Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
x Turn on thread page Beta

Are modern liberals not actually liberal? watch

    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    I associate modern (self-defined) Guardian-reading liberals with 'no platform' policies, legislation restricting free speech, witch hunts against people who say stuff that is offensive, tarnishing people with a different view to their own, consorting with religious fundamentalists and cultural relativism.

    Do I have a completely distorted view or are modern (self-defined) liberals actually very far away from their predecessors?
    Offline

    6
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Lady Comstock)
    I associate modern (self-defined) Guardian-reading liberals with 'no platform' policies, legislation restricting free speech, witch hunts against people who say stuff that is offensive, tarnishing people with a different view to their own, consorting with religious fundamentalists and cultural relativism.

    Do I have a completely distorted view or are modern (self-defined) liberals actually very far away from their predecessors?
    I have heard the term "classical liberalism" before, it might mean that there has indeed been a shift.

    With behaviour like you defined above, if such a person was like that, you couldn't call then a liberal person. It's agressive, self-righteous and quite authoritarian.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by hektik)
    I have heard the term "classical liberalism" before, it might mean that there has indeed been a shift.

    With behaviour like you defined above, if such a person was like that, you couldn't call then a liberal person. It's agressive, self-righteous and quite authoritarian.
    The problem being that such a person has appropriated and self-defines as 'liberal'.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    Paging @Illiberal Liberal
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    A weird phenomena I've come across in my own experience is liberal people being SO liberal they're offensive again; e.g. being blasé when their peers use racial/sexist/ableist slurs in the name of 'free speech'. I mean I can't physically prevent someone from saying certain things, but if they're willing to be provocative surely I am within my rights to call them out? I'm a liberal but I've never participated in 'witch hunts', only voiced out against obviously offensive things. It only really applies to situations that aren't subjective.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by fstarpey)
    A weird phenomena I've come across in my own experience is liberal people being SO liberal they're offensive again; e.g. being blasé when their peers use racial/sexist/ableist slurs in the name of 'free speech'. I mean I can't physically prevent someone from saying certain things, but if they're willing to be provocative surely I am within my rights to call them out? I'm a liberal but I've never participated in 'witch hunts', only voiced out against obviously offensive things. It only really applies to situations that aren't subjective.
    What you described was the horseshoe theory.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Bupdeeboowah)
    What you described was the horseshoe theory.
    I had never heard of that before but it's an interesting concept, thank you for mentioning it.
    Offline

    6
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by hektik)
    I have heard the term "classical liberalism" before, it might mean that there has indeed been a shift.

    With behaviour like you defined above, if such a person was like that, you couldn't call then a liberal person. It's agressive, self-righteous and quite authoritarian.
    The shift has been mainly in economic affairs. Modern liberals think that the state can aid in expanding individual freedom with the use of the various welfare state measures. Classical liberals were more sceptical of state power but that was mainly because they were writing at a period when the state was not entirely accountable to the whole of people (and were clearly right in being sceptical of its power). That is hopefully not true in most modern liberal democracies today.

    I don't think modern liberalism is compatible with relativism at all. It's a strongly moralistic view of politics. All liberals that I know (bar someone like Richard Rorty) are moral universalists. Their version of liberalism would be incompatible with any form of relativism. Same goes with religious fundamentalism.

    There may be a problem with some liberals' conception of free speech. Maybe some of them (e.g. Waldron) go too far in justifying restricting freedom of speech. But there are others (e.g. Ronald Dworkin -- read his "the right to ridicule" ) who are in favour of freedom of speech in nearly every instance.

    So to sum up:


    Yes, you're clearly biased against modern liberalism.

    There are many forms of modern liberalism and some of them might be biased against certain kinds of speech (mainly against blacks and muslims tbh) but there are others which are not.

    The difference between classical and modern liberalism is, in my view, entirely based on empirical evidence. Classical liberals should have no problem with the expansive welfare state provided its goal is to maximise individual freedom (see Illiberal libertarians by Freeman). In practice, most classical liberals will claim that the state does not in fact expand individual liberty despite its stated aims whereas modern liberals will argue the opposite. But that's an argument based on their interpretation of the empirical evidence. The substantive vision of a liberal society remains fundamentally the same imo.
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    "legislation restricting free speech, witch hunts against people who say stuff that is offensive, tarnishing people with a different view to their own,"

    In what way are these "liberal" values?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Truths)
    "legislation restricting free speech, witch hunts against people who say stuff that is offensive, tarnishing people with a different view to their own,"

    In what way are these "liberal" values?
    I don't know. Self-defined 'liberals' promote these values, so they must be mislabelling themselves.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Bupdeeboowah)
    Paging @Illiberal Liberal
    (Original post by Lady Comstock)
    I associate modern (self-defined) Guardian-reading liberals with 'no platform' policies, legislation restricting free speech, witch hunts against people who say stuff that is offensive, tarnishing people with a different view to their own, consorting with religious fundamentalists and cultural relativism.

    Do I have a completely distorted view or are modern (self-defined) liberals actually very far away from their predecessors?
    Your view of 'modern liberals' is more closely aligned with the 'left' (insofar as these do not overlap), imo.

    Being a liberal, to me, includes fully supporting freedom of speech (with minimal restrictions - lines must be drawn where necessary (in an inevitably somewhat arbitrary fashion)), being anti-dogma and pro-autonomy/individualism (thus often rendering me in opposition to 'religious fundamentalists' ) .

    So I'd personally disagree.
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    The only 'real' liberals nowadays are classical liberals (or libertarians). 'Liberal' has been taken over by a new set of radicals that are at odds with what it really meant to be a liberal.
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    Most modern liberals are really progressives a very different thing from traditional liberals.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    I think you'll find that lmodern iberalism in fact covers all major parties in Britain today. However the conservatives and new right and new labour lean more towards the classical liberal side.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    No, you've summed up modern liberals to a t.

    The UAF are a perfect example of the hypocrisy modern liberalism embellishes.

    This thread puts it better: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=2304540
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Lady Comstock)
    I associate modern (self-defined) Guardian-reading liberals with 'no platform' policies, legislation restricting free speech, witch hunts against people who say stuff that is offensive, tarnishing people with a different view to their own, consorting with religious fundamentalists and cultural relativism.

    Do I have a completely distorted view or are modern (self-defined) liberals actually very far away from their predecessors?
    I would agree with you. I am not a political scientist so my knowledge of the history of political thought is relatively limited. However, I assume you are differentiating between classical and 'new social' liberalism. The latter is indeed what seems to be prevalent in today's society. People are advocating 'controls' on certain aspects of democracy, such as freedom of speech. Too often you read about people getting offended at something they do not agree with and this is worrying for the current state of affairs. This, in my opinion, is the complete opposite of classical liberalism, which promotes freedom (e.g. of speech or property) and free markets. The Economist, which has traditionally been a champion of liberal thought, has also been swaying more towards socialist ideas in recent years, which is a shame.
 
 
 
Poll
Do you agree with the proposed ban on plastic straws and cotton buds?
Useful resources

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.