Perils of Any Day Liberalism
As promised here are my thoughts on liberalism. I am touching upon only some aspects of liberalism which are self-defeating.
Liberalism has it’s roots dating back to French Revolution which was a culmination of revolt against feudalism, repressive church and monarchies. It was Renaissance during 15th century that gradually resulted in questioning the institutions and leading to this. Here is the wikipedia definition of it.
“Liberalism (from the Latin liberalis, “of freedom”) is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but most liberals support such fundamental ideas as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights, free trade, and the freedom of religion. These ideas are widely accepted, even by political groups that do not openly profess a liberal ideological orientation. Liberalism encompasses several intellectual trends and traditions, but the dominant variants are classical liberalism, which became popular in the eighteenth century, and social liberalism, which became popular in the twentieth century.”
As we can see the ideas on which liberalism was found, were very noble and the modern world owes it’s progress to this train of philosophy. Even the most conservative activists today (barring folks like white supremacists or neo-nazis ) agree for these basic liberal principles but the main issue of them with ‘liberalism’ is about the social liberalism. In fact many of the ideas that most conservatives propose today, limited government, constitutionalism and free markets are from the classical liberalism, but many of them don’t even know the origins of these ideas, perhaps they will shudder if they know where they are from. heh. 🙂
So what could be wrong about the Liberalism ?
One of the problems raised by extreme liberalism is the ‘welfare state’. Where liberalism was most suppressed for long, like by Russia’s Czar, it resulted in a violent revolution led by the likes of Lenin who were influenced by the philosophy of Karl Marx et al. and establishment of the ‘leftist’ ideas that everyone in the state are ‘equal’, meaning everyone will not only be treated equal but also rewarded only equally! This was a disaster. In leftist states a surgeon will not be far off earning than a barber and naturally this will not give any incentive to anyone to study hard to become a surgeon! No wonder Soviet Union crumbled. It is not because USA outwitted USSR in terms of military power or political power (Russia even today has more nuclear arsenal than USA) that USSR disintegrated, it is because of failure of the ‘leftist’ ideas that faltered on creating fair competition, free markets and open to criticism that led to it’s demise. It lacked the self-correction that is needed by any thriving democracy and here are the points how it is self-defeating.
Today we still have some ‘welfare states’ like Venezuela, Cuba etc (and some political parties like CPM, CPI in India still have the pipe-dreams of hoisting one of these welfare states there too). Places like Venezuela which are blessed with natural resources (gas is like dirt cheap there, something like 12 cents a gallon!) don’t have much problem now to show these welfares easily for now, but once those are consumed those countries will face the same fate as that of Soviet Union. Any country which fails to realize the value of human potential for fair competition and appropriate reward for that will fail in terms of how good it can be in eventually maintaining the standard of living, the very cause which liberal activists complain about so much always.
One of the ramifications of ‘welfare state’ is trade unionism. Having worked in a public sector in India for some time, the author all too well knows the perils of this and how it stymied the growth in India. Productivity of the firms were held hostage and creative persons who saw their ideas gathering dust left for other countries. Even in US look at the auto-industry, how it got overrun by cars from countries like Japan, Germany etc! It is because Detroit was infested with trade unionism (even though the author doesn’t have first hand experience of this, it is all too evident from the failure of these firms like GM compared to Toyota or BMW). I was told once you have enough time worked in GM, you can be rest assured of any kind of lavish health care (people abuse the health care provisions too which I will discuss shortly).
This is what is called ‘collective bargaining’ provision which is euphemism to trade unionism. Initially thought to balance the exploitation of workers by employers, the power of this was often misused to threaten employers to evade work so it would result in potential losses to business and possible threat of closing down the business. But who will be the ultimate casualty if a business were ever closed? It would be the employees first. It is kind of self-defeating. The recent example of this is the threat of locking down this year’s NFL season as well as the current NBA lockdown, except it is millionaires (players) vs. billionaires(owners) here. 🙂 Union leaders who are a little more voluble and outspoken than other employees wield the power and run it based on their whims and fancies.
