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So what is a liberal these days? Why are they so easy to mock? Let's first give a quick and cheap definition of what we've come to refer to as Classic liberalism.

Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberalism which advocates civil liberties and political freedom with representative democracy under the rule of law, and emphasizes economic freedoms found in economic liberalism which is also called free market capitalism.

Now anyone with much interest in politics can quickly discern how modern liberalism has veered away from its roots. And yes I'm generalizing. But it seems to me the major problem of modern liberalism is its fixation on small things and identity politics. During the year leading up to the US election what were American liberals fixated on? Getting legal rights for transgendered people to use different bathrooms. This was an issue which was invisible up until liberals suddenly turned it into a huge cause celebre, enormously irritating and offending vast numbers of people in much the same way as their obsession with ensuring people got to use whatever pronoun they chose at any given point in their life as they determined what 'gender' they were  now a part of.

Hillary Clinton was, of course, a strong proponent of identity politics. It was one of the reasons so many American had so little enthusiasm for her.

In Canada, of course, liberals have also become obsessed over minutia. It has seemed me for a long time that Canadian liberals are like cardboard cutouts, with no thoughts vision or imagination, simply waiting for whatever cause or bandwagon blows up from the somewhere else to jump aboard and start shaking fists in self-righteous determination.

Thus if pronoun wars erupt in California, they're soon here. If "rape culture" on campus becomes a thing in the US it quickly travels to Canada. If 'transgendered' becomes the cause du jour in New York it's soon the same in Toronto. Safe spaces? We gotcha covered.

All of this is so richly worthy of mockery rather than respect. It lacks any intellectual basis and seems to be embraced by shallow, self righteous airheads like Trudeau as something like the bedrock of their value system and culture. And it's embraced with such zeal you could almost call it a religion. This explains why anyone who disagrees causes such outrage and indignation, and brings protesters demanding they be shut down shut up and banned from wherever it is they're speaking or writing.

Liberals are now all about identity politics. All that other stuff, like the economy like infrastructure, like all the nuts and bolts of running society, all of that is in the back seat, which again explains why so many people have so little enthusiasm for liberals.

 

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I suppose if someone is prone to generalizations rather than practicing any intellectual rigor and assigns individuals labels based on one or two criteria, and then assumes their beliefs, ideology, and behavior based on those labels - it would be pretty easy to mock and disrespect them through hyperbolic statements and misstatement of the issues.    

 

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4 minutes ago, dialamah said:

I suppose if someone is prone to generalizations rather than practicing any intellectual rigor and assigns individuals labels based on one or two criteria, and then assumes their beliefs, ideology, and behavior based on those labels - it would be pretty easy to mock and disrespect them through hyperbolic statements and misstatement of the issues.    

One does not need to exaggerate to mock liberal fixation on identity politics. And if you don't think Clinton's embracing of identity politics played a major role in her loss and in the way the Democratic Party has become disrespected by large segments of the American population you clearly haven't been paying much attention.

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4 minutes ago, Argus said:

One does not need to exaggerate to mock liberal fixation on identity politics. And if you don't think Clinton's embracing of identity politics played a major role in her loss and in the way the Democratic Party has become disrespected by large segments of the American population you clearly haven't been paying much attention.

 

I heard all kinds of hyperbolic nonsense from lots of people; most of those people made sweeping generalizations about those 'on the other side', whether that side was Trump or Clinton.   When someone makes a generalization, they're being intellectually lazy.   Lots of liberals/Democrats didn't vote for Clinton because they couldn't stand her, but still you lump those people in with her in your screed about how stupid liberals are. 

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25 minutes ago, Argus said:

During the year leading up to the US election what were American liberals fixated on? Getting legal rights for transgendered people to use different bathrooms. This was an issue which was invisible up until liberals suddenly turned it into a huge cause celebre, enormously irritating and offending vast numbers of people

That's revisionism. Trans people have been quietly using washrooms for decades without trouble, and it only became an issue because angry conservatives decided to draw up "bathroom bills" to fight this non-existent menace. It was conservatives who thrust this issue into the spotlight, not liberals. Conservatives, having lost on gay marriage and anti-gay discrimination, went looking for some other fight they could win, and started drawing up these "bathroom bills". Blame them that this became an issue.

Your opinion is that liberals only care about identity politics now... one might just as easily claim that conservatives only care about fighting gays and banning abortions now.

