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liberals

Consider an issue like abortion, which divides the country in a particularly intense way, with opponents earnestly regarding it as the murder of an innocent baby and many abortion-rights supporters earnestly believing that a fetus is not a human life, and that outlawing it is a horrific assault on a woman’s bodily autonomy. The political debate over abortion is likely to continue long past all of our deaths. Would American society be better off if stakeholders in various corporations began to investigate leadership’s political activities on abortion and to lobby for the termination of anyone who took what they regard to be the immoral, damaging position? Mozilla’s Gay-Marriage Litmus Test Violates Liberal Values

Inequality is shaping up to become the new focus of liberals. Reed is worried about the “dilettantish” behavior of the left which “careens from this oppressed group or crisis moment to that one.” And yes, inequality could turn into another bright shiny object of the day. But I believe inequality will have legs. It has enough moral energy to coordinate political imaginations, yet it’s plastic enough to cover different elements like poverty and plutocracy, as well as values like economic freedom and security. Adolph Reed’s Harpers Essay About Obama is Naive About Tea Party

…working people in America got more from Richard Nixon than we got from Clinton or Obama. And it’s not because he was our fan, right, it’s because, you know, the labor movement and what has since been called the social movement of the ’60s were dynamic enough forces in the society that even Nixon, who called himself a Keynesian, felt that there was a need to respond to them. So that’s how we got occupational health and safety, affirmative action like other stuff. So it’s not, and, see, this is the key point, I think, right. Because one of the ways that our politics have been hollowed and a source of the collapse of the left is a forgetting, right? A kind of social amnesia about what movement building is and how and what social movements are and how they’re constructed. Adolph Reed

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…if we understand the left to be anchored to a conviction that the society can be made better than it actually is and a commitment to combating economic inequality as a primary one, the left is just gone. I mean, there are leftists around, certainly. There’s no shortage of them. And there are left organizations, and there are people who publish left ideas and kind of think left thoughts. But as a significant force that’s capable of shaping the terms of debate in American politics, you know, the left has gone and has been gone for a while. Adolph Reed

When I first came to political consciousness in the 1980s, it seemed important for people who shared my politics to call ourselves leftists and not liberals. Liberals were those who wanted a tolerant society but who weren’t willing to look at issues of power. Now after 30 years of the Reagan revolution with the liberal social welfare state under increasing attack, I think liberalism—meaning support for a welfare state and for public goods—needs to be defended. At this point in this country, it actually takes some courage to be liberal, and liberals are fighting for things I want them to be fighting for. So I’m all for liberalism, as well as leftism. Cynthia Kaufman

But economically, what was WWII? An enormous government spending program. It got us out of the depression and far beyond, when FDR’s earlier stimulus programs only partially did so, because it was eight times larger. In the context of a depression, you have to think big. A WWII-sized stimulus was what was needed, and fortunately it was what we got. Liberalism works

Distributism is undoubtedly the most cross-eyed philosophy in modern times, which owes to its unpopularity. It commits itself both to the organic structure of society and to a general revolt against man’s inherently selfish nature. It concerns itself with what caused our forefathers to flourish but demands that we be still more prosperous. It’s a desire to improve the lot of every man without making him obsessed with that lot. At its heart, Distributism is at once a Traditionalist and reform-oriented philosophy. It’s a relic of the old Liberal spirit. The Traditionalist as Liberal

The Democratic Party, its media spokespeople and personalities, as well as many folks who identify as “liberals” or “progressives” have taught Republicans that it is okay to mistreat them. A broken government and political circus on basic matters such as the debt ceiling, extending unemployment benefits, and other related matters are the result of a codependent, political Stockholm Syndrome-like, abusive relationship between Republicans and Democrats. The latter keeps trying to get things done and to have a good relationship; the former hates the very idea of government, and the country’s first black president becomes the focus of their defiance. We are respectable negroes

Conservatives benefit from their appeals to fear. It’s actually the very essence of conservatism — fear of change. And that is their weakness because in a democratic, capitalistic society optimism and a willingness and ability to risk are necessary for the society to thrive. Liberals’ job is to articulate that optimism, that belief that problems can be solved, that democratic government of the people is a positive force that provides the necessary structure for individuals and businesses to thrive and grow. It is that general sense of liberalism that the netroots, as a loosely affiliated organization of activists, thinkers, businesspeople, gadflies and interested observers might also bring back into the public debate. Digby

In many cases, modern conservatism essentially forces you to hold views that are just contrary to fact. If you accept evolution or climate change then you have no future in conservative politics. Why would science professors find that appealing? There is likewise an utterly fantastical view of American history among much of the right, in which the country was founded by heroic evangelicals specifically as a Christian nation. Why should we be surprised when actual historians demur? Are sociologists familiar with the best available data going to be impressed by hateful rhetoric that blames only the poor for their situation? Are serious economists expected to be polite towards long-discredited notions of supply-side theorizing? Why Are So Many College Professors Politically Liberal?

The shift of the Democratic Party from economic to “pity-charity” liberalism has put the entire liberal project in danger. It has increased its vulnerability to conservative challenge and left it without a base of politically mobilized supporters. Progressives are now dependent on the fragile possibility that inequality and socioeconomic immobility will push the social order to the breaking point and force the political system to respond. Thomas B. Edsall

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