Why is liberalism as a political ideology so durable ? - Page 3 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

Wandering the information superhighway, he came upon the last refuge of civilization, PoFo, the only forum on the internet ...

Modern liberalism. Civil rights and liberties, State responsibility to the people (welfare).
Forum rules: No one line posts please.
#14157155
"Liberalism is itself an ideology. It doesn't reject ideological thinking - it engages in its own. Aspects of liberal ideology include broad-based democracy, active government intervention to cure society's perceived ills, going hand-in-hand with great faith in the ability of intellectual elites to fix society. And liberals are certainly no more interested in facts than any other group. Note, for example, complete absence of factual basis behind any of the popular liberal policies from the New Deal to War on Poverty."

I'd have to disagree. Liberalism never stays in one place long enough to become an ideology. If broad based democracy can be shown to be a negative, then it would be rejected in favor of something better. However it seems to be the best system we know of at this point in time. That would be like saying that they are ideological regarding "evolution". If some time in the future evolution is falsified as a workable theory, then it would be rejected in favor of whatever replaced it. I for one accept evolution as genuine, but if something replaced it, then I wouldn't oppose it on ideological grounds. As for an active role by the government to cure society's ills, it's been found to work better then the opposite approach which is laissez-faire.

Regarding "intellectual elites" Freiedrich Hayek pointed to this:

"In the last resort, the conservative position rests on the belief that in any society there are recognizably superior persons whose inherited standards and values and position ought to be protected and who should have a greater influence on public affairs than others. The liberal, of course, does not deny that there are some superior people – he is not an egalitarian – but he denies that anyone has authority to decide who these superior people are. While the conservative inclines to defend a particular established hierarchy and wishes authority to protect the status of those whom he values, the liberal feels that no respect for established values can justify the resort to privilege or monopoly or any other coercive power of the state in order to shelter such people against the forces of economic change. Though he is fully aware of the important role that cultural and intellectual elites have played in the evolution of civilization, he also believes that these elites have to prove themselves by their capacity to maintain their position under the same rules that apply to all others.”

Making a blanket statement that liberals rely on "intellectual elites "really misses the point. Obviously they pay more attention to expertise then say, the Tea Party, who feel that anybody is qualified to manage our affairs. That may seem like a nod to intellectual elitism, but demonstrated expertise in any field is always preferrable to ignorance. I want to know that an experienced pilot is flying my plane, an experienced doctor is performing surgery on my body, and an experienced legislator understands basic civics.

As for a factual basis for the policies of the New Deal I don't follow this. The policies of the New Deal were centered around Keynseian economics which worked. In a Depression or massive recession, cutting spending is not the way to solve the problem. The main problem is that they didn't spend enough, until the entrance to the war in which massive spending took place. That kind of spending put the entire nation to work, and we went from 14% unemployment in 1940 to 1.7% by 1943. Obviously an active government action managed to cure society's ills in an economic sense. It's unfortunate that it took a war to do that, but had that money been spent on other things, the results would have been much the same.
#14157376
Joe Liberty wrote:An astute comparison, I'm going to appropriate that, thanks! I find it very difficult to have patience with people who believe that governments somehow build roads without people, or that without government no individual would ever see the need for them. That kind of thinking is essentially religious faith.


The parallels between statism and both slavery and religion are interesting. And indicative.

Hell slavery itself only existed because the government subsidized slave catchers. All we had to do to end slavery was stop having the state pay for it. If only uncle Sam had understood Bastiat's window, all that misery would have been averted.
#14157420
"But just because I benefit from some aspects of living within a community doesn't automatically mean that the community is owed an arbitrary fraction of my income."

Who's supposed to pay for what you use? Do you feel that it's an imposition to contribute to the society that you benefit from?

"But assuming government does provide adequate protection of property rights, all the other useful services that government clearly provides (food quality assurance, roads and many others) can be provided more efficiently by the free market."

