Seriously, a conservative relies on tradition; a liberal favors modernity. A conservative likes established order; a liberal is eager for change and improvement. A conservative tries to maintain the system as it is; the liberal seeks a new system.
In general, the rich, the elite and the powerful are conservative because tradition, the established order and the system work to keep them rich, elite and powerful. The poor, the average people and the powerless - the vast majority of the people - should be liberal so that they may gain power.
But they are not liberal today because, for decades, conservatives have bombarded them with propaganda painting liberalism as unamerican. They have made "liberalism" a dirty word signifying enviousness, class warfare and even treason. Ann Coulter has written a book titled "Treason" that is devoted to the defamation of all "liberals."
Conservatives are wrong and completely misguided. If they continue on this path of denigration of those who believe differently from them, they will further polarize society, thus shattering civility, breaking common bonds and ruining our democracy.
We must stop this ideological violence to save our country. We must cure this "I'm right you're wrong" syndrome by having honest intellectual debates. I am, therefore, taking this opportunity to explain why I am a liberal.
I am a liberal because I believe that ordinary people should have more power and not be mere clay to be shaped by the rich and elite. I am a liberal because I don't think that in a democracy there should be first-class and second-class citizens. All of us are created equal. I am liberal because I don't want the edicts of any one religion to be superimposed on all citizens. I am a liberal because I believe that the Constitution should be interpreted in light of modern events.
I am not against tradition. The Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the principles laid down by our fathers make our country the great exponent of democracy and freedom that it is today. But our fathers were flawed. Even if they were perfect, they could not foresee the world as it is today. I accept modernity, especially the technological and social changes that increase the power of the poor.
Do traditionalists want to go back to when kings were supreme? The king was all powerful. All his subjects did as he said or they suffered the consequences. Only the king had what could be called freedom.
It wasn't much better when the aristocracy with its lords and barons came into being. Aristocrats received some of the king's power. Thus there were at least 3 classes: royalty, aristocrats and the serfs. Aristocrats had some freedom and the serfs had none.
Perhaps conservatives want to be traditionalists as of the founding of the USA. The original Constitution says "all men are created equal." Men, not women. Women were not free as men. They were subject to the dictates of men. White men, not black men and of course, not black women. Black men were worth 3/5 of what white men were worth.
Yes, amendments and other changes were snce made. Many died in the process. There still is no true equality for everyone. Though the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of privacy for gays and lesbians, conservatives do not accept this.
As a liberal, I want freedom for each individual to live as he or she pleases as long as he or she does not harm anyone else.
The class struggle has always been there. It is disingenuous of conservatives to accuse liberals of indulging in class warfare when they object to huge tax cuts for the rich. It seems to me that by following tradition and favoring the rich, the conservatives are making our society less egalitarian and increasing the enmity between rich and poor. Conservatives, not liberals, are responsible for the class warfare.
Repeal of the so-called "death tax" falls in the same category. It serves the rich and no one else. If the rich do not pay, where will the taxes come from? The rest of us. This is exploitation of the poor by the rich. Just as it was in the good old feudal days.
As a liberal, I am in favor of reducing the class struggle by empowering the poor.
Religious individuals are traditionalists. They live according to the traditions of the church, synagogue, mosque or temple they belong to. All well and good. Everyone should be allowed to exercise his religion as he sees fit. And those who do not believe in religion should be allowed to live as they please as long as they harm no one.
The best way to achieve this religious freedom is by separating the state from religion. The founders tried to do this. But today there is a different type of traditionalist - a religious fundamentalist - who abhors this separation.
Religious traditionalists are fighting against abortion because their religion tells them abortion is wrong. OK, if you believe it to be wrong, don't do it. Why work to impose your values on everyone else? Accordng to the Jewish religion, you are not a person until you are 8 days old. Obviously this is in variance with the viewpoint of the anti-abortion people. Conservatives want to fight about this. They also want to insert religion into schools, promote creationism and sexual abstinence.
As a liberal, I say free each person to follow the dictates of his own conscience.
Law depends on precedence, a form of tradition, so lawyers usually introduce conservatism into any discussion. I don't think this is necessarily bad, since the law must be a pillar to support a consistent system of justice.
Conservatives, however, take this idea of tradition to extremes. They insist, especially in the U.S. Supreme Court, that the Constitution must be accepted literally. As I have pointed out before, the Constitution is flawed and this is why it has been amended and otherwise changed. It is not possible for the constitution to have answers to all modern questions.
As a liberal, I believe the Constitution should be interpreted in a way that expands opportunity and freedom for all, especially the little guy.
I am a liberal because I prefer modernity to tradition and I want to bring freedom to all citizens of the U.S.