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View Diary: My Liberal Principles (34 comments)

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  •  It depends on how one "promotes" one's views (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Swedish liberal, cjtjc, Gorette

    I'm promoting my political views in this diary. I'm trying to do so by persuasion, not coercion.

    Similarly, promoting one's religious views by means of persuasion is perfectly compatible with liberal democracy. It is when one uses the state mechanisms of coercion to promote them that problems begin.

    No, not everyone will love us. I get annoyed when people try to convert me at times when I'm busy.  I don't particularly like having Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons show up at my door. But as long as they leave when I politely say that I'm uninterested, I have no reason to complain. (They are less annoying that the telephone sales calls that won't stop no matter how many "no call" lists one is on!)

    I disapprove of a government "office of faith based initiatives." I think it's unconstitutional. I disapprove of vouchers for religious schools.  I think the ruling that employers' religious views about contraception could AT ALL apply to their employees' health insurance coverage is insane. (If my employer was a Jehovah's Witness, could s/he deny coverage for blood transfusions?)

    But promotion by persuasion is not only integral to the "free exercise" clause of the 1st Amendment, but to the Free Speech clause, too.  

    I read books all the time by atheists trying to persuade me that their views are correct.  They haven't done so, yet, and I can't conceive of their doing so, but they still have the right to try. If they think their view is RIGHT and that my view is not only wrong, but harmful (and many atheists believe all religious views are harmful), then they may have a moral DUTY to try to persuade me and as many others as they can of the rightness of their positions.

    That is not a threat to liberal democracy. Nor is it if persons of faith use the same methods of persuasion.

    A rabbi once told me that he didn't care that a particular person didn't like Jews. He only considered a person an anti-Semite if they tried to discriminate against Jews using the power of government.  It isn't necessary for a well-functioning multi-cultural democracy that everyone LIKE everyone else, or even every GROUP. That's utopian. We only need to grant that each individual and group has the same EQUAL RIGHTS and protections.

    "I was not born for myself alone, but for my neighbor as well as myself."--Richard Overton, leader of the Levellers, a17th C. movement for democracy and equality during the English Civil War. http://www.kynect.ky.gov/ for healthcare coverage in Kentucky

    by SouthernLeveller on Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 08:42:59 AM PST

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    •  I think everyone "here" is already pretty much (0+ / 0-)

      persuaded that Money Isn't Speech, People Are More Important Than Profits ... and so on and so on and so on.

      It's the "let's be nicer and fairer to Conservatives, because ..."   (I'm afraid I don't quite get what the "because" is ) ...  that sort of puts me off my feed.

      If it makes you feel better about yourself -- wonderful.  It harms no one. And expressed among Liberals, it persuades no one of anything except what a nice person you are.  

      Maybe that was whole  the point in the first place?

      •  Not a very generous comment, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gorette

        I think it's always good to put your belief system into words, it forces you to be concrete and to "meet" yourself.

        And when S.L. publishes the text here he helps others do the same, how could that not be a good and worthwhile endeavour?

      •  I agree with Swedish liberal's comment. Have (0+ / 0-)

        you not seen the call for diaries such as this, explaining how we got to be liberals? I think it is well and good, and is not done to prove we are "nice" people, but to explain the roots of our political views.

        Maybe some day you will publish your own excellent diary?

        "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

        by Gorette on Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 11:51:15 AM PST

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      •  Uh, no. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        furiouschads

        I want to be able to persuade others by articulating liberal principles CLEARLY. I also think that our candidates would be more persuasive if they quit only talking "policy wonk speak," and spoke in the language of moral persuasion. It's how we reclaim the discredited term "liberal," and how we convince the majority of Americans that they really are liberal (as polls on particular policies seem to show) and vote accordingly (which happens only in a haphazard manner).

        I can attack the rightwing with the best of them when I need to do so.  I know how to take on adversaries.

        But there are lots of disengaged, low information voters, who need to be engaged and persuaded.  We need to find how to be more articulate in the way we do this.

        Yes, I'm talking to the converted here, but I hope feedback helps me in talking to the unconverted.

        "I was not born for myself alone, but for my neighbor as well as myself."--Richard Overton, leader of the Levellers, a17th C. movement for democracy and equality during the English Civil War. http://www.kynect.ky.gov/ for healthcare coverage in Kentucky

        by SouthernLeveller on Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 03:41:54 PM PST

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        •  IOW, we need to discard one-sided pragmatism (0+ / 0-)

          Liberals, and especially Democrats, have gotten pulled into citing pragmatic reasons for advocating what they advocate, i.e., "if we do this thing, it will make things better." And that means defining "better" in some abstract way, by looking at the non-human entities for which they think need things to work better (usually, "the economy," or "the unemployment rate," or whatever. Never making things better for unemployed PEOPLE, you know. Because the unemployment rate doesn't distinguish between crappy exploitative jobs and good sustaining jobs.) But here, look, we're data driven so we have authoritativeness.

          I suspect the reason they've done this is in pursuit of the mythical "smart pragmatic independent voter" who supposedly doesn't care about "ideology" and only cares about "getting results." Those people may not exist in the numbers that are assumed, but when they do exist they are the people like my trader relatives who grouse about all the problems that "Obama has caused" by messing with things, completely ignoring the fact that their little micro-world swimming in mega-money is completely dependent upon a society that allows it to operate and is willing to put up with the real costs it extracts from the rest of the participants in our social world.

          In the process, the Very Serious Liberal People courting these Smart Pragmatic Independent Voters have gotten away from articulating any values at all, except maybe on the Democratic party website, which no one reads, least of all "independent voters."

          So you get wonks trying to refute David Brooks when he says drily that "central planning doesn't work, and vibrant markets do." Yawn. Angels on the head of a pin.

          And in the meantime, the current crop of conservatives trumpet that they are the only ones who care about values, which they are all too willing to provide - in the form of prejudices and smears about vast swaths of the population. Which is why I want to suppress a gag reflex whenever I hear the name "Values Voter Summit." So let's run purely on what WE believe. Not what we believe will work, or what we believe will "make this better." But that we believe because we're god damn HUMAN BEINGS, for crying out loud.

          Oh, and those Smart Pragmatic Independent Voters are probably more mythical than real, and the people who actually decide the vote are too often the low-information voters you mention. Who decide based on who looks better, or who they'd rather have a beer with.

          •  Not either/or but both/and (0+ / 0-)

            I think we run on our moral values AND our pragmatic solutions. We need to show that our solutions flow FROM our values.

            "I was not born for myself alone, but for my neighbor as well as myself."--Richard Overton, leader of the Levellers, a17th C. movement for democracy and equality during the English Civil War. http://www.kynect.ky.gov/ for healthcare coverage in Kentucky

            by SouthernLeveller on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 03:31:43 PM PST

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