No they can't. Nor should they. It's far to vast an undertaking. I suspect if that were true, you'd see examples of privately owned nations somewhere in the world.

"If I am not 100% entitled to the money I earned, somebody ought to be able to present a better claim for it."

You pay taxes to support the very infrastructure that your employer operates his business on which allows you to get paid for your work.

"To be clear, there are always rationalisations for government prohibitions, though in some cases exceptionally weak ones. It is easy to rationalise. But freedom rationalised away is still freedom lost."

Do you view freedom as a means to achieving wealth? Or do you view it as a value in itself?


But you are allowed to employ them. I don't see how your freedom is being infringed upon.

If I told you that you are allowed to read certain books, provided only that you provide the government with three authorisations by the local police chief, head of the local library and your priest, all certifying that the required reading won't be harmful to you, would you consider that to be a state of freedom?

Your answer has nothing to do with the comment. The person you're responding to is talking about an exchange of services for pay. What you respond with is a hypothetical case of self interest. (reading a book) as if there is some moral equivalence.

"Jumping through hoops reduces freedom."

Life tends to have obstacles. The hoops you jump through may save somebody from consuming a product that you produce that could kill them. It's the price of doing business.

"Of course I don't. I deny the necessity of having them built by government. That's completely different, don't you agree?"

What you want is to privatize everything. I don't see any examples on the planet where that has been done. And for good reason. It's beyond the capability of private enterprise to build and maintain the infrastructure of a nation of 300 million people. I hear there are a group of Randians in Michigan that want to buy an island and create their own nation. You might enjoy it there. You can go Galt to your hearts content.
#14157506
Adagio wrote: Liberalism never stays in one place long enough to become an ideology.

Of course it is an ideology. You're just looking at the parts of the pattern which change, but you haven't noticed that there is a stable core which remains. I will explain.

Ideology isn't just a dogmatic sort of instrument used politically. If you defined it that way, then it would become impossible to understand what's happening around us, everything would appear to be a flight of fancy, coupled with some kind of pure and disinterested philosophy. That's not happening.

Ideology and philosophy are not qualitatively different, they are only quantitatively different, and can be folded onto each other as being in fact the same thing. Ideology is how a particular class of people look at society ontologically, in the hopes that the categories they create are suited to solving their problems as a class. The philosophy - which is inherently wedded to the ideology - is what allows a particular class of people to look to their past and their future and get a sense of themselves as a group navigating through time, and it allows them to plan for the future and arrange compromises in the mid-term.

Liberalism, quite simply, seems hard to define to the casual observer, because it is very adaptable. But basically government of big business led by finance, is the common denominator in all iterations of liberalism, be it liberal-conservatism, liberal-progressivism, liberal-yo-momma-ism, or whatever else they've been doing with it.
#14157965
"Liberalism never stays in one place long enough to become an ideology.
Of course it is an ideology. You're just looking at the parts of the pattern which change, but you haven't noticed that there is a stable core which remains. I will explain.

"Ideology isn't just a dogmatic sort of instrument used politically. If you defined it that way, then it would become impossible to understand what's happening around us, everything would appear to be a flight of fancy, coupled with some kind of pure and disinterested philosophy. That's not happening."

Ideology and philosophy are not qualitatively different, they are only quantitatively different, and can be folded onto each other as being in fact the same thing. Ideology is how a particular class of people look at society ontologically, in the hopes that the categories they create are suited to solving their problems as a class. The philosophy - which is inherently wedded to the ideology - is what allows a particular class of people to look to their past and their future and get a sense of themselves as a group navigating through time, and it allows them to plan for the future and arrange compromises in the mid-term.

Liberalism, quite simply, seems hard to define to the casual observer, because it is very adaptable. But basically government of big business led by finance, is the common denominator in all iterations of liberalism, be it liberal-conservatism, liberal-progressivism, liberal-yo-momma-ism, or whatever else they've been doing with it.

I love your answer. You clearly know how to phrase your differences. I'll try to describe what I mean.

I see a major difference between ideology and philosophy. I don't think ideologies evolve. I don't see them as admtting new information. That's the sign of the ideologue. To me, that is qualitatively different. I think philosophy is more open ended. When it becomes closed and folds into itself it becomes idiology. It becomes uncompromising and appeals to itself as its own authority.

This statement; "Ideology is how a particular class of people look at society ontologically, in the hopes that the categories they create are suited to solving their problems as a class." is correct EXCEPT that I would replace the word "hopes" with the word certitude. Ideologies are dogmatic. Religions are ideologies. Some political movements are ideologies.

This statement: "Liberalism, quite simply, seems hard to define to the casual observer, because it is very adaptable." I find true. You'll find very often in forums like this one, that conservatives will be very quick to define the liberal. I think definition is very important to the conservative mind. It helps keep them grounded. My advice to the liberal is never make the mistake that conservatives make by defining them as they define liberals. They do it constantly. Liberals are this. Liberals are that, assuming that Liberals are monolithic and they all think the same. Never define them. They will simply deny your definition is accurate.

Each thing they use to define themselves rests on something else, which in turn needs definition. When one tries to explain the meaning of an expression, one uses out of necessity, other expressions which require definition, leading to more expressions requiring definition, leading to a vicious cycle of endless justification. I don't define them. I’m drawing from the conservatives own definitions. Their stated beliefs. They will have to justify their definitions which will require more definitions which will require more justification. It’s up to them to defend those positions, and bear in mind that the positions that they take on any issue are all based on the conservative ideology which cannot demonstrate itself as true. Truth should be your goal always, no matter how uncomfortable that might be at times. Conservatives claim to have principles and stand for something. They will claim that the liberal stands for nothing and sneer at their lack of values. Let them know that you do stand for something. You stand for truth. Everything else is bullshit, which includes the conservative position.

Anytime a person defines something; they set borders around what lies within the definition. They cannot be more or less than what they describe. They limit themselves to their own definition.

If there is an ideology to liberalism, I think that it is still true that the American liberal believes that society can and should be improved, and that the way to improve it is to apply human intelligence to social and economic problems. To me, it's hard to see that as an ideology since that is nothing more than saying that we should use our brain to solve problems. Well...that's what it's for. So it seems a self evident utilitarian purpose. It's what we do. We solve problems. Why there is an aversion to that, I don't know. I suspect it's because it often flys in the face of appeals to tradition.

The framework I come from permits a liberal to be characterized as one who is willing to entertain any position and holds all his positions, including his most fundamental standards, goals, and decisions, and his basic philosophical position itself, open to criticism; one who never cuts off an argument by resorting to faith, or irrational commitment to justify some belief that has been under severe critical fire; one who is committed, attached, addicted, to no position. It's not a matter of saying what I am, but rather saying what I'm not. That seems to charactorize the liberal position to me. If it doesn't to others, especially other liberals then it's clear evidence that there is no set ideology that is uniformly adopted. Finding truth isn't an additive process. It's subractive. You don't look for truth. You reveal it. To see its face, you must remove the mask. Ideologies mask the truth. And truth matters.
#14401579
It lasts because people like freedom, democracy, and security/order over authoritarianism, tyranny, and insecurity.

I'd say also because liberty benefits the wealthy business class, so they work to maintain the status quo of liberalism or even a further rolling back of state control in a liberal democracy. So you have the masses who enjoy their freedom and democracy (or what they think is democracy), partnered with the wealthy who work subtly within the media or political halls to get what they want while trying to the convince the masses that they're still getting what they want also.

Many politicians don't want democracy/liberty, they want more power/control. But when they have the masses and the business elites vigilant against excessive state control, it's a partnering force that is often very difficult for the political elite to conquer (with some exceptions).
#14401597
Unthinking Majority wrote:It lasts because people like freedom, democracy, and security/order over authoritarianism, tyranny, and insecurity.