I think you're wrong. Liberals care about a lot of things beyond the politically correct cause-du-jour. Liberals care about the growing struggle that regular people face trying to earn what previous generations have taken for granted. Liberals care that only the rich are getting richer, that banks can break the law at will without punishment, that politicians only care about the interests of large corporations, that the most profitable corporations don't pay any tax.  Liberals care about a lot more than just SJW causes.

 -k

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16 minutes ago, kimmy said:

That's revisionism. Trans people have been quietly using washrooms for decades without trouble, and it only became an issue because angry conservatives decided to draw up "bathroom bills" to fight this non-existent menace.

The bathroom bills were, as I understand it, a response to court rulings.

16 minutes ago, kimmy said:

Your opinion is that liberals only care about identity politics now... one might just as easily claim that conservatives only care about fighting gays and banning abortions now.

Not honestly. Conservatives mostly talk about economic issues. The Harper government, for example, never brought up abortions or gays in ten years in power.

16 minutes ago, kimmy said:

I think you're wrong. Liberals care about a lot of things beyond the politically correct cause-du-jour. Liberals care about the growing struggle that regular people face trying to earn what previous generations have taken for granted. Liberals care that only the rich are getting richer, that banks can break the law at will without punishment, that politicians only care about the interests of large corporations, that the most profitable corporations don't pay any tax.  Liberals care about a lot more than just SJW causes.

What you mean is liberals have abandoned the classical liberal attachment to Capitalism. Now they're addicted to Socialism, because that gives them more scope to 'fix' things they don't like about society. And one of the things they don't like is that some people are rich and some are poor. But this is an attachment to equality of results, not equality of opportunity. In any level playing field there will inevitably be losers and winners.  History has shown that if you eliminate the winners you multiply the losers.

The current Liberal party mantra of 'the middle class' is nothing more than cheap identity politics, especially since they evidently don't even know what the middle class is and because the rich haven't been getting richer for many years here (income inequality has been falling for over a decade as documented by the Parliamentary Budget Office).

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I agree with your conclusion, but you are doing a terrible job justifying it. Transgender rights can be justified via egalitarianism, so I'm not really sure why you call it identity politics.

 

The LPC is illiberal because they reject too many of the core principles of liberalism such as support for freedom of speech, egalitarianism, secularism and individualism. I've been thinking of making a thread on this topic for a while (at least since the 2015 election).

 

Although to have a proper discussion in this, I think I would have to lay a decent case out in the first post to highlight the issues where I highly support and reference my claims. But given this website's new editing policy, such in depth discussions aren't really viable anymore given my past experience of how much one would have to re-edit past posts to fix typos, make corrections and add new information.

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5 hours ago, Argus said:

The bathroom bills were, as I understand it, a response to court rulings.

Color me skeptical. Mike Pence and others used the famous story of the Christian caterer who got sued for refusing to bake for a gay wedding as justification for their attempts to legalize anti-gay discrimination, but I can't recall any lawsuit making bathroom bills "necessary".   Another point, North Carolina's infamous "bathroom bill" is actually a right-wing omnibus in which bathroom access for transgendered people is just one point. Others include bans on municipalities creating minimum wage rules, bans on municipalities creating their own bylaws against discrimination, bans on municipalities discriminating against contractors who discriminate, and more. But it's the "bathroom bill" because they figured that was the part that would get suckers to support it. In other words, you've been played.

 

5 hours ago, Argus said:

Not honestly. Conservatives mostly talk about economic issues

It's exactly as honest as the claim that liberals only talk about identity politics.  In the US, I can' recall what's his name iterating any sort of economic ideology, other than "we're going to create so many jobs you won't even believe it" or "these trade deals are terrible, we're going to negotiate much gooder deals".   Their primary message, as far as I can tell, was based on xenophobia and "traditional values" and generally a hatred for all things "progressive".  In Canada, conservatives seem to also be primarily interested in xenophobia and fighting "progressives", not economic issues.   In terms of the economy, the Conservatives' election message was "pipelines good" and "we're experienced and Trudeau isn't and also we are making fun of his haircut."

As I recall we recently had a conversation in which you told me that the Conservatives need to keep playing for social conservative votes, because if they don't have social conservatism then they don't have anything to distinguish them from the Liberals.  Is that not the case?   I think that if you look back over the 10 or so years of Harper government in this country you actually can't point to much that's substantially different from Harper's predecessor or his successor.

5 hours ago, Argus said:

What you mean is liberals have abandoned the classical liberal attachment to Capitalism. Now they're addicted to Socialism, because that gives them more scope to 'fix' things they don't like about society.

