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In Defense of Liberals

Posted Tuesday, November 3, 2009, at 3:05 PM

We have been called godless, child rapists, baby-killers, idiots, morons, anti-American, un-American, terrorist sympathizers, Nazis. commies, socialists, un-patriotic, crackheads, stupid ... We have been called just about every name in the book. The names I listed above are just the ones that I have been called since I started this blog on this site over a year ago.

There is only one group of people in America hated more than liberals, and that's lawyers, but barely.

This isn't a complaint. In fact I wear the names like a badge. The reason is simple. If someone stoops to the level of calling me an obscene name it means that can't debate against my point. There are some that can debate the point but stoop down to the level of name-calling. Yes the name calling does come from liberals as well and from time to time I have stooped to that level, but I am making a hard effort to stay away from that because it ads nothing to debate, it cheapens it.

Some key issues that I will address today as my defense are abortion, the death penalty, torture, health care, wars, and politics in general.

Right off the bat is abortion. Opponents of abortion are very quick to paint liberals that are pro-choice as pro-abortion or baby killers. This simply is not true. I don't know if this comes from ignorance or trying to paint an opponent as inhuman but I don't know of any person, anywhere that is pro-abortion. Those of us that are pro-choice don't like abortion, period. What we realize however is that abortions are going to happen whether they are legal or illegal. That is a fact. Our aim is to make sure that abortions are safe but at the same time educate the women about abortions and what they will have to deal with as a result of their decision.

Most liberals are against the death penalty. I am in that group but probably for a different reason than other liberals. I would be for the death penalty if it acted as a deterrent to murder. But it just isn't. Someone that has made the decision to kill another human just isn't concerned with the end result of their decision. Not only that, but I believe a person should have to sit in a prison cell for the rest of their life and deal with what they have done. Putting them to death is far too easy on them. I also don't believe in an eye for an eye, never have never will. I have been asked would that change if someone came into my house and killed my wife and children. The answer is absolutely not. Every year for the rest of my life I would go visit that person and make them look in my eye and explain to me why they did it and no, simply saying I don't know would not be an acceptable answer.

Torture is never the answer for anything no matter who the person is. The main reason is that torture does not work and it never has. A human being tortured will give any answer to make the pain stop and typically they will give the wrong answer. The main sticking point today is with militant Muslims. Since 2001, every Muslim man woman and child has been painted as a monster incapable of human though. Most sane people don't buy that concept, but for too long the people in power making the decisions bought into that belief. The fact is in the cases where our interrogators have actually sat down with those we have taken into custody we have gotten far more reliable information than any information attained from torture. I will say this and most people (liberals, moderates, and conservatives) will agree, torture is inhumane and it is un-American.

Most liberals favor a single payer system for the health care reform debate that is occurring right now in the United States. I honestly don't know enough about the single payer system but I do strongly favor the public option. So much so, that any Democrat that votes against a bill because it has the public option in it I will not vote for them in the next election. The public option is a good idea and it will cover most if not all Americans. What it will not do, and the fact that this idea is even being mentioned is ridiculous, is bankrupt insurance companies. Most of those today that have the best of the best insurance and pay the most into insurance companies are not going to switch to the government option. In Arkansas they have a government run insurance for children called ARKids. Not every child in Arkansas is on that system, only those kids whose parents can't afford insurance. For most families that have their children on ARKids, the parents don't have any insurance of their own. Most liberals believe that all Americans should have affordable health care and if the insurance companies are unwilling (and they are) to lower their prices so that everyone can get insurance then we believe that the government should offer it's own insurance that people can afford. If it causes the insurance companies to go out of business (which it won't and it's rather silly for anyone to believe that it will) than so be it. They have had a chance to lower their prices and allow everyone to get insurance but they have not done it.

In the United States a lot of people have said that liberals have started the most wars. This simply is not true. As I stated in my last blog the presidents that started the wars that were Democrats (Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson) were not true liberals. They were for the most part left of center but they had several conservative viewpoints. Liberals ideology is not war faring. When it comes to foreign affairs we believe that the best way to accomplish anything is to talk things through. The prevailing thought in the United States since 2001 has been that some people are just not human enough to talk to. Everyone can be talked to. You don't have to threaten everyone you come across. I always preach to my children that they have to pick their battles, not every fight is worth fighting. In the United States our political hierarchy has to start learning how to pick their battles. We are not the world's policeman.

