What Exactly Is a ‘Liberal’? | Merriam-Webster

What does it mean to say that a person is a liberal, or to say that a thing may be described with this word? The answer, as is so often the case with the English language, is it depends.

'Liberal' shares a root with 'liberty' and can mean anything from "generous" to "loose" to "broad-minded." Politically, it means "a person who believes that government should be active in supporting social and political change."

Liberal can be traced back to the Latin word liber (meaning free), which is also the root of liberty ("the quality or state of being free") and libertine ("one leading a dissolute life"). However, we did not simply take the word liber and make it into liberal; our modern term for the inhabitants of the leftish side of the political spectrum comes more recently from the Latin liberalis, which means of or constituting liberal arts, of freedom, of a freedman.

We still see a strong connection between our use of the word liberal and liber in the origins of liberal arts. In Latin, liber functioned as an adjective, to describe a person who was free, independent, and contrasted with the word servus (slavish, servile). The Romans had artes liberales (liberal arts) and artes serviles (servile arts); the former were geared toward freemen (consisting of such subjects as grammar, logic, and rhetoric), while the latter were more concerned with occupational skills.

We borrowed liberal arts from French in the 14th century, and sometime after this liberal began to be used in conjunction with other words (such as education, profession, and pastime). When paired with these other words liberal was serving to indicate that the things described were fitting for a person of high social status. However, at the same time that the term liberal arts was beginning to make 14th century college-tuition-paying-parents a bit nervous about their childrens future job prospects, liberal was also being used as an adjective to indicate generosity and bounteousness. By the 15th century, people were using liberal to mean bestowed in a generous and openhanded way, as in poured a liberal glass of wine.

The word's meaning kept shifting. By the 18th century, people were using liberal to indicate that something was not strict or rigorous. The political antonyms of liberal and conservative began to take shape in the 19th century, as the British Whigs and Tories began to adopt these as titles for their respective parties.

Liberal is commonly used as a label for political parties in a number of other countries, although the positions these parties take do not always correspond to the sense of liberal that people in the United States commonly give it. In the US, the word has been associated with both the Republican and Democratic parties (now it is more commonly attached to the latter), although generally it has been in a descriptive, rather than a titular, sense.

The word hasfor some people, at leasttaken on some negative connotations when used in a political sense in the United States. It is still embraced with pride by others. We can see these associations with the word traced back to the early and mid-20th century in its combination with other words, such as pinko:

Thanks to The Dove, pinko-liberal journal of campus opinion at the University of Kansas, a small part of the world last week learned some inner workings of a Japanese college boy. Time: the Weekly Newsmagazine, 7 Jun., 1926

"To the well-to-do," writes Editor Oswald Garrison Villard of the pinko-liberal Nation, "contented and privileged, Older is an anathema. Time: the Weekly Newsmagazine, 9 Sept., 1929

Pinko liberalsthe kind who have been so sympathetic with communistic ideals down through the yearswill howl to high heaven. The Mason City Globe-Gazette (Mason City, IA), 12 Jun., 1940

The term limousine liberal, meaning "a wealthy political liberal," is older than many people realize; although the phrase was long believed to have originated in the 1960s, recent evidence shows that we have been sneering at limousine liberals almost as long as we have had limousines:

Limousine liberals is another phrase that has been attached to these comfortable nibblers at anarchy. But it seems to us too bourgeois. It may do as a subdivision of our higher priced Bolsheviki. New York Tribune, 5 May, 1919

Even with a highly polysemous word such as liberal we can usually figure out contextually which of its many possible senses is meant. However, when the word takes on multiple and closely-related meanings that are all related to politics, it can be rather difficult to tell one from another. These senses can be further muddied by the fact that we now have two distinct groups who each feel rather differently about some of the meanings of liberal.

One of these definitions we provide for liberal is a person who believes that government should be active in supporting social and political change; it is up to you to choose whether that is a good thing or a bad thing. In other words, We define, you decide.

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What Exactly Is a 'Liberal'? | Merriam-Webster

liberalism | Definition, History, & Facts | Britannica

Liberalism, political doctrine that takes protecting and enhancing the freedom of the individual to be the central problem of politics. Liberals typically believe that government is necessary to protect individuals from being harmed by others, but they also recognize that government itself can pose a threat to liberty. As the revolutionary American pamphleteer Thomas Paine expressed it in Common Sense (1776), government is at best a necessary evil. Laws, judges, and police are needed to secure the individuals life and liberty, but their coercive power may also be turned against him. The problem, then, is to devise a system that gives government the power necessary to protect individual liberty but also prevents those who govern from abusing that power.

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Liberalism is a political and economic doctrine that emphasizes individual autonomy, equality of opportunity, and the protection of individual rights (primarily to life, liberty, and property), originally against the state and later against both the state and private economic actors, including businesses.

The intellectual founders of liberalism were the English philosopher John Locke (16321704), who developed a theory of political authority based on natural individual rights and the consent of the governed, and the Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith (172390), who argued that societies prosper when individuals are free to pursue their self-interest within an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and competitive markets, controlled neither by the state nor by private monopolies.

In John Lockes theory, the consent of the governed was secured through a system of majority rule, whereby the government would carry out the expressed will of the electorate. However, in the England of Lockes time and in other democratic societies for centuries thereafter, not every person was considered a member of the electorate, which until the 20th century was generally limited to propertied white males. There is no necessary connection between liberalism and any specific form of democratic government, and indeed Lockes liberalism presupposed a constitutional monarchy.

Classical liberals (now often called libertarians) regard the state as the primary threat to individual freedom and advocate limiting its powers to those necessary to protect basic rights against interference by others. Modern liberals have held that freedom can also be threatened by private economic actors, such as businesses, that exploit workers or dominate governments, and they advocate state action, including economic regulation and provision of social services, to ameliorate conditions (e.g., extreme poverty) that may hamper the exercise of basic rights or undermine individual autonomy. Many also recognize broader rights such as the rights to adequate employment, health care, and education.

Modern liberals are generally willing to experiment with large-scale social change to further their project of protecting and enhancing individual freedom. Conservatives are generally suspicious of such ideologically driven programs, insisting that lasting and beneficial social change must proceed organically, through gradual shifts in public attitudes, values, customs, and institutions.

The problem is compounded when one asks whether this is all that government can or should do on behalf of individual freedom. Some liberalsthe so-called neoclassical liberals, or libertariansanswer that it is. Since the late 19th century, however, most liberals have insisted that the powers of government can promote as well as protect the freedom of the individual. According to modern liberalism, the chief task of government is to remove obstacles that prevent individuals from living freely or from fully realizing their potential. Such obstacles include poverty, disease, discrimination, and ignorance. The disagreement among liberals over whether government should promote individual freedom rather than merely protect it is reflected to some extent in the different prevailing conceptions of liberalism in the United States and Europe since the late 20th century. In the United States liberalism is associated with the welfare-state policies of the New Deal program of the Democratic administration of Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt, whereas in Europe it is more commonly associated with a commitment to limited government and laissez-faire economic policies (see below Contemporary liberalism).

This article discusses the political foundations and history of liberalism from the 17th century to the present. For coverage of classical and contemporary philosophical liberalism, see political philosophy. For biographies of individual philosophers, see John Locke; John Stuart Mill; John Rawls.

Liberalism is derived from two related features of Western culture. The first is the Wests preoccupation with individuality, as compared to the emphasis in other civilizations on status, caste, and tradition. Throughout much of history, the individual has been submerged in and subordinate to his clan, tribe, ethnic group, or kingdom. Liberalism is the culmination of developments in Western society that produced a sense of the importance of human individuality, a liberation of the individual from complete subservience to the group, and a relaxation of the tight hold of custom, law, and authority. In this respect, liberalism stands for the emancipation of the individual.See alsoindividualism.

Liberalism also derives from the practice of adversariality in European political and economic life, a process in which institutionalized competitionsuch as the competition between different political parties in electoral contests, between prosecution and defense in adversary procedure, or between different producers in a market economy (see monopoly and competition)generates a dynamic social order. Adversarial systems have always been precarious, however, and it took a long time for the belief in adversariality to emerge from the more traditional view, traceable at least to Plato, that the state should be an organic structure, like a beehive, in which the different social classes cooperate by performing distinct yet complementary roles. The belief that competition is an essential part of a political system and that good government requires a vigorous opposition was still considered strange in most European countries in the early 19th century.

Underlying the liberal belief in adversariality is the conviction that human beings are essentially rational creatures capable of settling their political disputes through dialogue and compromise. This aspect of liberalism became particularly prominent in 20th-century projects aimed at eliminating war and resolving disagreements between states through organizations such as the League of Nations, the United Nations, and the International Court of Justice (World Court).

Liberalism has a close but sometimes uneasy relationship with democracy. At the centre of democratic doctrine is the belief that governments derive their authority from popular election; liberalism, on the other hand, is primarily concerned with the scope of governmental activity. Liberals often have been wary of democracy, then, because of fears that it might generate a tyranny by the majority. One might briskly say, therefore, that democracy looks after majorities and liberalism after unpopular minorities.

Like other political doctrines, liberalism is highly sensitive to time and circumstance. Each countrys liberalism is different, and it changes in each generation. The historical development of liberalism over recent centuries has been a movement from mistrust of the states power on the ground that it tends to be misused, to a willingness to use the power of government to correct perceived inequities in the distribution of wealth resulting from economic competitioninequities that purportedly deprive some people of an equal opportunity to live freely. The expansion of governmental power and responsibility sought by liberals in the 20th century was clearly opposed to the contraction of government advocated by liberals a century earlier. In the 19th century liberals generally formed the party of business and the entrepreneurial middle class; for much of the 20th century they were more likely to work to restrict and regulate business in order to provide greater opportunities for labourers and consumers. In each case, however, the liberals inspiration was the same: a hostility to concentrations of power that threaten the freedom of the individual and prevent him from realizing his full potential, along with a willingness to reexamine and reform social institutions in the light of new needs. This willingness is tempered by an aversion to sudden, cataclysmic change, which is what sets off the liberal from the radical. It is this very eagerness to welcome and encourage useful change, however, that distinguishes the liberal from the conservative, who believes that change is at least as likely to result in loss as in gain.


liberalism | Definition, History, & Facts | Britannica

Conservative vs Liberal – Difference and Comparison | Diffen

Social Issues

In terms of views on social issues, conservatives oppose gay marriage, abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Liberals on the other hand, are more left-leaning and generally supportive of the right of gay people to get married and women's right to choose to have an abortion, as ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v Wade.

With regard to the right to bear arms, conservatives support this right as it applies to all US citizens, whereas liberals oppose civilian gun ownership - or at the very least, demand that restrictions be places such as background checks on people who want to buy guns, requiring guns to be registered etc.

The different schools of economic thought found among conservatives and liberals are closely related to America's anti-federalist and federalist history, with conservatives desiring little to no government intervention in economic affairs and liberals desiring greater regulation.

