Letters to the Editor
Readers write about liberalism and the results of the Democratic primary in Texas.
How liberalism has changed, and affected AmericaSkip to next paragraph
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In response to Walter Rodgers's March 18 Opinion piece, "Liberalism is gone – don't let tolerance pass with it": The piece raises an important question for all Americans. A few years ago, my professor in a PhD seminar on civil society would challenge us to conjecture what form of government might follow a liberal democracy. There was a popular debate in academic circles at the time that liberal democracy might be the end of history. Mr. Rodgers's fear of losing tolerance is certainly an important one, but in our seminar we worried more that a continually right-leaning democracy would ultimately end in totalitarianism.
Regarding Walter Rodgers's recent Opinion piece on liberalism: The liberals are gone but have been replaced by the "progressives."
Many people in this country get confused by the current labels of liberal and conservative. Labels and positions are always evolving with time in our society. For example, compassionate conservatives like George W. Bush are actually the old liberals. Prescription drugs for the elderly and funding for AIDS prevention in Africa are both liberal positions. I am not taking a position on whether the elderly should or should not have that benefit; it is the label the person is wearing that I am writing about.
The progressives need to take a new look at European history. They confuse a dictator with someone on the right, but the truth is, Hitler, for example, presided over the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi). All opposition was crushed under that banner.
Modern progressives seem to want little or no debate on issues but would rather shout down all opposition and not give them a chance to be heard. This is happening at many of our universities today.
Watch out for labels. Instead, look at what the person actually does, not what he says.
Regarding Walter Rodgers's recent Opinion piece on the decline of liberalism: The essence of liberalism was tolerance, not government programs. Liberals forgot that, and in fact raced to embrace the "big-government liberal" label placed on them by conservatives. There are important liberal causes that desperately need defending and that don't need big-spending government programs. These include equality under the law, environmental responsibility, respect for other nations (especially our allies), and personal freedom, to name a few. But "liberals" took up as their causes reverse discrimination, public funding for nonsense like "self-esteem training," and endless pork. Our country has dumped them because they lost their way.