Apparently nowadays anything less than total obedience to our corporate masters is "socialism."  If you don't think coal mining companies should be allowed to dump their sludge directly into rivers, you're a socialist who loves spotted owls and hates Virginia coal miners.  If you don't think banks should be subject to some kind of oversight and regulation to keep them from ripping people off or destroying the economy again a la 2007, you're a socialist who hates capitalism. If you don't think Nestle should be allowed to pump billions of liters of water out of the ground for free, you obviously hate entrepreneurship. If you think it's wrong that Starbucks Corp pays less tax than a lowly barista who works at Starbucks Corp, you obviously hate the rich and are talking about class warfare.

I reject all that. I don't believe that fair taxation and reasonable regulation are incompatible with the free market.  I don't believe that corporations should get their way every time they complain that this regulation or that tax costs them money. I don't believe that increasing "shareholder profit" should be the primary goal of our elected officials. 

6 hours ago, Argus said:

But this is an attachment to equality of results, not equality of opportunity. In any level playing field there will inevitably be losers and winners.  

I completely agree, but am increasingly concerned with whether opportunity is really equal, whether the playing field is really level, and with the increasingly low bar in regard to what qualifies as "winning".

 -k

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Canadian liberalism has also imported limits on freedom of expression (i.e. hate speech laws, HRCs), presumably from liberal bastions in Europe that also support limits on free speech/expression.   Such concepts are typically not original to Canada...importing the latest social justice cause from other nations is a Canadian tradition that applies to many aspects of Canadian culture (or lack thereof) and identity.

So it is not surprising that many Canadians rise and fall with the political and social machinations witnessed by constant peering across the border and elsewhere.   Canada never had a significant civil rights movement, but it got to watch a real one on American television.

Remember who was defined as "Canada's Rosa Parks" ?    Me neither.....

 

 

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2 hours ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

Canadian liberalism has also imported limits on freedom of expression (i.e. hate speech laws, HRCs), presumably from liberal bastions in Europe

 

Except the parties in Europe that generally support these things aren't called liberal in Europe, they are called socialist, labour, etc.

The definition of liberalism in most European Countries is generally more consist with classical liberalism. I'm not saying they are perfect, or that they support freedom of speech 100%, but Canada and the USA are outliers in how the general population understands the term 'liberal'.

 

In Australia, the right-wing party is the liberal party (the party of Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbot). By Australian standards, Harper would be liberal and Trudeau would be labour.

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20 hours ago, kimmy said:

It's exactly as honest as the claim that liberals only talk about identity politics.  In the US, I can' recall what's his name iterating any sort of economic ideology, other than "we're going to create so many jobs you won't even believe it" or "these trade deals are terrible,

You might note I have already stated on numerous occasions I don't think either Trump or the Republicans are conservatives as conservatism is defined. If you're making the case they're not conservatives that's fine. My point is that modern liberals aren't liberal.

20 hours ago, kimmy said:

In Canada, conservatives seem to also be primarily interested in xenophobia and fighting "progressives", not economic issues.   In terms of the economy, the Conservatives' election message was "pipelines good" and "we're experienced and Trudeau isn't and also we are making fun of his haircut."

The conservative message was that steady and solid management was better than throwing money into the toilet as the Liberals proposed. If people here mocked Trudeau and his haircut it was over the belief that the only reason he was selected as Liberal leader was his name and pretty boy looks.

20 hours ago, kimmy said:

As I recall we recently had a conversation in which you told me that the Conservatives need to keep playing for social conservative votes, because if they don't have social conservatism then they don't have anything to distinguish them from the Liberals.  Is that not the case?

No. What I said was that a huge chunk of people in this country have social conservative views and that it wasn't democratic to pretend that they were so horrible they should be shunned. This is probably a quarter of the population, and the way some of you act they ought to all be executed or expelled from the country because you don't like their views - which you believe are illegitimate. And that's the illiberal notions I'm talking about. "You disagree with me! Therefore, you are not a human being of any merit and don't deserve any voice or representation!"

20 hours ago, kimmy said:

  I think that if you look back over the 10 or so years of Harper government in this country you actually can't point to much that's substantially different from Harper's predecessor or his successor.

Well, there was way less corruption. And his steady, even government, for the most part, seemed much more 'conservative' to me than that which preceded him, not to mention what's followed. That's not to say he didn't do things I disprove of often enough. But he didn't tend to throw big chunks of money at things to demonstrate how noble and inclusive he was, and there was a lot less vote buying than there was before or since.