I think Liberalism is durable because it is the "status quo" enforced by mass media, and more importantly, military might.

"Freedom, democracy, justice and human rights" - Ambiguous things that we all love to chant about - they can genuinely co-exist with a lot of ideologies.

E.g. Communism wants the rights and freedom to pursue happiness of the proletariat from the tyranny of the bourgeoisie, Facism serve to strengthen an ethnic class from its enemies. Yes, it is argued to death that they have their flaws and might lead to totalitarian rule. So did liberalism.

Indeed, despite its flaws all three ideologies have nurtured genuinely good governance - Facism raised a powerful Japan and Germany from ruins, Communism built a superpower that can rival the United State from a country that has endured 3 very bloody hot wars + a cold one. And I don’t need to mention the success of liberalism.

Even now concepts of communism / facism has not completely died but had simply be incorporated into mainstream “liberalism”, with some elements such as “Social services” and “Patriotism”.

To the masses, all the big 3 can be pretty solid ideologies. We are simply born into the liberal one. I myself don’t consider liberalism to be superior, even a bit annoyed by it. Should the other two won WWII / Cold War, we would have heard everyday on TV how shitty life is inside USA when capitalists run the show, how evil their imperialist past is and sing kumbaya to the unity of the working class / our country.

If I have to state one aspect in which Liberalism is superior, it has to be adaptability. Today, everybody’s liberalism is different - we all keep chanting the same gibberish about “Freedom, democracy, justice and human rights”, when in effect we all mean different things.

We are just united under the same ideological banner.
#14401619
Liberalism is durable because it is the apex ideology of the bourgeoisie. It most effectively maintains their cultural hegemony (largely by confusing people into thinking they're a part of the culture in charge) while simultaneously being very good for business (which keeps most of the bourgeoisie itself united). No other possible ideology could exist within the capitalist mode with such success. Fascism inevitably will revert to liberalism (as it changes nothing about property relationships except as to make them somehow even worse) and Communism cannot offer anyone anything more than capitalism (excepting a general reduction in blatant, and cruel, exploitation which isn't really as appealing as narratives of "you can get rich if you throw off the workers") if they're still using it in effect. It's become a pivotal concern of mine as I've become convinced that as long as the international bourgeoisie are united under liberalism, as they are today, we cannot hope to depose them anywhere but those places that have no productive forces to speak of whatsoever. Thank Allah that age of rival imperialists has returned. Maybe this time the crucible of their conflict will result in a better victory than the USSR was.

Sorry about all the parenthesis. This is a hard thought to get out in less than a wall of text.
#14413393
benpenguin wrote:"Freedom, democracy, justice and human rights" - Ambiguous things that we all love to chant about - they can genuinely co-exist with a lot of ideologies.


Well, you can't have much freedom, democracy, and human rights with 1930's/40's fascism, since it's a totalitarian ideology. Marxism-Leninism a la USSR also won't work, because of the rule by dictators. Same with a monarchy. Democracy means the people ultimately rule over politicians, and human rights mean that everyone is equal under the law and guaranteed certain rights that dictators can't usurp. Justice is of course an extremely relative term, so maybe I should have said "legal due process" or "the rule of law" or some such word instead.
#14413398
Dagoth Ur wrote:Liberalism is durable because it is the apex ideology of the bourgeoisie. It most effectively maintains their cultural hegemony (largely by confusing people into thinking they're a part of the culture in charge) while simultaneously being very good for business (which keeps most of the bourgeoisie itself united).


That's basically what I said a few posts above. The rich elite (bourgeoisie) and the masses (proletariat) both enjoy the status quo within liberalism & capitalism, and see its maintenance as in their interest, and this partnership is too powerful for the political elites to overthrow in order to give themselves more authoritarian power.

