Liberalism is now a defunct political position Watch

MC armani
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For centuries a liberal outlook has been the only conscionable position for any self-respecting, rational person.

But the politics of the last couple of decades has proven that liberalism has reached the end of the road. To be a liberal politician is to be prepared to put up with just about anything. It's basically synonymous with spineless laissez-faire-ism to the extreme, and has no place in politics today.

Discuss.
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felamaslen
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Being a true liberal means having a spine and sticking up for liberal values, using military force.
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MC armani
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(Original post by felamaslen)
Being a true liberal means having a spine and sticking up for liberal values, using military force.
That's not liberalism at all, closer to neoconservatism
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felamaslen
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(Original post by MC armani)
That's not liberalism at all, closer to neoconservatism
Lots of liberals have neoconservative beliefs.
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Rakas21
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(Original post by MC armani)
That's not liberalism at all, closer to neoconservatism
If your international in your viewpoint it can quite easily be argued that the state has a moral duty to engage in liberal and humanitarian intervention abroad.

(Original post by MC armani)
For centuries a liberal outlook has been the only conscionable position for any self-respecting, rational person.

But the politics of the last couple of decades has proven that liberalism has reached the end of the road. To be a liberal politician is to be prepared to put up with just about anything. It's basically synonymous with spineless laissez-faire-ism to the extreme, and has no place in politics today.

Discuss.
Libertarianism at its extreme does of course justify a laizze fair attitude however liberalism and pragmatism are not exclusive. It is more than possible to hold the position that individuals should be free to do as they wish.. upto a point.

I don't really feel its defuct today, i just don't feel that any party has fully put a face to it.
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PythianLegume
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Liberalism is too broad a term to be called defunct. Just about all of the major political parties in the UK (Lib, Lab, Con, UKIP, Greens) could all be considered 'liberal' depending on which definition and which policies you look at.
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MC armani
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(Original post by felamaslen)
Lots of liberals have neoconservative beliefs.
That's just straight neoconservatism. A liberal government by definition means one that does not impose its own values by intervention.
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MC armani
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(Original post by PythianLegume)
Liberalism is too broad a term to be called defunct. Just about all of the major political parties in the UK (Lib, Lab, Con, UKIP, Greens) could all be considered 'liberal' depending on which definition and which policies you look at.
Precisely, and the main 3 have all failed to produce an effective and popular government in at least 20 years. The modern "liberalism of restraint" that these parties demonstrate is the reason why, for instance, Putin is being allowed to flagrantly breach international law (in a markedly similar fashion to Hitler in the 30s) without fear of military sanction.
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felamaslen
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(Original post by MC armani)
That's just straight neoconservatism. A liberal government by definition means one that does not impose its own values by intervention.
What about one which prevents others from imposing their fascistic values on people?

Would you say it was illiberal for Britain to end the Atlantic slave trade, for instance?
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zippity.doodah
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what do you mean laissez faire to the extreme? economically or culturally? liberals today aren't free marketeers
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PythianLegume
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(Original post by MC armani)
Precisely, and the main 3 have all failed to produce an effective and popular government in at least 20 years. The modern "liberalism of restraint" that these parties demonstrate is the reason why, for instance, Putin is being allowed to flagrantly breach international law (in a markedly similar fashion to Hitler in the 30s) without fear of military sanction.
Perhaps they're practicing restraint given that Blair's entire legacy has been tainted by the unpopular intervention in Iraq.

No government is popular by the end of their term, you can hardly cite unpopularity as a sign that their ideology has failed. Unless a fringe party (e.g. UKIP) become popular enough to be serious political contenders, like Labour did in the early 20th century, then I don't think you can really write off all the current political parties. (And as I've said, UKIP can be considered liberal in some of their policies).
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MC armani
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(Original post by Rakas21)
If your international in your viewpoint it can quite easily be argued that the state has a moral duty to engage in liberal and humanitarian intervention abroad.



Libertarianism at its extreme does of course justify a laizze fair attitude however liberalism and pragmatism are not exclusive. It is more than possible to hold the position that individuals should be free to do as they wish.. upto a point.

I don't really feel its defuct today, i just don't feel that any party has fully put a face to it.
That's precisely why it's defunct. Liberalism in the past essentially stood for the acquisition and codification of civil rights. That has now largely been achieved in the western world, so liberalism now merely stands for the preservation of these rights and by corollary, the preservation of the status quo. But that's conservatism.