20 hours ago, kimmy said:

Apparently nowadays anything less than total obedience to our corporate masters is "socialism."  If you don't think coal mining companies should be allowed to dump their sludge directly into rivers, you're a socialist who loves spotted owls and hates Virginia coal miners.  If you don't think banks should be subject to some kind of oversight and regulation to keep them from ripping people off or destroying the economy again a la 2007, you're a socialist who hates capitalism. If you don't think Nestle should be allowed to pump billions of liters of water out of the ground for free, you obviously hate entrepreneurship. If you think it's wrong that Starbucks Corp pays less tax than a lowly barista who works at Starbucks Corp, you obviously hate the rich and are talking about class warfare.

Starbucks pays what it needs to get employees. Why should it pay more? And if you've read anything I've written on the subject of banks you know very well I'm all for careful oversight. You're reacting like a very illiberal person indignant that anyone dares to question the validity of your views. Capitalism is the only proven, successful means of managing in economy that doesn't wind up in mass poverty. The Left seems to universally despise capitalism these days, which is why such tight restrictions and rules are placed on things that it's hard for business to even operate. The reason $25 billion in foreign oil money has left the country in the last month is because the owners of that money realize they can make more money elsewhere than in Canada' tightly and increasingly regulated and highly taxed environment. If you don't understand what that means for the future as the US gets rid of regulation and we increase it you don't understand the motivations or movement of money.

My point? Forget that international investment Trudeau keeps harping on. It's not going to happen if he continues to over-regulate everything. If it takes years to get permission to open a mine or run a pipeline somewhere the people with money will take it elsewhere. That doesn't mean there should be no regulation, but I can't think of a single thing any company would want to do that couldn't be approved or dissaproved within a year.

20 hours ago, kimmy said:

I reject all that. I don't believe that fair taxation and reasonable regulation are incompatible with the free market.

I don't either, but It seems over the past few years that the left wing politicians have seized on class warfare as the means to gaining votes. The idea that anyone even mildly successful is being unfair and that the government is remedying that fairness by taking more and more of their profits and redistributing it is a recipe to drive everyone with the means to do so out of the country. We do not have increasing income inequality in this country and haven't for more than a decade. In fact, the disparity is about what it was in the late 1950s.

20 hours ago, kimmy said:

  I don't believe that corporations should get their way every time they complain that this regulation or that tax costs them money. I don't believe that increasing "shareholder profit" should be the primary goal of our elected officials. 

We need regulation, of course. But regulation DOES cost money, and we should ensure that is minimized. You might not think shareholder profit matters, but I assure you it matters to corporations. And if they can get it by dumping their projects in Canada and investing in the US or overseas they'll do it. Which leaves us with higher unemployment and a smaller tax base to draw on.

20 hours ago, kimmy said:

I completely agree, but am increasingly concerned with whether opportunity is really equal, whether the playing field is really level, and with the increasingly low bar in regard to what qualifies as "winning".

Opportunity is as equal as we can make it given human intellect and emotions are never distributed equally. Just as there are some very, very smart people doing well there will always be some very, very dumb people who aren't. Just as we see guys working 14 hour days to get ahead we see people who are lazy and lack the drive or motivation, especially if someone else (like the government) will look after them.

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Speaking of illiberal liberals, that university professor who dared to refuse to use the preferred pronouns of trangendered people has, for the first time in his career, had his research funding request turned down by the Liberal government.

Don't believe as we do, and we'll punish you!

That seems to be how today's liberals think.

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/an-opportunity-to-make-their-displeasure-known-government-pulls-funding-of-pronoun-professor

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The Mental Breakdown of the Left - in 4 minutes.

There are several good lines here. One of them being "Gays for Palestine? Give me a break! If Gays for Palestine were in Palestine they'd have to move to Israel!"

And  "The idea that you chuck whole swathes of people out of the debate, is such a bloody Left wing thing to do. The Left LOVES doing this! All the time. "The Debate will be done on MY terms". Well how easy! And how unsurprising that the terms are always drawn around themselves."

Also, in talking about people proudly protesting against the Pope he says "As a gay man I'd like the Catholic Church to love to have gay marriage approved by the Catholic Church, but they're not going to. Meanwhile I really, really wish people would reserve their ire for the people who don't just want to stop me marrying but want to throw me off a cliff. Much better way to spend your time!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UShk0DrTDpI

Edited by Argus
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