Just as a final note regarding religion. You will find higher numbers of liberals being atheist than conservatives but they are in no way indicative of all liberals. Most liberals are religious we may just not all be Christians, which in America, despite having an amendment guaranteeing freedom of religion it is now a negative not to be Christian. But we are evolving. Until John F. Kennedy became president the worst thing a national politician could be was Catholic.

When if comes to politics in general the bottom line is that liberals tend to want to compromise and get the best ideas from both sides into a final bill.

The bottom line to all of this is that liberals are still American we just have different ideas of how to improve the country. We can agree to disagree but no one should consider another person less of an American because of different ideologies.

UPDATE:

Yesterday there was yet another Tea Party rally in Washington partly hosted by Michelle Bachmann in Washingtong D.C. While I won't discuss the ever dwindling numbers for these events, I will discuss a certain Representative from Missouri, Todd Akin.

In his zeal to attack liberals he completely butchered the Pledge of Allegiance. Not only was he using crib notes (as you can see him looking down at the podium several times through the pledge) he leaves out the word indivisible (you could venture to guess the real reasons he left that word out).

He says in the video that the pledge drives liberals crazy (yet another baseless attack). No Congressman the only thing about the pledge that drives liberals crazy are people like yourself who place yourself as being a better American yet you don't even know the pledge from heart. Actually I think this drives MOST Americans crazy.

Here's the video for those that think I am making this up:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGXyMdH9E...


Comments
Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Interesting read Mike.

But I think you've just opened up the discussion to too many topics (abortion, torture, death penalty, etc). I feel like this comment section might get out of hand.

My other critique is your lack of sources for claims. I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't expect you to cite sources when I expect certain conservative bloggers to.

So when you say "torture does not work", you could mention retired Air Force Col. John Rothrock, who was an interrogator during the Vietnam conflict. Who said, of torture:

"[I don't know] any professional intelligence officers of my generation who would think this is a good idea."

Or Army Col. Stuart Herrington, a military intelligence specialist who conducted interrogations in Vietnam, Panama and Iraq during Desert Storm, and in Iraq during the Iraq War.

He says "[it's] not a good way to get information... Nine out of 10 people can be persuaded to talk with no 'stress methods' at all, let alone cruel and unusual ones... They'll just tell you anything to get you to stop."

Or Eric Maddox and Matthew Alexander. The two interrogators that were primarily responsible for the capture of Saddam Hussein in and for the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Who claim that torture never would have worked. And that the pictures/stories from Abu-Ghraib were a prime recruiting tool for our enemies.

-- Posted by jhat on Tue, Nov 3, 2009, at 3:32 PM

I watched Keith Olbermann for about 2 minutes tonight. If anybody watch's his show and you believe he is telling any truth at all (he is just going for ratings) you are in need of help.

He is just pathetic.

-- Posted by wallismarsh on Tue, Nov 3, 2009, at 7:42 PM

wallis what does keith olbermann have to do with this particular blog at all?

-- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Tue, Nov 3, 2009, at 8:24 PM

Thanks for the critique jhat. There are times I completely forget to cite sources, so thanks for keeping me honest.

-- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Tue, Nov 3, 2009, at 8:25 PM

Mike,

You say that if abortions are illegal then they'll happen anyway so let's just let them do it because the government's way is better. In that case, we should just allow assisted suicides to anyone who wants one. Oh course, that would only apply to people who want to kill themselves. Whereas you only want to help the people who want to kill unborn children. So I suppose there is a difference there since one person decides to take their own life and the other decide to take someone else's life.

-- Posted by McCook1 on Wed, Nov 4, 2009, at 10:50 AM

McCook1 you are trying to oversimplify what I am saying and of course twisting it away from what I originally said and even adding comments I did not make.

