TCS Daily


Conserving and Consolidating the Progressive Liberal Tradition

By Jacob Aronson - March 12, 2007 12:00 AM

About three months ago, two well produced thirty second ads, focusing on the dictionary definitions of liberalism and conservatism, caused a stir on YouTube. Liberalism was painted as "free from bigotry," "favoring proposals for reform," "open to new ideas" and, above all, "progress" oriented. Conservatism, on the other hand, was "resistant to change" and "unimaginatively conventional." The punch-line is a direct question: Are you sure you are a conservative and not a liberal?

These stereotypes follow much of the conventional wisdom about what separates liberals and conservatives: liberals want to reinvent society for the better, conservatives are thick-headed and resistant to change. Much of the left (especially on the West Coast and in several Mountain states) now self identifies as "progressive." To grow this new constituency, democratic think tanks trumpeting the message of progress and the role of new technologly have started to form.

Just as liberalism was redefined away from its 19th century meaning—there is now classical liberalism (adherents of free market policies) and modern liberalism (the very opposite)—progressivism grew away from its early 20th century meaning. Unlike the anti-business, quasi-socialist progressivism of Teddy Roosevelt, modern progressives, in the words of Markos Moulitsas, seek "restrained government, fiscal responsibility, and—most important of all—individual freedoms." (Italics in original.)

This redefinition of the Democratic Party isn't a coincidence. One of the core challenges now facing the Party is the collapse of the New Deal coalition and adaptation to the underlying economic realities that brought it about. Bill Clinton's rallying cry to "end government as we know it" was an attempt to reform government along private sector lines. Democrats needed to discover new ways of providing security for the middle class and welfare for the most disadvantaged, while promoting individual responsibility and liberty.

We have now entered what has been termed the "post-Fordist" economy. In the 1990s, microprocessors and primitive forms of networked communication and decision making—DarpaNet and its civilian manifestation: the Internet—changed the economic rules of the game. The need for increasing flexibility and mobility defied traditional regulatory mechanisms and put the state into retreat. Big Labor, for example, saw its unionized voting block decrease by nearly two thirds—from 27% in 1930, to 10% in 1997. Nowhere is this change better demonstrated than by the growth of the post-industrial Silicon Valley and the fall of the industrial Route 66.

The "New Politics"—which tries to addresses changing demographic and technological realities—started in 1992 with President Clinton and has only accelerated as Democrats engaged in soul-searching following 2000, 2002 and 2004. This group, according to Moulitsas, stems from the "growing ranks of Western Democrats who...will hopefully lead to the reformation of the Democratic Party and a new embrace of the politics of personal liberty." Seen objectively, the New Politics is a way of leveraging the private sector to make government more accountable, more efficient and more oriented towards promoting liberty and progress.

The progressive crew behind Howard Dean, for example, used the Internet and other private sector techniques to orient politics around the average citizen, providing a way of moving the policy debate from Washington, to the living room or basement of any individual with a computer. The power of the individual was cemented when Dean proved that many small donations could be just as effective as a few large ones.

The only problem is that it is Republicans, not Democrats, who, in principle, represent the goal of individual liberty and private sector solutions to public sector problems. Democrats often seek to do just the opposite: inserting government, in the form of regulation and taxes, into the private sector. So why are progressives supporting Democrats instead of Republicans? Two reasons. First, and most importantly, the principles of conservatism have been misrepresented. Second, there is some disagreement between progressives and Republicans on the proper role of government.

The mischaracterization of conservatism stems from an ignorance of how American conservatism differs from European conservatism. In 1957, the young political scientist Samuel Huntington, according to Mark Henrie, famously defined American conservatism, as an ideology seeking to "conserve and consolidate the progressive liberal tradition." Since America was founded on enlightenment liberalism, conservation of the status quo meant a vigorous defense of meritocracy, individual freedom and free markets. This stands in contrast to European conservatism, which was pushed forward by Agrarian landholders seeking to defend aristocracy from the radical concepts of democracy and capitalism.

Many current Republicans have perpetuated the Democratic characterization by championing socially illiberal causes such as blunt government intrusion into the issues of, for example, gay marriage—as opposed to letting the standards of society guide policy by deferring decision making to States and the Judiciary. Republicans have also displayed an alarming degree of cronyism. Overcome by current events, progressives fear that the Republican Party is being dominated by the excesses of Barry Goldwater and Pat Robertson.

Corruption has also reached a critical level, boiling over into several visible scandals. But corruption isn't confined to one party. The 109th Congress was chastised by Democrats for putting politics ahead of the common good and using majority status to stymie dissent. Low and behold, when in power, Speaker Nancy Pelosi committed every sin she so vehemently denounced on November 6th. Republicans have been routinely shut out from voting on their own proposals during debate. Within a week of returning to Capitol Hill, Democrats threw a reception for "big-name democratic lobbyists." Not to mention that K Street "firms are hiring away key Democratic congressional staff members."

The point isn't to argue that the Democrats are more corrupt than Republicans (they probably aren't), but to show that corruption is the white noise of government. The only way to keep the negative effects of corruption and politicization to a minimum is to keep government to a minimum. Progressives understood this when they call for reform measures that limit the power of the public sector in relation to the private sector (for instance over personal liberty issues).

When it comes to economics, the progressive vision is slightly more complicated. Progressives see the success of areas such as Silicon Valley as a consequence of massive government expenditure in infrastructure, education and—most progressives don't like to admit this—defense. Under the progressive vision, government should play the role of enabler.

It rightly caused a stir when Nicco Mele, Howard Dean's head webmaster, joined the McCain campaign. He did so because McCain exemplified those virtues progressives seek: McCain championed individual liberty and spearheaded reform proposals—such as campaign finance reform. McCain isn't the only Republican who exemplifies freedom and progress. When former Mayor Giuliani called upon the Republican Party to "redefine itself as 'the party of freedom,'" it was more than just rhetorical flourish. It was a call to reassert the defining Republican concern for the consolidation of the progressive liberal tradition: individual liberty, free markets and small government.

Instead of using government resources to directly improve the lives of individuals, compassionate conservatism—or progressive Republicanism—is the belief that government is a tool to help the private sector advance socially agreed upon goals. Discussing the public school system, Rudy Giuliani noted that he would use private sector techniques to help "revive it, reform it, and change it," not dismantle it. Similarly, while the exact merits of Romney's market-based healthcare can be debated, it is in some ways a step in the right direction. More importantly, it was enacted in an overwhelmingly blue state.

Progressives need to get past their knee-jerk attribution of malign intent to Republican reform efforts. Instead, they should look at the virtues of a policy using the rubric of individual liberty, private sector efficiency and the changing economic realities of America—the very defining principles of their ideology. If their goal truly is progress, then their best bet may be the Republican party.

Jacob Aronson is a research fellow at the World Without War Council, a Berkeley non-profit seeking domestic leadership in progress towards American security and stable international peace.


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277 Comments

My opinion
I've always used the constitutional distinction that "liberals" are liberal (amorphous) in their interpretation of the Constitution (state or federal), whereas "conservatives" rely on a literal (fundamental) interpretation of the compact. I don't think that preference or denial of deity has much to do with being a liberal or conservative, nor lifestyle, nor volition, nor passion. I suppose I lean conservative in that I believe in a single and simple set of rights and law for which all can read (understand) and all are subject. A "liberal" application of rights and law will always serve to confuse and complicate.

"Progressives" What has changed?
"Unlike the anti-business, quasi-socialist progressivism of Teddy Roosevelt, modern progressives, in the words of Markos Moulitsas, seek "restrained government, fiscal responsibility, and—most important of all—individual freedoms." (Italics in original.)

I don't see any difference between today's 'progressives' and those of a century ago.

"restrained government, fiscal responsibility, and—most important of all—individual freedoms."

This sounds more libertarian than modern 'progressive'.

