Monday, October 27, 2008


I'm wondering if I'm to be banned from commenting at Donklephant. First, I responded to a post earlier today, but my attempt at a follow-up disappeared.

O.K. The Internet is a tricky place and sometimes weird stuff happens.

However, I just tried to comment on this thread and *poof* my comment disappears again.

If what I think is happening is happening its a nice "centrist" thing to do.

Anyway...what I attempted to follow up on was this comment by Alan:

Equality is the central tenant of liberalism. Universal health care. Affirmative action. Gay rights. Welfare. Minimum wage. Labor laws. Hate speech laws. Progressive taxation. They’re all attempts to equalize us.

I wrote (and luckily I copied it in case of another "accident"):

I teach a "Political Ideologies" course and as such I'm a stickler about some of the terminology.

"Equality is the central tenant of liberalism."

In terms of the political ideology this is assuredly wrong. Liberalism is about maximizing freedom (thus the Latin root "liber"). Maximizing "equality" is, and always has been, a central tenet of socialism. (Which is different than seem to use the terms interchangeably).

"Universal health care. Affirmative action. Gay rights. Welfare. Minimum wage. Labor laws. Hate speech laws. Progressive taxation. They’re all attempts to equalize us."

And, thus, not particularly "liberal."

Now, this distinction matters. For example, John Stuart Mill has always been classified as a liberal, but he would be horrified at the notion of "hate speech laws"...and rightfully so, as they are completely illiberal. That such laws are termed "liberal" in our weird world Mill would view as grotesque.

What is amazing about our society is there is no longer a popular term to apply to someone who values human freedom above all else.

Is says something unpleasant about the drift of our society.

And drifting it surely is.

(Believe it or not, any irony was completely unintentional.)


Alan from Donklephant has kindly written me to let me know that their comment filter has been acting up. I'm glad to hear it because I, for one, enjoy good natured argumentation...even when, or especially when, I get worked up about it.


Larry said...

I'll seem your objections and raise you "tenant".

(I have no idea if that is your error or his. But I do know it makes my teeth itch.)

And your captcha gadget looks broke.

It displayed something this time.

Larry said...

And not the obligatory typo in mine.

Larry said...

Here is to a typo-free America.

The first one should have said, in part, "I'll see your objections and raise you "tenant"."

The second one should have said: "And note the obligatory typo in mine."


Alan Stewart Carl said...


I have no idea why your comments weren't appearing. Our filter is a little irritable sometimes. Your comment is on the post in question as of now.

I responded to you over there, but I wanted to make sure you got my note on the matter.

You're absolutely right about the inaccuracy of my labels and I apologize for that. I used to be a stickler for the proper labels but since no one else seems aware of them, I just started going with the flow so I could avoid having to remind people that what they call "liberal" is not at all what "liberal" is supposed to mean. The hazard of going with the flow is that I look careless or even ill-educated to people such as yourself.

As for writing tenant when I meant tenet, I have no excuse. That goes down as one of my daily typos.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

Thanks for responding Alan...

I tried again over there but the filter grabbed me again. Oh well...maybe it will appear.

I really don't think you sound ill-educated. I knew WHY you spoke about things that way. Its just that I owrry there isn't a happy home for those who value freedom foremost. "Conservatism" isn't a good term for it either (as I tried to write over at the Donk.)

Oh well...maybe its just me being old and crotchety.

And Larry...I didnt even notice the "tenant". (And I just double checked MY writing to make sure I didnt do the same in sympathy!)