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Liberalism, as I Understand It:

A liberal friend of mine summarizes his views like this:

Each person has inherent dignity and rights, and our group life should reflect this, and the particularities of each person’s make-up, including his race, his sexual orientation, his abilities, should be not only respected but should be celebrated and enjoyed by the larger collective, certainly as far as it involves our government.  Of course, this applies to each individual only as far as they cause no harm and are not malevolent toward other people.

Moreover, if everyone adopted the above statement and incorporated it into their everyday morality, many of the problems we face as a people would go away.  Racial inequality, as evidenced by income and education gaps, would dramatically improve, and racial suspicion and strife would be greatly reduced.  Gender inequality would improve, and I would expect the pay gap to narrow significantly, and strife between the sexes would lessen.  Gays would be much more open about who they are, and this wouldn’t be a problem, because no one would have any reason to have  a problem with them from the start.

Our political energy is directed at expanding this tolerance and open approach to people, while criticizing those who seek to sow division unnecessarily or who are guided by creeds which oppose this basic idea, including any which condemn private consensual behaviors of adults which don’t harm other people.

Note that this is not my view–this is a summary of liberalism, from a liberal’s point of view.  I think that this is important because it seems like a good reflection of what most normal liberals more-or-less think.  A deeper defense of liberalism may depend on a materialistic/atheistic view, but I would guess that many liberals who are not formal atheists would agree with the above.



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