Democrats & Liberals Archives

The New Liberalism

Current conservatism glorifies competition, which is why conservatives work for the most successful among us and forget about the rest of us - actions that have led us to the Dubya Depression. Old-time liberalism joined the competition and fought for the rights of the poor, the weak and the minorities - and to a great extent it succeeded. Now, I believe we need a New Liberalism that focuses on cooperation so that government may benefit ALL the people and bring unity and peace.

Current Conservatism

Conservatives believe people are basically bad and that competition will bring out the best in them. They think that competition will make people smarter, stronger, better, richer, happier. Competition is the basic principle upon which rests everything conservatives do.

Yes, domestic competition among the many different factions in our society may lead to conflict. However, conservatives believe we do need to fight evil with good, atheism with religion, sloth with ambition. How else, they say, can you improve yourself, become a success and thereby help your country become a success? Those who have made something of themselves deserve the most consideration from government.

Conservatives bring the same competitive attitude in their dealings with foreign leaders. They believe only in conquest. "We're the sole superpower," they shriek almost daily. "We know the answer to all the problems. Do as we say and everything will be OK. And don't you dare to disagree with us or else...." A clear example of this is John Bolton who, in a week, ripped up the agenda for the UN Summit that diplomats had been working on for months.

The three principles of current conservatism are COMPETITION, CONFLICT and CONQUEST.

Old Liberalism

The old liberals agreed that there was competition. However, they insisted that the competition was between rich and poor; between men and women; and between ethnic, racial and religious majorities and minorities. They fought to improve the lot of the poor, for women's rights, and for the civil rights of all minorities.

After winning many battles many liberals relaxed. They made great strides in increasing tolerance for different races and religions, in making opportunities available to women and giving them equal rights with men, and in improving working conditions for workers. Much remains to be done. However, liberal achievements to date have caused many to lose the urgency for change. The Old Liberalism seems to be irrelevant.

The Old Liberalism appears to be irrelevant because it accepts the centrality of competition. Competition produces divisions and leads to polarization of the population and to an un-civil society. This is directly opposite to what liberals fervently desire.

Another reason for the irrelevance of the Old Liberalism is that today the Middle Class, and not just the poor, is vulnerable. The Middle Class does not see itself as opposed to the rich; their members expect to be rich themselves some day. Middle income people think of themselves as part of the majority and do not want to be lumped with minorities.

The New Liberalism

The New Liberalism does not fight the rich, the majorities, the elite. It believes that people are basically good and that cooperation with other people will be beneficial to all. Cooperation, rather than competition, is the basic principle of the New Liberalism.

The New Liberalism advances community. It works for the benefit of the rich AND the non-rich, for the religious AND the non-religious, for the majority AND the non-majorities. It works for the common good of ALL people in the country.

Internationally, it is hard to build community. However, we can seek concord. The New Liberalism tries to build friends with fellow democracies; help poor countries with health, monetary and technological aid; and build a dynamic UN that is democratic, terror-preventing and peace-seeking.

The three principles of the New Liberalism are COOPERATION, COMMUNITY and CONCORD.

Summary

The basic principle of the New Liberalism is cooperation, as opposed to competition for conservatism.

In domestic affairs, cooperation manifests itself as the building of community, as opposed to the stirring of conflict that conservatives love to do. The liberal emphasis is on achieving the common good and on building unity. Unity is the American motto:

"e pluribus unum," or "from many one."

In international affairs, cooperation manifests itself as concord, or working together with other nations in order to improve the world for all nations. This is the best way to reduce terrorism and to bring peace.

Posted by Paul Siegel at September 29, 2005 2:50 PM