The so-called “Liberals” are not Liberals at all, they just employ the misleading term to draw supporters. Those advocating for Marxist-Leninist positions have hijacked the word Liberalism (that invokes liberty, freedom) to garner support from the younger strata of society, who unfortunately lack political culture and the will to perform a proper research before falling for the mermaid's spell.
The idea of Liberalism was born in the 17th century and expanded throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. It started as the quest for freedom of expression, of thought; for religious tolerance, free trial, free markets, political freedom, rule of law and then it ended as the fight against capitalism.
"The liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties" - John MiltonIt is very important to look at the details of what people say, what they advocate for, before deciding to following them based on simplified, and often misleading, labels. So what's liberalism and what does a liberal really look like?
It was born in 1776, when Adam Smith authored the book “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations". In this context, Liberalism defends that in order to have greater economic growth (to have more equitable distribution of wealth among the population) the following conditions must be met:
- Government is required to balance its budget
- Government should divest itself of any service that can be provided by the private sector
- Reduction or elimination of most business regulation
- Taxes should be low and simple to calculate over a very broad base of taxes
- Trade among nations should be carried out with few, if any, protectionist constraints
International Political Liberalism
In international relations, Liberalism is characterised by an assumption that international institutions promote world peace, spread democracy and capitalism (John Mearsheimer) because the more prosperous democracies there are in the world the least conflicts there will be (due to the Peace Theory). This assumption is based on the primary liberal emphasis on non-state actors as important players in the international system – inasmuch as States are not the sole important actor in that same system).
Liberals (also known as institutionalists) "place a primary emphasis on the actions and interests of individuals and groups, and namely these interests within a state" (source). They also believe that in state cooperation, along with economic liberalism, there will be a system of economic interdependence, and political cooperation, that will greatly reduce the chances of conflicts among nations.
Conclusion: under the context of international relations, institutionalists still believe in economic liberalism – a key feature of the liberal ideology; therefore, a true liberal cannot lean to the left spectrum of the political aisle, since capitalism (including the ethical and philanthropic types) plays a vital role in this political philosophy. As we know, Marxist-Leninists' primary target is capitalism.
It was born in the end of the 19th century, in a period of economic strife, wild capitalism (known as laissez-faire capitalism) and the rise of socialism. This theory advocates for greater government intervention (because the State is viewed as the main protector of the social, political and economic ecosystems in which the individual will have the best chance of acting according to his conscience).
Then in the 20th century, a new form of social liberalism defended that individual liberty was only achievable under favourable social and economic conditions provided by the government, since the five giants of evil (squalor, ignorance, want, idleness and disease) made it impossible for people to enjoy freedom and individuality. The New Liberals defended a strong, welfare-centred and interventionist state. In other words: socialism minus direct attacks on capitalism – just like Hitler's programme of interventionism.
Leftists calling themselves liberals are, in fact, misleading People because they are not liberals at heart. Being a Liberal means staying semper fidelis to economic liberalism as the only gateway to true freedom of the individual. Defending State Interventionism (the Nazi Paradigm) and attacking Capitalism is a blatant infringement of the liberties of individuals; so their advocates are not Liberals, but socialists – if not communists, depending on further details of the positions they defend.
It can be argued that these left-leaning creatures are not misleading folks because they are after all social liberals; however, the devil is in the details and as it has been showed, social liberalism is an expedient way of passing socialist ideas without using the exact term, without scaring the socialism-adverse electorate while drawing the young ignorant crowds to their camp. This ambiguity is fostered to garner votes – recognise the pattern?
Nota Bene: calling oneself a Progressive while defending old ideas, is an oxymoron. Progress implies improvement, advance, moving forward; thus, using failed ideologies and taking obsolete positions that have been proven detrimental to society, is being regressive. So perhaps, leftists (in America, especially) should call themselves Regressive - but the truth is never appealing, right?
(Image: John Locke [Hermitage] - Sir Godfrey Kneller)