Thursday, June 24, 2004

I Am a Liberal

During the last twenty years, the word “liberal” has become an insult and a source of shame. Bah, I say! Bah! I am a flaming liberal, and unrepentantly so. I like it. As a liberal, I believe that…

- Government should stay out of private and moral matters. Private citizens should be free to marry, have sex, seek or avoid medical treatment, and otherwise conduct their personal lives without undue official interference.
- There should be a strict wall of separation between church and state. Religion has in my opinion flourished at least in part because it operates independently of the government, and government has become more evenhanded for the same reason. Keeping religion and government well clear of each other has contributed to the wonderful diversity of our society.
- Government regulation is not the source of all evil, but has been and can continue to be a beneficial influence upon our society. Child labor laws, health and safety standards, and clean air and other pro-environment regulations have without question contributed to the health and well being of our society.
- The primary goal of the criminal justice system is not to wreak vengeance, but to protect society from those members who choose to make themselves dangerous, and to rehabilitate those who choose to be rehabilitated. This view does not preclude society from taking a strong stance against crime, but should temper the laws we make and the punishments we levy.
- Equality under the law, regardless of race, sex, religion, ability and sexual orientation should be sacrosanct, and honored by government on local, state, and national levels.
- Although personal responsibility is the primary determinant in the success of each individual, government can and should implement programs like public education and universal health care that benefit us all, directly or indirectly, and make success easier to achieve.
- Taxation should be progressive, with those of greater means sharing a greater part of the burden.
- Elections are the mechanism that make our democracy work, and one of our top priorities should be ensuring that elections are fair, accessible, and reflective of public opinion.

There. That’s not so bad, is it?

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