As a result of their wildly failed policies and politicians, leftists have recently abandoned the moniker "Liberal" and its pejorative connotation for the highly sanitized label, "Progressive". Mutton can call itself lamb, but it doesn't change the facts; they were Liberals before, and they're still Liberals today.
As an ideology, Liberalism is predicated on a set of communal values and the idea that the “collective” is far more important than the individual. There is an underlying belief system, the gist of which is that “caring” and “sharing” and “looking after ones neighbors” are all that is required to create a utopian society.
The fundamental problem with Liberalism is that it doesn't work.
At its root, Liberalism is based in childlike emotionalism. It eschews scary adult concepts like Profit & Loss and personal accountability.
Arguments in support of Liberalism are grounded almost entirely on “feelings”. Relying on emotion provides a convenient diversion from the lack of facts otherwise critical to justifying a given position. Emotion also obscures the failure to reach logical and rational conclusions that would be drawn from these facts if they existed.
To Liberals, it doesn’t matter if the budget doesn’t balance because in their minds, their hearts were in the right places. No worries that an entitlement program failed to produce the intended results – After all, “It’s the thought that counts!” They believe in what they feel, independent of reason, rationality or logic.
The basic premise of the liberal ideology evokes memories of classic kindergarten mantras:
“It's nice to share.”
“Everyone deserves a medal.”
Kindergartners pass out birthday cupcakes to the entire class as a gesture of their celebrity for the day; they gleefully accept well wishes in return, and assume that they will likewise partake in the birthday largess of their peers. The distribution of Valentines to each and every classmate is an exercise in childhood innocence, acceptance and the promotion of “collectivism”.
Presumably, kindergarten lessons are intended to imbue young children with a sense of caring for others as well as the basics of citizenship. They do not, however, translate well to address complex, real-world issues:
War is “mean” and people will get hurt, so it’s “bad”!
John’s feelings will be hurt if he doesn’t get promoted, so his boss should promote him!
That person is poor and it would be nice to give him money, so the government should do it!
Let’s show those people how nice we are, and maybe they won’t want to kill us!
While appealing on some childish, emotional level, the concepts fall flat when applied in the adult world.
Another “downside” to using kindergarten principles to run the country is that they clearly fail to meet economic muster. While liberal governments are quick to promise “goodies for all”, the reality of economics becomes problematic as an ever-smaller subset of the population is actually producing and providing the “treats”. As the number of producers dwindles, the resources simply cannot meet what has been promised. The numbers just don’t add up.
Fortunately, Liberals never let pesky constructs like arithmetic, get in the way of an impassioned argument!
Furthermore, Liberalism fails not only on an economic level, but on a moral one as well; it changes the fundamental nature of the human act of “giving”.
Sharing cupcakes on ones birthday is a far cry from a government mandate to provide a specific flavor and quantity of cupcakes, at specified intervals, to unknown individuals of the government’s choosing.
Once coerced or mandated to “give” to another, the “giver” feels no sense of pride, satisfaction, or goodwill towards the “taker”. Furthermore, the receiver feels no sense of gratitude or moral obligation to the giver. Instead, the government, rife with liberal politicians, pats its collective self on the back for having orchestrated this “good act”.
America’s highly graduated tax structure and growing entitlement programs are nothing more than forced redistribution of wealth aimed at making their proponents feel good about themselves. The moral transaction inherent in true “giving” has been entirely corrupted in the process.
To help them make a compelling emotional argument, Liberals wrap their ill-conceived social programs with highly charged words intended to resonate on a deep emotional level.
With a name like the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, what's not to like? “Protection”, “Affordable” and “Care” are far more embraceable than something as mundane -- and truthful -- as the “Health Insurance Overhaul Act”.
The “Children’s Defense Fund”, “Protect Children not Guns” and the “Strong Start for America’s Children” act: Warm and fuzzy names for bills are a stanchion of Liberalism and part and parcel of their emotion laden rhetoric.
To Liberals, the fact that their programs and policies don’t work doesn’t matter: Their good intentions are treated as more important than the results of their actions. You get an “A” for effort!
How else can one possibly explain why Kathleen Sebelius hasn’t been fired for complete and total incompetence in the rollout of ObamaCare? Apparently, “she tried really hard” is enough to ensure job security for a Liberal!
Perhaps the only thing worse than a failed program sold largely on emotional grounds, is a failed program that leaves us far worse off than we were when we started.
Rather than focusing on feelings, conservatives are much more likely than Liberals to consider the long-term consequences of a given policy. While increasing taxes on the rich will, for example, provide more immediate revenue to the government, it also will result in significantly less capital available for investment in commerce. Liberals fail to grasp the logic that investment capital is critical for true economic growth. All that matters to them is the feel-good idea of playing Robin Hood – Pragmatism, outcomes and sustainability be damned!
Worse yet, failure to embrace the emotional plea of Liberalism is generally met with vitriolic backlash.
Even if their positions are contradicted by facts or logic, Liberals demonize those who disagree with them as corrupt, ignorant, racist or worst.
Liberals know they won’t likely win a debate on logical grounds, so they quickly devolve to the emotional mat. Once the debate has been refocused to emotional issues, Liberals solidify their position on the moral high ground, claiming the cruel and uncaring position of their opponents. What cold, unfeeling person doesn’t want to feed starving children or provide medical care for 26 year olds still living in their parent’s basements?
Then, when all else fails, Liberals resort to the most emotional of all arguments, “the children”. There is almost no argument a Liberal can make that doesn't somehow circle back to some bevy of anonymous children. You could be debating the pros and cons of nuclear disarmament in post-cold war Russia, and some sappy liberal news anchor will chime in "But what about the children? Let's think about the children!"
There’s nothing a Liberal loves as much as dependency, and there’s nothing so dependent as a child. Liberals find children particularly politically useful because it gives them justifiable reason to act on their little voiceless behalves. Liberal politicians love to define -- and then “solve” -- the problems of poor, defenseless children. This generally involves designing new and costly programs that will require funding in perpetuity in order to prevent some previously unwitnessed evil. You remember, like the leagues of American children found starving in the streets before Liberals pushed school lunch –and now school breakfast –programs into place?
Never mind that soon we won’t be left with money for juice and graham crackers, let alone two publically-funded school meals every day.
No doubt, the impetus behind many liberal programs is heartfelt, but their “solutions” nearly always require more government expense and oversight than can possibly be justified.
In the end, Liberalism comes down to fatuous, feel-good emotionalism; it sounds appealing, but remains oblivious to the objective operational realities of the vision it promotes.
Conservatism, on the other hand, requires doing things the right way, even when it’s painful and not pretty. It means rewriting policies when they don’t work and disassembling well-entrenched programs that fail to produce the desired results. It means acting like responsible, accountable adults. It means suffering the playground insults of emotionally charged Liberals who would portray us thoughtless and uncaring.
And it means we have a lot of work to do before naptime.