Friday, January 11, 2008

What is a "Liberal", Anyway?

I would call myself a liberal - but rather than using Blackadder’s somewhat loaded definitions here, I’ll supply my own list

1. I think large corporations have too much power, and our government ought to be a counterbalance to this.

2. I think the wealthy are under-taxed, and that this goes a long way in explaining the widening disparity between the wealthiest few percent and everyone else.

3. I think strong unions are a good idea, as another way of balancing out the inordinate influence of “malefactors of great wealth.” I think “right to work” (that is, anti-union) laws ought to be abolished, and strong card-check legislation is needed at the national level. (Side note: I’d love to see legislation that specifically forces Walmart to accept full unionization - just shove it down the Walton family’s throat…)

4. I think US foreign policy has gone way, way too far down the road to imperialism (a highly placed Bush administration official, who is rumored to have been either Cheney or Rumsfeld, went so far as to say “We’re an empire now…”). I think the US as the world’s policeman/babysitter/emperor is arrogant and undemocratic, and will lead eventually to despotism here at home. I favor an international order built on consensus and cooperation.

5. I think a too-cozy relationship between church and state lends itself to horrendous abuse, and thus I favor separation of church and state as outlined in the US Constitution.

6. I believe that diversity, racial and otherwise, makes a nation stronger. It’s worth pointing out that most of what is considered “pop culture” (music and youth fashions) in the world is, or is derived directly from, African-American culture. Problems in our ghettos are complex, and have to do with, among other things, racism and the legacy thereof, poverty and the effects thereof, and with a breakdown of black families and the effects thereof.

7. I think the appalling situation in which 1 percent of the US population is in prison is a grave injustice, and an indication of a massive failure of our society to care for its members.

8. Generally speaking, I’d like my government to help people through social programs and wealth-redistribution; I’d like to minimize the government’s use of power along coercive lines (militarism, various police powers…the guys-with-rifles things)

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