If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, that would have gotten you labeled a radical 60 years ago, a liberal 30 years ago and a racist today.
–Thomas Sowell

Labels seem to be in flux these days, with various groups co-opting various ideas and no one quite sure what label applies where anymore—at least on the Left.  I have chosen two labels as the title of this blog, and I want that to make sense to the reader.

I held my nose and voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, after supporting Sanders in the primaries, and voting for Obama in 2008 and 2012. By that time I was already having issues with Hillary’s cynical and obvious identity politics. I have essentially stayed the same and the Left has left me, taking one wrong turn with radical identitarianism and another with Trump Derangement Syndrome, which is an extreme hatred of Trump partly based in identity. The obsession with a Russian conspiracy is the liberal version of the conservative birther movement.  For me, the big problem with the hacking was what it revealed about Hillary corrupting the Democratic National Committee.

Leftists (as opposed to liberals) are centered around “intersectional identity” these days and are about tearing down hierarchies to create a more equal society. That might sound good, except they see all hierarchies as evil and have no understanding of the need for hierarchy and the actual value hierarchies create. They seek to destroy the good and reasonable along with the outdated and unreasonable. I can’t even talk to the Left anymore or listen to the Leftist spin and assumptions of mainstream news without cringing.

I believe in a relatively equal society, supported by institutions that limit extremes of wealth and poverty. I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it.
― Paul Krugman

Why I consider myself to be liberal and even progressive (a combination of “Classic Liberal” and what used to be liberal Leftist beliefs):

  • I believe in classically liberal principles.  I believe that the Enlightenment, with its emphasis on science, reason, and individual rights is the right direction for humanity.
  • I believe in the equality, humanity and dignity of all people. 
  • I believe honoring the dignity of other people means listening to their stories and ideas with an open mind.
  • I believe in meritocracy. Discrimination on irrelevant criteria is abhorrent.
  • I believe in self-reliance, “Enlightened self interest” and keeping the good of society in mind.
  • I believe in a balance between the libertarian and authoritarian to the libertarian side, with the benefit of the doubt always going to the libertarian. Live and let live.
  • I believe government has a role in providing necessities as a safety net for those who cannot procure them themselves (income, food, shelter, healthcare).  It makes the most sense for government to provide infrastructure for commerce, including K-12 education and healthcare for all. Those with more money can participate in private efforts.
  • I believe in aggressive, progressive taxation of income and estates.  Let people have some luxuries they earn and pass some down to their kids, but we should not have a permanent aristocracy of the wealthy in the US.
  • I believe the wealthy and successful have obligations to those less fortunate. 
  • I believe in the constant improvement of self and society. 
  • I believe racism and sexism exist, but they are complicated issues, not simple, and less “oppressive” in people’s lives than claimed.

Heresy is another word for freedom of thought.
–Graham Greene

Why I feel like a heretic (and have been treated as such) among liberals:

  • I feel Leftists have lost a healthy sense of skepticism of revealed truth and deny all science, fact and reason that does not support their “truth.” They cannot examine their own beliefs critically and are not open-minded anymore.
  • I feel the group is the wrong unit for a dominant identity and the distribution of rights, responsibilities and justice. The individual is. Tribalism is regressive, not progressive.
  • I feel that demonizing and scapegoating the “other” is never a positive for society.
  • I feel some cultures are objectively better than others, that all cultures learn from each other and that “cultural appropriation” is bullshit.
  • I feel no white or male guilt and refuse to be manipulated into doing so.
  • I feel that free speech and thought are important, including the freedom to offend.
  • I feel individuals are responsible for their own sense of offense.
  • I feel that women are adults and equal to men. Some of them need to stop whining and making excuses and start acting like it. I am not a feminist.
  • I feel that so much of the Leftist dogma of the “social justice” cult is pure bullshit: “privilege,” “intersectional oppression,” “equity,” “patriarchy,” “fragility,” etc… There is a kernel of truth to each of those concepts, but they are spurious as principles and have been horribly twisted as tools for an agenda. You can tell this by all the lies and special pleading used to justify them, and name-calling used to silence critics.
  • I feel that so-called Leftist social justice warriors are motivated more by resentment (hate) and a naked will to power than by compassion.
  • I feel the tactics of the Left are regressive: street-fighting, witch hunts, silencing, shunning, black lists, denial of rights to the accused, etc… This prompts comparison to some of the worst players in human history.
  • I feel the Left as a whole has become more authoritarian, with the totalitarian social justice cult coming right out of the pages of an Orwell novel.
  • I feel nausea over Trump, but I have not lost my mind to anger and recognize that he does occasionally get things right.