An offshoot of trade unionism in this country is frivolous law suits. Any damn thing (well almost) can be sued in this country, if an attorney is ready to accept the case. It costs millions of tax payer dollars to try these cases as court houses are run using people’s money. The justice system has to be funded by public, or else there is a fair chance it will be for sure run by special interests. So people can sue individuals or businesses just to cause damage irrespective of whether or not the case is fair or not or before it is determined it is fair! Lot of public money wasted and jury duty by many people will disrupt the work. Some of the products of law suit politics are people like John Edwards (the guy who ran for president in 2004 and tried in 2008 who incidentally cheated on his wife also!) which shows liberal politics can usurp guys like this to take the helm! Dangerous!!
Another offshoot of ‘welfare state’ is the health care fracas in this country. On the one hand the costs are overrun by insurance companies but the fault is with many customers also. Many people abuse the provisions of insurance to go and seek health care even for the slightest of pain or illness. Some of the insurance provisions are like after exhausting the initial payments, they are free! So people won’t mind seeking false comfort in going to the health offices just because is free. The health care professionals don’t mind this because they can’t deny the customer and they get paid by insurance folks too. So eventually the cost is falling on guys who don’t need or go to seek health care that often or on the medicare system in this country which is born by the government which collects the medicare tax from all people working and earning and files for taxes. Liberal politicians never highlight the abuse of the system in this case as it will be unpopular for them to get elected. They should put the facts before public about the costs upfront and have a fair debate. If the system is untenable, who will be at the receiving end here? Isn’t that the people who really need healthcare? Isn’t this self-defeating for those who are tacitly or overtly supporting ‘welfare state’? Bad politics!
The other aspect of healthcare costs is that the government owns only partial responsibility by way Medicare and Medicaid. The coverage of conditions were extended by Bush (Junior) without a plan to pay for it, to appease his ‘compassionate conservative’ vote block which is nothing but to cater to some elderly who would otherwise support other causes like abortion ban and same-sex relationships. This is utter irresponsibility. Even the healthcare bill passed by Obama was dogged by opposition from some democrats (I call them closet republicans) who were covertly funded by lot of insurance groups. Otherwise, when the democrats have majority in both house and senate, why couldn’t they pass the ‘public option’ which will be one of alternatives to customers competing with private insurance companies? No one is forcing one to have ‘public option’ supported insurance, but private companies have to compete with it, just like private universities have to compete with public universities. Didn’t it provide healthy competition to improve schooling here in US? Democrats who profess to be liberals will be held accountable for this monumental mistake that they perpetrated and further generations will surely curse them as all these costs are being postponed and kind of pushing off to our children and grand children. What a shame we have to slurp on the toil of them ?
Let’s talk a little bit about the abortion issue which liberals seem to champion. When they specify that it as a right of a woman to choose, I think it is not entirely factual. What right can we say when the woman in question is almost say a kid like 14 or 15 years, let us say. Does she know the consequences? If there is no concern expressed about not banning abortion and if it is projected as a free right, an irresponsible kid of that age has the potential to misuse it. It has to be a well-known dictum that abortion is a disapproved choice for a girl and should be treated as such so that she and her boy friend will have to take full responsibility if acted inappropriately. This means the whole emphasis has to be on avoiding it, but liberals seem not to give much importance to avoiding it. They promote all sorts of contraception, but accidents do happen. They should probably advocate encouragement of youth to spend their creative energy in terms of arts, sports and so on (in psychology it’s called sublimation!). I don’t think liberal politicians do much in this area.
There was a period ( 1960s and 70s) was supposedly a permissive time here in US when drugs and inappropriate relationships were rampant and that is a reason why conservatism backlashed. Even now there are pockets of it which won’t serve the best interests of humanity. The beauty of a tradition or a culture will not be upheld if liberals promote unbridled sexual practices and this has been proven time and again over the course of human history. Certain things are best enjoyed when they are kept private. Extreme liberals forget about the sanctity of some of the well tested traditions and culture.
If marriage is one such tradition to be upheld, then it is legitimate to question extending it to same-sex relations. “The essential function of marriage is the continuance of the race, as stated in the book of Common Prayer”. “The accidental function of marriage is the gratification of the amoristic sentiment of mankind” (quotes from Bernard Shaw’s works). So it is the second quote that might be prompting the same-sex couples to fight for marriage rights but it negates the first quote. How can they continue the race (race here means ‘jathi’ in telugu)?! So if liberals think they champion the cause of same-sex couples by coddling for their demands for marriage rights, I don’t think they will be bringing in more order in this area! It will be more chaos. It will reduce the very freedom that they profess they promote. They should think about this properly.
PS: liberalism is generally identified with the democratic party here in USA.