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kfbvoice

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  1. In the past it was said that Republicans were the party of the rich and Democrats were for working people. Now the political Right has successfully managed to portray Democrats as the party of media, academic, and entertainment elites who are hostile to ordinary Americans and their values. In reality both parties are dominated by the wealthy and corporate interests who give large sums of money to elected officials and candidates for office. This is especially problematic for liberal and left leaning Democrats who believe in a fair economy built on shared prosperity that benefits working people. Who are some of the wealthy donors backing Democrats ? They include billionaire hedge fund managers like Tom Steyer and George Soros. Steyer who founded Farallon Capital in 1986 gave $ 90 million dollars in 2016 and planned to spend $ 30 million on House races in 2018. Steyer who founded Next Gen to initially address climate change and environmental issues opposed the Keystone pipeline. Meanwhile George Soros, who founded Soros Fund Management in 1969 has given $ 30 million to Democrats since 2011. He also backs liberal groups like the Center For American Progress through his foundation called Open Societies. Other wealthy backers include people whose fortunes were made in the tech industry like LinkedIn cofounder and former CEO Reid Hoffman who gave $5 million to the Senate Democrats superpac Senate Majority, and Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz who also gave Democrats $5 million dollars. Furthermore companies in the media, entertainment, and tech industry give Democrats money. Walt Disney, Time Warner, and Microsoft all give most of their political contributions to Democrats. Why does this matter ? Candidates need money to get elected especially Democrats. Be realistic - right ? Well no. Many of these people are social liberals who support gay rights, diversity, reproductive freedom, environmental protection, and gender equality. At the same time they oppose regulated markets, organized labor, increasing the Minimum Wage, higher taxes on the wealthy, and corporations. They also tend to oppose Single Payer Healthcare. This makes it difficult to even nominate more liberal and left Democrats. And if they get elected they find it difficult to shape policy or legislation even when Democrats control both houses of Congress. There can be no real discussion or progress on reducing income inequality, breaking up big banks, stopping the suppression of unions, or enacting single payer healthcare as long as big monied interests dominate the Democratic Party. Liberals like Elizabeth Warren and leftists like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will remain marginalized until we break the hold of rich donors whether they be George Soros or Mark Zuckerberg. Does this mean that centrist Democrats should be utterly defeated and purged ? No. Such a thing is neither possible or desirable. However rich Democrats and the centrists they back shouldn't control the party either.
  2. This may be leftist but it's not liberal. Liberalism is about individual freedom and democracy. It can't be true to itself if it harms or suppresses it's opponents. Rather liberalism works within the system and uses the democratic process to achieve it goals. Moreover the liberal recognizes the existence of many different and conflicting values, lifestyles, and views in society and politics. This pluralism rests on tolerance which means we can't kill or coerce one another. Liberals value persuasion and voluntary action. Moreover we know that we can't always win debates or elections. We won't get everything we want exactly how we want within the democratic process. Being true to ourselves requires us to continue trying to win people with better ideas, arguments, and policies because the only alternative is violent strife and tyranny. We had better recognize that there are extremists and people with bad motives on all sides. No matter how much I disagree with conservatives they are human beings, citizens, individuals entitled to life and liberty. They are my countrymen - fellow Americans. I don't want to kill or censor them.
  3. Literally the word connotates generosity and openness. Flexible rather than ridged. As a political tradition it has and continues to evolve over time and circumstance which makes defining liberalism difficult. But it's basic commitment is to ensure individual liberty. I think this is very important to political and social life.
