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What Do You Think? Liberal Philosophy is American Philosophy

Apr 11, 2017 03:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
By Ellen Moyer

Flash! The headline read, “Super Bowled Over By Liberal Ads.” It was a message from The Family Resource Council that arrived in my email. Provocative ads, controversial statements such as, “We all belong,” “subliminal rainbow messages,” the Super Bowl advertisers “throw their lot in with the Liberal crowd,” the FRC exclaimed. Hmmm.

What is the Liberal crowd?

The classic definition of “liberal” is a world view founded on the idea of liberty and equality, characterized by freedom of speech, press, religion, free markets, equal rights, democratic (rule of the common man as opposed to an elite or monarchy) society, and rule of law. Sounds like the values that built the United States into a world leader.

So why is liberal now a term loaded with negativity? The leftist thinking?

Would its opposite might be considered the Conservative, the right? A culture cautious about change and adhering to traditional attitudes; unadventurous and reactionary. Forty percent of Americans call themselves Conservatives. Sometime in the recent past, The Atlantic magazine, in an article titled “What Americans Mean When They Say They Are Conservative,” identified 21 identifying statements. One statement said Conservatives “…desire to preserve the political philosophy and rules of government articulated in the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence.”

Interestingly, these documents embody the philosophy of John Locke, noted as the Father of Liberalism. Locke, an English philosopher, was born in 1632 and considered the most influential thinker of the Enlightenment. Christian thinking and adherence to the verbal inspiration of the Bible and a life inspired by Jesus and the Golden Rule underlay much of his thinking in his essays and treatises that are the foundation of Western philosophy. He believed in human nature characterized by reason and tolerance and the consent of the governed to protect life, liberty, and property broadly defined as human interests. This is the basis of Thomas Jefferson writing “…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton called John Locke, “One of the greatest men that ever lived.” The Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution (the oldest surviving, still active, government-codified constitution), and the Bill of Rights embody the principals of Liberalism defined by John Locke.

The next time the term Liberal is defiled, so is our American way of life as defined in the very documents our forefathers created and deemed vital to the success of the United States of America.

Left or right? You cannot have it both ways.

What do you think & why?

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