Sunday, February 08, 2004
Liberals - Fetch!
I get slagged! Excellent - it's about time. Anyway, stop me if you've heard this one before, but the Liberals are claiming they're not really Liberal. What did I say below about Liberals lacking confidence in the force of their arguments ? I got accused of reading too much Coulter - as if such a thing were possible - which is ironic since Coulter answered this very point perfectly when she pointed out there's more variation amongst dogs than Liberals, but Liberals don't insist on a half-hour discussion on the difference between poodles and Labradors before agreeing that actually 'dog' is a pretty useful generic term for the things that bark.
What's that ? Liberal once meant something different ? OK, I'll concede that providing the not-Liberals agree to only call Elton John gay when he's really happy. Otherwise can they just accept that language changes over time ?
Point two is even weirder: there are people on the Left who aren't Liberals. Like, really ? That's an excuse for Michael Meacher is it? The fact you can oppose Conservatism without being completely insane ? Principled leftists like Ann Clywd or Frank Field emphasise, rather than detract from, the nuttiness of modern Liberalism.
So what is it with modern Liberalism that none of it's proponents will actually admit to being Liberals ? Put it this way: think of a flagship Liberal policy, now think of a successful flagship Liberal policy. My critic claims that Liberalism tend to believe in the importance of education as a means of empowering people. They might believe that, but it doesn't change the fact that we've had thirty years of Liberals running rampant in the education system and it's a complete train wreck. They steered it onto the iceberg, no one else did, and we should remind people of that fact at every opportunity.
There is such a thing as Liberalism. It may be hard to pin down the exact details of the philosophy but that's mainly because it doesn't make sense anyway: try this one from the critic - '[Liberal's] desire to allow people to live their lives without interference from the state, other organisations and other people'. Surely if you want to protect the citizen from interference from other organisations and people you 're going to need a honking great state to do the protecting ? Besides, it's never that simple. The critic criticises Texans who refused to work on building an abortion clinic - yet what is the critic's answer ? Forced labour ? Who knows ? As ever with Liberals, there's plenty of outrage but no answers. The desire to have their cake and eat it is one of the defining features of modern Liberalism - and no group of people exemplify this more than the Lib Dems.
I've said this before, and no doubt I'll say it again, the Lib Dems aren't a political party in the sense of advancing actual policies. Voting Lib Dem is the political equivalent of getting a tongue stud. Their whole raison d'être is to bug the squares, shout rude words and moon at the grown-ups. Check out the excellent new blog, Liberal Democrat Watch, for more proof of that.
Nevertheless, there is a definable spine of ideological thought which can be summed up as Liberal. I was joking when I wrote this, but there is an underlying truth to it. If you believe that big business is more dangerous than big government, crystals cure cancer and mobile phones cause it, a householder killing a burglar is more serious than the other way round and George W Bush is worse than Bin Laden, you're a Liberal and that's that.