  4. As Wolfe notes, liberals want equality to extend beyond the aristocratic class or the business elite via equality of opportunity, not equality of outcomes. “Liberals,” he writes, “believe that the freedom to live your life on terms you establish does not mean very much if society is organized in such as way as to deny large numbers of people the possibility of ever realizing that objective.” In contrast to conservative claims that liberty can best be achieved via free markets and the absence of state intervention, liberals believe in a “positive liberty,” which holds that human flourishing should not be reduced to a series of monetary exchanges. Thus, it is not enough for a free person to be merely “left alone” by the state; a free person should also have the capacity to realize her own personal goals, and liberals are “prepared to accept state intervention into the economy in order to give large numbers of people the sense of mastery that free market capitalism gives only to the few.”* https://thatdevilhistory.com/index.php/2013/11/17/on-liberalism-its-faults-and-its-historical-necessity/#more-1410
  5. Thanks for the links... A few things do concern me about educated people being more liberal leaning. Are these people liberal only on social and cultural issues rather than economic and political issues ? If less educated lower income people are voting to the right for the GOP that's a problem because they have the most to lose from rightwing policies that exacerbate economic inequality. Liberals should be concerned about these voters because they have so much to gain from Single Payer Healthcare, a Minimum Wage increase, fair trade policies and the like. Meanwhile social liberals might oppose these things while being pro choice on abortion, supporting LGBTQ Rights, and stopping global warming. We need educated people to support a left political and economic agenda as well as social issues. We also have to reach less educated lower income people who have the most to gain from left economic agenda. This bright liberal future is not assured unless we fight for economic and social issues both around a message of common ground.
  6. Really ? Most of what I read suggest that more people identify with Conservatism than Liberalism or the Center. Are there stats with links showing your claim ? Thanks.
  7. While I think there are differences between Liberalism and Progressivism there are also many areas where they come together. And too many Liberals are unwilling to take a strong stand against big money and corporate interests. Good point.
  8. ​For those who might find my take on Liberalism unsatisfactory consider the following insights from an article online that cites Alan Wolfe and Edmund Fawcett : As Alan Wolfe writes in The Future of Liberalism, the liberal philosophy is best summed up in the notion that, “As many people as possible should have as much say as is feasible over the direction their lives will take.” For liberals, liberty and equality come before markets. Liberals, Wolfe continues, believe that all people “should be free to exercise their full capacities: minds, through open societies that allow everyone to develop their intellect, and bodies, through societies that guarantee sufficient economic security to individuals so that they are not dependent upon the arbitrary will of others for the basic necessities of life.”* Without liberty and equality, market freedom is one more tyranny dressed in Liberty’s robes. You can’t be free if you’re stuck in the choking cloud of ignorance, and you can’t be free if you’re stuck under the thumbs of those with more money and power. In his book Liberalism: The Life of an Idea, Edmund Fawcett outlines why the liberal tradition endures to this day: Liberalism offered means to adapt law and government to productive new patterns of trade and industry, to hold together divided societies from which familiar organizing hierarchies and overarching creeds were disappearing and to foster or keep hold of standards of humanity, particularly standards for how state power and moneyed power must not mistreat or neglect people with less power.* It’s the last line, “how state power AND moneyed power must not mistreat or neglect people with less power,” that especially stands out. Here, Fawcett highlights where liberalism differs from conservatism, which tends to only see concentrated power in the state, when, in fact, powers always collude, and moneyed interests have always tried to control the state for their own ends, even if they have to run roughshod over democracy in the process. http://thatdevilhistory.com/index.php/2016/02/19/why-liberalism-matters-in-the-2016-election-and-beyond/
  9. ​ ​Liberalism and the left are often referred to interchangeably and they frequently work together for similar things. There is a difference especially when we talk about democratic socialism and even social democracy. Pointing out the differences doesn't mean liberals and leftists should be enemies. In fact the left plays a crucial role in activism and grassroots organizing efforts for social change that liberals support. Moreover radical demands and ideas often become modified into liberal public policy. Nevertheless we need to recognize the differences to better understand debates around capitalism, economic inequality, and the Presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders. Democratic Socialism ​Emphasizes the need to work peacefully within the democratic process to bring about collective ownership of the means of production. Furthermore once capitalism has ended it uses democratic means to make economic decisions and preserves certain democratic freedom unlike totalitarianism which tries to control and repress every aspect of individual life while not allowing any dissent. Many democratic socialists would argue that real socialism has never existed anywhere because they reject the abuse and excesses of communism whether in the former Soviet Union, Maoist China, or the Third World. But the also tend to think that Western Europe's Labor and Social Democratic parties do not go far enough. Social Democracy Emphasizes the values of freedom, equality, and social solidarity. It may seek to realize democratic socialism at some point or accept capitalism while striving for the values mentioned here. Social Democracy has profoundly impacted Western European countries like the UK, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. It has kept much of capitalism with strong regulations, some state ownership, and a universal welfare state including free healthcare for all. They have used high taxes to nearly eliminate poverty, reduce wealth income inequalities, and preserve a large middle class. Liberalism Emphasizes individual liberty. Things like equality, tolerance, and limited government within the rule of law uphold individual liberty in liberalism. Liberals want to prevent tyranny by controlling power exercised by anyone in society or government. Contemporary liberals unlike their classical forbearers are more supportive of government in society and the marketplace because they see private threats by capitalism as well as government to individual liberty. Liberals in this sense value economic regulation and more limited means tested welfare. Liberals are committed to the individual and private property so they want to control capitalism not abolish it. ​
  10. ​You are absolutely right.
