One of our many, many problems is that the Left (Democrats, Progressives, Socialists, whatever you and I choose to call them) have appropriated the title “Liberal” for their political position. It’s a damned shame, because classically being a “liberal” would mean being in favor of that which is appropriate to a liberated human being – someone not a slave, whether to an external master or to the unrefined emotions of the undeveloped self.
I grew up generally hoping to be liberal in many ways, and became later a die-hard fan of liberal education, but the real thing – read widely, read everything, think about it carefully and discuss it with others to come to clarity and understanding. Try to overcome your own ignorance and sloth and habit. Liberate yourself from anything that controls you without your consent. It’s an unreachable ideal, but it’s the right goal.
I would not associate being a political Liberal (capital L to distinguish) with much, if any, of that.
My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. Carl Schurz
The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.” — Moshe Ben-David
“The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been “liberated” to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it’s because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it’s because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem.” — Sultan Knish
I happily recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and do so after a fashion every day when I look at the flag flying from our upper balcony. However, I am actually against having school children recite it, and perhaps even against allowing them to recite it in a formal setting until the age of majority. Having a child take a pledge before the child is capable of understanding what a pledge is, and to what he or she is pledging allegiance, seems inappropriate to me.
Let’s have the adults who feel the urge get together and recite it, and have the children see them do so as they grow up, and perhaps decide that they might want to do the same eventually.
This country is a terrific idea, and worth protecting and defending, and pushing through bad times and bad events to recover and keep the idea alive and pass it on. I’m not sure that it’s a worthy idea, to think that children should recite a pledge to it, before knowing what it means to pledge something, and particularly before they can possibly understand what a revolutionary feat the establishment of this country was and how richly it deserves to be kept whole and safe.
The question we should be asking, particularly now but truly quite often in any event, is, “Shall we be a nation?” What we do depends on our answer to that, every day.
Stuck in the 60s. That’s the problem with a lot of our radical left friends. They know something really good did actually come to pass back then, even though there was a lot of chaos. (I’m not speaking of the true revolutionaries, for whom the chaos was part of the good.) There was progress in race relations, particularly in consciousness across the nation and in legislation. There was a popular uprising against a war which was making less and less and less sense, and may have made very little sense to begin with. So, they want to be a part of something that big. The problem is that things have moved on. While some of the problems, such as racism, still exist, because they have always existed, in all parts of the planet, in all ages, they are not the same, and certainly not institutionalized as they were. So, there is progress.
But the desperate-to-be-part-of-it crowd can’t think of the new things to fight: things like actual energy independence (using everything), actual tolerance (the United States of Mind Your Own Business, as opposed to The United States of You Have to Approve of Everything I Do), actual education for creating civilized human beings (as opposed to mere schooling, or worse the propaganda that now occupies too much of our university class space).
So, they take anything that looks or sounds a bit like things from “the good old days” (selectively remembering) and run with it. What’s easier to understand than “cops out of control”, “racist white folks”? Easy to say. Easy to accuse. Easy to find like-minded folks willing to go along with any accusation.
It won’t be easy pulling out of this, but we can and must. It’s fine to think of what did come of the 1960s, but way more productive to think of how good we can make things by the 2060s, if we have real discussions, ask tough questions, insist on real answers, stop name-calling, stop race-baiting, stop confusing revenge with justice.
Like I said, not easy. Dennis Hopper’s character in some movie once told us that “when we get out of the 80s, the 90s are going to make the 60s look like the 50s”. Well, that’s what we wanted. And we didn’t get it. So, here we are, stuck in the 60s some of us, hungry for what we were hoping for in the 90s.
Think. Read. Talk. Discuss. Act. Respect. Love. Help. Prod. Meditate. Ponder. Muse. Consider. Work. Write. Do things. Do things. Do things. Just don’t keep doing the old things that we already see don’t work.