Sunday 14 October 2012

My liberalism, in vague.

Liberalism is a rather broad ideology. Most people are not nationalists or communists in any sense, however, most are liberals (at least in some sense), to varying degrees. This is just to outline where I stand in that spectrum, a little.

I believe that liberalism means two main things, coming from a primary belief that all people should be able to determine their own destiny: Liberty and opportunity. If either of those two components is taken without the other, I believe, you just end up losing the one you picked in the first place. Liberty requires opportunity, if not, you do not have true liberty. Opportunity requires liberty, if not, you do not have true opportunity.

The (false) liberty that some people believe you can have without opportunity is rather flawed. For example, what is the point of an open and democratic government with civil liberties and a universal franchise, when the state is controlled by a small clique, due to those being born into poverty having no means of escaping it? That is NOT a liberal society. There is no opportunity, therefore, there is no liberty.

Nor can you have a society of opportunity with no liberty. What is the purpose of being able to excel, to learn, to enhance that knowledge of yourself and maybe humanity, when there is a closed state? In a nation where people cannot control their own lives, where they are enslaved to the government, or some other body, then they have no opportunity.This is NOT a liberal society. There is no liberty, therefore, there is no opportunity.

So liberalism requires both opportunity and liberty. In their core, they don't function  properly without each other.

Liberalism seeks to treat people as individuals. Liberalism should not say "this is your community, this is how you must act in it. This is how you must serve it" for that is collectivism. It leads to treating people based on what groups or communities they are a part of. This collectivism takes two main and nasty forms: socialism & conservatism. To generalise, conservatives want to tell you who you can love, what the moral way to live is, how you should act, this is your place in our hierarchy. Socialists want to tell you this is what you are capable of doing, this is the job you should do, this is how much you should earn, this is the kind of property you should have, this is your place in our hierarchy.

Because of this, I believe, they are doomed to fail. Because individuals, especially when they come together over an issue through their own free will and passion, are unstoppable. Individuals are brilliant. They can do things. If you give someone a boot and teach them how, then they will be able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

This doesn't mean that individuals don't need help, sometimes, from their community, and the state. Liberals believe people should be fully able to determine their own destiny. If you do not have access to healthcare/education/food from day 1 of your life, you are not going to be able to determine your own future. A liberal wishes to give someone the means to help themselves, the ability for their own talents to flourish.

 Socialists believe everybody should meet certain criteria, your house shouldn't be this lavish, or this poor quality. This isn't an evil belief, though I disagree with it. It's just the fact that they place limitations on people. Restrictions on what people can do.

Conservatives also believe everybody must meet certain criteria. Everybody should have a family, two loving parents and children. Everybody should strive for a middle class professional job. Everybody should do this, or that. It's just placing restrictions on people. The state shouldn't be telling you how to live your life if it isn't hurting anyone. If you are a single woman/man, it is no business of the state to say you require a partner to raise a child. It is no business of the state to say this job is more valuable than that one.

Liberals believe that individuals should determine their own destiny. This means opportunity and liberty. This means no collectivist/socialist/conservative restrictions on how you should live your life. This means a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

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