Tuesday, November 3, 2009

When you're right, you're right

When we started the New Liberal Democrat venture we wrote a little manifesto to explain our beliefs. Scary how dead on we were. In today's Wall Street Journal, one op-ed uncannily resembles our manifesto.
As a liberal she carries around in her head the liberal paradigm of how the world works and what needs to be done to make it work better. There's nothing wrong with that. We all use paradigms to make sense of what we see around us and couldn't get along without them. Unfortunately, the basic liberal paradigm hasn't shifted in a hundred years, while the world we live in has changed utterly since the late 19th century, when modern liberalism was born.

What is that paradigm? The basic premise is that the population is divided into three groups. By far the largest group consists of ordinary people. They are good, God fearing and hard working. But they are also often ignorant of their true self-interest ("What's the matter with Kansas?") and thus easily misled. They are also politically weak and thus need to be protected from the second group, which is politically strong.

The second group, far smaller, are the affluent, successful businessmen, corporate executives and financiers. Capitalists in other words. They are the establishment and it is the establishment that, by definition, runs the country. They are, in the liberal paradigm, smart, ruthless and totally self-interested. They care only about personal gain.

And then there is the third group, those few, those happy few, that band of brothers, the educated and enlightened liberals, who understand what is really going on and want to help the members of the first group to live a better and more satisfying life. Unlike the establishment, which supposedly cares only for itself, liberals supposedly care for society as a whole and have no personal self-interest.
And here's a snippet of our manifesto:
What is the best way to help men? This depends on how one views the nature of man. There are those who believe most people fit into one of three categories: the incapable, the weak, and the strong. They presume that if incapable people were allowed to attend to their own affairs, they would succumb to their irrational desires and irresponsible behaviors. They believe weak people are trapped in their present situation and unable to achieve due to forces beyond their control. They are convinced that the strong people exploit both the incapable and the weak.

These same people regard themselves as part of a distinct elite fourth category. One whose duty it is to shepherd the incapable and the weak from exploitation by the strong. They believe that their guidance and supervision is necessary for society to function, and that government is the instrument necessary to accomplish this.


Post a Comment