There was once widespread poverty and poor working conditions for the masses (proletariat) within liberal/capitalist societies, which led to the masses to revolt against liberalism/capitalism and support other ideologies such as fascism and communism. But now the average worker in liberal societies has guaranteed labor laws and high enough income where they live content lives where revolutionary change just isn't that enticing or necessary in their eyes (yes, also thanks in part to media and/or corporate propaganda etc. resulting in cultural hegemony).

We've seen some anger within the masses about the increased income inequality within liberal democracies (ie: Occupy Wallstreet), but if that ever comes to a head years down the line it's more likely that evolution would come in the form of reducing/reversing neoliberal policies that have benefited the rich so much in the 35 years and shifting a bit of wealth from the rich to the proletariat and not a wholesale revolutionary change in state political ideology/economic systems and overthrowing liberalism/capitalism.
#14413399
SE23 wrote:Okay i admit this is a mock practice question for an exam i will be sitting. However i am genuinely interested, why has Liberalism as a political theory proven to last so long, since the days of the French revolution. I suppose the definition of "liberal" has been misused and evacuated of meaning in contemporay politics, but the question still stands.
My view reflects Churchill's quote, “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried", i assume he is talking about a liberal democracy, or something close to it. Anyway i would appreciate responses to the question in the title, also will this trend continue ?


You're confused. Modern liberalism has absolutely nothing to do with classical liberalism. Classical liberalism is what is now called conservatism. Classical liberals espoused limited government laissez faire capitalism, free markets, individual liberty and private property rights. Modern liberalism arose during the 1960's counter cultural revolution and has its origins in Jacobinism, Marxism, democratic socialism and fascism. Modern liberalism is just the hard left gone mainstream. Additionally Churchill was a European conservative / classical liberal.
#14727739
@ SE23
SE23 wrote:i am genuinely interested, why has Liberalism as a political theory proven to last so long, since the days of the French revolution.

This is a tough question, partly because the underlying hypothesis is open to doubt. For evidently, the original Manchester liberalism was not at all durable. It had wiped out all economic associations, which are so vital for a sound functioning economy. As a result the labour market became so inhumane, that the stability of society as a whole was undermined. This failure of liberalism made command economies look attractive, and is partly to blame for the emergence of dictatures in Russia and China.

Moreover, on a global scale the supporters for liberalism are still a minority. For liberalism is not equal to capitalism. India embraces the caste system. The Middle East and Arabia resemble fundamental theocracies. Anarchy stil rules in many parts of Africa. South-America is just now abolishing its feudal system. Even in the west conservatism and the social democracy still compete with liberalism. The remnants of Leninism and fascism may grow again. So as soon as the United Nations is transformed into a democratic world government, then liberalism will be banished on a global scale. Or, if for instance the Chinese will some day dominate the world (which by the way is highly unlikely), then liberalism will also wither.

So, the eternal presence of liberalism is uncertain. Probably it is better to analyse the liberal movement instead of the liberal ideology. For the movement is able to adapt to changing circumstances and views. For instance, it can be argued that liberalism can be reconciled with the absence of universal suffrage. The right to vote can be coupled to conditions such as personal possession.

However, liberalism does appeal to human nature in an excellent manner. Its core is the economic freedom. Thus it demands for instance that in principle all information is free and available to all. People are free to choose their own beliefs. This means that liberalism creates a pluralist society. Thus liberalism guarantees the personal autonomy, which is such a fundamental human need.

So, although the future can never be predicted with certainty, liberalism does have excellent prospects.

By the way, politics can be fun. During election time a man attends a debate between three candidates. He concludes: "I have heard them all, and I thank God that only one will become a member of parliament". :lol:
So how deadly is it?

@Sivad has already explained his argument in this[…]

That comes from an incorrect translation. The sin[…]

@Julian658 They are always deployed. No they […]

Coronavirus '33'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrCsMPTZbIk