Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Much Left Unsaid - Part II

Part I is here.

Not everything that Geoffery Stone says is off base. I'm sure that many liberals feel the way that he does - I just don't think its representative of liberalism today. Take for example:

5. Liberals believe government must respect and affirmatively safeguard the liberty, equality and dignity of each individual. It is liberals who have championed and continue to champion the rights of racial, religious and ethnic minorities, political dissidents, persons accused of crime and the outcasts of society. It is liberals who have insisted on the right to counsel, a broad application of the right to due process of law and the principle of equal protection for all people.

6. Liberals believe government has a fundamental responsibility to help those who are less fortunate. It is liberals who have supported and continue to support government programs to improve health care, education, social security, job training and welfare for the neediest members of society. It is liberals who maintain that a national community is like a family and that government exists in part to "promote the general welfare."

Liberals, in general, have been champions of equal protection and due process and should, rightly, be lauded for those efforts.

While I think that the progressive desire to help everyone is ill-advised and generally does more harm than good, you can only fault them for being wrong - not inconsistent.

7. Liberals believe government should never act on the basis of sectarian faith. It is liberals who have opposed and continue to oppose school prayer and the teaching of creationism in public schools and who support government funding for stem-cell research, the rights of gays and lesbians and the freedom of choice for women.

Yet secular faith is just fine. Many, including me, have pointed out the the environmental fetish that many on the left have is nearly a religion. Nature is inherently good and anything that harms nature is bad. Does it get more religious than that?

8. Liberals believe courts have a special responsibility to protect individual liberties. It is principally liberal judges and justices who have preserved and continue to preserve freedom of expression, individual privacy, freedom of religion and due process of law. (Conservative judges and justices more often wield judicial authority to protect property rights and the interests of corporations, commercial advertisers and the wealthy.)

He just couldn't resist throwing in a "conservatives are evil, greedy bastards" line could he? Why can't liberals acknowledge that the wealthy are individuals too and deserve to have their rights protected just as much as everyone else? I have never understood why liberals despise property rights - is it a holdover from when only the wealthy owned property?

I believe that property rights, probably more than any other issue, is what drove the Founding Fathers and inspired the Constitution.

10. Liberals believe government must protect the safety and security of the people, without unnecessarily sacrificing constitutional values. It is liberals who have demanded and continue to demand legal protections to avoid the conviction of innocent people in the criminal justice system, reasonable restraints on government surveillance of American citizens, and fair procedures to ensure that alleged enemy combatants are in fact enemy combatants. Liberals adhere to the view expressed by Brandeis some 80 years ago: "Those who won our independence ... did not exalt order at the cost of liberty."

And the last one is a humdinger. An implicit accusation that conservatives don't value the Constitution, but without an admission that liberals despise the parts of the Constitution that Conservatives value: limited and enumerated powers for government.

This is, of course, where I smugly point out that libertarians love the whole Constitution - limited government power and unlimited personal liberty.

Stone paints a picture of pretty rainbows and sunny skies, hopefully I've been able to fill in the gaps and point out the ugly truth to some of the liberal values.

Update: More thoughts from Professor Bainbridge here and here.
Update II: Jane Galt shares her thoughts.

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