Monday, September 10, 2007

What is a Liberal?

William Saletan writes about liberals and their position on biotech such as stem-cell research. He is rather scathing in his remarks, though he still identifies as one.

Then what makes me think I'm still a liberal? I guess it's a stubborn belief that liberalism isn't whatever dogmas currently possess this or that lefty camp. Liberalism is an admission of uncertainty. It's open to self-correction and to the complexity and unpredictability of life. Many ethicists and other self-described liberals don't fit or accept that definition. But I do.

I think that a big part of the problem is that we have been conditioned through the media to divide everybody into two neat camps that never overlap. Conservatives on one side. Liberals on the other. And never the twain shall meet. Our society is actually a spectrum of views with people scattered all along it. We hear things like Red State/Blue State and pretty soon, even though, we are probably closer to the middle than we'd care to admit, we're calling ourself a liberal or conservative and demonizing the other side. It doesn't lead to healthy debate.


-J- said...

Hey man, you agree with the above definition, being a self-ascribed liberal?

Just curious...


Captain Noble said...

As I grow older (and hopefully wiser), the more I find myself disagreeing with many of the typical or extreme liberal views. At the same time, I'm not sure I'm really closer to being a conservative. If I had to check one or the other on a form, I'd be looking for "Other."

However, I do like Saletan's definition and I think that if that is the defintion of being a liberal, I would happily be called one. Sadly, though, as we have discussed, the extreme liberals (which are usually the ones you hear from) are just as closed-minded and "certain" as the conservatives they deride.