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

Friday, January 21, 2005

The Liberal Agenda

American Prospect has an interesting contest asking readers to submit short statements defining liberalism in 30 words or less:
Well, we all know the basic outline of conservatism's elevator pitch: "We believe in freedom and liberty, and we're for low taxes, less government, traditional values, and a strong national defense." But what is liberalism's? We at the Prospect have, among us, attended or sat on about eleventy hundred panels since the election at which someone invariably says something like the following: "We know what conservatives stand for. But what do we stand for?"

No one in Washington seems to know. So we turn to you. Give us liberalism's elevator pitch.
At first I thought I had this nailed, after all I've tried to define my liberalism several times on this site. I've attempted to be short an elegant and felt I've been reasonably successful, such as when I stated:

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.

But that's 65 words, more than twice the number allowed. Hmmm, this may be tricky. I also at one point said "liberalism is all about expanding who belongs in the mainstream and listening to new ideas outside of the mainstream" and true liberals are those "who will fight for the liberty of someone they don't know, like or understand", but I don't think thats the best selling point.

I'd also like to get the phrase "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" in as a way to point out our views on investment, but that's a full third of the alloted word count right there. Hmmm...

Well, here's the best I've come up with so far:

Liberals believe in the Golden Rule, the power of cooperation and teamwork, a strong middle class, investments today lead to a better tomorrow and respect, liberty and justice for all.

I don't think it's good enough to submit, yet. I'll think some more.