other party. They are your neighbors, your friends, your parents, your kids. Just have a family reunion. The revolution that will survive and cause things to change is the one that surrenders their own objectives for those of others. The only thing that will get Washington to listen and actually support the people and not special interests is votes and action.

Just pick those things that are not hard to sell. Like heathcare. Who wants to continue to pay the highest prices on pharmaceuticals for same drugs on the entire planet? Most know neither the dems nor reps are on our side. They are just so afraid of the other side. Unfortunately both sides are justified in there fears. The ONLY reason this is the way it is, is because of our elected officials. Do an internet search and ask the question why Americans pay as much as 7 times more for medications.

So why are American voters focused on the stupid parties to fix an issue like this and not assigning blame to the source. The healthcare lobby for instance. We sit at home struggling to write check after check to cover medical bills while our elected officials do a bate and switch. He knew who called the shots. Ta crump is learning. Once we as Americans realize not every issue is right or left. Not Trump or Hillary. But because people are bought, politicians are bought and parties are bought. Healthcare is probably the biggest single issue in most families.

I promise you. Liberals are supposed to be against shaming women, but they think nothing about calling Melania Trump the most vile names imaginable, talking as if pictures like the ones you see in Vogue are the equivalent of a porno. As a woman myself, it makes me very upset. So how come now, anyone that questions Obama is suddenly a bad guy? Obama says he is Christian; Its got to be true. Even though there is no record of a baptism, and he is supposed to be Southern Baptist. Does it matter? Oh yes. Lying to the voters matters very much.

When did liberals become so against liberty? You will forgive me, But I simply have no trust of a group of people who have openly stated that the ends justify the means. What was the thing that caused you to view harmonious behavior in groups as a good thing when you were in China? Was there a time before that but after you moved to China when you either ran low on money, or maybe was it something about China itself that changed your thinking?

Jonathan Haidt talked about how he used to despise conservative thinking himself before he studied in India. What do you think? Applause and admiration to Julianne Weinman and Nigel Assam for their articulation of my thoughts. Approaching 70, I remember being young and idealistic. Somewhere in my 30s, idealism began to be replaced by realism. I suspect there are many more like me. I would only add that Caldwell-Harris, like Jonathan Haidt, appears to travel in rarefied circles.

Not only is she personally inoculated from the kind of savage anti-choice policies, anti-LGBT bigotry, racist voter suppression, attacks on the social safety net, environmental injustice remember Katrina and the shoddy response by the Bush administration? A very brave thing to wade into such a contentious debate! Thanks for getting us started on an airing of our views.

I have grown more liberal as I have found out more about the real world. Personal freedom, while important, is not a core value of liberal thought. Liberalism is about supporting people in their personal development. Also, liberals do not make such support dependent on narrow judgement of character. They are just personal and parochial. Fairness and doing no harm are such values. See Kant regarding universality of moral dicta 3 There is nothing in liberalism that would undercut warm and supportive behavior toward others-whether family or strangers. Liberals suggest that we should attempt to make the best of and see the best in each other.

Liberals recognize the futility or piecemeal charity in the face of systemic need. Only an organized system of charitable giving could succeed in addressing real need. Peter Singer has some thought-provoking ideas on how much and who should be giving. Would love to see such reforms get more exposure. Common sense palliatives seem to satisfy the epistemic needs of conservatives. That is why it is not much fun to engage a conservative in conversation. Either they simply insist on the correctness of their views or they refuse to really engage at all in an open discussion. It is easy, for instance, to feel good when you believe that you deserve your good fortune and that there is no obligation to share your wealth.

I would not wish to be a houseguest of such a person and I guess there is little danger that I ever will! Dear Mr. Bennett, I appreciate our difference and even though I wanted to read your entire reply, I stopped at liberals views on personal freedom. It is difficult for me to understand foregoing freedom for a collective thought. History has shown that any attempt for collective thought has resulted in mass murder and unspeakable carnage as well a financial riches for those who have successfully persuaded others to follow.