Economic conservatives believe that the private sector can provide most services more efficiently than the government can. They also believe that government regulation is bad for businesses, usually has unintended consequences, and should be minimal. With many conservatives believing in "trickle-down" economics, they favor a small government that collects fewer taxes and spends less.

In contrast, liberals believe many citizens rely on government services for healthcare, unemployment insurance, health and safety regulations, and so on. As such, liberals often favor a larger government that taxes more and spends more to provide services to its citizens.

See Also: Comparing Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's Tax Plans

Some good examples of this policy split are the Environmental Protection Agency, which liberals think is vital and some conservatives want to abolish or scale down, and the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which liberals want to expand and conservatives believe should be partially or completely privatized through a voucher system connected to private health insurers.

In the early part of the twentieth century, liberals - especially those in Britain - were those who stood for laissez fair capitalism. In more recent times, however, the nomenclature seems to have reversed. The exception to this is found in Australia, where the mainstream conservative party is called the Liberal Party and the mainstream non-conservative party is called the Labour Party.

Political liberals believe that parties motivated by self-interest are willing to behave in ways that are harmful to society unless government is prepared- and empowered to constrain them. They believe regulation is necessitated when individuals-, corporations-, and industries demonstrate a willingness to pursue financial gain at an intolerable cost to society--and grow too powerful to be constrained by other social institutions. Liberals believe in systematic protections against hazardous workplaces, unsafe consumer products, and environmental pollution. They remain wary of the corruption- and historic abuses--particularly the oppression of political minorities--that have taken place in the absence of oversight for state- and local authorities. Liberals value educators and put their trust in science. They believe the public welfare is promoted by cultivating a widely-tolerant and -permissive society.

Political conservatives believe commercial regulation does more harm than good--unnecessarily usurping political freedoms, potentially stifling transformative innovations, and typically leading to further regulatory interference. They endorse the contraction of governmental involvement in non-commercial aspects of society as well, calling upon the private sector to assume their activities. Conservatives call for the devolution of powers to the states, and believe locally-tailored solutions are more appropriate to local circumstances. They promulgate individual responsibility, and believe a strong society is made up of citizens who can stand on their own. Conservatives value the armed forces and place their emphasis on faith. Conservatives believe in the importance of stability, and promote law and order to protect the status quo.

Liberals believe in universal access to health care--they believe personal health should be in no way dependent upon one's financial resources, and support government intervention to sever that link. Political conservatives prefer no government sponsorship of health care; they prefer all industries to be private, favour deregulation of commerce, and advocate a reduced role for government in all aspects of society--they believe government should be in no way involved in one's healthcare purchasing decisions.

Jonathan Haidt, a University of Virginia psychology professor, has examined the values of liberals and conservatives through paired moral attributes: harm/care, fairnesss/reciprocity, ingroup/loyalty, authority/respect, purity/sanctity. He outlines the psychological differences in the following TED talk:

Haidt has also written a book, The Righteous Mind, based on his studies conducted over several years on liberal and conservative subjects. Nicholas Kristof, an avowed liberal, offered an unbiased review of the book and cited some interesting findings such as:

Liberals should not be confused with libertarians. Libertarians believe that the role of the government should be extremely limited, especially in the economic sphere. They believe that governments are prone to corruption and inefficiencies and that the private sector in a free market can achieve better outcomes than government bureaucracies, because they make better decisions on resource allocation. Liberals, on the other hand, favor more government involvement because they believe there are several areas where the private sector -- especially if left unregulated -- needs checks and balances to ensure consumer protection.

The primary focus of libertarians is the maximization of liberty for all citizens, regardless of race, class, or socio-economic position.

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Conservative vs Liberal - Difference and Comparison | Diffen

Trump campaign threatens legal action over liberal super PAC ad | TheHill – The Hill

President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe pandemic is bad, we need the capability to measure just how bad Florida governor wants federal disaster area declaration Amash calls stimulus package 'a raw deal' for 'those who need the most help' MOREs reelection campaign is threatening legal action against television stations in key battleground states if they continue airing an ad cut by the liberal super PAC Priorities USA alleging that the president called the coronavirus a hoax.

Alex Cannon, the legal counsel for Trumps reelection campaign, sent a letter to television stations in key battleground states where the ad is running demanding they cease and desist from airing the ad if they want to avoid costly and time consuming litigation.

Given the foregoing, should you fail to immediately cease broadcasting PUSAs ad Exponential Threat, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. will have no choice but to pursue all legal remedies available to it in law and in equity the letter states. We will not stand idly by and allow you to broadcast false, deceptive, and misleading information concerning Presidents Trumps healthcare positions without consequence.

Priorities USA is putting $6 million behind the ad, which is running on television stations in Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The ad, which istitledExponential Threat, splices together different audio clips of Trump downplaying the virus over a graphic showing the number of cases on the rise.

"The coronavirus, this is their new hoax, Trump says in the ad. We have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China. One day it's like a miracle, it will disappear. When you have 15 people and within a couple of days is gonna be down to close to zero. We really think we've done a great job in keeping it down to a minimum. I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand. No, I don't take responsibility."

However, fact-checkers at The Washington Post, Snopes, Politifact and FactCheck.org have said its wrong to claim that Trump called the virus a hoax.

Instead, Trumps full quote reveals that he was describing Democratic efforts to politicize the virus.

Coronavirus. Theyre politicizing it, Trump said in February. We did one of the great jobs. You say, Hows President Trump doing? Oh, nothing, nothing. They have no clue. They dont have any clue.... And this is their new hoax. But you know we did something thats been pretty amazing.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenIs coronavirus the final Trump crisis? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Airbnb - Senators clinch deal on T stimulus package Biden hits Trump's remarks about reopening economy within weeks: 'He should stop talking' MOREs campaign and several other Democratic groups have used the hoax remarks in their own videos. The Trump campaign has asked Twitter to apply its manipulated media tag to videos claiming that Trump called the virus a hoax, but the social media giant has declined to intervene.

The Trump campaign's threat of legal action comes after an outside group aligned with the president, America First Priorities, sent a similar letter to the same TV stations demanding they pull the ad off the airwaves.

In a statement to The Hill regarding the America First complaint, Priorities USA strategist Josh Schwerin called the move a stunt.

"We stand by the facts in the ad and will continue to make sure that Donald Trump is held accountable for his words and actions that are making this crisis even worse," Schwerin said.

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Trump campaign threatens legal action over liberal super PAC ad | TheHill - The Hill

Here’s what changed in the COVID-19 emergency bill and why opposition called it a Liberal ‘power grab’ – National Post

OTTAWA The Liberal government was forced into a significant climbdown on Wednesday morning over its COVID-19 emergency legislation, after being accused of a power grab that would equip the finance minister with exceptional authorities to tax, spend and loan money without limit.

Parliament passed an updated version of Bill C-13 in the early morning following a full day of negotiations between parties. The NDP and Conservatives had been highly opposed to certain sections of the initial legislation, which would have given Finance Minister Bill Morneau at least 19 months of extraordinary legislative powers rarely seen in Canadian political history.

Much of the initial proposals remain in place. But opposition parties managed to dramatically pare back some of the more sweeping aspects of the bill, trimming the window of time in which Morneau can exercise his new powers, and sharpening the details around the type of spending Ottawa can bring forward over the next six months.

Opposition members were caught off guard by a number of measures introduced in the legislation, particularly a surprise clause that gave Morneau the ability to raise or lower taxes without the approval of Parliament. That clause was outright scrapped before Wednesdays vote.

Conservative MP Scott Reid, who was the first to raise opposition to the bill, said he had become increasingly alarmed by the haste with which the emergency legislation had been tabled, saying the Liberal measures would effectively strip away parliamentary oversight for the next two years.

The initial draft of the bill, which first leaked to media Monday night, would have given Morneau until the end of December 2021 to use his expanded powers, a total of 21 months. The more recent version trims that window down to six months, until the end of September 2020.

Morneau on Wednesday did not respond directly to reporters questions about why the 21-month timeline was necessary.

This would give the minister of finance the power to do anything, literally

The bill also proposed to give Ottawa far-reaching authority to make payments to any entity during any times of significant and systemic economic and financial distress. Opposition members and many observers said the text was excessively broad, breaking with past parliamentary conventions and allowing Ottawa to buy equity, offer lines of credit, or bail out companies at any time for any purpose.

This would give the minister of finance the power to do anything, literally, Scott told the National Post.

The updated legislation changed the text from any entity to provincial and territorial governments, vastly restricting what bodies those federal funds can flow into. The new text allows payments to entities only after the government has consulted with provinces and territories. Ottawa has already pledged $500 million to lower orders of government in additional healthcare funding.

Opposition members also denounced the fact that section four of the initial draft gave the minister of health the ability to spend all money required to do anything if the minister determines that there is a public health event of national concern.

Critics again balked at the sweeping language of the proposed text. An updated version provides the same powers to the minister, but more specifically stipulates that the spending would need to come amid the spread of an infectious disease, such as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Also on Wednesday, policymakers passed a motion that will compel Morneau to appear before the House finance committee every two weeks to update the public on where and how much money has been spent.

The legislation was introduced in order to trigger $27 billion in aid spending first announced by Morneau last week, as part of an effort to help families and businesses cover their cost of living through the COVID-19 pandemic. That figure could will soar much higher with the passage of Bill C-13, which sets no upper limit on how much Ottawa can spend to combat the economic fallout from the virus.

Morneau on Wednesday had already upped his initial cost estimate for the measures to $52 billion, as employment insurance claims soar.

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Here's what changed in the COVID-19 emergency bill and why opposition called it a Liberal 'power grab' - National Post

The panicky legislative power grab at Liberal crisis central isnt reassuring – The Globe and Mail

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau attends a news conference with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa, on March 11, 2020.


That was a big oops. The Liberal governments explanation for putting a 21-month blank cheque into emergency legislation was essentially that officials and aides wanted to give Finance Minister Bill Morneau flexibility in a crisis, and got carried away. Nobody caught the grab for additional powers. An accident. Oops!

So Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had to start out his daily press conference pledging that he will stick with the whole democracy thing even in a time of crisis. Mr. Trudeau has for days been explaining he didnt need to invoke the Emergencies Act for more powers, but by Tuesday, his government had so overreached that he had to profess his unwavering commitment to democracy.

The original version of the legislation, before the opposition cried foul, allowed for Mr. Morneau to tax, borrow or spend without any parliamentary approval, until the end of 2021. It dispensed with even the basic safeguard in the Emergencies Act, including limited parliamentary oversight and shorter time limits, such as 90 days, on emergency powers. It was so offside, the government withdrew the most offending part at the 11th hour around 11 p.m. Monday night and on Tuesday entered negotiations with the opposition about other sections.

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The uncomfortable thing is that this grasping move betrays a panicky uncertainty among the people making economic policy in Ottawa.

They are so unsure about what is needed to stabilize the economy that they tried to obtain the power to borrow, tax, and spend as they see fit, at the stroke of a pen, for nearly two years.

The desire to be able to move quickly is understandable. Every week seems to bring the coronavirus crisis and its economic impact to a new scale. Yet this move is a byproduct of the way the Liberal government has handled the economic package that is supposed to reassure Canadians.

The first tranche announced last week was big, for normal times $27-billion in spending and $55-billion in temporary tax deferrals but not so big that it got ahead of the rising wave of fears and really reassured the public. The U.S. Congress is working on a US$2-trillion bill, and though the two packages and economies are not exactly comparable, the scale isnt, either.

It seems likely that finance officials wanted all those extra powers because theyre not only worried about the unpredictability of the future, theyre uncertain about the adequacy of what they have already done. The economic package in the legislation going before Parliament doesnt put Canada firmly ahead of the curve.

The 10-per-cent wage subsidy is so small, it seems like the government didnt believe in the idea. And perhaps wage subsidies are not the right choice but small ones will probably not keep a lot of people on payrolls. The emergency benefit of $900 every two weeks is not enough for those who dont get some other sum, like the enhanced Canada Child Benefit. The feds might add sums later, but it is important to reassure quickly.

Some things, like industrial bailouts, might take a little more time. But for big things, its not impossible to recall Parliament, as they did Tuesday. In the meantime, the Finance Minister needs a little flexibility. But not a Constitution made of Play-Doh.

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The Liberals note they sent a draft of the bill to the opposition in advance, and the offending provisions will be fixed. No harm, no foul. And lets accept mistakes will be made in a rush job. But this one betrayed a reckless disregard for parliamentary checks and balances. It was a big mistake.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer took the sensible position that his party was willing to pass the package of economic supports, but not the most egregious overreaches for new powers without oversight. He was not wrong. Conservative backbencher Scott Reid defied his own party by showing up at the House of Commons when only a small rump of MPs from each party was supposed to attend, because he objected to the process, and that the bill wont even have after-the-fact monitoring by a parliamentary committee. He was not wrong, either. Instead of mustering multiparty co-operation in a crisis, the Liberals triggered tense negotiations.

The partisan bickering wasnt reassuring. Neither was the panicky grab for spending powers. Mr. Trudeaus Liberals had worked to reassure the public, and then we saw them sweat.

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The panicky legislative power grab at Liberal crisis central isnt reassuring - The Globe and Mail

Letter: We owe a debt of gratitude to liberals, progressives and conservatives – INFORUM

Lets start with a definition for each of these terms. Liberal means open to new behaviors or opinions and willing to discard traditional values. Progressives are known for favoring or implementing social reform or new liberal ideas. Conservatives hold onto traditional attitudes and values and are cautious about change.

Many in the United States have used these terms to denigrate people who they disagree with politically and socially. Yet we may find ourselves agreeing with parts of both viewpoints. For instance, you may be very conservative with your spending and liberal with your social beliefs. I personally know people I consider friends who are very conservative with their political beliefs but have accepted many liberal actions from the past. I also know people I consider friends who are very liberal with their social beliefs but are very conservative economically.

When we use history to study liberalism/progressivism and conservatism, we may see some hypocrisy in all of us. If you have or had a daughter who participated in high school sports, you really need to thank a liberal/progressive who pushed for this in the early 70s. If you appreciate women voting, you need to thank a liberal/progressive who pushed for womens suffrage over a hundred years ago. If you agree that children should be in school and not the work place, you need to give recognition to liberal/progressives. If you have taken your family to a national park, you need to thank liberal/progressives. If you believe that companies who prepare food products are liable for what they put in the product, thank liberal/progressives. If you believe corporations should not pollute our water, thank liberal/progressives.

If you believe traditional family structures have been a positive for society, you agree with conservatives. If you believe that individuals should take responsibility for their actions, you agree with conservatives. If you partake in traditional holidays, you agree with conservatives. If you believe the Constitution of the United States provides an ideal which we can follow, you agree with conservatives.

So, some liberals follow conservative practices and some conservatives accept the changes liberals have brought to the country. Can we really just be solely a liberal or solely a conservative when both sides have made contributions to the history of the United States.

The anger many individuals have toward others who hold differences of opinions is misplaced. To use the terms liberal and conservative as a means to belittle and demean others demonstrates ignorance of historical content and, more importantly, a blatant lack of respect for others.

I am a progressive. I cannot imagine that we cannot do better politically, economically and socially. As a progressive I have no business telling others how to pray, who to marry, or what to do with their money. It is not in my character to judge another human being. I would leave all the judging to the greatest progressive leader who changed the world over 2,000 years ago by teaching love, acceptance and sharing.

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Letter: We owe a debt of gratitude to liberals, progressives and conservatives - INFORUM

Does Liberalism Have Its Roots in the Illiberal Upheavals of the English Reformation? – The Nation

Calvin in Hell, Egbert van Heemskerck the Younger (c.170010). (Photo by Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images)

To understand Liberalism, we need to understand early modern Calvinism. This is the central claim made by Harvard professor James Simpson in his idiosyncratic but challenging new book, Permanent Revolution: The Reformation and the Illiberal Roots of Liberalism. As its dust jacket proclaims, Simpson means to rewrite the history of liberalism by uncovering its unexpected debt to evangelical religion. His aim is to show how the English Reformation, so authoritarian in its beginnings, culminated in the proto-liberal Glorious Revolution settlement of 168889 and led to the English Enlightenment.Ad Policy Books in Review

The key feature of that settlement, Simpson argues, was the Toleration Act, which gave ease to scrupulous consciences in the exercise of religion by allowing Protestant Dissenters from the Church of England freedom of worship and exemption from the penalties previously attached to nonattendance at Anglican services. This exemption was not extended to Roman Catholics, Unitarians, or Jews, and public office continued to be confined to those who worshipped in the Church of England. Many of the legislators saw toleration less as a matter of principle than as an unpleasant necessity, a pragmatic way of avoiding further strife. Nevertheless, Simpson insists that this was a foundational moment for the English liberal tradition. The Toleration Act was accompanied by a Bill of Rights declaring the rights and liberties of the subject and was followed by statutory provision for the annual meeting of Parliament, the independence of the judiciary, and qualified freedom of the press.

Whether or not this was the foundational moment of English liberalism, one might also ask in what sense this was all a consequence of Calvinism. The conventional answer is that, by making the vernacular Bible accessible to all, the Protestant reformers encouraged people to think for themselves and claim the right to do so. In addition, their doctrine of the priesthood of all believers generated a belief in human equality and encouraged respect for personal religious experience, private judgment, and individual conscience. Out of this came notions of individuality and human rights.

Many historians of political thought agree that, in this way, liberalism grew out of evangelical religion. Simpson toys with this interpretation in his discussion of the poet John Miltons radical thought, which he suggests was hammered out of, and bore powerful traces ofilliberal Protestantism. But in every other respect he categorically rejects the notion that the Reformation led inexorably to liberalism, describing the idea as unacceptable Whig triumphalism. He twice quotes Herbert Butterfields observation in The Whig Interpretation of History (1931) that religious liberty was not the natural product of Protestantism but emerged painfully and grudginglyout of the tragedy of the post-Reformation world. Following Butterfields lead, Simpson argues that the liberal tradition is the younger sibling of evangelical religion but that it derives from Protestantism by repudiating it. Early Protestantism, he asserts, was so punishingly violent, fissiparous and unsustainable that it eventually led its adherents to invent a political doctrine to stabilize cultures after 150 years of psychic and social violence; the result was nascent liberalism. Unfortunately, the suggestion that it was not until 1688 that quasi-liberal sentiments were widely voiced in England flies in the face of the evidence. So does the notion that it was only in a religious context that they emerged at all.

Simpsons claim that liberal ideas were a by-product of the Reformationone unintended by its original makersis by no means new, though it has never been so relentlessly pursued. Two hundred and thirty years ago, in a little-noticed section of his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon observed that the Reformation taught each Christian to acknowledge no law but the scriptures, no interpreter but his own conscience. This freedom, however, was the consequence, rather than the design, of the Reformation. The patriot reformers were ambitious of succeeding the tyrants whom they had dethroned. They imposed with equal rigour their creeds and confessions; they asserted the right of the magistrate to punish heretics with death. The same point was made by the great liberal historian G.P. Gooch in his 1898 The History of English Democratic Ideas in the Seventeenth Century and by the quasi-Marxist philosopher and social theorist Harold Laski in his 1936 Rise of European Liberalism, both of whom argued that liberal ideas were an unintended consequence of the Reformation and thus anathema to its makers. More recently, Berkeley historian Ethan Shagan has maintained that Protestantism was an authoritarian project, not a liberal one, and that the Enlightenment was a reaction against the habits of mind the Reformation had generated. But if that is all that Simpson means by the illiberal roots of liberalism, one might equally well speak of the Catholic roots of Protestantism or the capitalist roots of Marxism.

Simpson could have made a different and much stronger case for the Protestant origins of liberalism had he not completely passed over (Miltons writings excepted) the astonishing ferment of ideas that erupted between 1642 and 1660, the years of the English Civil War and Interregnum. In a brilliant essay, British historian Blair Worden took this ferment seriously and, as a result, offers a far more sophisticated approach to the question of liberalisms Protestant roots. John Calvin, he notes, maintained that spiritual libertyby which he meant emancipation from the bondage of sin and complete submission to Gods willis perfectly compatible with the absence of civil liberty. But as Worden points out, this view was rejected in the 1640s by many radical English Protestants, who, faced with Presbyterian intolerance, realized that their spiritual goals could not be attained if they were denied the freedom to practice their religion. Congregationalists, Levellers, and army leaders therefore claimed that liberty of conscience and worship was a civil right, even though, paradoxically, they thought of it as the right to become Gods slaves. They extended the same plea of conscience to include other civil liberties, such as the right to form separatist congregations or to withhold the payment of tithes. By stressing this new kind of Protestant political thought, Worden was able to conclude that it was from within Puritanism, not in reaction to it, that the demand for civil liberty and thus liberalism emerged.

In a valuable recent study, Stanford historian David Como further illuminates the process by which, in the 1640s, liberty of consciencesometimes even for Jews, Muslims, and atheistscame to be seen by many Protestant separatists in England as a fundamental political right, indivisibly connected to other inviolable civil liberties like freedom of the press, freedom to petition the government, freedom from arbitrary imprisonment, and freedom to vote in parliamentary elections. As the century wore on, he argues, the theological trappings tended to be clipped away, and these claims were sometimes presented as the natural Right of Mankind.Current Issue

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Simpson not only misses this emergence of liberal ideas in the 1640s; his preoccupation with Protestantism also leads him to give insufficient space to the many historians of political thought who have pointed to the nontheological origins of liberalism. He recognizes the influence of the humanistic neo-Roman theory of liberty, but he says little about the medieval vogue for natural law theories, though it was from this tradition that the idea of human rights emerged in the 17th century, starting with the universal right to self-preservation postulated by Hugo Grotius and Thomas Hobbes. He also makes only the vaguest reference to the resistance theories formulated by Protestant authors in the reign of the Catholic Mary Tudor, which gave the people both the right and the duty to remove tyrannous or idolatrous rulers. Instead, having explained liberalism as a simple reaction to what preceded it, Simpson devotes most of his book not to charting its rise but to following the illiberal progress of Protestantism over the same period, painting a vivid, indeed passionate, picture of what he sees as its devastating contribution to human unhappiness.

