Thursday, March 27, 2008

I am a Liberal

What is a liberal? If you read various dictionaries it implies being open to new ideas. Politically, it is a derogatory term. We think of it as meaning someone who believes in socialist policies and tries to undermine Judeo-Christian values. Many economists like to call themselves “Classical Liberals”, because liberal used to mean someone who embraced the free market. The word was later stolen by socialists and the meaning changed.

Ironically, in France, left wing parties deride President Sarkozy as a “liberal”. Sarkozy has been pushing for free market reforms, cracking down on crime, and limits to immigration. This is not exactly the American idea of a liberal, but it does imply someone who is pushing new ideas.

I recently saw an interview with Hillary Clinton saying that she likes to call herself a Progressive, discarding Liberal because it has taken on such an ugly connotation. Well, Sen. Clinton, one woman’s trash is another man’s treasure. I consider myself a “Classical Liberal”, so maybe it’s time to drop the “Classical” part of my label and take the true meaning of the word back.

My friends, I am a Liberal.

If a conservative is someone who wants things to stay the same how can I honestly call myself a conservative when I have proposed so many radical changes in this newsletter? Let’s compare what I support against our so-called “Liberal” political party.

Democrats want to take us to universal health care. A new idea? Universal Health started in Germany in the late 1800’s. Health Savings Accounts were invented by John Goodman in the late 1900’s. They want us to keep doing health care the way it has always been done. I want to rip it out by the roots and start over with Health Savings Accounts. They are the conservatives, I am the liberal.

Democrats want to maintain the same failed education system that has been sliding downhill for 50 years. I want charter schools, vouchers, and home schooling. I want to free the underprivileged and undereducated from the shackles of a system that continues to fail them and keeps them in poverty. They want us to do education the way it has always been done. I am the liberal.

Democrats don’t want to touch social security. I want Swedish-style private accounts, and I want my future benefits to be cut to avoid the fiscal disaster coming down the road. They have buried their heads in the sand and they want us to do things the way they have always been done. I am the liberal.

Democrats scream bloody murder at any proposal to change any of our failed poverty programs. I have proposed Milton Friedman’s reverse income tax to help wean the poor off of government handouts. They want to do things the way they have always been done. I am the liberal.

Democrats promised to clean up earmarks, but got virtually nothing accomplished. I want to ban earmarks. They are doing things the way they have always been done. I am the liberal.

Democrats want us to plan nearly every inch of every building in our cities. This isn’t new, rulers have been indiscriminately bulldozing and rebuilding parts of cities for centuries. I want people, in a free market, to decide what to do with their property to keep home prices down so that every person can hope to achieve the American dream. They want to boss you around the way it has always been done. I am the liberal.

Democrats’ only idea for our tax system in the last 75 years has been to raise them every chance possible. I support a flat tax that eliminates the millions of tax breaks given out to special interest groups. I have supported moving the corporate tax burden onto high income earners so that our businesses don’t waste billions dodging taxes and they can crush their foreign competitors with the tax advantage. They, on the other hand, want to do things the way they have always been done. I am the liberal.

Democrats fight free trade with same arguments the Mercantilists used in 16th century. I support free trade anywhere, anytime, and any place. It increases wealth in the United States and it will bring income to the most desperately poor countries on earth. There is a veritable consensus amongst economists that both countries always win with free trade. Democrats are chained to their union donors and want to do things the way they used to be done hundreds of years ago. I am the liberal.

The word of the year seems to be “Change”. Boldly leading us towards the status quo is not change. Fixing your gaze on the ideas of the past is not change. I want to do what has not been done. I want to do things that have not been tried. I am the liberal, not them.

We have been unjustifiably labeled “conservatives” as if we were the ones holding back progress. We have worn the scarlet C for too long. How long do the policies of the “liberal” party have to fail before we call them old ideas. The intellectual Amish of the Democratic party are not liberal at all. To paraphrase a quote from economist Robert Murphy,

“If [they] ignored advances in other scientific fields as much as they do in economics, we'd see weathermen advising readers to offer sacrifices to the rain gods.”

In the great time span of human history, freedom of the individual and small government are still radically new ideas. They are liberal ideas. I believe in these liberal ideas because I AM A LIBERAL.

Are you a liberal?

As always, tell me what you think.


Anonymous said...

I'm quite surpirsed to see no comments to this essay. I thought it was terrific. An open mind is a wonderful thing.

Brian Shelley said...

I get quite a bit of feedback through e-mail from the people I send this to, but I haven't convinced them to use the blog format. Your comments are welcome and I always engage anyone who does comment.