Liberal = Individual Liberty & Economic Justice Conservative = Protection of Status Quo & Resistan
Individual Liberty = Liberal
Individual Conformity = Conservative
Fair Trade = Liberal
Free Trade = Conservative
Environmental Protection = Liberal
Profit Margin Protection = Conservative
Advokating Change = Liberal
Resisting Change = Conservative

Corruption, deception, lies, greed, cronysim = Both

One of the problems is that the parties stand for nothing since thier tents are simply too large. What we need are 4-5 political parties, each with a clear platform and willing to expose corruption in the competition. It's time for the Demopublican era to end.

The Constitution
We got into trouble when we decided that the constitution was a "living, breathing document". Progressives have repeated this so many times now that most accept this as truth. In fact, the constitution was never intended to be "living, breathing", at least as the progressives define it. The progressive vision of "living, breathing" was only a vehicle to bypass the very strict and difficult amendment procedures built into the document.

Just think how much smaller and less corrupt the government would be today if we strictly followed the amendment procedures. Our founding fathers were much smarter than most give them credit for.

And Lincoln would not be a hero if the Constitution were followed.
He would be a tyrant.

Contradictions - Responsible Leach, Mandatory Liberty
"Democrats needed to discover new ways of providing security for the middle class and welfare for the most disadvantaged, while promoting individual responsibility and liberty."

Does anybody else see a contradiction here? Looking to the government for security does NOT promote individual responsibility. And using the tax collecting powers of the government to enforce mandatory charity is the antithesis of liberty.

Until they understand and deal with these fundamental contradictions, progressives (Republican or Democrat) will do little to promote the ideals they supposedly champion.

and to think, liberals like to claim that liberals are the only people who think
It's rare that I've seen so many brain dead stereotypes listed in such a short space.

Lincoln?....Tyrant?
Please elaborate....

Republic vs Parliament
We do have multi-parties in this country. I think that what you are calling for is a parliamentary form of democracy, rather than the republic, as currently exists. It's back to American Government class for you.

I've got to agree with Mark, below, that your assumptions are merely stereotypes created to provide straw men to whack.

Brain dead?
First, you enlighten us with your definition of what liberal and conservative "stand for", and then, one sentence later, you tell us that our political parties “stand for nothing”?

As for the multiparty thing - take a close look at democracy in Europe, and then tell me if you really think this is such a wonderful idea. No party ever has a "mandate" for anything, so as soon as the elections are over, the back-room dealing begins, as each party looks for bed-mates, trying to form coalitions, knowing that without a majority, they are powerless. I'd rather have our politicians do that BEFORE the elections, and have us vote on their unholy alliances (primaries) than have them do that AFTER the elections in private back-room deals.

So: Teddy Roosevelt bad, Abe Lincoln bad. FDR awful.
who's the hero? Herbert Hoover. Ronald ("Giant Deficit") Reagan? Our current leader?

"mandatory charity"
The idea behind social programs redistributing wealth is that they create a richer socieity by giving more people a stake, and, above all, by furnishing equality of opportunity, to help people not born help themselves. The idea is, in short, that it's not charity, it's responsible public policy. You don't think so? Show it, don't just assume it.

Good to have a demonstration of no-thought knee-jerk conservatism posting
So the shallowness isn't just talked about, it's shown in action. Can't make a positive statement, just one-line drive by talk radio slogans. Thank you for sharing, Mark. You make our arguments for us.

Come again?
I don't understand. "to help people not born help themselves"? Please clarify.

Also, "Show it, don't just assume it." What does that mean?

equality of opportunity
left out a word: "to help people not born rich to help themselves, enriching the whole society as they do so."

Show, don't assume:
calling social programs mandatory charity implies no expectation of return, all cost, no benefit other than feeling good, because that's what charity it. the argument is social programs aren't charity. If you want to call them this, you have to show they are otherwise you're begging the question, assuming what you're trying to prove.