  11. When you say freedom, responsibility, and safety are related issues not separate no matter what the constitution says about freedom - that's troubling. How many and how often will law abiding citizens be infringed upon or harmed in the name of security ? Fear and desperation fuel the desire for evermore repressive measures that weaken us playing into the terrorist's hands. Moreover can we say that rolling back civil liberties is the only way to be secure ? I'm not convinced.
  12. ​I appreciate the point you are making but I can't help thinking that extremism or overreach are the least of liberalism's problems. The problem is a demoralized and confused liberalism that can't define itself, communicate its message, and organize to fight back. As for those who see themselves as radical and progressive left they are small in number scattered across various activist groups and academia. None of this has turned the tide against conservatism or pro corporate centrism, so liberals and the left are not responsible for our broken politics. The Clintons with the New Democrats pushed liberalism and the Democratic Party closer to big business and away from reforms to combat poverty, racism, sexism, and protect organized labor. This why some liberals and leftists are so tough on Hillary Clinton no matter what she says. Let me be clear Hillary Clinton is clearly more liberal than Bill in every sense, but she is far less liberal than anybody who would identify with liberalism. People know this and are speaking out. Calling that extremism isn't accurate.
  13. Think about it. Wage Stagnation and decline not to mention the time passed since the last Minimum wage increase along with mergers in financial services and mass media. NAFTA and TPP have also been ratified by Congress. While some liberal thinkers, writers, and activists have spoken out voters who claim to be liberal and progressive have not held the Democratic Party accountable. What if President Obama had been held been challenged ? Moreover liberals who know that corporate power and inequality are serious problems like Economist Paul Krugman, Columnist Johnathan Chait, Writer Katha Pollitt ( The Nation ) and Princeton academic Paul Starr (cofounder of The American Prospect ) have vigorously criticized Bernie Sanders while supporting Hillary Clinton. They all seem to imply that Sanders is wrong to even challenge Clinton for the nomination. ​I more than understand the practical and procedural nature of liberalism and its preference for incremental change. I also know that liberals change based on circumstance, and maybe all this gets at Hillary Clinton's emphasis on " progressivism that gets things done. " At some point however we have to recognize how a demoralized liberalism has settled for defending past achievements like Social Security and Medicare while offering more modest measures like the Affordable Care Act recently rather than finding the confidence to go further and fight for Single Payer or breaking up the big banks.
  14. ​It's not just the party leaders or elites a lot of rank and file liberals and progressives do not support Sanders and unless he can win in places like New York, New Jersey, California, and Pennsylvania convincing the Super Delegates to back him Sanders will lose. And it won't necessarily be because these liberals lack conviction. Far too many liberals no longer believe it is possible or desirable to challenge large corporations or economic inequality. Liberals since the rise of Reagan and Conservatism in the 1980s have lost confidence in their beliefs and policies in relation to active government.
  15. ​I'm tempted to say it would be nice. But I don't think so. If you are going to have free enterprise and growing businesses employing lots of people then unions are inevitable and desirable. Now if we all lived under a socialist workers democracy then unions might not be needed. But I'm not for socialism. I am interested in what you mean by " the founders blueprint for prosperity ? " Its important to remember that they lived in a rural agrarian economy that included merchants, traders, and craftsmen mainly.
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