Friday, July 07, 2006

on being Liberal

It amazes me that the goppers have successfully managed to demonize "liberals" in politics. They are trying to label Jon Testor as a "liberal" in hopes that it will shake his support in this "red" state. It is beside the fact that by all definitions, Testor is no Liberal. He may be slightly to the left of the Democratic center but no more than just a degree or two. I would have hoped that he would have been much more liberal than he is.

Let us look at some of the presidents in the 20th Century who might be classed as "liberal." The first one would be Teddy Roosevelt, the great trust buster, who went after the companies that were feeding us bacteria and poor medicine. Then we might (questionably) place the Wilson of pre-WWI days in there until he began his subversive laws and imprisoned liberals for being against his war. FDR was a major liberal providing a Depression-era jobs and establishing the social security program which has kept many of our older folks from living in poverty. JFK and LBJ combined were also liberal and provided other assistance to the poor and the downtrodden. Since then we've probably had no true liberals as president, although Clinton tried to be one with his health plan that was shot down by the lies of the medical insurance profession.

What then is a liberal? A liberal is one who believes that the government should spend its resources on "butter" rather than "guns". It should help provide a safety net for those who cannot be successful in this competitive society. And before anyone jumps on the bandwagon of everybody has an even chance let us be aware that every society is doomed to have its failures. There were serfs in the middle ages who couldn't hold a candle to the knights for one reason or another. The knights lasted until gun powder changed the societal equations. In emperial China, the intellectuals ruled the country while the merchants were second class citizens. In the mercantile days the merchants ruled in the west but they have been ousted by the managers as the big cheeses of this world.

In the future it may be the scientists, particularly the biologists, that will rule. The point is that every society has those who profit from their ability to deal with it and every society has those who cannot. Should we let those who cannot fit within this society fall by the wayside to be buried in unmarked graves? We go on as if this nation is going to continue as it is through our lives and those of all our grandchildren. Yet, if we look at history, only one great culture has lasted longer than a few hundred years and that was ancient Egypt, And it had its interregnums and other pains. Society exists to protect its citizens, not to balance itself on the least successful.


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