Liberal intellectual Alan Dershowitz is dead-on when he notes that Media Matters and other radical leftist groups like Color of Change and Think Progress are not in any way liberal in their thinking:
“First of all, they are not liberals. They are radical Stalinists for the most part. They bear no relationship to liberality.
Liberals want to see an open marketplace of ideas. They don’t try to shut down debate the way these guys are trying to shutdown… They don’t employ left-wing McCarthyism they way these guys do… these guys have nothing to do with liberalism.
They’re radical extremists. Many of them support Hezbollah and Hamas and other groups that would execute gays, that would execute dissidents, many of them are pro-Iran in their support, and are against sanctions against Iran.
So this has nothing to do with liberals…”
Dershowitz is of course correct.
What passes today for political “liberalism” in this day and age is anything but liberal in nature or practice. They are fanatics as deadly earnest in their beliefs as the radical Islamist groups they find common cause with on a regular basis, and are just as open to an open and honest exchange of ideas.
Real liberals are found on the political left, center, and right, for they share this definition of the word.
…favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, especially as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.
Alan Dershowitz and Ron Kuby drive me up the proverbial wall politically and I disagree with them vehemently about many things, but I love that they fight for the right for everyone to be heard, including those they disagree with strongly themselves. They get it, as Rand and (God help me) Ron Paul seem to get it from the other side of the political divide.
These people are classical liberals, and I suspect many that call themselves “libertarians” or “conservatives” today fall into this class, far more than would the majority of the radical “Stalinist bigots” that desire a powerful “Big Brother” to squelch competing ideas.
Truth be told, I am probably best defined as a classical liberal.
Here’s a simple test if you aren’t sure where you stand.
If you don’t think “marriage” should be a matter for the state to discuss at all, but is a religious matter, and the citizens of the states should determine whether the legal contract of civil unions between two partners should be treated entirely as a legal contract, you are probably a classical liberal (this is where I stand). If you think the state should outlaw marriage and social contracts between same-sex couples, then you are probably a social conservative, which is a right-leaning statist position. If you think that the state should force everyone to recognize the legal contract of a same-sex unions as a marriage, then you are probably a radical leftist, which is a left wing statist position. Of course, there are gradations and variations of each, but you get the point. A lot of folks who call themselves “liberal” and “conservative” are anything but liberal or conservative. They are just statists aiming at very different kinds of conformity.
Real liberals–classical liberals–seem all too few and far between in this day and age, and we’re a weaker nation for it.