I plan on doing a series of posts, why I’m not a liberal, why I’m not a moderate, and why I’m not 100% conservative, and finally, why I’m a libertarian. I just don’t want people to think I’m picking on the liberals.
There are many reasons I’m not liberal, but I wanted to focus on two. Liberals, when it comes to social issues, really aren’t that liberal. When it comes to economic issues, liberal philosophy is either based on, or at the very least encourages, envy.
Concerning social issues, in many ways, liberals are like the Puritans of early America or, in some ways, the confederacy. Many argue that the Puritans did not really want freedom of religion for everyone, they really just wanted it for themselves. Similarly, some argue that the southern states pre-Civil War didn’t really want states rights, they wanted rights for themselves to own slaves. They thought every state should have slavery.
I see the same thing today with liberal philosophy. What turned me off of liberalism in college was the idea of politically correct speech. The liberal attitude toward speech was protecting people from being offended rather than supporting people’s right to offend. Today, many of the liberal persuasion are as judgmental of those believing or behaving differently than how they think people should live, for example, family size (the Duggars) and health lifestyle choices (trans-fat bans). The idea that self-righteousness and judgmentalism are exclusive to the “religious right” is flat out wrong.
Also, liberals beliefs in positive rights come into conflict with negative rights. They support abortion rights, and they think others should be forced to accommodate that, via workplace insurance or simply forcing doctors to perform abortions. They support gay marriage and they believe others should be forced to celebrate that. In my view, forcing others to do things against their conscience is the opposite of liberal. This isn’t to rail against liberal philosophy (although I am staunchly pro-life), it’s that modern liberal philosophy is not that liberal to begin with.
My other, main issue, is the philosophy that impacts primarily economics, but other areas as well. It’s the idea of comparison and the idea that wealth is a fixed pie. If I hear liberal politicians and talking heads, I’m supposed to be concerned with how much money the CEO of my company is making, and how big my neighbors house is. Here we are, in the richest nation of the world, of all time, and we are supposed to be concerned with what someone wealthier than us has. I’ve blogged about this before. We are concerned with the “top 1%” of America in wealth, when really, anyone making $35,000 annually is the top 1% of the world. Look, this doesn’t automatically negate the point that liberals make, but I do have problems with envying or hating on the wealthy when most of us are wealthy in a global sense as well.
Part of this belief comes from the idea of wealth as a fixed pie, that if my CEO makes millions of dollars that’s less money for me. But the whole reason I have a job is him or people like him starting companies. And, whenever I make a transaction, the person I made the transaction with and myself are better off, otherwise we wouldn’t make the transaction. Yes, we live in a more advanced version of the trade and bartering system, but at it’s core, that’s what we are doing. A couple of centuries ago, many of us were planting crops and hunting for food. Now, most of us have smartphones.
So, liberal social philosophy is, in some ways, not liberal enough for me. And, I refuse to arbitrarily set moral standards on wealth that makes me look good and everyone above me look bad.