Heh
Also good to have a demonstration of no-thought knee-jerk liberalism posting... So the shallowness isn't just talked about, it's shown in action. Can't make a positive statement, just one-line drive by nutroots slogans. Thank you for sharing, Lemuel.

BTW, who is "we" and "us" that you refer to? Your multiple personalities? Or is it the royal "we" as in your "I'm the Queen of England" fantasy?

Sorry to kill your buzz.

So set a better example
acouger made a statement. Rather than taking up any of the points, the reaction was a brainless one-line political slogan.

Which I pointed out. Now come you and offer another illustration of inabilty to deal with argument. Thank you for sharing.

As for "we," you might look up this difficult word. In this case I was referring to large and growing group of posters here on the left.

That may be the lie you comfort yourself with at night, but it bears no relationship to reality.
At it's core, its the greedy whine of those without the desire or ability to help themselves, declaring that unless the danegeld is paid, there will be h**l to pay.

that's because there is no return.
other than for those who find that voting for a living beats working for a living.

Show, don't assume
"calling social programs mandatory charity implies no expectation of return, all cost, no benefit other than feeling good, because that's what charity it [sic]"

Lemuel -

In this statement, YOU are guilty of making an assumption as well. Many people give to charity because they believe it's a far more effective way of actually helping the disadvantaged. Far from being altruistically hedonistic in their giving, many donors expect that by supporting a charity, they are going to improve society. The argument being that, despite the intentions, social programs are so bloated and mired in bureaucracy that they cannot actually provide any benefit.

You say so, but you have no back up for anything you say
And tomorrow you'll say something else. Stop wasting everyone's time.

Correction accepted, but it makes the point
I mean, yes, we hope and expect our charity will do some good.

>Far from being altruistically hedonistic in their giving, many donors expect that by supporting a charity, they are going to improve society.

But why then wouldn't we expect that government social programs might not improve society too?

>The argument being that, despite the intentions, social programs are so bloated and mired in bureaucracy that they cannot actually provide any benefit.

They can be, if they're administered the way FEMA and Walter Reed were duing hte present administration. Or they can be efficient and effective, as FEMA and the Veterans administration were under the Clitnon administration.

Mark lecturing about reality is like Paris Hilton lecturing about poverty and abstinence
It's something Mark has heard about but has never seen first hand.

Not sure I agree with this
"FEMA and the Veterans administration were under the Clitnon administration."

I'll be the first to say that Bush should have cut Brown loose immediately during the Katrina disaster, but I'm fairly certain that I don't remember any time during the Clinton years that FEMA was challenged as much as they were in 2005. And things really seemed to work O.K. (not perfectly of course) in the rest of the Gulf during/after Katrina and in Florida during/after the four hurricanes that stuck that state that year. My point being that I really believe the lion's share of blame for Katrina belongs to the state government of Louisiana.

I can't speak intelligently about the VA, but it seems to me that we might not have been aware of shortcomings in the VA during Clinton's administration because, despite numerous military campaigns, we didn't have anything like the number of casualties we have had from the Iraq war.

Look at the history
When Clinton came in he made a priority of putting professinal managers in charge of both FEMA and the Veterans administration. The disaster at Walter Reed grew directly out of a decision made by Rumsfeld to outsource the services to a Halliburton spinoff - the same one who ran the ice trucks to nowhere during Katrina. The idea was to bring the number of people woorking at Walter Reed down from 300 to less than 100. This was bad enough, but the changeover was bungled too. There's a story about it in the Saturday Washington Post.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/09/AR2007030902082
.html

I'm not the one demanding that others support me.
...

First time I agree with you.
George Washington was our last presidential hero.

What authority did Lincoln have to prevent southern states from seceding?
I could not find it in the Constitution.

Charity redefined?
I couldn't reply, because I was working, but RETLUOCC basically gave the same answer I would have given: You are the one making assumptions here – I never said that charity was a useless one-way street, where we throw our money at poor people with no expectation that it will help them (and thereby society, and thereby us). I give to charity exactly BECAUSE I believe it is helpful. I do not believe (and I don’t know anyone who does) that unless I get cash back in hand, there was no return.

