“Liberalism . . . is based on the conception of civil society as by and large self-regulating when its members are free to act within the very wide bounds of their individual rights. Among these, the right to private property, including freedom of contract and exchange and the free disposition of one’s own labor, is given a high priority. Historically, liberalism has manifested a hostility to state action, which, it insists, should be reduced to a minimum.” —Ralph Raico, Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School
“The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.” —John Adams
Were Democrats Ever Really Liberals—or Just Statists with a Dedicated Propaganda Arm?
One of the early propaganda pieces of “fake news” was the Democrat Party’s claim that it was the liberal party. It never was. Liberals historically have been pro-freedom. It was classical liberals of the Enlightenment Era who wrote America’s gender-neutral, pro-tolerance, anti-slavery Constitution. (Read more about America’s Free Republic and its Constitution here: https://www.amazon.com/Keeping-Free-Republic-Blueprint-Constitution-ebook/dp/B07G3KY521/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533488413&sr=8-1&keywords=keeping+a+free+republic). The reasons classical liberals in America refer to themselves as “conservatives” is because they wish to conserve the US Constitution, which embodies America’s traditional culture based upon liberty (a word related to the true meaning of “liberal”). Conservatives wish to keep freedom-based cultural values and not depart from them; they prefer gradual change to prevent unwise, hasty decisions that infringe or abridge the rights of the minority.
America’s Founders Would Have Called Themselves Liberals
America’s Founders were the real liberals. Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic Republicans believed in a majority-limited democratic principle that protected the individual, something which only a democratic republic can guarantee. The party of Lincoln—the Republican Party—was established with the abolition of slavery in mind; this is liberalism, as opposed to statism. Slavery cannot exist in a free country based upon liberal notions. Indeed, most of the Founders (about 70% of them) were abolitionists; the 3/5 Clause in the Constitution was its Anti-Slavery Compromise, with slaveholders wanting the slaves to count as an entire human being, so they would enjoy a larger representation in Congress, while the abolitionists wanted slaves to count zero in the census, to deprive the slave states of political power they would otherwise enjoy. The reward for freeing slaves would be that the state freeing them would receive a higher census count and more representation in the House of Representatives.
Shutting Down Debate: Democrats Pull Lincoln’s Name from Southern Ballots
The Civil War occurred when Lincoln was elected to the presidency, despite the Democrats’ removal of his name from the ballots of many states of the Union. The anger of the Democrats stemmed from the fact that Lincoln believed in the separation of powers and, therefore, that each branch of government had its own right to interpret the Constitution—not just the judiciary branch. Because of Lincoln’s belief in Constitutional Supremacy over Judicial Supremacy, he decidedly ignored the Dred Scott ruling of the Supreme Court, insisting it was nonbinding on the executive and legislative branches, since it was un-Constitutional. Lincoln’s position—that individuals had the right to resist state rules that slaves must be returned to their owners in other states—was unpopular among Democrats, who were the statist party of the South that believed in state-enforced theft of labor, via slavery, and state-enforced compliance with this violation of individual rights.
Jefferson & Lincoln Both Believed in the Abolition of Slavery
Even Thomas Jefferson, himself a slaveholder, was also a lifelong abolitionist who worked hard to abolish slavery for his entire adult life (https://www.amazon.com/Keeping-Free-Republic-Blueprint-Constitution-ebook/dp/B07G3KY521/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533488413&sr=8-1&keywords=keeping+a+free+republic), although this reality goes unreported by the fake-news media outlets and by the writers of fake history who now author so many of the history books for schools and colleges. In the end, Jefferson was a classical liberal who wrote a law to abolish slavery in his home state of Virginia while governor of the state (although it did not pass), succeeded in abolishing the importation of slaves into Virginia (one of the first jurisdictions worldwide to do so), and succeeded together with the English, in 1808, in abolishing the international slave trade. Jefferson would have been a Lincoln Republican, had he lived to cast a presidential ballot in 1860.
Jim Crow Democrats Lynched Blacks, Not Republicans
After the Civil War, the Jim Crow Democrats established the Ku Klux Klan to keep blacks down, while, at the same time, blacks were becoming the founders of the state Republican parties of the South. The Texas Republican Party was founded by Texas blacks. Liberal white people soon joined with them to enlarge the party, although the Republican Party in Texas only became dominant in the 1980s, a generation after Brown v. Board, as Texans left institutional racism far behind—and, along with it, the Democrat Party. When Ronald Reagan ran for the White House, Texas voted heavily for the Party of Lincoln, in a clear demonstration that the institutional racism of the Democrats had no future in Texas.