Echoing political theorist Michael Walzers 1965 The Revolution of the Saints, which portrayed Puritanism as a revolutionary ideology and the Puritan saint as the first active, ideologically committed political radical, Simpson identifies Protestantism as a revolutionary movement. His original contribution to this insight is to extend the boundaries of the revolution. He argues that the break with Rome was only the first stage in a state of permanent revolution, as Protestants repeatedly and compulsively repudiated previous forms and generated new ones, only to abandon them in due course for yet another nostrum, eventually clearing the path for a new liberal politics.

This is in many respects a useful way to characterize the shifts from the 1530s to the 1640s, from King Henry VIIIs break with Rome to Edward VIs Protestantism, from the Lutheran belief that Jesus Christ was substantially present in the Eucharist to the view of the rite as purely symbolic, from Episcopalianism to Presbyterianism, and from Presbyterianism to sectarianism. Simpson could have found striking corroboration for this process of permanent revolution in the spiritual odysseys of figures like the ex-tailor Laurence Clarkson (16151667). Never satisfied with his religious condition, Clarkson moved from the established church to Presbyterianism, which he rejected in turn to become an Independent, then an antinomian, then a Baptist, then a Seeker, then a Ranter, then a white witch, and finally a Muggletonian. This spiritual restlessness is what Simpson calls English Protestantisms kinetic process of endless movement, yet it was most intense in the years he puzzlingly neglects. He never even mentions the appearance in the 1650s of the Quakers, whose total rejection of a separate priesthood and formal liturgy took Protestantism to its logical and most revolutionary conclusion.

As a way of characterizing English Protestantism, the concept of permanent revolution, with its suggestion that people move to ever more extreme positions, has its limitations. Indeed, some of the makers of the early Reformation were far more radical than most of those who followed them. The Lollards of the 15th century were closer in their views to the sectaries of the 1640s than they were to the leaders of the Elizabethan church. The early reformer Robert Barnes, who was burned for heresy in 1540, declared that no day was holier than the rest, not even Christmas or Easter, while William Tyndale, the biblical translator martyred in 1536, was a mortalist who believed that the soul slept until the general Resurrection. Not until the 1640s were such views publicly ventilated.

One might also question Simpsons insistence that the progress of Protestantism was as relentless as the notion of permanent revolution might suggest. As he admits, it went into reverse in the early 17th century with the rise of Arminianism, which asserted free will against Calvinisms predestination, and with the capture of the Anglican Church by the Laudians, who embraced this new doctrine and introduced elaborate church ceremonial in place of Puritan simplicity. Yet as Simpson rightly notes, it was Arminianism that pointed most powerfully to the liberal future, since its belief in free will became a necessary precondition for liberalisms attachment to individual liberty.Related Article

It is also hard to accept Simpsons claim that Protestantism was more concerned with combating earlier versions of itself than with challenging Catholicism. For all the differences between different brands of evangelicalism, the hatred of popery far exceeded the internecine quarrels among Protestants. Catholic priests were classified as traitors by the government in 1585. The Spanish Armada and the Gunpowder Plot were central to Protestant mythology. The fear of Catholic conspiracies played a crucial role in the origins of the English Civil War and was still present after the Restoration. The Great Fire of London in 1666 was blamed on Catholics, the rumored Popish Plot resulted in a major political crisis in 1679, and James IIs Catholicism played a large part in his downfall.

Simpson takes a dim view of early Protestantism. He is a specialist in late medieval English literature and, unsurprisingly, is partial to the writers of the 14th and 15th centuries. In an earlier work, he contrasted the rich varieties of genres and sensibilities found in the mystery cycles and the writings of William Langland, Geoffrey Chaucer, and Thomas Malory with the centralized uniformity and dreariness of the literature of the early Tudor period. He also remarked on the profound delusions of the evangelical theology that took root in this latter era. He regrets the Protestant destruction of medieval sculpture, wall paintings, and stained glass. But his main objection to the evangelical theologians is that they left no room for human agency. Regarding Gods arbitrary grace as the sole source of redemption, they denied any possibility of achieving it through a life of good works. The fate of all individuals was predetermined, and there was no certain way of knowing if one was saved. For Simpson, this was an absolutist, cruel, despair-producing, humanity-belittling, merit-denying, determinist account of salvation, and only through its rejection could liberalism come into its own.

To make his case, Simpson devotes the great bulk of his book to describing what he sees as the five key features of the Calvinist Protestantism that stood in the way of a liberal outcome: despair, hypocrisy, iconoclasm, distrust of performative speech, and biblical literalism. He chooses to demonstrate their regrettable human consequences by drawing most of his evidence from the imaginative literature of the day. Milton, in particular, gets a disproportionate amount of space, presumably because his writings pose the problem of how the poet, born into a culture of Calvinist predestination, came to express proto-liberal sentiments. But as examples of despair and the vicious psychic torture of not knowing whether or not one was saved, Simpson also cites Thomas Wyatts Paraphrase of the Penitential Psalms and John Bunyans The Pilgrims Progress. He comments on the Kafkaesquequality of this theological world, in which despair is simultaneously the surest sign both of election and of damnation.

To illustrate Protestant hypocrisy, Simpson turns to Zeal-of-the-Land Busy in Ben Jonsons Bartholomew Fair and the Puritan Angelo in William Shakespeares Measure for Measure, two obvious examples of the duplicity generated by the Puritan tendency to prescribe humanly impossible standards of godliness. To capture Calvinist iconoclasm, which moved from the destruction of images in churches to proposals that the churches themselves be destroyed and finally to a psychic iconoclasm against incorrect imaginings, Simpson cites Edmund Spensers The Faerie Queene, which portrays mental images as much worse than physical ones.

Next on Simpsons list of evangelical horrors is the Calvinist attack on performative language, by which he means the attempt to achieve physical effects by words, whether in the ritual of the Catholic Mass or in the curses of supposed witches. He accuses the reformers of inventing (or, alternatively, reinventing) the idea of black magica bizarre suggestion, since witch trials were well underway in 15th century Europe: As Simpson himself recognizes, Malleus Maleficarum, the notorious treatise providing the rationale for such prosecutions, appeared in 1487 and was the work of a papal inquisitor. He also examines the Calvinist attacks on the theater, culminating in the parliamentary ordinance of 1648 abolishing stage plays. In his desire to give that act an exclusively religious explanation, however, Simpson omits its stress on the disorders and disturbance of the peace with which the theaters were associated. Instead he cites Miltons virtuous terrorist Samson, who pulls down a theater and kills the audience, though he does not remind us that Samson Agonistes was itself a play or that the poets original idea was to make Paradise Lost one, too.

Simpsons final theme is the dominance of biblical literalism in evangelical culture. Every aspect of Church doctrine, governance and practice, he points out, was potentially vulnerable to being rejected as idolatrous if it did not find justification in a set of texts at least 1,400 years old. The literal reading of such biblical texts as There is none righteous, no, not one (Romans 3:10) could, he claims, make scriptural reading an experience of existential anguish. He cites the paraphrases of Psalms by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, betrayed by his friends and despairingly awaiting execution in 1547, and Bunyans spiritual autobiography Grace Abounding (1666), which suggests that the authors persecution by the authorities paled to nothing when compared with the way that the biblical text persecuted him as a reader. Returning to his favorite analogy, Simpson remarks that we must look to Kafka to find anything remotely comparable.

Throughout his account of Calvinism and its discontents, Simpsons sympathies lie with the eras anti-literalists, notably Shakespeare, whose Shylock, insisting on the letter of his bond, resembles less the Jews than the Puritan divines in their eager readiness to inflict the arbitrary, inhuman literal sense on their fellow Christians. He admires Milton as another anti-literalist who invoked intention and context in order to produce a self-interested, nonliteral reinterpretation of Christs pronouncement on divorce and whose Paradise Lost bears only the most skeletal relationship to the words of Genesis.

Simpsons study of English Calvinism leaves the reader with a deeply depressing and somewhat overheated view of evangelical religion in the period, which he calls a state-sponsored cultural extremity of a singular, soul-crushing and violence-producing kind. If he had gone beyond his chosen literary sources, he could easily have matched his examples of despairing evangelicals with an equal or perhaps even larger list of readers who claimed to have derived real comfort from the Scriptures. Personal temperament did as much as religious allegiance to determine whether an individual emerged from reading the Bible cheered or depressed. He concedes as much when he remarks that Bunyan clearly manifests the symptoms of chronic depression. Simpson would also have found that many ordinary Protestant clergy were surprisingly tolerant of their unregenerate parishioners belief that they could earn salvation by their own efforts.

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Despite what he sees as its horrors, Simpson concludes that Calvinist theology was by far the most powerful expression of early European revolutionary modernity. It paralleled the administrative centralization carried out by Tudor monarchs by portraying God as invested with massively concentrated executive powers at the center of a purified, utterly homogeneous True Church of the Elect. In due course, the unsustainable violence of the Calvinist revolution produced the great counter narrative of modernity, namely the decentralization of theological and political power and the shift to a more liberal order.

Permanent Revolution is a rich work, abounding in challenging assertions and acute aperus, but at times it is also an infuriating one to read. Simpsons sentences can be convoluted; he employs arcane neologisms like dramicide and is capable of making statements like liberal modernity retrojected its abject onto premodernity. His text is marred by repetitions, careless proofreading, and some embarrassing factual errors. Yet he is extremely well read in modern historical writing as well as early modern literature, and his argument is punctuated by many original insights.

At the end of the book, Simpson returns to his opening theme of the liberal tradition, its origins, and its future. Here he encounters an obvious problem: No one in the 17th century gave the word liberal a political meaning, and the concept of liberalism as a political ideology did not appear until the second decade of the 19th century. So the early modern liberalism of Simpsons book is liberalism avant la lettre. When the concept did appear in the early 19th century, it was rapidly appropriated by politicians of very different hues, as historian Helena Rosenblatt brilliantly demonstrated in her 2018 The Lost History of Liberalism. Yet Simpson uses the word unselfconsciously, as if this notoriously elusive term had only one meaning. Writing as a committed liberal, he defines the tenets of modern liberalism as he sees them. They include the separation of church and state, equality before the law, toleration for minorities, freedom of association, liberty and privacy of conscience, and acceptance of the democratic judgment of the majority. (He does not say whether in the American context this means a majority of voters or a majority of states.) But this is essentially a version of what political philosophers call classical liberalism, the kind inaugurated by John Locke.

