Are today's liberals really liberals? Are today's conservatives really conservatives?
One of the biggest ironies in life is that of the Anti-Establishmentarian. These are the people who protest the G8, constantly battle what they call "the establishment", and protest having "rich old men" make decisions for everyone. They are the core of the "nutroots," the Kerry supporter, the person with "Impeach NOW!" on their bumper. Republicans are bad. Rush Limbaugh is a drug-using blowhard. Only liberalism can save the world!
When you think of classic liberalism, especially in a historical sense, the liberal views were a rally against the conservative core. The Renaissance was the second real liberal revolution (the first being the Athenian period of philosophy). Ideas were expressed freely. Art exploded onto the world (although there were still great artists before the liberals made their mark). Great thinkers arose and battled the considered norms of society in order to affect a change that transformed their society into a truly progressive one.
Liberals wanted change. They wanted revolution. And they craved the freedom that would come with it.
A true liberal, one with an idea that would blow the top off of the capitalistic world, came around in the form of Karl Marx. He proposed that the class struggle eventually would lead to the Rich getting Richer and Poor getting Poorer until, at some point, a class revolution would occur which would lead to overthrow. The Great Union would be born where everyone would get an equal share. The government was really a commune of like-minded individuals, and thus Communism was born.
No struggle. No class envy. Everyone gets an equal share. Everyone is happy and nobody is treated unfairly. It's the Communist model. It can even be called a "Christian" model.
And liberals grasped the idea and formed Communist parties as well as "baby" parties, or socialist parties. Communists took over Cuba, China, and Russia. And what we have are paragons of human rights, equality for all citizens, and modern marvels of technological wonder and peace. Yes, I'm being sarcastic. What we have are countries with oppressed populations run by a militaristic oligarchy who exploit the system for their own political and personal need. Doesn't sound like an ideal system, does it? But this system has emerged in several locations and each time it degenerates into a system which is hardly the utopia Marx imagined.
Now let's fast-forward into 2007. The liberals have just taken over Congress. No more war, they demand! They've fought the establishment and won. And what was the "establishment?" Republican senators and representatives. They had been established for 10-16 years. It was a good thing they were tossed out! We have new leadership in the Senate! Harry Reid, D-Nev, has been serving in the Senate for 20 years! He's more establishment than the people who were the establishment!
And what about their Presidential nominees? The people who were supposed to rescue the country from the grip of the evil Republicans? Al Gore and John Kerry, both career politicians. Both are firmly entrenched in the Establishment.
What about this year? Hillary? Biden? Kucinich? Richardson? Are any of these people really Anti-Establishment? In fact, since these people are, in fact, the current Establishment, should an Anti-Establishmentarian being supporting Republicans in 2008?
The biggest icons of the US Senate are Ted Kennedy and Patrick Leahy, two senators who have been in the Senate for a combined 77 years! Talk about your establishment!
I find it amazing that the liberal-minded of us would be dead-set against one political party but wholly supportive of another, as both parties have contributed to what is now considered the establishment that is the US Government. Were they truly progressive or liberal, they would seek a change to the government, but instead they only want a change in one direction of the US Government. That doesn't sound like someone seeking to revolutionize the way we do business, ala the Renaissance or the Athenian enlightenment.
In fact, it smells an awful lot like consolidation of power into one centralized party.
So is the goal of the modern liberal a Communist state? You should ask your friends and find out. Here are some questions to ask to ferret out if they are a true liberal or a communist in liberal clothing:
1) Is a vote for a Democratic nominee for President a vote against the Establishment?
2) Do you feel government would work much better if Democrats had super-majorities everywhere?
3) Is Ted Kennedy a good example of modern liberal thinking?
4) Is Bill Clinton? Al Gore?
5) Aren't the Democrats embedded into the political process to a point where they are the establishment and they are just as stodgy as Republicans?
6) Shouldn't a true liberal seek to change government than elect the same paragons of the Establishment year after year?
Here's how a communist-in-liberal's clothing would answer:
1) Yes. 2) Of course. 3) Absolutely. 4) They are both great examples of modern liberals.
5) No! Democrats are much better than Republicans! 6) Yes, and the best way to change government is to elect more Democrats!
A true liberal would say:
1) There is no real difference in the current candidates other than base ideology.
2) No. In fact, it may be worse as there would be a failure in checks on a single-party rule.
3&4) He, as well as Clinton & Gore, did nothing to promote a positive change in the US Government. And why should they? Would you change the system that's put you in power?
5) Of course. There is little difference other than the lobbies who have the candidate's ear.
6) Our current government has many problems and keeping the people who caused the problems in power year after year is not going to change the broken system. The only way to truly change the system for the better is for a new party to arise, challenge and supplant the old parties. Unfortunately, new parties are typically unstable and they are susceptible to massive implosion. Just ask the Reform party. This cannot, nor should it be, a rapid process.
What we've seen this week is a hopeful sign. Democrats and Republicans felt the heat from an enraged constituency on the Immigration issue. The conservative base rebelled against the Establishment and the Establishment, to a certain degree, listened. As for the "liberal" side of things? They're still trying to get Bush impeached, something that doesn't have much traction outside of the "liberal" community, mainly because they are no longer "liberals" but instead they are simply "anti-conservative."
I never thought I see the day the Republican base would rise up against its leaders in a show of -- liberalism. These certainly are strange times we live in.
Doc is a Ph.D. in Chemistry teaching at a university in the midwest. You can read more of his material and expeince all of his dry humor at http://the-autopsy.blogspot.com.