Friday, July 7, 2017

Rock-ribbed liberalism

I miss liberalism. Real liberalism. Not this namby-pamby, afraid-of-your-own-shadow faint-hearted liberalism. What I miss is the rock-ribbed, truth-seeking, justice-pursuing, rights-defending, I-don’t-agree-with-you-but-I’ll-defend-your-right-to-say-it liberalism. It was the liberalism that defeated Nazism and Communism.

It was your daddy’s liberalism, the sort whose champions would say something like this:
If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. (John Stuart Mill, 1859)
.... This rock-ribbed liberalism is being quickly replaced by a faint-hearted liberalism whose advocates reject the core principles of rock-ribbed liberalism – the pursuit of truth and the presumption of liberty – and seek to replace them with the sovereignty of identity and the supreme blessedness of affirmation (euphemistically called “dignity”). ....

For the rock-ribbed liberal, Jehovah Witnesses should not be forced to salute the flag, Mr. Johnson should be allowed to burn it, Quakers should not be conscripted to serve in the military, and the Amish should be exempted from compulsory education laws. But for the faint-hearted liberal, Christian bakers, photographers, and florists must employ their talents to cooperate with the celebration of a liturgical event they believe is a faux version of the authentic sort, or suffer crippling livelihood-destroying fines.

I miss rock-ribbed liberalism. [more]