Simpson does not seem to recognize that liberalism since the 1680s has taken many different forms, according to who or what is perceived as libertys enemy, and therefore cannot be so narrowly defined. There is the economic liberalism of Adam Smith, whose attack on protectionist legislation and belief in the efficacy of the free market has been resurrected in modern times in an exaggerated form by Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, and there are the new liberals of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, who drew inspiration from John Stuart Mill, T.H. Green, and L.T. Hobhouse and whose central aim was to diminish the social and economic constraints on the personal freedom of the population at large by having the state intervene in the market. In the United States today, all the major political groupings, from Republicans to communitarians, make an appeal to liberty, though they give it very different meanings.

Although Simpson recognizes the slipperiness of the concept, he sticks to his own ahistorical definition of liberalism. His final verdict is that liberalism is an essential guardian of our freedom but that it is currently in global retreat before evangelical religionno longer Protestant this time but manifested in the rise of populist religious forces in India, Algeria, Israel, and Turkey. Liberalism, he warns, has serious weaknesses. It can be ineffective, as in the United States, the land of the free but also the nation with by far the worlds highest gross and per capita prison population. Like the Puritan elect, liberals can be intolerant, virtue-parading, exclusivist, and identitarian. They, too, are subject to the logic of permanent revolution, for there is always a new cause that directs their energies away from the classical liberalism that Simpson regards as their core commitment.

However, liberals greatest mistake, he insists, is to regard liberalism as a worldview that, like Christianity or Marxism, can offer a guide to salvation. In his opinion, liberalism is merely a second-order belief system, designed to preserve a plurality of worldviews by reminding their holders of the constitutional proprieties they should observe when pursuing their goals. Just as early Protestantism caused so much pain by extending its all-embracing tentacles into domains unconnected with spirituality, so liberalism exceeds its brief when it attempts to reshape the world on what Simpson describes as the shallow grounds of abstract, universalist human rights as a set of absolute virtues, and he sees it as particularly odious in its more recent, militantly secularist form.

Implicit in this argument seems to be the notion that, provided all the worlds different cultures and religions tolerate minorities and observe democratic constraints, they should be respected, however much their cultural practices might pose threats to liberal values. This would not have persuaded the late philosopher Richard Rorty, who held that some cultures, like some people, are no damn good: they cause too much pain and so have to be resisted. Which of these views, one wonders, is the more liberal one?

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Does Liberalism Have Its Roots in the Illiberal Upheavals of the English Reformation? - The Nation

As it Stands: In praise of liberalism – UT Daily Beacon

The American political system is broken It has been for nearly three decades. Extremism seems to have usurped pragmatism. The spirit of bipartisanship and compromise are not merely waning but, in many respects, dead altogether.

Politicians constantly warn of threats posed by the opposition be they militant socialists or right-wing tyrants conspiring among the shadows. However, the more likely cause of death will not be at the hands of some radical despot. Americas political system will fail only when its populace perceives it to have stopped working and, in turn, votes to dissolve it.

Democracy dies at the ballot box.

Since the end of the Cold War, most democratic breakdowns have been caused, not by generals and soldiers, but by elected governments themselves, Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, co-authors of the prescient book How Democracies Die, wrote. Like Hugo Chvez in Venezuela, elected leaders have subverted democratic institutions in Georgia, Hungary, Nicaragua, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Ukraine.

In light of a devolving political life in America, one is not unreasonable to question the capacity of democracy to endure during hard times even despite the American varietys tenacity thus far. The depth of constraint and accountability imposed by constitutional order is ultimately dependent upon the willingness of its people to fight and uphold it.

For years, the guardrail sustaining American democracy was a collective, civic commitment to liberalism. As a nation, however, the United States is witnessing what seems to be the gradual death of liberalism and an attack on the ideals underpinning it.

The revolt represents a collective succumbing to those hardships inherent to human coexistence. In truth, liberalism to a degree unlike any principle or philosophy that previously governed society forces us to encounter those unlike ourselves while presupposing our capacity to overcome those differences. At its core, the liberal structure assumes that, more often than not and despite oftentimes vehement disagreement, citizens will come together bound by a human identity more alike than different in pursuit of higher ground.

But the liberal structure requires its practitioners to see more than demagoguery in their political opposition. It requires the type of coalition-building which molds seemingly contradictory truths into one mutually desired, higher truth no matter how divergent the paths were to arrive there. History suggests the reward for doing so has been, to say the least, worthwhile.

Yet, democratic governance is still failing to realize its own potential each day, whether warranted or not, taking on the manic whims of crisis and the American mediascape is partly to blame.

New technologies have radically expanded our ability to make and distribute a product, but the problem, the American novelist Salvatore Scibona writes, is that far too often the product is our judgement of one another.

Some argue these platforms social media and the 24-hour news cycle are the manifestation of a more direct democracy. But research suggests the impact of social media platforms are more complex.

A recent study by Pew Research Center found that 97% of tweets from U.S. adults that mentioned national politics came from just 10% of users. Additional analysis indicates that, on average, Twitter users are younger, more likely to identify as Democrats, more highly educated and have higher incomes than U.S. adults overall. This means, on Twitter, an increasingly prominent way for politicians to gauge public opinion, a disproportionate amount of influence resides with a relatively small subset of young, educated and wealthy users.

On Facebook, Pew finds that more online followers engaged when elected officials took sides, especially when opposing individuals on the other side. These findings flip the incentive structure for political campaigns, who increasingly capitalize on returns to dividing Americans as opposed to uniting them, which is why ever-expanding social technology presents a problem.

To sustain a liberal society, where order and freedom are held in delicate balance, democratic structures demand and therefore must be premised upon a certain objective truth. As the political philosopher John Stuart Mill recognized, a considerable weakness of democratic governance lies in that, inevitably, citizens will not have enough information to make informed decisions about political issues. Popular opinions, on subjects not palpable to sense, are often true but seldom or never the whole truth, he writes.

In its totality, the modern media ecosystem presents a far greater threat than Mill originally theorized, culminating in the rise of illiberal and revolutionary figures, nave to what springs from ideologies defined by zero-sum games, self-righteous indignation and leaders that lament becoming too big of a tent.

Akin to the revolutions of decades past, the revolutionary ethos, however morally valiant its cause, often lacks insight into the historical winds of change and foresight about how to recreate them. It is forsaken by the peril of its own ego, failing to accept that big ideas are usually the condensation of many breaths more than [they are] the wind that blows history forward, as the writer Adam Gopnik articulated in A Thousand Small Sanities.

Revolution, albeit at once a positive and necessary feature of history, narrows the mind so sharply toward a particular injustice, many of which are incurable within the span of a singular human life, that it renders the revolutionary unable to acknowledge the limit of their own power or to accept small steps when larger steps are out of reach.

Knowledge rests not upon truth alone, Carl Jung observed, but upon error also. Liberalism, and the diversity within it, necessitates a breadth of knowledge and error that inform one another so as to climb towards objective truth.

All this is not to mourn the death of liberalism but rather a contemplation on why it must persist and the potential peril if it does not. History doesnt repeat itself, Levitsky and Ziblatt wrote. But it rhymes. The promise of history is that we can find the rhymes before it is too late.

Hancen Sale is a senior majoring in economics. He can be reached athsale@vols.utk.edu, and you can follow him on Twitter @hancen4sale.

Columns and letters of The Daily Beacon are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Beacon or the Beacon's editorial staff.

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As it Stands: In praise of liberalism - UT Daily Beacon

West Virginia governor: Virginia counties unhappy with liberal government should just secede – Fox News

West Virginia's Republican governor urged counties inVirginiathat are unhappy with their state's Democratic majorityto secede and join his state.

Gov. Jim Justice proposed the long-shot bid during a news conference Tuesday withLiberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr.

If youre not happy where youre at, come on down, Justice said.If youre not truly happy where you are, we stand with open arms to take you from Virginia or anywhere you may be. We stand stronglybehind the Second Amendment, and we stand strongly for the unborn.

Democrats regained control of Virginia's General Assembly in November for the first time in more than two decades.

Jerry Falwell Jr., President of Liberty University, and Jim Justice, Governor of West Virginia, answer questions at a press conference at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College on Tuesday in Martinsburg, W.Va. (Ron Agnir/The Journal via AP)

Democratic lawmakersquickly pledged to enact gun control measures, loosenabortion restrictions and prohibit discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

The proposal sparked backlash from conservatives and prompted a gun-rights rally earlier this month that drew thousands from across the country, some dressed in tactical gear bearing weapons.

What's happening in Virginia right now is a tragedy in the making, said Falwell, who heads the evangelical university that was started by his father. Democrat leaders in Richmond, through their elitism and radicalism, have left a nearly unrecognizable state in their wake, and they are using their power to strip away the God-given rights held by every person in the state, despite their due protections under the U.S. Constitution.

Virginia's Democratic Gov. Ralph Northamsaid of the proposal: "Sounds like it's an election year in West Virginia."

What are they doing, a comedy routine? said Republican Sen. Emmett Hanger.

Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, a Democrat, said Justice should focus on addressing his state's high poverty rate, calling the idea "preposterous."

The process to make secession happen is convoluted. Falwell said he was told by lawyers that Virginia counties would need to conductpetition drives, followed by a referendum. If successful, the proposal would go before the Virginia General Assembly.


West Virginia lawmakers have introduced resolutions inviting parts of Virginia to join their state. One targeted Virginia's Frederick County but didn'tfind much support.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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West Virginia governor: Virginia counties unhappy with liberal government should just secede - Fox News

Is the liberal UMC ‘takeover’ cheating traditionalists? – OneNewsNow

Liberals in the United Methodist Church have masterminded a proposal to resolve the theological debate that has consumed their denomination for decades. But a lifelong member of the denomination argues that their "rigged" resolution is anything but equitable for traditionalists.

John Lomperis, a member of the UMC since he was a teenager, is director of Methodist Action for The Institute on Religion & Democracy. He finds it hard to believe how liberals within the denomination can get away with turning the church in an unbiblical direction with a minority of the vote. In his recently posted blog, he poses:

"Will they really keep demanding that votes be blatantly 'rigged' so that their side would 'win' any annual conference currently subject to the traditional biblical standards of the United Methodist Discipline if a mere 44 percent minority vote for such a liberal take-over, while shamelessly imposing a double standard of traditionalist believers needing to muster a 57 percent super-majority just to stick with the same doctrinal and moral standards we have already had?"

He is mesmerized at how a large chuck of the denomination can be led to disregard God's definition of human sexuality and morality.

"How can someone really keep a straight face, in loudly professing to follow Jesus Christ while stubbornly insisting upon disregarding one of His most core teachings?" Lomperis asks. "How can those bishops who have already broken so much trust be trusted to act with honesty, fairness and integrity in managing the transition and sorting processes? These and other very important question will need to be addressed in the days ahead."

It's expected that the historic break in the denomination will occur on the final day of the UMC's annual conference in May in Minneapolis.

"[T]he current denomination now known as the United Methodist Church will evolve into at least two new denominations," Lomperis explains. "One whose moral standards and underlying theology would allow a more permissive approach to same-sex union ceremonies and clergy being sexually active outside of monogamous, heterosexual marriage; and one that would continue the same basic doctrinal and moral standards of the current United Methodist Church."

The major rift, he predicts, will likely be one of unequal proportions.

"The reality is that in any of the likely scenarios for separation, pieces of our denomination as well as conferences, congregations, and people will be divided, with some continuing with one of the new denominations and some continuing with the other," Lomperis adds.

According to IRD's Methodist director, one denomination resulting from the split will probably retain most of the current denomination's hierarchy of general agencies while "abandoning" the greater part of the doctrinal and moral standards of the current denomination.

"The other denomination will be the other way around: abandoning most of the bureaucracy while keeping our doctrinal and moral standards," he writes.

Consequently, he says, the UMC of decades past will be no more.

"The end of our denomination as we know it is an occasion for sadness, and will take time for all of us to process and grieve," Lomperis laments. "The United Methodist Church as we now know it the whole packaged deal of the current structure, doctrine, moral standards, denominational culture, internal divisions, and people will be no more, and two (or perhaps more) new denomination[s] will be born in its place, each inheriting different parts of the old denomination from which they grew."

The left-leaning branch of the split is expected to fall even further down the road of progressive teachings usurping Scripture, according to Lomperis.

"Each denomination can be expected to move in dramatically different directions, suddenly unhindered by internal resistance from those United Methodists who would now be in the other denomination," Lomperis ventures.

And he agrees with others who say issues other than sexuality will differentiate the new denominations.

"I would expect that rather quickly, some of the most prominent differences between the new denominations would be over matters entirely separate from sexuality," he writes, "such as the size of the denominational bureaucracy, or which denomination supports bishops in publicly teaching that Jesus Christ needed to be converted out of His sinful 'bigotries and prejudices' (and which denomination does not)."

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Is the liberal UMC 'takeover' cheating traditionalists? - OneNewsNow

Exclusive: Tories to challenge Liberal Democrats on overspend in St Albans – City A.M.

Local Conservative party associations are preparing to challenge the Liberal Democrats on the partys local spending during Decembers General Election, with the hope of overturning at least one result.

A case is being readied to challenge St Albans, where pro-Leave Conservative Ann Main lost to Daisy Cooper, according to sources close to the matter.

A number of Tories in parts of London and the South West have also said they are also toying with challenging the result, with meetings taking place both in Westminster and in local seats to discuss the issue.

However one MP said the plan was to focus our energies on a seat which could turn back to blue. Richmond Park, where the locally-popular MP Sarah Olney ousted Zac Goldsmith, who was sitting on a tiny majority, is not thought to be on the hit list.

Multiple Conservative MPs and their campaign agents have told City A.M. of unusually high levels of Lib Dem leaflets going out to constituents during last years campaign. There are instances where individuals have reported receiving nearly 30 pieces of literature.

I cant come up with a way that you can do that [within the rules], one party agent told City A.M. We probably put out about a fifth of the literature they did and we are close enough to limit that I would not want to go much beyond certainly not enough to to do four or five-times more.

Alec Campbell, who worked on Mains campaign, said: The challenge is always trying to understand whether every household in the constituency has got that level of literature or just isolated individuals.

Under Electoral Commission rules, updated in the wake of the Craig McKinlay expenses case in South Thanet, notional spending must be declared as an election expense in the candidates return even if the notional spending has not been authorised by the candidate, the candidates agent or someone authorised by either or both of them.

The rules stipulate that local or candidate spend is a maximum of either 6p or 9p per elector, equivalent to around 15,000 in St Albans. This includes advertising of any kind, unsolicited material sent to voters, transport costs, public meetings, staff costs, accommodation and administrative costs.

Party-level spend can include a local newspaper advert as long as it does not mention the local candidate or specifically targeted local issues.

A Liberal Democrat spokeswoman said: All local expenditure in the election was reported correctly and clearly identified in our election return which has been filed with the returning officer.

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Exclusive: Tories to challenge Liberal Democrats on overspend in St Albans - City A.M.

Alan Dershowitz’s impeachment argument is perfectly logical and that’s why liberals are twisting it – Washington Examiner

You can tell how effective Alan Dershowitz has been as a member of President Trumps impeachment team by how vehemently liberals are trying to discredit his performance thus far.

Dershowitz said during Senate trial proceedings on Wednesday that the evidence demonstrates that Trump had a mixed motive in asking Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, including the motive to gain a political advantage as well as advance national interests.

Well, yes, thats the mixed motive every single elected official has when they make every single decision of every single day, assuming theyre not completely corrupt.

And thats precisely the point Dershowitz so eloquently made on the Senate floor.

Every public official that I know believes that his election is in the public interest, and mostly, youre right, he said. Your election is in the public interest, and if a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.

Trumps critics are acting as though Dershowitz was arguing that anything a president does at all, so long as he believes its in the public interest and his own political preservation, is fair and fine, which would be absurd. But dont count on Trumps critics for the context of Dershowitzs argument.

He was referring to the ridiculous abuse of power charge that makes up one of the Democrats impeachment articles, the assertion that even if what Trump did was legal, that he stood to benefit politically makes his actions in and of themselves an impeachable abuse of power.

Dershowitz addressed that twisted logic in previous remarks on the Senate floor. The claim, he said Monday, that foreign policy decisions can be deemed abuses of power based on subjective opinions about mixed or sole motives that the president was interested only in helping himself demonstrate the dangers of employing the vague subjective and politically malleable phrase abuse of power as a constitutionally permissible criteria for the removal of a president.

In other words, to remove a president from office for taking lawful action that he believed advanced public interest and that happened to benefit him politically would set a stupid precedent for what justifies an impeachment.

Critics might find reason to dispute or reject that argument, but theyve opted to rebut something Dershowitz didnt say.

Trump could give pardons for free to the indicted Russian hackers who attacked the 2016 election and basically encourage them to do it again in 2020, according to Alan Dershowitz and Trumps team, tweeted David Corn of the liberal Mother Jones.

No, thats not what Dershowitz said.

Formerly sane Republican Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post said the logical end to Dershowitzs position is that Trump can rig elections, have opponents jailed, anything to cling to power.

No, thats not what Dershowitz said.

New York magazines Jonathan Chait, an otherwise very smart liberal, summed up Dershowitzs argument by writing, If it helps the president win, then you cant impeach.

No, thats not what Dershowitz said.

Dershowitz has all along, in fact, said that a crime or criminal-like behavior would merit impeachment and probably removal from office.

President Richard Nixon, for example, tried to cover up a burglary. Thats criminal-like behavior.

President Bill Clinton, for example, lied to a grand jury. Thats a crime.

Trump? Well, the worst version of events is that he withheld foreign aid (ultimately released) to Ukraine in hopes that he could get its government to investigate the Bidens in a matter that journalists themselves have been probing for years (coming away with more questions than answers). Thats not a crime, nor could it reasonably be described as criminal-like behavior.

Dershowitz isnt even the first person to make this argument. Josh Blackman, a constitutional law professor at South Texas College of Law Houston, made the same case in an op-ed for the New York Times last week.

Politicians pursue public policy, as they see it, coupled with a concern about their own political future, wrote Blackman. Otherwise legal conduct, even when plainly politically motivated but without moving beyond a threshold of personal political gain does not amount to an impeachable abuse of power.

This isnt an argument to say that House Democrats cant do the impeachment that they did. Its an argument that House Democrats shouldnt have done the impeachment that they did and that to remove a sitting president based on an abuse of power charge, wherein nothing even remotely illegal took place, would be a tragedy.

Theres nothing controversial about that position. But thats why Trumps critics arent addressing it.

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Alan Dershowitz's impeachment argument is perfectly logical and that's why liberals are twisting it - Washington Examiner

Don Martin: Unleashing the auditor general on the invisible Liberal infrastructure plan – CTV News

FORT MYERS, FLA. -- Back in the gloom of the 2009 recession, they were everywhere.

Blue and green signs blanketed the countryside, proclaiming Conservative government emergency spending on everything from highways to hiking trails stretching from the eastern tip of Cape Spear to the pounding surf of Tofino, B.C.

They were backed by a television commercial blitz which had viewers rolling their eyes at what was clearly a Conservative arent-we-wonderful propaganda push.

But for all that questionable self-promotional spending, there was no mistaking a rollout of $40 billion in infrastructure spending was underway and that there were shovels behind most of the signs to prove the funds were buying jobs. Even the auditor general of the day was impressed.

There is no similar indication todays muddled Liberal version of the action plan is delivering a big economic bang for all those deep deficit dollars.

Thats partly why the opposition parties united Wednesday to ask the auditor general to examine the $188 billion pledged to keep Canadas already-healthy economy humming.

The only opponent to that push for greater transparency was, to nobodys surprise, the Liberal side of the Commons.

Now, one action plan isnt quite like the other.

There was a bonafide sense of an economic emergency ten years ago that mobilized motivation at all levels to get dollars in active circulation.

Todays hostile provincial premiers may be disinclined to go deeper into deficit to partner with a signature Liberal program or theyre merely taking the federal cash and cutting their contribution to projects already on the books.

And unlike 2010 or 2011, this programs fundamental flaw is trying to force-feed stimulus into an economy where the construction sector is almost fully employed. Its hard to get idle shovels breaking new ground if theyre already working.

Sure, light rail lines in Calgary and Vancouver got a welcome boost, but a big chunk of the money is still sloshing around in unallocated budgets across dozens of departments waiting for a funding partner to sign on or a federal bureaucrat to sign off.

The governments own website gives few details at what is going where and how much.

If indeed the Liberal plan is stimulating economic growth, and there were statistics showing it didnt do much in easing the 2009 recession, the government should be shouting it from the Peace Tower.

If there are holdups to project kickstarts beyond the governments control, it should be transparent about that as well.

But the fact signs of activity dont exist is proof an independent authority like the auditor general needs to give the real impact of this massive borrowing binge a closer and clearer look.

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Don Martin: Unleashing the auditor general on the invisible Liberal infrastructure plan - CTV News

Is this the end of the liberal international order? And what might take its place? – ABC News

Updated January 31, 2020 09:12:56

The liberal international order faces an existential threat, warns the UN Secretary-General, and the world is in grave danger of splitting in two.

"I fear a great fracture with the two largest economies on Earth creating two separate and competing worlds with their own dominant currency, trade and financial rules, their own internet and artificial intelligence capacities and their own zero-sum geopolitical and military strategies," Antonio Guterres recently told UN delegates.

