Liberal (vs Conservative)

Background Liberal (vs Conservative)
A most general definition of the the word ‘Liberal’ has been given as “… favoring or permitting freedom of action, especially with respect to matters of personal belief and expression.” Throughout the modern world, this term has been held in highest regard, having been associated with enlightenment and the Enlightenment Movement. The English Philosopher, John Locke 1632 – 1704 is regarded as one of the main thinkers of the Enlightenment Period and his thought influenced those of Voltaire, Rousseau, Hume, Kant, the French and the American Revolutionaries and many others. His theories of the individual, consciousness and Social Contract Theory is very much evident in the American Constitution. All of this follows on the work of Sir Francis Bacon 1561 – 1626 who’s ideas of empiricism and inductive logic is to a large part responsible for the scientific and technological revolution, the artifacts from which we currently enjoy in our current life.Yet in 1980 US President Ronald Reagan coined the “L word” euphemistically for “Liberals” or “Liberalism” and successfully wrapped it in a shroud of negative connotations. Following on that utterance, many “weak knee’d” persons in his opposing camp ran for shelter. The conservative right wing seized the opportunity and rose to the surface.The conservatives then give rise and way to the ultra conservative of today. We define conservatives as persons who are conservative in that they are against any change, seeking conformity to the status quo, even to the extent of imposing their will on others. They “Conservatives” have been defined as “… disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change. ” Were we to look from a historical perspective, if the Conservatives had their way we would still be cursed with a ‘quassi omnipotent nobility’, the ‘Divine Rights of Kings’, absolutivity in established religions, absolute monarchies, slavery, indentured labor and colonies.
Position Given this axis on the political landscape we have chosen to be “Liberal”.To quote from the the American philosopher Martha Nussbaum, commenting on the benefits of a “liberal education”, she said “… that it liberates the mind from the bondage of habit and custom, producing people that who can function with sensitivity and alertness as citizens of the whole world”
[Martha C. Nussbaum. Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education, Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press, 1997, pp. 8-9] It should be noted here that the much heralded “critical thinking”, if it is to be more than another cliche or ‘fad’ must have a liberal education as it’s base, anything else would be oxymoronic. So, please do not expect us to be accepting of creationism, nor participating in the trivial concept that when two positions are advocated, that we must simply take a position “in the middle”. We are not participating in a popularity contest.

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