90% of News Is Controlled by the Big Six
In the latest presidential contest, the truth about Democrats and Republicans was, as always, well-obscured by the Democrat-controlled media (the Democrats own all six media outlets now, even News Corp, which has fallen into the hands of Rupert Murdoch’s progressive heirs, who could eventually make dramatic changes to Fox News, as contracts expire with news anchors). The Big Six media companies are as follows: CBS, Comcast, Disney, News Corp, Warner Media, and Viacom. The truth—generally unreported in the media—is this: Democrats wrote the Jim Crow laws—all of them.
The Racist Compromises of FDR
Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in order to be elected president, needed support from Southern Democrats, so he agreed to turn a blind eye to the lynchings of blacks in the South as president. FDR also promoted “redlining” of minority areas, according to government policy, in order to help banks discriminate legally when making home loans (https://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/article/fdr-promoted-racial-segregation/): “Neighborhoods were marked as A (green), B (blue), C (yellow) or D (red). An ‘A’ neighborhood was suburban with recent construction, low crime, business and professional people—a white neighborhood. A ‘D’ neighborhood was inner city, old buildings often in need of repair, sometimes high crime—a minority neighborhood. HOLC avoided ‘D’ neighborhoods. This was how official redlining began.” FDR also refused to let Jews into the United States who requested permission to disembark from the SS St. Louis, forcing the ship they were on to return to Hitler’s Germany, which consigned many of them to die in Europe (https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27373131). Allowing those Jews into the United States could have cost FDR votes in the racist, illiberal South at the time. Due to FDR’s refusal to admit them, many of those Jews died in concentration camps.
LBJ Steals the Republicans’ Thunder, to Win Black Votes
While Republicans supported the Civil Rights Movement early on, it was eventually LBJ who stole their political thunder in order to gain black support and solidly switch blacks from Republican to Democrat on the voter rolls. However, it is still true that Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in higher percentages than the Democrats—80% to 65%—although the newspapers did not widely report this fact. LBJ was able to twist enough arms of Democrats to support the Civil Rights legislation, despite the efforts of Democrat Senator and Klansman Robert Byrd to filibuster the act in the US Senate. Also, Republicans voting against the act only did so because they objected to provisions permitting the government to dictate rules governing privately-owned property; otherwise, Barry Goldwater and all the rest of the Republicans would have voted for the bill as well. This kind of nuance is never elaborated by the Democrat media, who simply label people as being “racist” in any case where they end up opposing the Democrats. It is wrong not to explain why someone ends up opposing an issue, due to a principled reason, but Democrats only explain that sort of thing in news stories when it is necessary to defend a Democrat. Even in the 1960s, the media were already stacked against the Republicans.
Big Lies about Trump: Suddenly, His Entire Biography Was Inadmissible in the Hollywood Media
One Big Lie about Trump is that he is racist. He is not (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pm8n9qVIK_8&t=6s); success in business demands a willingness to hire only the best, regardless of race or religion or anything else that is unimportant to succeeding in business. Another Big Lie is that Trump is anti-Semitic; he is not, his grandkids are all Jewish due to Ivanka’s being Jewish, and he is the only president to keep his promise to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. Yet another Big Lie is that Trump hates Latinos; not true, Trump’s comment about not wanting a Mexican-American judge to rule on the wall, since it would be unfair to allow, was due to the fact that the specific judge mentioned was a member of La Raza (https://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/06/06/trumps-questioning-federal-judge-not-racist/), a Latino supremacist group. Trump actually loves all the American people—Muslims who came here for freedom, included—whom he wishes to protect against jihadist Muslims who would not only murder non-Muslims, if they are not properly vetted, but would also harm Muslims who came to America to be free of Islamic Sharia Law.
Trump is a classical liberal, which is why he is a Constitutional conservative. Trump used to support liberal Democrats in New York, in fact, but the truth is there are few of those left, most having been converted to socialist progressives nowadays. Trump is not a majoritarian socialist, but a defender of minorities, so his only choice was to run for president as a Republican. The only honest thing about the Democrats is that they believe in democracy, so that they may one day convince a majority to vote down the rights of individuals, forcing the minority to submit to the collective in order to appeal for privileges. In opposition to the Democrats’ socialist philosophy, Republicans wish to preserve the Constitutional protections of individuals and minorities, so that they may stand on their rights, even in the face of overwhelming majority opposition.