However, that does not mean that welfare is not charity. It is. Does welfare have to produce no tangible benefits to qualify as charity? If your definition of charity is “no expectation of return, all cost, no benefit other than feeling good, then I want no part of it. If the real motivation for giving to others is to make yourself feel good, then charity is not a virtue, but a vice. As Jesus said to those who gave to others for purely selfish reasons, “You have your reward, in full.”

I’m not arguing against charity. I am arguing against using the government as the vehicle for charity.
1) It is an abuse of government. It is not why we created government, and it is not a legitimate function of government. (It is certainly not in the distinctly enumerated powers bestowed upon our government by our founding fathers.)
2) It is a defilement of true charity. True charity is an act of love. It is a burden voluntarily taken. It involves seeing a fellow man in need, and intentionally, compassionately, putting his trouble on your own shoulders. It allows the recipient to say “Thank You”, and the giver to say “Your Welcome.” The benefits are much more than simply helping somebody pay their bills – it has a spiritual component that edifies both the giver and the recipient. On the other hand, mandatory aid, enforced through the power of the government, replaces all that is good about charity with resentment in the giver, and a sense of entitlement in the recipient.

Sure, many people have been helped by government programs, including yours truly, but that is irrelevant. I’m not saying that government aid programs are completely ineffective. But if what they are doing is ethically wrong, doing it effectively is worse then not doing it at all. If they are effective in extortion – forcing citizen A to provide mandatory “charity” to citizen B – that affectivity is little consolation.

Your desire for equity is commendable – if constrained by morality. Robin Hood stole from the rich and (supposedly) gave to the poor, and many considered him a hero. But if we are really going to hold this up as a virtue, I should be ransacking your house right now, and distributing your valuable to those less fortunate than yourself.

If it's not voluntary, then it can't be charity.
Technically, Robin Hood stole from the govt, to give to the poor.

And yet..
It was Lincoln who glorified the Constitution by making "all men are created equal" actually mean something.

But....
TO: Jacob Aronson
RE: ....What If....

"If their goal truly is progress, then their best bet may be the Republican party." -- Jacob Aronson

....their goal is NOT 'progress'?

I've met many an alleged "progressive" and their behavior has NOT been about progress. Instead, their behavior is arrogance, pet projects and self-aggrandizement.

Regards,

Chuck(le)

That Part...
Republicans as the traditional defenders of our freedoms?

Yeah, and Republicans are supposed to be the party of fiscal restraint and financial prudence.

That part didn't work out either.

How did he do that?
By forcing those who wanted to leave the USA to stay?

I'm not the one who has lost all contact with reality
Who's 'demanding that others support me?' Adjust your meds.

that's the Declaration of Independance
Kinda sounds like -- we had to destroy the village in order to save it.

Regardless, slavery was on it's way out already.

Additionally, Lincoln is on record as saying that if he could save the union, while preserving slavery, he would.

you are, by demanding that others support the welfare that supports you.
...

That's only if you define it as charity
Social programs are not charity. They serve well defined goals which serve the general interest. You say that they are wrong because they are forced charity, which begs your point. Yes, charity is voluntary. Government action is not charity.

>It is an abuse of government. It is not why we created government, and it is not a legitimate function of government. (It is certainly not in the distinctly enumerated powers bestowed upon our government by our founding fathers.)

That's what you say. That's not what courts have found. Send the Supreme Court a note saying they've gotten this all wrong.

>On the other hand, mandatory aid, enforced through the power of the government, replaces all that is good about charity with resentment in the giver, and a sense of entitlement in the recipient.

What 'mandatory aid' are you talking about? Pell Grants to help poor kids go to college? Free emergency medical services at county hospitals? Public education? What countries are you talking about that are more advanced than the US in this?

