Can't call myself a political liberal
December 29, 2021
Once upon a time, the word “liberal” was used to describe people who were “generous,” “open-minded,” and “accepting of other opinions.” It was closely related to the word “liberty.” This description no longer applies to political liberals. Describing their backward-thinking as “progressive” or their nightmarish denial of reality as “woke” is equally ridiculous.
This doesn’t mean they are always wrong. I agree that everyone has value, but their value has nothing to do with superficial features like sex, race, or ethnicity. They have value because they are human.
I don’t agree that historical wrongdoing justifies punishment today. Slavery in our ancestors’ day doesn’t justify slavery today; calling it “reparations” or “social justice” doesn’t change anything.
I agree that drug prohibition is wrong. Drug abuse is stupid, but prohibition is evil. This doesn’t mean I am responsible for protecting drug abusers from the consequences of their actions. I am not obligated to pay for their drugs, their needles, their healthcare, or the basic needs they can no longer provide for themselves because of their drug abuse. Nor am I obligated to tolerate my rights being violated because of their choices.
Political liberals seem to not understand: if you shelter people from the consequences of their mistakes they won’t learn to avoid mistakes. You get more of anything you encourage.
If you prohibit people from defending themselves with effective tools, you’ll encourage more people to commit crimes. Defunding the police wouldn’t be a problem if people weren’t forbidden to defend themselves (and others). It’s not about police, it’s about all consequences.
Political liberals today are very defensive of democracy. Yet, democracy is nothing more than mob rule; might (through superior numbers) makes right. The mob gets to decide what rights you are allowed to exercise. This isn’t a workable system.
This is why I can’t be what is called a “classical liberal” either; I can’t believe in the right, or political authority, to govern others. Even if the governing is done lightly, it’s still beyond what anyone has a right to do. You have the right to govern yourself, but no one else. Democracy or a constitutional republic can’t create this right out of thin air.
So, while I am generous, open-minded, and accepting, and I value liberty above everything, I can’t be politically liberal; I understand people too well. Maybe someday liberals will become truly liberal and we can then be on the same side.
Farwell’s Kent McManigal champions liberty. Contact him at: