'Fearful people are more dependent, more easily manipulated and controlled, more susceptible to deceptively simple, strong, tough measures and hard-line postures. They may accept and even welcome repression if it promises to relieve their insecurities.'
- George Gerbner
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of equality and liberty. It promulgates reason as the primary source for legitimacy and authority. It stands in direct opposition to religion endorsed by the state, and plutocracy, the modern equivalent of absolute monarchy and the Divine Right of Kings.
The American Revolution (can you hear me Mr. Teabag?) promulgated liberal philosophy as their justification in rising up against the Crown.
Civil rights, individual liberties, the peaceful coexistence of different lifestyles and interests, where the common good can be achieved on the battlefield of dialogue, where power is not concentrated, and mutual respect and tolerance are exhorted... that's liberalism folks.
The antithesis of liberalism is elite theory where the windfall apples need be reserved for the more equal brain workers.
And what is conservatism?
As Robert Eccleshall once opined : 'It is the persistent image of society as a command structure in which the responsibilities of leadership can be exercised within the framework of a strong state manifested in divine-right royalism.'
Deference to authority, traditional institutions, an opposition to modernism, a yearning for the 'good old days', and advocacy of minimalistic change is the bedrock of conservative opinion.
British Psychologist Glenn Wilson stated per his book, 'The Psychology of Conservatism' (1973), that a general factor underlying conservative beliefs is "fear of uncertainty."
To apply these categories, ontologically, to today's conservative and liberal is challenging to say the least.
A conservative president embarking on nation building with the aplomb of a bong-addicted college liberal? Hey we didn't put up that Mission Accomplished sign, we have no idea how it got there. Democracy is on the march dude!
A liberal president advocating Potemkin health reform, approximately a third a trillion to the insurance industry over 10 years, decried by conservatives, whose last president prescribed 8 trillion in unfunded benefits, as socialism? The same president lauding nearly a hundred billion in weapons as a jobs creation program?
An ubiquitous bankster friendly policy, (although to be fair Bush just gave Paulson the keys, Barry Dunham actually had a stronger hand on the rudder) where trillions in rich folks' bad speculative bets were swept under the FASB? And a continuing national discourse squabbling about nickels as the banksters steal gold bars out the back?
The liberal welfare state? Who's zoomin' whom? Welfare is most certainly not just for liberals in the United States of America LLC.
It is curious though that few if any of the Tea-baggin' crowd would describe themselves as liberal and yet they seem to be drawn from the well of classic liberalism, as were our Founding Fathers, opposing elitism which ironically the ideology of the rich have conflated for them as today's liberalism.
The end-game of their protestations, most probably, coalescing around the next American Demagogue, the Manchurian Mountain Mama who will, in this fella's humble opinion if she gets in, deliver the state to the elites in a fashion that will beggar credulity.
Now, a lot of folks don't think she has a chance and if the moment occurs when it appears that she does enough of a counter-movement will arise... but please, my progressive friends, keep this in mind, we elected Nixon to his first term right after the 'Summer of Love'.