>Your desire for equity is commendable – if constrained by morality. Robin Hood stole from the rich and (supposedly) gave to the poor, and many considered him a hero. But if we are really going to hold this up as a virtue, I should be ransacking your house right now, and distributing your valuable to those less fortunate than yourself.

Sure. And you should be equally well living in an underground hideaway or desert island, without any laws at all, instead of depending on the nanny state to make sure you and your property aren't confiscated by someone stronger.

Exactly. It's not charity. Thank you for making my point
I agree government shouldn't be in the charity business. Social programs aren't charity.

I've demanded no such thing, you lying garbage bag is misinformation
I do believe that mental health care, something you clearly need, should be available to you even if you can't afford it.

Brainless
is as brainless does. Ponder that. Where do you get off speaking for the other posters on this board? Let's see the results of that poll or the minutes from that meeting. Again, I think you suffer multiple-personality disorder.

There, your self-medicated buzz done killed.

Now, you respond with "I know you are, but what am I?"

Do you have somethng to say on topic?
acouger put forth some ideas about progressivism v. conservatism. Why not talk about those ideas?

If acouger thinks that I shouldn't be suggesting that other people discuss his ideas, I think he probably make that point himself.

As far as "I know you are but what am I:: I don't know what you really are, but here you're coming off as a mindless ideologue namecaller. Why not show you aren't?

The difference between principle and practice
Chuck (and assorted other commenters),

This is an important point—one that addresses the difference between principle and practice. I tried to keep the article on the shorter side, so let me say a little more here.

I believe that in principle the progressive wing of the Democratic Party wants social and economic progress in a libertarian sense. The language they use to talk about themselves supports this. It is no coincidence that progressives tried to court libertarians.

Democrats often point out that Republicans say one thing and do another—reckless spending is a good example. The same is true of progressives. Moulitsas calls for restrained government, fiscal responsibility and individual freedoms, but endorses government run healthcare and tax hikes. This is a serious logical inconsistency.

What I wanted to show is that conservatives (here I mostly have neoconservatives in mind) have the same underlying principles, but actually put their money where their mouth is. Compassionate conservatism, for instance, is a very good enunciation of progressive ideas: government should help the private sector help you.

Admittedly it is a difficult to square this circle. How does one promote personal responsibility and limited government while supporting certain types of wealth redistribution? Unfortunately, we don’t live in academic theory; we live in a viscous reality. Government exists and it will continue to exist—regardless of the party in power. Reforming government is a more realistic solution than eliminating it.

This means we should choose our allegiance based on which direction we would like to be heading. Clinton said he wanted to reform government and to a large degree he did. Current Democrats have discarded this legacy. Now it is the Republican Party (I chose to use examples from current presidential contenders) that is going in the direction progressives, in principle, desire.

Jacob

Liberal = Undisciplined, Immature, Inane... and WRONG
Individual Liberty = Liberal
So long as you don't consider keeping your money as part of liberty or being free of government regulation in all aspects of life. But hey, if you get to keep a quarter of every dollar and get free condoms and abortions, you're free!

Individual Conformity = Conservative
So long as you don't want to disagree with global warming, gay marriage, Iraq, higher taxes, yadda yadda yadda

Fair Trade = Liberal
Fair trade of course being defined as special subsdies and tax rules that favor "important" inustries, say those that contribute to Democrats.

Free Trade = Conservative
So?

Environmental Protection = Liberal
So long as you believe "environmental protection" = blowing SUV's to stop greenhouse gases.

Profit Margin Protection = Conservative
Profit Margin Eradication = Liberal

Advokating Change = Liberal
Obviously our spelling champ forgot the rest of his sentence "advocating change, any change without regard for consequences, effectiveness or utility"

Resisting Change = Conservative
Unless you want to make public schools accountable, stop judges from legislating from the bench, reign in the welfare state, the regulatory morass, reduce taxes and overnment spending.....

Corruption, deception, lies, greed, cronysim = Both
Except liberals consider it a part of practical politicking.