I have no qualms with doctor assisted suicides. I don't think it makes any sense for someone that experiences pain 24/7 having to live like that. I don't think any of us can even begin to understand what those people are going through and to pretend that we do so we can tell them what to do is a huge disservice to them.

At what point did I say I wanted to help people who want to kill unborn children. I didn't say that anywhere.

-- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Wed, Nov 4, 2009, at 11:06 AM

You want the government to allow people to commit abortion under the guise of saying that at least this way is safer than whatever way you think they'll do it otherwise, I don't know if you're basing that on the methods used over 35 years ago, in third world countries or maybe you just watched Dirty Dancing one too many times. If you want to let any woman get an abortion for any reason then you are helping those who kill unborn children. Abortion is the killing of an unborn child, Mike. Just so you know.

Actually, Mike, I was using doctor assisted suicides in a much broader term than the typically used term. If you want to let anyone who wants an abortion to get one then the same logic should apply to doctor assisted suicides. Anyone who wants one could get one. Some people have mental problems that makes life emotionally painful and meds don't work for them. So shouldn't they get to kill themselves just like an 18 year old kid who has a physically painful condition? I'm sorry, I'm done poking holes in your logic.

-- Posted by McCook1 on Wed, Nov 4, 2009, at 11:26 AM

Once again McCook1 you are putting words into my blog that aren't there, still. And now you are insulting my intelligence to do it.

Where in my blog or any other blog have I ever said that anyone who wants to get abortion should be able to? I'll go ahead and answer that for you, I haven't. That's where the education portion comes that you conveniently omitted in your effort to paint me as a baby killer. That's not really surprising though since that is the MO of the right today. You don't have to really pay attention to what the opposition says or writes just so long as you can get a nugget from them that you can slam.

The education comes in for the women who want to get an abortion for no other reason than to get an abortion. There are many avenues women who are pregnant can go down other than abortion. We all know that. Pro-choices try to educate women on that. Pro-lifers are more interested in just screaming at women that they are going to hell.

Oh and by the way when you actually want to try to pick holes in my actual logic instead of making up your logic that you think is mine let me know.

-- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Wed, Nov 4, 2009, at 3:11 PM

Ok Mike. I'll bite. Who shouldn't be allowed to get an abortion?

-- Posted by McCook1 on Wed, Nov 4, 2009, at 4:29 PM

Fredd,

We cannot and shouldn't outlaw religion. It's wrong, as well as unconstitutional to outlaw someone's beliefs.

(And I assume by your second comment that your first was in jest. I simply wanted to make that clear, as I doubt some people on this site would have a sense of humor about that subject).

-- Posted by jhat on Wed, Nov 4, 2009, at 9:12 PM

I don't make the argument about whether God would approve of abortion because it's obvious that he wouldn't. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have been too happy if Mary had an abortion but it's a moot point anyway since the argument to disallow abortion for anyone who wants it, can be made separately but with some of the same basic principles of morality about the destruction of human life.

Simply because a handful of judges don't consider children human until a specific stage of their human development does not make those children any less human. The fact that these children are defenseless and can't make such a decision for themselves. One would think a reasonable person would conclude that these children are in need of more protection, not less. When conception occurs a life is formed and continues to develop over time. Now, ending that life before a judge thinks they're "considered human" requires complete ignorance of the life that was created in order to justify destroying that life. Sure, it would be much easier for me to turn my head and ignore that but it would be wrong for me to do so.

-- Posted by McCook1 on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 9:32 AM

Part of the morality of Christians and the general morality shared by people regardless of their religion is the fact that innocent lives should be protected from harm especially children. This set of morals, while held by Christians, is not specific to the Christian religion.

I guess I just don't see protecting innocent life from irresponsible individuals as an idealistic position. I see it as a compassionate position and the human thing to do.

While you may be willing to allow abortion for everyone who wants to get one because you consider it "feasible", I can not because it only serves to open the floodgates to the destruction of millions of innocent lives. If you get married and your wife is pregnant, when will you decide to love that child as a human being deserving of all the protection that you and the law can provide? Will it come at 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, birth or will it come right away because you realize you have created a new life that in 9 short months will be looking you in the eyes? If she is assaulted before the court determines the child is "viable" will you mourn the loss or take solace in your belief that it wasn't a real person yet?

-- Posted by McCook1 on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 11:45 AM

My stance has been repeatedly that we should not just allow anyone who wants to get an abortion to get one for any reason whatsoever. I could no more support this than I could support the murder of newborn or a toddler. Whether you wish to acknowledge that as a moral is of no consequence to me. Perhaps we just have different morals.

-- Posted by McCook1 on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 1:00 PM

I'm curious about this statement, Guille: "abortion is symptomatic of something going wrong in a society, and people interested in advancing that society (on moral, idealistic, or pragmatic grounds) would be better served working with one another rather than against." Is it possible that societies legalize abortion in order to address their ills, and therefore abortion is not a symptom of those ills but a solution? And, didn't people work together in the late 60s and early 70s in order to implement legal abortion? I agree that it still remains one of the most divisive issues in the United States, and I wonder why it is not so in other countries where it is also legal. Res Just

-- Posted by Resilient Justice on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 1:18 PM

That is a good point Res Just.

From a historical viewpoint the reason it is such a divisive issue here is due to our religious heritage. Puritans were driven out of England for their extremist religious views and a lot of our religion is based on the Puritan example and other sects that were driven out of England.

In Europe they have old world religion and even though in a sense the religions are stricter they also can bend and evolve much easier than American sects.

-- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 1:47 PM

Thank you, Mike and Guille, for your responses. It seems to me that in a utilitarian society like that of the United States, abortion functions as an efficient component of the promotion of the greatest good for the greatest number of people (see Jeremy Bentham's work and John Stuart Mill's philosophy as the underlying set of premises of many of our (sometimes problematic) social values in the U.S.). Individuals can decide legally to have abortions in order to carry out their lives without burdening themselves or society. This creates a difficult ethical and moral dilemma, and it causes tension in the context of utilitarianism, an ideology that promotes individuality, rationalism, and people as economic units. The fact is that people, including women and/or their partners, have the right to decide whether to carry forth or not with a pregnancy, even if all precautions (contraception, etc.) have been enacted. Res Just

-- Posted by Resilient Justice on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 3:38 PM

"I would argue that almost everyone has, for a great many reasons, strikingly different morals."

I don't know why you feel you need to argue about that since I just said we have different morals but maybe you'll find someone to argue with.

"Then stop trying to convince me of some higher moral human principle that you don't have."

Once again, you try to take a statement out of context. I simply stated that not allowing abortion to everyone who wants one for any reason can be considered one of a person's morals. You wanted to refuse to see that as a moral principle because of your "perception". I then stated that perhaps our morals are different. I never stated a hierarchy of principles, you seemed to have manufactured that one all by yourself. I believe in protecting all innocent and defenseless human life from the moment of conception and you don't. That's not trying to convince you of anything. That's just fact.

Another thing that's even more ridiculous is how you try to come out against abortion while still being for it. You don't get to say "oh, abortion is bad, I don't like abortion" but on your other hand you say "well, it's up to them, let them do what they want" and still expect anyone to take you seriously.

-- Posted by McCook1 on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 3:53 PM

" The fact is that people, including women and/or their partners, have the right to decide whether to carry forth or not with a pregnancy, even if all precautions (contraception, etc.) have been enacted"

Actually, the mother is the only one who can make that decision. Regardless of whether the father believes the child is a "burden" on him or not.

I know you think children are burdens. Obama didn't want his children to be burdened with an early child either. Society should be more concerned with the burden placed on them by the lazy who refuse to pick themselves up and those who defraud them for more money from their government. They are the real "burdens" on society.

When you say the greatest good for the greatest number of people. The only people that don't factor into the equation are the innocent children who are killed for that so-called "good".

-- Posted by McCook1 on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 4:01 PM

McCook1 -- let's not be relativists...perhaps you should turn your attention to the more than 11 million children who live below the poverty line and live each day in hunger, a type of torture that should be unacceptable in our society. You and I both have the obligation to do something about that because we bear that burden socially, legally, morally, and financially. I maintain that while (religious, moral, ethical) concerns about unwanted pregnancies should be voiced and examined, people still have the legal option to choose abortion. I don't think we have the option to ignore the more than 11 million children who are poor in this country, yet we do. Perhaps you might offer some policy solutions to improve their condition since these children are living all around you.

