I have been writing this column for over two years. I view it as an evidence-based, progressive viewpoint. Over those two-plus years, I have received both positive and negative feedback. Unfortunately, most of the negative comments are ad hominem attacks against me rather than counterarguments. In other words, they resort to name-calling, reminiscent of Donald Trump. I have been called a socialist and a communist, neither of which is true. I have also been called a “mental midget” by my congressional representative!
According to Merriam-Webster, socialism is “any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.” Rather, I believe in regulated capitalism. I believe that an important function of government is based on the preamble of the Constitution:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The important part is “promote the general welfare.” Without regulation, corporations—or any individual—could threaten our safety, economic well-being, general welfare, and liberty. These regulations, rather than stymie our freedoms, actually guarantee them. We are not free to yell “Fire” in a theater. We are not free to hit someone with whom we disagree. Corporations are not free to produce goods that are dangerous to the public. They are not free to pollute the environment which would destroy our freedom to enjoy it. So, no, I am not against capitalism. I am not a socialist.
I am certainly not a communist. Again, according to Merriam-Webster, communism is “a way of organizing a society in which the government owns the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) and there is no privately owned property.” Rather, I believe in privately owned businesses and other property. Again, there are limitations. I own property; however, there are zoning and other laws about how I may use my property, most of which are there for the benefit of my neighbors or the common good.
So what am I? I am proud to say that I am a Liberal. Merriam-Webster defines liberalism as “a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties.” I believe in progress, in looking forward to making the lives of our citizens better rather than trying to replicate a former time. I believe in looking at the challenges that face us in the future, the greatest being the destruction of our environment, and doing something about it now.
I believe in the essential goodness of humans, that most humans are good people, unlike what Sen. Joe Manchin believes. He has raised concerns that the Child Tax Credit would be used to buy drugs. Sure, a few parents might do this, but why deny the payment to the vast majority of good parents who would not buy drugs but, rather, make a better life for their families? As a Liberal, I do not believe in punishing the many for the indiscretions of the few.
I also believe in the autonomy of the individual. I do not accept the hypocrisy of anti-vaxxers saying “My body—my choice” while trying to deny the same to women regarding their bodies.
I believe in protecting our political and civil liberties. I believe that voting is a right not a privilege. I believe that all people should have the same privileges and rights regardless of the color of their skin, their ethnicity, their religion or lack of one, their gender, their sexual orientation, or their having a disability.
I am a proud Liberal.
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