"We must do everything possible to avert the great fracture and maintain a universal system."

This system is structured around ensuring a unitary world economy with "universal respect for international law and strong multilateral institutions".

But foreign policy analysts say an erosion of global governance is already underway and it is proving anything but a neat divide.

"Every day the liberal international order seems less liberal, less international and less orderly," says the Lowy Institute's executive director Michael Fullilove.

He cautions against adopting a simplistic narrative that pits an insurgent China against the US.

"I personally think it will be much messier and probably more dangerous than a simple bifurcation," he says.

Dr Fullilove doubts Beijing has aspirations to simply replace America as the global hegemon.

"I think China is probably in two minds. There are certainly elements of the international system they want to change, but on the other hand they are a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, they have a lot of leverage in New York," he says.

So, the continuation of certain elements of the current international system suits the Chinese government's interest, Dr Fullilove says.

Their primary objective, he believes, is to dominate their region.

"They want an Asia that is focused on China. That is China's first and greatest ambition," he says.

"They don't want the United States to completely leave, necessarily, because having the US there is useful, but they don't want to play second fiddle."

And while US President Donald Trump regularly talks up America's military and economic clout, Dr Fullilove says it is clear Washington's interest in the current system of global cooperation has waned.

"Basically, the leader of the free world at present doesn't believe in the free world and doesn't want to lead it," he says.

"He looks at the liberal international order and he sees an enormous scam that has been visited on his predecessors whom he regards as suckers.

"So, whereas every American president since the Second World War has believed in the order, has basically defined American interests broadly, Mr Trump is an unbeliever in the international order and defines American interests very narrowly."

And America is not alone in adopting a less international mindset; with the rise of populist politics other Western powers are also becoming more inwardly focused.

Hans Maull from the German Institute for Security and International Affairs says it's too early to know what kinds of arrangements might eventually replace the existing liberal international order, the system that has largely kept the world in check since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

He talks of a notable erosion of the effectiveness of global institutions, but he says the very diversity of our international governance bodies makes a complete collapse of the system unlikely.

And he says it's important to acknowledge that current superpower rivalry differs significantly from the Cold War era.

"There is a massive amount of interdependence economically, socially, technologically between China and the United States and across the whole world. This is a new thing," he says.

"And, of course, we do not have the kind of direct political confrontation over what domestic politics should look like.

"That was an important part of the Cold War, we don't have it in quite the same way between the United States and China."

A major difficulty in assessing the health of the liberal international order lies in defining exactly what it constitutes.

For example, while many in the West would naturally include the International Criminal Court, not every country accepts its legitimacy.

Then there's the issue of compliance.

Both China and the US have ignored international laws when it suited them China in the case of its construction of armed artificial islands in the South China Sea, and America with its decision to invade Iraq without UN approval.

In fact, while the United States has routinely condemned Beijing for breaching the United Nations' Convention on the Law of the Sea, Washington itself is yet to formally ratify the treaty, despite being one of its original architects.

"One of the things that's interesting about the liberal international order is how liberal it ever was, and whether or not there's a fairly hefty dose of hypocrisy that goes on with a liberal international order," says Sarah Percy, an international relations expert at the University of Queensland.

"There's an awful lot of imposition, there's an awful lot of 'here, have these liberal democratic values and work with them do what we say but not what we do'."

Dr Percy expects the great powers will continue to ignore or violate international law, but she says the international legal architecture will be imperilled if violations become routine and if middle-ranking, normally law-abiding nations like Australia, Canada and the Scandinavian democracies also begin to follow suit on a regular basis.

Still, she says, it is important to remember there have been many successful instances of international collaboration.

"When we have international disasters like the Fukushima nuclear reactor, or we have a major, major natural disaster, you see people cooperating," she says.

"And you see people increasingly agreeing on things like the prosecution of war crimes.

"It is imperfect, but do we have an overarching principle in the international system that you can't get away with war crimes? Yeah, I think we do."

Simon Chesterman at the University of Singapore agrees.

"States comply with the vast majority of international law, the vast majority of the time," he says.

"It's not because of a threat of coercion, it's because most of the time states realise that it is in their self-interest to have a world governed by law, to have a world that is predictable and stable."

But Oxford University's Ian Goldin believes it is time for radical change.

He says many international institutions like the UN, the IMF and the World Bank have become "overloaded" with "mushrooming mandates".

What's needed, he argues, is a back to basics approach and a root-and-branch rethink of the very idea of global governance.

Professor Goldin has set out five core principles that he says could and should guide all future global initiatives or collaborations.

The first principle involves overreach, he says, recognising that not every dispute should actually be subject to global governance. Global action should only be required on genuinely global problems.

"We should remove the instinct we have to kick things upstairs. And instead try and solve things with a smaller group of actors at different levels. It certainly doesn't have to be governments always," he says.

The second he terms "selective inclusion" pinpointing the necessary key players who need to be included to achieve results.

"One should include the people that really have to be in the room to solve that problem, and without whose presence one couldn't solve it," Professor Goldin says.

"For example, if one's dealing with antibiotic resistance, the pharmaceutical companies would be there, and the consumers of antibiotics."

And again, that might not always involve government officials.

The third principle is what Professor Goldin calls "variable geometry".

Efficiency is essential, he says.

"The small island nation of the Maldives, sinking from rising sea levels, should not be included in questions about regulating climate change but must be included on negotiations about mitigating its impacts," he says.

"If small groups of key countries with much at stake are involved, gridlock can be broken."

The fourth principle, says Professor Goldin, is legitimacy.

"We really do need to ensure that the people that are affected by these decisions feel they are part of them and that they are legitimate, otherwise they will rebel against them," he says.

"We've seen that time and again around the world. That's what populism and nationalism are based on, the illegitimacy of many decisions."

And the fifth and final principle, he says, is enforceability.

"The world is littered with thousands and thousands of treaties and agreements which simply make the people who sign them feel good, become photo-ops, but then there's no enforceability," he says.

In other words, there's no point making agreements that are never going to be followed through.

The paradox of international relations in the 21st century is that while many politicians, academics and analysts believe our governance institutions are straining to cope, there's general agreement that the overall demand for governance remains high.

So too, it seems, does public approval for our major multilateral institutions.

The Pew Research Centre recently surveyed citizens in 32 countries seeking their impressions of the United Nations.

A median of 61 per cent recorded a favourable impression. And there were similar results for other international governance institutions.

So, while dictators, nationalists and the current US President might like to talk down the worth of international institutions, it seems a majority of citizens don't share their negativity.


First posted January 31, 2020 07:00:00

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Is this the end of the liberal international order? And what might take its place? - ABC News

New York’s Liberalism Is a Threat to New Bedford [OPINION] – wbsm.com

Six men accused of operating a $7 million fentanyl distribution ring from a Bronx apartment were released without bail under New York's new criminal justice law on Wednesday after Assistant District Attorney Michael Di Paolo said none of the defendants were eligible for bail.

The New York Post says the apartment was being used as a "heroin and fentanyl packaging mill." The New York Drug Enforcement Task Force says it found hundreds of thousands of envelopes filled with suspected fentanyl that was being prepared for distribution in New York City and New England. That's New Bedford and Fall River and Taunton. To you and your kids and your co-workers and their kids.

A judge in Manhattan District Court ordered the defendants to turn over their passports, as a number of them have connections to the Dominican Republic. The judge ordered them to appear for arraignment on February 27 before releasing them. How dare he?

The Post says lawyers for the defendants convinced the judge that the men are not flight risks because none of them have criminal records and family members with court dealings of their own turned up for their arraignments.

New York's liberal criminal justice reform, drafted and enacted by Democrats, is threatening all of society. Six men who were aiming to flood the streets of New York and New England with $7 million worth of fentanyl were allowed to walk free from a courtroom in Manhattan. That is disturbing.

New York's sanctuary policies recently allowed a 24-year-old illegal immigrant to evade deportation by ICE and once released he is charged with raping and murdering a 92-year woman, breaking her spine and ribs in the process before leaving her for dead on a sidewalk.

Nice going, New York.

There are those in state government who are proposing similar laws for Massachusetts while refusing to enforce existing laws that protect law-abiding residents. We must continue to resist them.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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New York's Liberalism Is a Threat to New Bedford [OPINION] - wbsm.com

Liberal tax cut will cost $1.2-billion more annually than promised: PBO – The Globe and Mail

A new report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer says the federal government's tax cut will cost about $1.2-billion more per year than estimated during the election campaign.

The Canadian Press

The federal governments tax cut will cost about $1.2-billion more per year than estimated during the election campaign, according to a new report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

The Liberal Party platform said the tax cut would reduce federal revenue by $5.66-billion a year once fully implemented in 2023-24. However, in a new report released Tuesday, Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux said the estimated cost for that fiscal year is now $6.85-billion.

The government is planning to introduce legislation that would make the tax cut effective as of Jan. 1, 2020. The change would raise the basic personal amount a non-refundable tax credit that essentially sets the income threshold before owing tax from the current $12,298 for 2020 to $13,229, then gradually increase it to $15,000 for 2023.

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The latest PBO report appears to contradict the offices own costing, given that the Liberal Party platform relied on an independent estimate provided by the PBO. Last year, for the first time, political parties had the option of getting cost estimates from the PBO for specific campaign promises.

However, PBO officials say there are two main reasons Tuesdays estimate is higher. The first is that the Liberal Party asked the PBO to exclude the spousal and dependant benefits from the campaign estimate, but the government has included those in the proposed tax cut presented to Parliament. The second is that Tuesdays report is based on current data for economic growth and tax revenue.

Tuesdays report also provides new details about the distributional impact of the tax cut in 2023.

Couples with children will receive the largest benefit, $573, while a single-person family will receive $189.

Individuals with incomes between $103,018 and $159,694 will be $347 better off. Those with incomes between $51,510 and $103,017 will receive $337. People earning $159,695 to $227,504 are next in line, with a $257 tax cut. Those with incomes between $15,001 and $51,509 will receive $211, and individuals with incomes below $15,000 will save one dollar, on average.

The benefit of the tax cut starts to be phased out for individuals in the second-highest tax bracket and is fully phased out when individuals reach the highest tax bracket, which is estimated to start at $227,504 by 2023. As a result, the PBO said Canadians in the highest tax bracket will end up owing $11, on average.

The NDP has called on Finance Minister Bill Morneau to restrict the scope of the tax cut so that it no longer applies to individuals earning more than $90,000. The NDP said this would help pay for new social spending in areas such as dental care.

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Liberal tax cut will cost $1.2-billion more annually than promised: PBO - The Globe and Mail

Liberal elites shaming of Western culture ignores the true international offenders – Washington Times


An ancient habit of Western elites is a certain selectivity in condemnation.

Sometimes Westerners apply critical standards to the West that they would never apply to other nations.