I am neither conservative or liberal…. I am a free thinking human who chooses to make my own decisions and who chooses not to follow a morality that subjugates my morality. I feel the exact same way you do… except from the exact opposite side. I am about as far right as you can get. I am always so frustrated watching two liberals argue with two conservatives on TV not getting anywhere.

I have said for years, I would love to debate a liberal and have an intelligent conversation without the yelling. I have always been conservative and the more life and business experience I get, it just solidifies by beliefs. We are happy to give our money to people and organizations that we believe need it, while liberals want to give our money to whomever THEY think needs it. As far as financial inequality is concerned, the constitution guarantees equal opportunity, not equal wealth. Most very rich people started out not rich and worked hard to get rich; very few inherit their wealth. Why are we supposed to begrudge hard workers their wealth?

I retired early and have been relatively poor ever since. It was my choice, and I am happy for others to work long, long hours and become rich. My niece is a liberal and I felt that perhaps I could send a copy of this article to her so that we could find common ground. But no. Such confusion of the disciplines immediately made me realize your article was a disguised attack. The years you spent holding conservative values in contempt say a lot about your own biases and state of misinformation.

The global warming debate is very scientific and detailed……what one believes about the science is based on how well-read you are on the topic. CARING is not what the debate is about; but too many times I have witnessed liberals using emotionalism to muddy the waters in debates. Again an emotional response to an intellectual debate. I found your words to be packed with emotion and irrational ideas. All conservatives are not Scrooges, but government waste is out of control and the number of people on welfare and the amount of money that is obtained by fraud and the misuse of the welfare system is well-known.

So what are you talking about? I was a liberal once. Even though I never had purple hair, I rebelled against authority. I was against patriarchy, racism and I was critical of my country in Vietnam. I wore no bra and supported myself after divorce. I learned many valuable lessons since then. I learned that even though my parents took conservatism a bit too far, their core values were right. I learned that even liberals can rule in a way that curtails individual expression, e. How did you feel watching the IRS employees enjoying expensive parties on taxpayer dollars?

I was disgusted and felt used. When will liberals realize that government has grown too big, powerful and greedy? Are conservatives happier than liberals? I find many liberals may just suffer from sloppy thinking and use abstraction as an excuse to inflame emotions as a weapon in an intellectual debate. Liberals should be very happy today because their ideas are being forced on all of us with no regard for fairness or the impact on our form of government, the economy, or our standing in the world. Which system is better? I think the founders of our country and our Constitution had it right. They were visionaries. No other country in the world has a better system.

We started out as revolutionaries and perhaps the truth lies in the idea of adaptation and evolution. We have to adapt to the times and maybe the time is now for a new revolution. One that reinforces conservative values and exposes liberalism for what it is: guilt-ridden idealistic utopianism with the Robin Hood approach to redistribution of wealth, which has destroyed our economy.

Communist countries have been there, done that. Can we get to a new place by discussing the issues on which most liberals and conservative agree? One of these agreements is that most people would prefer to live in a country where wealth is distributed more equally than is the situation in the U. Can conservative ideals, such as minimizing government involvement, be used to move the country in the direction that most Americans including most conservatives favor? Other cultures have found ways to push back against wealth inequality without government involvement.

Some traditional cultures use shaming as a way to reduce inequalities. Wealthy individuals who show off their wealth are mocked and humiliated. Such mocking frequently works well to prevent egregious inequality of course there is always some inequality. Re: One of these agreements is that most people would prefer to live in a country where wealth is distributed more equally than is the situation in the U.

A CEO vs a janitor? A 3rd grade teacher vs a computer programmer at Apple? Private vs public employees? Even as a union worker, the union comes first. Could a flat tax possibly reduce that influence inequality? Inner city and rural schools often offer a substandard education. A bad education can not always substantially reduce opportunity equality. As for other cultures finding ways to push back against wealth inequality without government involvement. Is shaming and mocking really effective? Probably not. It may reduce the flaunting of wealth, but that does not reduce a bank balance. And if it works at all, it would probably only work in small groups or with just a few individuals.

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