"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must undergo the fatigues of supporting it." — Thomas Paine
Classical liberalism is a philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government, constitutionalism, rule of law, due process, and liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets.
Classical Liberalism developed in the 19th century in Europe, and the United States. Although classical liberalism built on ideas that had already developed by the end of the 18th century, it advocated a specific kind of society, government and public policy required as a result of the Industrial Revolution and urbanization. Notable individuals who have contributed to classical liberalism include Jean-Baptiste Say, Frederic Bastiat, Thomas Malthus, and David Ricardo. It drew on the economics of Adam Smith, a psychological understanding of individual liberty, natural law and utilitarianism, and a belief in progress. Classical liberals established political parties that were called "liberal", although in the United States classical liberalism came to dominate both existing major political parties. There was a revival of interest in classical liberalism in the 20th century led by Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, and Milton Friedman.
Economic Liberalism is the economic component of classical liberalism. It is one the main components of the ideology of capitalism. It is an economic philosophy that supports and promotes laissez-faire economics and private property in the means of production. Although economic liberalism can be supportive of government regulation to a certain degree, it tends to oppose government intervention in the free market when it inhibits free trade and open competition. Economic liberalism opposes economic planning as an alternative to the market mechanism. Economic liberalism contrasts with mercantilism, state capitalism, socialism, market socialism, and fascist economics (Corporatism)
Economic liberalism opposes government intervention on the grounds that the state often serves dominant business interests, distorting the market to their favor and thus leading to inefficient outcomes. Ordoliberalism and various schools of social liberalism based on classical liberalism include a broader role for the state, but do not seek to replace private enterprise and the free-market with public enterprise and economic planning. For example, the social market economy is a largely free-market economy based on a free price system and private property, and includes government regulation to promote competitive markets and social welfare programs to address social inequalities that result from free-market outcomes.
Theories in support of economic liberalism were developed in the Enlightenment, and believed to be first fully formulated by Adam Smith, which advocates minimal interference of government in a market economy, though it does not necessarily oppose the state's provision of a few basic public goods with what constitutes public goods originally being seen as very limited in scope. These theories began in the eighteenth century with the then-startling claim that if everyone is left to their own economic devices instead of being controlled by the state, then the result would be a harmonious and more equal society of ever-increasing prosperity. This underpinned the move towards a capitalist economic system in the late 18th century, and the subsequent demise of the mercantilist system.
Social Liberalism is the belief that liberalism should include social justice. It differs from classical liberalism in that it believes the legitimate role of the state includes addressing economic and social issues such as unemployment, health care, and education while simultaneously expanding civil rights. Under social liberalism, the good of the community is viewed as harmonious with the freedom of the individual. Social liberal policies have been widely adopted in much of the capitalist world, particularly following World War II. Social liberal ideas and parties tend to be considered centrist or center-left.
A reaction against social liberalism in the late twentieth century, often called neoliberalism, led to monetarist economic policies and a reduction in government provision of services. However, this reaction did not result in a return to classical liberalism, as governments continued to provide social services and retained control over economic policy.
The term "social liberalism" is often used interchangeably with "modern liberalism". The Liberal International is the main international organization of liberal parties, which include, among other liberal variants, social liberal parties. It affirms the following principles: human rights, free and fair elections and multiparty democracy, social justice, tolerance, social market economy, free trade, environmental sustainability and a strong sense of international solidarity.
From the three examples cited above you can see the deviants in the term “Liberal.” Is your philosophy more in line with Classical Liberalism, Economic Liberalism or Social Liberalism?
Our Republic was founded on the principles of classical liberalism. Founders such as Jefferson, Adams, Madison, and Mason were classical liberals who believed in small government, private property, minimal government interference, and the free market. the Constitution is proof of these beliefs.
After the Civil War we began to fall into the path of social liberalism. This trend continued, albeit minimal, until the beginning of the 20th century when the progressive movement, under Theodore Roosevelt and Robert Lafollette.
It was not until the election of Woodrow Wilson that the progressive movement began to dominate our political scene. Wilson’s internationalists foreign policies, his entrance into World War II and his support of every growing government be began to move the Democrat Party to the left of center.
With the election of Franklin Roosevelt and the Great Depression the Democrat Party began to define itself as a party more dedicated to social justice than classical liberalism. The Democrat Party had discovered the key to power by their populous stances on many of the social issues of the day.
By the end of World War II the government had grown to a sized never envisioned by our Founders. The federal government had gained control over many aspects of our life and Roosevelt’s social justice programs were becoming larger and larger, especially in the areas of farm subsidies and welfare programs.