Brandon Straka’s Walk Away Campaign
The latest exodus of classical liberals out of the intolerant, and increasingly-violent, Democrat Party is by members of the Walk Away Campaign (https://www.theepochtimes.com/viral-walk-away-videos-highlight-growing-movement-of-democrats-leaving-the-party_2578446.html), who are releasing videos on Youtube now, the most popular of which is still likely to be Brandon Straka’s own video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51UGcghHZsk&t=63s). These people are realizing how at-home they feel among tolerant conservatives who are genuinely interested in their ideas. Although Brandon Straka is a gay man, he sees why conservatives think the way they do and why they simply want to try to solve as many problems as possible without the government stepping in.
Constitutional conservatives/classical liberals are not anti-gay; they merely wish to work out the issues surrounding gay marriage at the state level, per the Constitution. According to the Constitution, there is no federal jurisdiction to pass laws regarding marriage. Marriage is a state issue under the federal system, per the Tenth Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” What conservatives cannot stomach is the Supreme Court’s claim that there is a gay-marriage right in the Constitution, because it sets a precedent that the Court can make up new Constitutional rights (or possibly even cancel such rights), without regard to what the people’s law actually states within the actual text of the Constitution. Constitutional conservatives do not wish to live under a black-robed oligarchy. That is the point, not what Democrat media dishonestly propagandize by smearing all conservatives as anti-gay.
Evaluate Whether You Are a Classical Liberal/Constitutional Conservative
So, what is genuine classical liberalism, according to the likes of Adam Smith, John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Ayn Rand, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Walter Williams, and Thomas Sowell? Classical liberalism holds individual liberty and freedom from coercion in high regard. Socialist progressives, now masquerading as Democrats, have no qualms about the majority’s coercing of people who hold minority views into acting against their beliefs. Evaluate your positions against ten principles of classical liberalism (below), to see where you stand:
One: Liberty is the top political and cultural value. Whenever a decision is made, the overriding concern is whether that decision will expand or reduce individual freedom and the individual’s pursuit of happiness.
Two: Individual Rights are respected over collective rights. Indeed, the only legitimate collective rights devolve from individual rights. This is why the Bill of Rights protects the rights of each individual from the tyranny of rule by the mob. Individual rights cannot be canceled at the whim of any temporary majority that might be whipped up by the emotions running high at the moment. Ayn Rand said, “The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.”
Three: Distrust of State Power is considered to be more than reasonable, since, as Lord Acton has said, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” When politicians claim they are making a law for people’s own good, what they are planning is really for the politicians’ own good. Classical liberals believe the individual alone is the best judge of his or her own interests, thus every problem should be solved with the most freedom possible.
Four: Rule of Law is highly valued, in order that the United States live up to John Adams’ famous contention that “We are a nation of laws, not of men.” There is no liberty in a world where the rules can change abruptly. End-runs by government officials, around established law—by means of legislating from the judicial bench or the issuing of un-Constitutional executive orders—makes of the world a hostile and unpredictable arena, based upon the whims of men, and not upon the enduring will of the people. Carefully laid plans can be dashed in a heartbeat, making life difficult for responsible planners. And temporary beneficiaries of such policies risk getting hurt eventually, when the illegal rulings and actions are undone and the rule of law reëstablished.
Five: Civil Society is considered the preferred way of life among classical liberals. Classical liberals believe problems can best be solved by voluntary associations and actions. Private charities help the poor more flexibly and responsively than far-away central planners. Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) make more relevant suggestions concerning school governance than any government body. In neighborhoods, solutions to problems should be sought from worship communities or other civil-society groups before state authorities are ever involved, often imposing solutions that serve only the purposes of the politically-connected. Government solutions are always in the form of a diktat. No government rule has ever increased individual choice or made any community of freedom-loving individuals more free.
Six: Spontaneous Organization can create societal order out of spontaneous interactions, without government. A woman living in a neighborhood can decide to organize a community-watch group, ask for volunteers, and become, at least initially, the de facto leader of the group. A man might decide to organize a church, synagogue, or charity along the same traditional lines. Many of the best societal institutions have formed in this way. The rules of civil society are traditionally self-structuring and based on real-world, common-sense notions and experiences. While many spontaneously-organized institutions dissolve when no longer needed, others go on to attain a more permanent status in addressing ongoing problems in order to keep those issues at bay, so they do not flare up again in unpleasant ways.
