Liberalism Defined: A Collective Credo
We on the Left, known more popularly today as Progressives, have often been subject to much
criticism from those on the opposite side, more commonly referred to as the Right – the
Conservatives. Liberals have been accused of all kinds of things, when all we really seek is
coexistence. Oddly, we on the Left often believe in many of the same things as those on the Right, under the overall banner of Freedom and Equality. How we approach and practice our free
expressions can vary widely and be vastly different.
To clarify some basic truths here, this individual Liberal will put into a few words what I
believe to be our collective credo. Liberals mostly speak from the heart, because that is the source of our philosophy and practice.
In my mind, the L word can be equated with another L word: love. It is about the loving and caring of others that is the basis for all Liberal thought. It is also about loving one’s self. This translates into tolerance, understanding, and respect for all individuals despite contrasts.
The Liberal mind knows well that differences exist among people and accepts such things. Liberals should not impose their belief system upon other people. It is a simple live and let live philosophy.
Life however is not a simple affair. Everyone has the freedom to live as they choose within our constitutional framework. This is our guaranteed right in a truly democratic society. People choose various lifestyles, diverse faiths, and never should any governing body show partiality or preference. No group can justify active opposition to another’s way by claiming self-
prescribed moral grounds. No one has that right.
The late Edgar Cayce spoke of having a simple mission here on the planet, and that was to be of service to all. His example should arouse the giver in all of us. Our true moral obligation should be to help others, best accomplished without judgement or condemnation. This is
tolerance and respect. By helping others, we are also helping ourselves.
Compassion is the innate emotion that drives the liberal cause. Let us compassionately make laws and regulations that will honor and protect the whole of society and not favor any group large or small. Jeremy Bentham and John Mill wrote of this in 19th century England, while
defending the rights of women and seeing them as equal to men. They serve as great models for today’s governing policies and actions. Social policies supported by laws and regulations need not frighten people, rather such policies seek to unite people on equal footing.
Liberalism is often associated with one political party, but this is not exclusive. Those of us on the Left, have much to benefit by listening to those on the Right. The left hand needs the right hand and vice versa. The greater good should be our mutual goal. It is not naivete to believe that we all share some social responsibility as we make our place in the world.
Reigniting the “melting pot” idealism on which this country was built is the path we must
reclaim. An atmosphere of openness makes for the healthiest situation of sharing, learning, and gaining. We need not compete, rather let us assist those who have come to this place
after us. Change will be positive only when we look at the larger picture of how we will all be affected. We must look to change the causes of problems, rather than address only the
symptoms. Helping others to ultimately help themselves is the best direction in improving our world. Let care and compassion be the forces that drives both the Left and Right.
Let us not dictate to anyone but act in the most understanding and respectful ways, working to reinforce the dignity of all people. A Liberal mind with a gentle hand can work and need not be viewed as something threatening. Liberals are not better than anyone else or know everything. Conservatives have their own valid views and should be acknowledged.
The same attitudes described here pertain to our outlook toward the planet. Our shared
responsibilities are enormous, to sustain and support the vital life resources of our world.
Our connectedness to the planet and greater universe is the very truth in which we all
depend. We must all partake in being custodians of our world. Social responsibility, civil
liberty, geophysical awareness, and common interactions are the mainstays for us all.
May we all on the Left and Right participate.