Why do I argue? Why do I try to convince?
Reason One: I want to push the average American’s philosophy to the Left. I want to do this because I think some very liberal people vote Right because they don’t like liberals or what liberals stand for, divorced from the fact that the majority of their positions are more Left than Right. The Right has so successfully demonized the word “liberal” that cowards like John Kerry are too afraid to admit to it.
Reason Two: I think the philosophy of the Left is one of more potential for maintaining and improving our overall quality of life. I believe in the principles of the Left, I’m convinced by the huge benefit Liberalism has provided us in history and I’m emboldened by the huge potential for Liberalism to improve our future.
So I want to make people reexamine what the Left really stands for, because it is often incorrectly characterized by the Right.
So what is it? In a nutshell, in a phrase I’ve used repeatedly, I think the Liberal idea is expressed perfectly by Paul Wellstone in one sentence:
We all do better when we all do better.
We all do better when we all do better! The base conservative ideals of survival of the fittest, private ownership of everything, weak government, etc. are ideals of “haves” and “have nots”. They are ideals which great permanent divides. Walls.
The base liberal idea is that our own success is tightly coupled to the success of those around us. That we best insure our own survival by working effectively with those around us. Walls with doors.
Now I must emphasize that I am a capitalist and I think that ownership and markets are very important. But there is a role for socialist forces. Socialist, in this context, literally means “of the society”. It does not imply a state-owned world. It means that there is a role for forces which embody our shared will and protect our shared best interests.
I think the America was founded on the Liberal ideas I’m talking about here. Citizenship is not a one way street. You take and you give. This country was founded by intellectual liberals who were not happy with the status quo. They found an intelligent mix of personal and social responsibility.
The bottom line is that the philosophy of the Right is, when you strip everything away, the “haves” protecting their assets from the “have nots”. The philosophy of the Left is that we’re more likely to be “haves” if we work also for the success of the people around us and not focus solely on our own best interest.
In game theory, as depicted in A Beautiful Mind, this philosophy was proven mathematically! The Liberal philosophy is a mathematical fact. That’s why I argue.