Mike Kueber's Blog

July 27, 2012

A small “l” liberal

Filed under: Culture,Issues,Philosophy,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 7:19 pm
Tags: , , ,

I recently posted a blog entry stating that President Obama was not acting like a small “l” liberal when he implied that people of principle could not oppose same-sex marriage.  My statement was based on the hypocrisy inherent in fact that until his announcement President Obama himself had opposed same-sex marriage.  I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed someone take fuller advantage of Thoreau’s admonition about too much consistency:

  • A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesman and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do….  Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.” 

A friend who read my blog entry responded on my Facebook wall with an argument in favor of same-sex marriage as a civil right, akin to women’s and minorities’ rights.  She also suggested that opponents of same-sex marriage were descendants of those who practiced discrimination against women and minorities. 

As someone who thinks same-sex marriage should be legalized, I am reluctant to argue with someone who agrees with me.  And as I noted about Don Imus’s position in favor of same-sex marriage, I understand how that position gets hardened over time.  But my blog entry was critical of President Obama because he, as much as anyone, should realize that reasonable minds can disagree.  Surely, he should have remembered that the day before his switcheroo his world-class mind was in “transition” on the subject of same-sex marriage and a mere three years earlier he had run for president in opposition to same-sex marriage.

As mentioned above, my Facebook friend began her posting by asking me what a small “l” liberal was, implying that President Obama was one.  The following is my answer, derived from the font of all knowledge (Wikipedia):

  • A small “l” liberal is someone whose values and philosophy flow from the Enlightenment or Age of Reason – which according to Wikipedia was an 18th century movement “to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted science and intellectual interchange and opposed superstition, intolerance, and abuses by church and state.”
  • “Liberalism is a political ideology or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality.  Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally liberals support ideas such as capitalism (either regulated or not), constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights and the free exercise of religion.

Based on this guidance, I agree that, notwithstanding  liberalism’s penchant for tolerance and intellectual interchange, true small “l” liberals should be working toward the equality of same-sex marriage.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] have previously blogged about liberalism, and wrote the following in a […]

    Pingback by A tenuous left-center majority rules America? « Mike Kueber's Blog — December 1, 2012 @ 2:26 pm | Reply


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