Guille,

I appreciate your welcoming comment and the opportunity to respond to your ballsy argument. The utilitarian discourse system can be summarized by the following, and here I quote from Scollon and Scollon, 2001, p. 116:

1. "Good" is defined as what will give the greatest happiness for the greatest number.

2. Progress (toward greater happiness, wealth, and individuality) is the goal of society.

3. The free and equal individual is the basis of society.

4. Humans are defined as rational, economic entities.

5. Technology and invention are the sources of societal wealth.

6. Creative,inventive (wealth-producing) individuals are the most valuable for society.

7. Quantitative measures such as statistics are the best means of determining values.

I would argue that legalizing abortion was/is viewed as social progress for women in this and other countries, as is sex education, as is access and especially free access to contraception.

Of course, our socialization within utilitarian ideology is problematic. Many people do not want to see themselves as economic entities, and we know that there are ways of knowing the world without statistics (which is one angle from which to measure our progress), and these are often more valuable and illuminating. I think people grapple with the social issues (through law, public media, war, art, etc.) you raise while simultaneously adhering to many of the principles and discourse of utilitarianism. Perhaps your compromise is a way to get to the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people, or perhaps it is a relativist position, a non-stance that appeases multiple audiences, and that may inadvertently create the conditions for the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. Res Just

-- Posted by Resilient Justice on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 8:12 PM

Guille--

You pose thoughtful questions that beg further examination in connection to a key point: "who am I as I consider my stance in relation to society's great issues of the day?" That is the existential dilemma.

On the one hand you would like for us to determine if something is good or bad, and on the other hand, you ask for compromise if people can't determine if something is good or bad. That seems contradictory, and that's why I called it a non-stance, which in of itself, may be valuable in certain circumstances. However, the law is clear. In exemplary utilitarian discourse fashion, the law on the abortion issue in relation to women's rights makes it her choice, and she takes a stance either way, regardless of its "badness" or "goodness." Indeed, that is both pragmatic and democratic. Res Just

-- Posted by Resilient Justice on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 10:24 PM

You're being optimally utilitarian in your offer to develop a third option "that we can all live with", i.e., the greatest happiness for the greatest number, Guille, and it's not necessary because the 1973 decision gave people choice,and arguably, that is the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. Even the most individualist of individuals can't possibly argue against having choice in this country, at least if the premise is based on pragmatic, freedom, and democratic values. Res Just

-- Posted by Resilient Justice on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 11:04 PM

You're being optimally utilitarian in your offer to develop a third option "that we can all live with", i.e., the greatest happiness for the greatest number, Guille, and it's not necessary because the 1973 decision gave people choice,and arguably, that is the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. Even the most individualist of individuals can't possibly argue against having choice in this country, at least if the premise is based on pragmatic, freedom, and democratic values. Res Just

-- Posted by Resilient Justice on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 11:05 PM

You're being optimally utilitarian in your offer to develop a third option "that we can all live with", i.e., the greatest happiness for the greatest number, Guille, and it's not necessary because the 1973 decision gave people choice,and arguably, that is the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. Even the most individualist of individuals can't possibly argue against having choice in this country, at least if the premise is based on pragmatic, freedom, and democratic values. Res Just

-- Posted by Resilient Justice on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 11:05 PM

Maybe, Guille. I don't advocate for utilitarianism. It's an ideology that often helps erase agency. We tend to lose sight of individuals that way. I was merely pointing out that by having choice, women are not lost in the system, in society, regardless of their access to education, contraception, financial resources, etc. As always, I appreciate the debate on this blog.

-- Posted by Resilient Justice on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 11:32 PM

It must be absolutely embarrassing that conservative leaders in Washington, despite claiming to be better Americans, don't know the words to the Pledge of Allegiance or the difference between the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

-- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Sat, Nov 7, 2009, at 4:54 PM


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