My colleague at the Hoover Institution, historian Niall Ferguson, has pointed out that Swedish green-teen celebrity Greta Thunberg might be more effective in her advocacy for reducing carbon emissions by redirecting her animus. Instead of hectoring Europeans and Americans, who have recently achieved the planets most dramatic drops in the use of fossil fuels, Greta might instead turn her attention to China and India to offer her how dare you complaints to get their leaders to curb carbon emissions.

Whether the world continues to spew dangerous levels of carbons will depend largely on policies in China and India. After all, these two countries account for over a third of the global population and continue to grow their coal-based industries.

In the late 1950s, many elites in United States bought the Soviet Union line that the march of global communism would bury the West. Then, as Soviet power eroded in the 1980s, Japan Inc. and its ascendant model of state-sponsored industry became the preferred alternative to Western-style democratic capitalism.

Once Japans economy ossified, the new utopia of the 1990s was supposedly the emerging European Union. Americans were supposed to be awed that the euro gained ground on the dollar. Europes borderless democratic socialism and its soft power were declared preferable to the reactionary United States.

By 2015, the EU was a mess, so China was preordained as the inevitable global superpower. American intellectuals pointed to its high-speed rail transportation, solar industries and gleaming airports, in contrast to the hollowed-out and grubby American heartland.

Now the curtain has been pulled back on the interior rot of the Chinese Communist Party, its gulag-like re-education camps, its systematic mercantile cheating, its Orwellian surveillance apparatus, its serial public health crises and its primitive hinterland infrastructure.

After the calcification of the Soviet Union, Japan Inc., the EU and the Chinese superpower, no one quite knows which alternative will next supposedly bury America.

The United States and Europe are often quite critical of violence against women, minorities and gays. The European Union, for example, has often singled out Israel for its supposed mistreatment of Palestinians on the West Bank.

Yet if the purpose of Western human rights activism is to curb global bias and hate, then it would be far more cost-effective to concentrate on the greatest offenders.

China is currently detaining about a million Muslim Uighurs in re-education camps. Yet activist groups arent calling for divestment, boycotts and sanctions against Beijing in the same way they target Israel.

Homosexuality is a capital crime in Iran. Scores of Iranian gays reportedly have been incarcerated and thousands executed under theocratic law since the fall of the shah in 1979. Yet rarely do Western activist groups call for global ostracism of Iran.

Dont look to the U.N. Human Rights Council for any meaningful condemnation of worldwide prejudice and hatred, although it is a frequent critic of both the United States and Israel.

Many of the 47 member nations of the Human Rights Council are habitual violators of human rights. In 2017, nine member nations persecuted citizens who were actively working to implement U.N. standards of human rights.

There are many reasons for Westerners selective outrage and pessimism toward their own culture. Cowardice explains some of the asymmetry. Blasting tiny democratic Israel will not result in any retaliation. Taking on a powerful China or a murderous Iran could earn retribution.

Guilt also explains some of the selectivity. European nations are still blamed for 19th-century colonialism and imperialism. They will always seek absolution, as the citizens of former colonial and Third World nations act like perpetual victims even well into the postmodern 21st century.

Virtual-signaling is increasingly common. Western elites often harangue about misdemeanors when they cannot address felonies a strange sort of psychological penance that excuses their impotence.

It is much easier for the city of Berkeley, California, to ban clean-burning, U.S.-produced natural gas in newly constructed buildings than it is to outlaw far dirtier crude oil from Saudi Arabia. Currently, the sexist, homophobic, autocratic Saudis are the largest source of imported oil in California, sending the state some 100 million barrels per year, without which thousands of Berkeley motorists could not get to work. Apparently, outlawing clean, domestic natural gas allows one to justify importing unclean Saudi oil.

Western elites are perpetually aggrieved. But the next time they direct their lectures at a particular target, consider the source and motivation of their outrage.

Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, is the author of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won (Basic Books, 2017).

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Liberal elites shaming of Western culture ignores the true international offenders - Washington Times

The strange new liberal attraction to the feds – The Spectator USA

In a political era defined by abnormalities, few developments are as bizarre as the newfound liberal admiration for federal law enforcement.

Given its rich history of activism and countercultural tendencies, the left has traditionally regarded federal law enforcement with hostility. Looking back, this attitude has been largely earned.

Throughout the 20th century, radical leftists were relentlessly targeted under the guise of protecting America from seditious ideologies. For instance, from 1919 to 1920 thousands of suspected communists were arrested in sweeping raids that spanned 23 states. Subsequent attempts to combat subversives would prove no less appalling: in 1964, the FBI hatched at blackmail plot aimed at coercing Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. to commit suicide.

Given this sordid past, its unsurprising that many Democrats viewed the FBIstreatmentof Hillary Clinton in 2016 as more of the same. In the New York Times, Andrew Rosenthalaccused erstwhile FBI director James Comey of interferingon behalf of the Republican party. The Guardian went further, offering a portrait of the FBI that suggested it was Trumpland.

But the world spins in a different direction only a few years later: allegations of a partisan conspiracy come from the right, while federal investigators arehros de la rsistance. Indeed, firing the man onceblamedfor Clintons electoral demise has become an impeachable offense, and his testimony fit foryoga watch parties.

Of course, tribal loyalties easily explain these transformations investigating enemies is righteous, while investigating allies is nefarious. Once federal agents began probing Trumpworld, many of his supporters discovered the virtues of due process overnight, while Democrats began sounding like rural sheriffs, spewing platitudes about innocent people having nothing to hide.

So whose side are the feds really on? This is likely the wrong question. As Jack Goldsmith and Bob Bauer note, the problems at the FBI revealed by multiple inspector-general investigations do not cut politically in one direction. Individual political biases exist, but the overarching bias is institutional. Federal investigators fashion themselves as guardians of order and seek to defeat those they think threaten it, whether environmental activists, right-wing populists, or drug dealers. While the vast majority are patriots committed to the public good, their righteousness can manifest itself in dangerous ways, fostering an ends justify the means mentality.

One such case study is presented by DoJ Inspector General Michael Horowitzs report examining the FBIs use of FISA while investigating the Trump campaign. The IG report exposes a pattern of misconduct that, in every significant instance, disadvantaged the suspect. This is all the more disturbing given that FISA applications are approved 99 percent of the time. While FISAs defenders have long claimed that this statistic is misleading, Horowitzs report compels us to ask whether the hurdles we expect the government to clear before jettisoning our liberties are, in reality, mere rubber stamps. If rules are bent in such a high-profile case, how often do run-of-the-mill suspects fall prey to such oversights?

While we romanticize ideals like innocent until proven guilty, the truth is that the scales are tipped heavily in the governments favor. In fact, they almost never lose: the DoJs conviction rate regularly exceeds 95 percent. This unsettling statistic is largely explained by a draconian federal code and the aggressiveness of prosecutors. For example, if someone accused of bribing her daughters way into USC dares mount a defense, prosecutors will likely hit Aunt Becky with charges better reserved for someone washing money for the Sinaloa cartel.

The goal? Capitulation. While we like to imagine the adjudication of truth or fair justice to be the principal motivation driving our system, the desire to swiftly dispose of cases and protect prosecutors near-perfect records more often prevails.The latest US Sentencing Commissionsreport reveals that a staggering 97.4 percent of offenders pleaded guilty, rather than being convicted in trial. The prospect of years in a hellacious federal prison reliably inspires people to leap for any deal on offer.

Some readers will surely be unmoved, confident that they are law-abiding citizens. But have they ever gotten lost in the woods? Faked a sick day? As Mike Chase hilariously demonstrates inHow to Become a Federal Criminal, federal law criminalizes a virtually infinite range of behavior, from moving a park bench to making an unreasonable gesture to a passing horse. Indeed, no oneactually knows the total number of federal crimes (allattemptsat a tally have ended in failure.) Sure, prosecutorial discretiontypically prevents the most obscure of these offenses from being charged. But the potential for abuse remains: just ask the Michigan Fish Dealer doing time for trout trafficking.

Federal investigators can devise a plausible justification to target almost anyone. And if their initial suspicions prove unfounded, they are adept, as former prosecutor Ken White notes, at turning investigations of crimesinto schemes toproduce new crimes. It is routine, he emphasizes, to convict people not for the subject of the investigation but for how they react to it.

There is no shortage of hypocrisy on either side. But our views of law enforcement cannot be governed by tribalism: overlooking injustices perpetrated against our adversaries only reinforces behavior that harms all Americans.

Our system grants federal law enforcement extraordinary power to ruin lives. The time has come for Americans of all stripes to ask how freely they should be allowed to wield it.

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The strange new liberal attraction to the feds - The Spectator USA

This is a slippery slope: Petition against Liberal assault rifle ban receives thousands of signatures – Edmonton Journal

Semi-automatic AR-15's are for sale at Good Guys Guns & Range on February 15, 2018 in Orem, Utah.George Frey/Getty Images

An Alberta-led federal petition opposing a ban on military-style assault rifles without first having a debate has received more than a hundred-thousand signatures in just a short period of time.

As of Saturday, the 60-day petition, known online as e-2341, has received more than 107,000 signatures since launching on Dec. 17. The petitions main problem is how the Liberal government plans to impose a ban on military-style assault rifles through an Order in Council instead of having it debated in the House of Commons.

Medicine Hats Brad Manysiak, who started the petition, said how the government is approaching this doesnt sit well with him.

Thats an egregious overreach of parliamentary power, he said. When we change laws in Canada, historically, its debated, it goes to the Senate, it has a specific path it has to take in order for something to become law. Usually, there has to a lot of public support for it. This is a slippery slope.

A spokesperson from the Minister of Public Safety in an email said a ban is coming.

Military-style assault rifles have been used in Canada to target women and students, the spokesperson said. Police chiefs in our country have been advocating for restrictions on assault weapons for more than four decades. Weve listened, and, as promised to Canadians in the recent election, we will ban military-style assault rifles.

The spokesperson said the ban would not affect rifles and shotguns designed for hunting and pest control.

Ottawa is also looking at introducing a buyback program but the cost to do so is estimated to be in the hundreds of the millions. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair told reporters months ago that there are about 250,000 semi-automatic assault rifles legally owned in Canada.

Manysiak called this a kneejerk reaction by the government, especially in light of an increased amount of handguns used in Toronto-area shootings. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised he would allow municipalities and provinces to implement handgun bans if they so choose.

Its not being directed in the proper way, Manysiak said. Its not directed at the problem.

He said owning a gun in Canada is a long and arduous process and even when someone passes, a gun owners name is constantly being run through the RCMPs database to ensure no crimes have been committed.

Medicine Hat MP Glen Motz is expected to present the petition in the House after its closed on Feb. 15. Manysiak didnt believe it would be enough to change the governments mind but will send a message to the Liberals given the amount of support and media attention the petition has received.

With files from The Canadian Press



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This is a slippery slope: Petition against Liberal assault rifle ban receives thousands of signatures - Edmonton Journal