Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Liberal’s Creed: Seeking to Narrow the Gaps

A Liberal’s Creed: Seeking to Narrow the Gaps

By Jerome Grossman

Liberalism in the United States is different from classical liberalism, American as apple pie. It draws its inspiration from the Declaration of Independence: “that all men are created equal.” Equality is the master idea, in race, wealth, and gender. Yet liberalism does not advocate the absolute economic equality implied in socialist systems, because liberalism is restrained by its advocacy of the freedom of the individual and unrestricted development in all spheres of human endeavor. Liberals do not believe it is possible to create a perfect society but that we should try to reach the ideal.
Rooted in Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and Theodore Roosevelt’s Progressive movement, liberalism accepts with typical American pragmatism the dominance of business interests while seeking to modify the imbalances of political, social, and economic institutions. Big government is the instrument of modification for, as Theodore Roosevelt said, “There was a time when the limitation of governmental power meant increasing liberty for the people. In the present day, the limitation of governmental power, of governmental action, means the enslavement of the people by the great corporations.”
However, liberals are also wary of big government, unwilling even for the goals of equality to sacrifice the protection of individual rights, the rule of law, and personal freedoms. It is this tension between two objectives that makes it so demanding to be an American liberal: eternal vigilance is required.
Liberals know that absolute equality can never be achieved. But, optimistic believers in the essential goodness of humanity and in human rationality, they promote change that will allow the aggressive and the talented to benefit from their efforts while promoting reforms that will minimize the differences in benefits, thereby cutting the equality gap.
The motivations are moral and pragmatic: moral in that equality reflects our communitarian heritage and love for all human beings; pragmatic in the sense that inequality spawns revolution and crime.
While conservatives are by definition the party of the status quo, they demonstrate by their actions a realization of the moral and pragmatic problems. Their answer is private charity to relieve the pressures generated by economic inequality, and political tokenism to make up for the differences in power.
For liberals, the conservative answer is insufficient. Only the government, as the instrument of the entire nation, should be responsible for providing the minimum conditions necessary for a decent existence. These conditions include not only adequate food, clothing, and shelter, but also education and employment.
The growth of industrial society has produced great inequalities of wealth and power. Liberalism insists that it is in the interests of all parties to narrow the gaps. This is American pragmatic idealism at its best: right and practical at the same time.


an average patriot said...

That's very good Jerome! I agree with that 100%. The problem is tryibg to get someone to realize it beyond the Partisan childish rhetoric of Bush's America and get it into action. I wiil forever continue to speak up and do my share.
We need limited Government in our society to feep it on the level. The problem today is that this is no longer a Government of the people for the people by the people facilitated by society. We are a Government of the politicians for the affluent by the media facilitated by the leal system.
We have been subverted for selfish indugence and gain and are more rapidly then normal in this cycle of our societies life heading towards the end of every society and the Roman Empire. How to turn this around against crushing odds is the big question. Stay in touch, I am on your side.

cognitorex said...

Jerome, thanks for sending this post to me at my Email.
Your post here and others are very, very good. Mucho gusto conocerlo.
You need to add a blogroll to your site where you could add and I, crex could add my blogroll, as I will.

On liberalism I add my 2 cents below:

July 26, 2007

Are Those Liberals Wearing Crosses?
Imagine a handful of mostly older women handing out toothpaste, razors and toothbrushes at a homeless shelter.
Imagine a group of mostly older women in the basement kitchen of a church cooking up chicken, peas and mashed (lots of coffee) for their weekly soup kitchen for the poor.
Imagine thousands of mostly older women volunteering and performing acts of charity all across America.
Some of the ladies have crosses in their lapels; are they not liberals?
Some of their brethren are altruistic agnostic or atheist volunteers; are they not serving the morality engendered in the world's god based religions.
It may serve Karl Rove's vision of political dominance to set these kind faced Americans upon each other over implications of being a 'liberal' but it really isn't the American way.
And it's not a word that anyone should remotely shy away from.
Craig Johnson

Labels: Christian, Clinton, edwards, good works, Liberal, Progressive, Two Americas

# posted by cognitorex @ 7/26/2007

cheers craig


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