Sunday, September 9, 2012

The True Liberal

Scott Bradley


Having just contrasted doubt and belief in a previous post, it brought to mind differences between those who believe and those who doubt. As with all things spoken, it is best to remember that 'proper doubt' casts whatever might be said into the context of ambiguity; like life itself, nothing is definitive. This applies below.

The true conservative believes. The true liberal doubts. The true conservative knows. The true liberal does not.

The true conservative knows what is right and what is wrong. The true liberal is unsure.

Consider the debate between Bush and Gore (or was it the other guy?). Bush knew that abortion was wrong. His opponent replied that nothing is so black and white; there is ambiguity, areas of grey.

The Republicans know what is best and right for us all. The Democrats are not so sure. The Republicans would legislate, and thereby impose, their beliefs on us all; they would remove a 'woman's right to choose'. The true liberal might very well find abortion distasteful, but she would not deign to deny the right of others to hold a differing opinion. Doubt implies ambiguity, and ambiguity implies tolerance. Belief sees no ambiguity, and therefore, no need for tolerance. Ironically, it is those who most harp on personal freedoms and the threat of 'big' government to those freedoms, who would limit them most. There are still states that have laws against any way of 'doing it' but the 'missionary' way.

Personally, I find the abortion debate very challenging. I don't much care for abortions. It is certainly a lousy method of birth control. Responsible precaution is certainly much to be preferred. (What is involved is not just the life of the fetus, but also the heart of the woman.) But there are many other reasons to have an abortion. And, in the end, unless I get pregnant, which seems highly unlikely given my maleness, because of the ambiguity, it is not my decision to make. It's cute how guys say, "We are pregnant", but in truth, no 'we' has ever been pregnant. Nevertheless, true conservatives would require an adolescent victim of incest to carry her pregnancy to term. Ah, the simplicity of knowing the truth! One begins to appreciate the ‘primitivist’ contributor to the Zhuangzi who tells us it is the ‘sages’ who bring the most suffering to the world.

True liberals doubt. This is the heart of the Enlightenment. Of the compromising give-and-take of democracy. Of the tolerance of secular government. True conservatives believe. Behold, theocracy looms. And you vill obey.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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