The belief that government is a tool to help the private sector advance socially agreed upon goals .
What agreement? The agreement evidenced by the votes of the 50.x% of the folks who will never get a social contract in writing binding the bums they voted for to the promises said bums intended to break even as they made them? And the master document - the US constitution? It's a joke given that 9 clowns have been assigned to hand down its punch-line.

Give me a break with the "socially agreed upon goals", already! Take a gander at Public Choice Theory for the true scoop on how democratic politics works; every snout that can, get buried in the troff before the pork runs out! That's how it works.

Liberal = Undisciplined, Immature, Inane... and WRONG
Individual Liberty = Liberal
So long as you don't consider keeping your money as part of liberty or being free of government regulation in all aspects of life. But hey, if you get to keep a quarter of every dollar and get free condoms and abortions, you're free!

Individual Conformity = Conservative
So long as you don't want to disagree with global warming, gay marriage, Iraq, higher taxes, yadda yadda yadda

Fair Trade = Liberal
Fair trade of course being defined as special subsdies and tax rules that favor "important" inustries, say those that contribute to Democrats.

Free Trade = Conservative
So?

Environmental Protection = Liberal
So long as you believe "environmental protection" = blowing SUV's to stop greenhouse gases.

Profit Margin Protection = Conservative
Profit Margin Eradication = Liberal

Advokating Change = Liberal
Obviously our spelling champ forgot the rest of his sentence "advocating change, any change without regard for consequences, effectiveness or utility"

Resisting Change = Conservative
Unless you want to make public schools accountable, stop judges from legislating from the bench, reign in the welfare state, the regulatory morass, reduce taxes and overnment spending.....

Corruption, deception, lies, greed, cronysim = Both
Except liberals consider it a part of practical politicking.



And your alternative is???
Don't like democracy, even with Bill of Rights etc. protections? Wirte a strongly worded note asking to be appointed dictator & send to the appropirate address.

I know: you have strongly held views about government. That doesn't make them either correct or self evident. You might look at a place where government is powerless and is able to do almost nothing, but I don't think you'd like to live there.

Why not add some more slogans
I mean how do you expect to be taken seriously with this kind of stuff.

>So long as you don't consider keeping your money as part of liberty

Your money is protected in the bank even if the bank fails by federal insurance. Guess you think that's a bad idea.

>or being free of government regulation in all aspects of life.
You mean in the bedroom? Do you have a problem with that?

>But hey, if you get to keep a quarter of every dollar
If you pay 75 percent of your income in taxes, you really need a better accountatn.

>and get free condoms and abortions, you're free!

The rest of your points are even weaker. I'd suggest you try to retain some kind of sense of reality.

Think you can understand this?

If we want to move beyond inaccurate simplifications, were going to need to move beyond the limitations of "liberal" and "conservative." While each of those statements were generally true they were also partially wrong, for example... there are not too many of us liberals who are opposed to gun control.

I could go down the list for you, however at this point I believe it's safe to assume that even you get the point.

The only thing that is simple and straightforward is that both parties are corrupt and that neither is really interested in serving the interests of the average American.

The only solution, IMO is to break up that 2 party system and have 4-5 parties which are able to maintain clearer and more cohesive platforms. A Labor party, a Green party, a party for the Religious Right, a Libertarian party, ect... instead of two parties with muddled platforms, connected at the waist. It would also be reasonable to hope that a greater division of power would make it more difficult to conceal graft and corruption.

The goods
Spicy retort, le Mule, but meaningless. Worse, it's schoolgirl-foolish because government's all about delivering the goods to the people who call the shots and the people who those people owe favors to.

Don't like it? Write a strongly worded note to Nancy Pelosi, and she'll tell you the same thing Delay would have told you: "Show me the money or shove it!" In other words, where government is powerful, access to that power costs plenty, which is why progressives such as your sorry self prefer the government you imagine to the one you've got. Most pathetically, you can't distinguish between them.

Bray me another retort, le Mule; I enjoy guessing which end of you produced it.

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