Of course I'm liberal, I believe in liberty.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Why Moderate Liberal?

So why did I call this blog The Moderate Liberal? Can one be both moderate and liberal? I believe so. In fact, I believe a true liberal almost has to be a moderate to be true to his or her convictions. Here is the relevant dictionary definitions of moderate and liberal:
  1. Being within reasonable limits; not excessive or extreme: a moderate price.
  2. Not violent or subject to extremes; mild or calm; temperate: a moderate climate.
  3. Opposed to radical or extreme views or measures, especially in politics or religion.
One who holds or champions moderate views or opinions, especially in politics or religion.

    1. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
    2. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
    3. Of, relating to, or characteristic of liberalism.
    4. Liberal Of, designating, or characteristic of a political party founded on or associated with principles of social and political liberalism, especially in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.
  1. A person with liberal ideas or opinions.
  2. Liberal A member of a Liberal political party.
So the question becomes how can one be an extremist and liberal at the same time. How can one simultaneously be an extremist while also being tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others and broad-minded? I don't believe one can.

I'm a liberal because I believe all people deserve liberty, because I believe real problems can be solved, because I believe concentrated power must be held in check no matter in what form it takes and because I believe it is our moral obligation to pass on to our children a better world -- with better opportunities for all -- than what we received from our parents.

I'm a moderate because I realize change is difficult, because 90% of all suggested solutions stink, because pragmatism trumps ideology1 and because we can't solve the next generation's problems today. In my idealized America we'd have a liberal House trying to solve all the problems, a conservative Senate tossing away all the bad ideas while perfecting the good ones and as president we'd have, well, me (hey, it's my fantasy.)

There has been much talk since the reelection of Bush of whether the Democratic party should move to the left or right, but I believe this misses the point. We don't need to move to the right, but we need to tolerate the right. We don't need to accept religious fundamentalism, but we need to tolerate it while simultaneously rejecting their intolerance of us. It isn't easy, but I believe it is the correct thing to do politically; I know it is the morally correct thing to do. I'm sure I'll talk much more about this in the future.

UPDATE: editted, detail added to justify front page link.