When John Kennedy was elected, although a Democrat, he was not an advocate of social liberalism. He had grown to age under his father, Joseph, a wealthy businessman and political boss. He lowered taxes, taxes that had grown to an obscene rate of 81% and was loath to get into the civil rights issues. I believe Kennedy was an economic liberal.
When the Texas Democrat Lyndon Johnson assumed the presidency after the assassination of John Kennedy he began his cynical policies leading to the Great Society. This is when the Democrats learned to really adopt the policies of social liberalism and adopt the term “Liberal.”
Today people and politicians we refer to as liberals are not classical, economic, or social liberals. They are some sort of mutant of a social liberal with an interjection of fascism, Marxism, and statism.
Here are a few examples of what today’s “liberals” espouse.
Take the Gay community for example. Why they call themselves Gay is a mystery to me. I don’t see how being a homosexual is gay. Gay means happy, delighted, ecstatic, and thrilled. This is how our society has introduced euphemisms into our lexicon. The Gays will tell you they do not want anyone to tell them what to do in the privacy of the bedroom (or in San Francisco a public park). They don’t want government or anyone else telling them what to put in their butt. On the other hand they want government to tell us what we can put in our mouths. No salt, no burgers, no cigarettes, and no fast food. I wonder what government would say if they put a cigarette in their butt?
The gays claim they don’t want government in their lives until they contract Aids, then they want government (us) to pay the bill. In other words personal responsibility for thee but not for me.
In another example we have the “liberal” women. They want government to keep their hand off their bodies and want abortion on demand, at any stage. But, they expect government to pay not only for the abortions, but also for birth control. Once again they want their will to be done and anyone who disagrees with them is demonized. Personal liberty ends in the pocketbook.
“Liberals” love to engage in class warfare. They tell us the rich should pay more, especially those with planes and yachts. But who has the planes and yachts? Yes the liberals like John Kerry and the Kennedys. President Obama tells us we need to sacrifice yet he vacations with his very wealthy liberal friends and donors on Martha’s Vineyard. It’s okay to be rich, but don’t demonize those of us who want to be rich. This is reminiscent of the old Soviet Union where the apparatchik and party bosses lived in their dachas on he Black Sea while the proletariat stood in line at the GUM Department Store all day for a pair of ill-fitting shoes. Once again socialism is for the people, not for the socialists.
Liberals like Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. decry the iPad and other technologies as killing jobs. They cannot see the jobs and opportunities created by technology. If you told them if we wanted to create jobs we could eliminate bulldozers and only use shovels on construction jobs. Their response would be that’s irrelevant. Liberals do not believe technology in the hands of the free market can create jobs, They believe that only the government can create jobs. This is in part due to the lack of education in the inner city where unemployment is 20% and among Black youth as high as 40%. They cannot accept the fact that the lack of personal responsibility and bad choices such as dropping out of school, having babies out of wedlock, a devotion to a gangsta culture, and drugs has anything to do with this high unemployment rate. They have dumbed down the public school system, even after pouring billions of dollars into it, to such a state that these youth can longer compete for good paying jobs in the free market. They believe government will put forth all the solutions, which they haven’t been able to do for the past 60 years.
Liberals will claim it’s for the children, the poor, the underprivileged, and the middle class. Yet when asked to define what they mean they are vague and cannot explain why for six decades these policies have failed. When you challenge their views or policies they will demonize you, call you selfish, call you racists, and say you don’t care about your fellow man. It was Frederick Bastiat who called their game some 150 years ago when he wrote:
"Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain."
Liberals believe government can solve all the problems of mankind if they just have enough time and money. They believe all rights come from government, not from God. In fact they don’t really like God. You see God has laws that have been around since Moses. It’s these laws they don’t like. They say they are too clack and white and too judgmental. Liberals don’t like to be judged, but they like to judge. Just ask one and they will tell you what is wrong with you and your evil, selfish conservative thinking. After all isn’t the Tea Party evil for wanting the government to reduce spending so our grandchildren will have a country to live in without being crushed by debt.
So what should we call these people, and politicians? That’s hard to define. Do we call them liberals? Do we call them Marxists? Do we call them progressives? Do we call them Mutants or do we call them statist? Perhaps statist is the term that fits them best, but we will have to educate the public to that term and what it means in today’s body politic.
Today’s liberal (statist) is not very liberal at all. He is a tyrant who believes in social justice and using the power of government and their fellow travelers in the media to crush opposition by demonizing and demagoguery. All they really want is power and they will ignore all lessons of history to obtain that power.