Seven: Free Markets are highly valued. Economic exchange is a voluntary activity between individuals and can never be forced, by government entities or anybody else, if the highest quality at the lowest price is to be made available to the people. To mandate such activity would mean the commandeering of private property for a state purpose never intended by its owner. It would also mean the violation of individual rights, including the right of a service provider to freely set prices or terms of service in response to the laws of supply and demand. Essentially, such socialist mandates against individual liberty become forced upon the people by the state, with the ultimate threat against the noncompliant being imprisonment at gunpoint. Leaving economic interaction to free markets—rather than government force—increases prosperity and well-being, while reducing poverty and misery. Free markets promote wealth creation, which, in turn, grows individual liberty and economic opportunity. Liberty always works to enlarge life, whereas socialist mandates always curtail and contract all options and opportunities for the pursuit of happiness.
Eight: Tolerance is the belief that, as long as an action does not infringe anyone’s rights, it should be permitted. “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” are the famous words of Voltaire biographer Evelyn Beatrice Hall. These words, often erroneously attributed to Voltaire himself, are a prime example of tolerance. It is not an example embraced by socialists and democrats who prize majoritarian coercion to those of individual liberty and civil society. Government should never regulate speech, for, in so doing, it requires that people hold their tongues, out of fear of government reprisal for any remarks deemed politically offensive. Political satire, stand-up comedy, or even a full-throated debate of important issues could all become remnants of the past, reducing the public’s ability to fully air concerns and solve problems about such important matters as budget-balancing and welfare-overspending by government. Salman Rushdie perhaps put it best: “Without the freedom to offend, free speech ceases to exist.”
Nine: Peace is desirable, but it is not possible, if no one would honor the principle of free movement of capital, labor, goods, services, and ideas. Without universal respect for this principle, there will always be conflicts about how money should be used, what goods and services should be permitted, and which ideas should be allowed into speech or print; such censorship is the hallmark of majoritarian socialism and state regulation, as existed under Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. This has become of major concern in the world of social media, where the ideas of classical liberals—Constitutional conservatives—are now prohibited on Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other social networks; this is in clear violation of the people’s rights, due to the fact that the Internet these businesses use to earn profits was built by the American people’s tax dollars—all of the people’s tax dollars. This clearly disrupts the peace under which all Americans deserve to live. Instead, Facebook, among others, has declared a civil war on its platform against classical liberals, “shadow-banning” them and limiting their freedom to post freely. It is pure prejudice on the basis of political views. But the socialists who run social media are unperturbed. Their rule is that only views conforming to their own political ideology are allowed. Freedom is banned. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao would smile proudly upon the situation, if only they knew.
Ten: Constitutionally-Limited Government is a must. There are very few powers that the government should be permitted. The main job of government is to protect life, liberty, and property, according to the rule of law. Ronald Reagan once clarified this principle, saying, “Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.” Reagan’s classical liberalism stands out in his perpetual defense of individual rights (which are, ultimately, the same thing as minority rights) and by promoting policies to reduce the size and scope of government activity. The Constitution’s enumerated powers should be strictly adhered to by the federal government, and the Tenth Amendment should be faithfully enforced to keep Washington from overdoing the making of decisions and writing of rules for the sovereign states.
Did You Like the Classically-Liberal Ideas of Constitutional Conservatives, or Are You a Statist?
If you agreed with six or more of the above principles, or supported at least four of five of them strongly, you are likely to find a comfortable home among the tolerant crowd you will find in the Big Tent of classical liberalism/Constitutional conservatism. Or, as Larry Elder might put it, “You’re a libertarian, but you just didn’t know it.” Remember, America is not only a sovereign state, America is an idea. So, welcome to the Big Tent of the Friends of Lincoln, where, even if someone disagrees with what you say, he will defend to the death your right to say it! Welcome to an America where you are free!
Keeping a Free Republic
For anyone who enjoyed reading this article, its author Paul Dowling has recently completed writing his book (priced to sell, at $0.99 on Kindle) on the US Constitution; it is called Keeping a Free Republic: Learning the Blueprint for Liberty in the Constitution & the Bill of Rights(https://www.amazon.com/Keeping-Free-Republic-Blueprint-Constitution-ebook/dp/B07G3KY521/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533488413&sr=8-1&keywords=keeping+a+free+republic).