Also in practical terms, it isn't possible in the western world to be a politician who exercises anything other than "liberalism of restraint". In an age of global media coverage it has become the default position; uncontroversial, agreeable, moderate, gradualistic. It succeeds in being superficially attractive, but no longer succeeds in producing an effective form of government.
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MC armani
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(Original post by zippity.doodah)
what do you mean laissez faire to the extreme? economically or culturally? liberals today aren't free marketeers
Legally, culturally, militarily. It seems as if liberalism means "the unwillingness to offend" above all else.
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felamaslen
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(Original post by MC armani)
Legally, culturally, militarily. It seems as if liberalism means "the unwillingness to offend" above all else.
I think your view of liberalism has been tainted by those who call themselves "liberals" but are really post-modernists or cultural relativists (the opposite of liberal in my view).
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Rakas21
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(Original post by MC armani)
That's precisely why it's defunct. Liberalism in the past essentially stood for the acquisition and codification of civil rights. That has now largely been achieved in the western world, so liberalism now merely stands for the preservation of these rights and by corollary, the preservation of the status quo. But that's conservatism.

Also in practical terms, it isn't possible in the western world to be a politician who exercises anything other than "liberalism of restraint". In an age of global media coverage it has become the default position; uncontroversial, agreeable, moderate, gradualistic. It succeeds in being superficially attractive, but no longer succeeds in producing an effective form of government.
I'd wager most liberals think that we can go further, there are areas surrounding sex and drugs for example.

Where i agree with you in the UK is that the advent of 3 party politics as opposed to the 19th century politics has meant that liberalism has lost a clearly defined political home. In having a liberal party that is only the third party (with relatively well defined parties on the left and right) the liberals have been forced to adopt your centrist "liberalism of restraint" because the only other option available to them would be to attempt to clearly define and subsume part of the Labour/Tory Party which would risk significant defeat (by that i mean they could attempt to return to classical liberalism or social democracy but won't for fear of being quashed by the parties they'd be hurting).
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MC armani
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(Original post by PythianLegume)
Perhaps they're practicing restraint given that Blair's entire legacy has been tainted by the unpopular intervention in Iraq.

No government is popular by the end of their term, you can hardly cite unpopularity as a sign that their ideology has failed. Unless a fringe party (e.g. UKIP) become popular enough to be serious political contenders, like Labour did in the early 20th century, then I don't think you can really write off all the current political parties. (And as I've said, UKIP can be considered liberal in some of their policies).
I probably should have been more specific. The modern liberalism of the 3 main UK parties is predicated on a desire above all else to be popular, and yet that is precisely how they become unpopular.

Pragmatism, even realpolitik, produces pockets of unpopularity (you can't please all the people all of the time) - it necessarily divides opinion by virtue of adopting a firm position on important issues. But simply by adopting an insipid and stuttering and vacillating stance in all matters for fear of being unpopular is pretty much inexcusable. And unfortunately that's what liberalism means today.
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MC armani
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(Original post by felamaslen)
I think your view of liberalism has been tainted by those who call themselves "liberals" but are really post-modernists or cultural relativists (the opposite of liberal in my view).
They certainly have to pander to post-modernist attitudes but i'm not sure cultural relativism so easily applies. Explain?
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felamaslen
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(Original post by MC armani)
They certainly have to pander to post-modernist attitudes but i'm not sure cultural relativism so easily applies. Explain?
You mentioned the "unwillingness to offend". Often this translates to "unwilling to offend barbaric cultural ideas".
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Jipvh
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In the UK, yes I think all the main parties have socially liberal foundations. They believe that the state has certain duties it must take care of and don't generally disagree on this.

But if you look at the United States for example, a very right-wing country where both parties are to some extent advocates of the free-market. The Republican party is especially focused on small government, yet rather ironically tends to tie itself with extremely socially conservative ideals to limit certain civil rights, for example gay marriage which is still only legal in a handful of states. The democrats stand for progressive liberalism (what they call modern American liberalism) but are still very pro-corporate.
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MC armani
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(Original post by Arithmeticae)
Look up the difference between classical and progressive liberalism.

The former is the one you're talking about, whereas the latter believes that rights should be actively safeguarded.
Progressive liberalism, "liberalism of imposition" (essentially neoconservatism), or the "muscular liberalism" that Cameron sometimes trots out are basically misnomers. They are wonderful examples of the drivel we are expected to take seriously, yet are treated as being profound by their acolytes.

Terms like those are transparent, contradictory piffle. If the guiding principle of "progressive liberalism" is a hatred of oppression, then why is it not applied in principle? Because it's an untenable position in the first place. We don't intervene in the long term in China, Zimbabwe, North Korea (China massacred its 'own' people in Tienanmen Square and those responsible are still in charge). We haven't intervened in Iran despite the grisly street massacres a couple of years ago. We didn't intervene in the short term when Syria shelled its own people in their homes in the city of Hama. We don't intervene against the Bahraini and Yemeni governments, both of which have been treating their 'own people' with severe violence.

So not only is liberalism not muscular by definition, it also falls short in practice.
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