To which my initial gut reaction would be to reply "OF COURSE I'm a liberal, I'm not ignorant!!" But that's not completely fair. So let's explore:
I've been called a "liberal" in the form of an insult many times before, always of course by my American friends, seeing as it's not a dirty word outside the US. However a recent post from The Crommunist Manifesto made me think about this again when discussing the opening of an "Afrocentric" school in Toronto. The part that particularly brought this discussion back to my mind was this:
Liberal-minded folks across the province were left scratching their heads, caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, helping black students get a quality education is good. On the other hand, segregation is bad, and if we put all the black kids in one school, how will they learn to hold hands under a rainbow with the white kids? To be less snarky about it, isn’t segregation bad because it isolates students? Didn’t we fight against segregation of black students just a few decades ago?
Therein the characterization of liberal minded people lies. The idea that liberals are just as baboon-y in their liberalism as right-wingers are in their conservativism (that's not a word is it. Oh well, it is now). That's not to say that there aren't liberals that are like that, the kind that just hop on the bandwagon because it has a key liberal word in it without considering the issue. All I am saying is that I am not one of them.
I have not decided whether or not I'm for this Afrocentric school idea. It doesn't really matter to anyone but myself whether I agree or not since I don't live in Toronto. However, the reason I haven't made up my mind isn't because the idea has the two conflicting ideas of "help black community" and "segregation". It's because I don't know enough about it.
I think out my positions to death on every issue I have an opinion on, following my train of logic right along to a conclusion based on the information that I have. I can fully lay out that logical thought process for anyone in order to explain my conclusion, which is part of the reason that I started this blog. Also my conclusion is always subject to change if new information comes out, but it is not if the available information remains the same. I don't claim to have an opinion until I am firmly confident with my logical assessment of the information I have.
This little logical train of thought I have tends to lead to positions that coincide with the ones that liberals hold, therefore I define myself as a liberal. It's the same discussion as deciding which food group to place a food in. If I'm a steak I ma contain vitamin B-12 and some fat, but I'm mostly protein, so I call myself a protein. So I guess the question becomes why do I tend to come to liberal conclusions?
1. I have no religious preference. This means that what certain people preach about certain issues doesn't affect my thought process in the slightest
2. I don't hold on to cultural history. Just because something was done in the good ol' days doesn't make it right in my mind
3. I don't project what I want for myself on to what others should want for themselves. Just because I have no interest in gay sex or gay marriage doesn't mean I want to begrudge others the right to partake
4. I am aware that general consensus doesn't influence truth. Just because 600 years ago 100% of people thought the Earth was flat that didn't make it any more true then than it does now
5. And I think most importantly, I have to have a reason to think what I think about something. There's no such thing for me as having an opinion "because it feels wrong" or "because it's weird". That's not a conclusion. WHY does it feel wrong? If it's because of one of the aforementioned reasons then I reject the feeling and move on. If it's not then maybe there's something to it and I pursue it. But I can't just stop at "just cause", call it a day and claim it as my opinion, or worse vote for legislation supporting that opinion that may be completely unfounded.
I don't think things because I'm a liberal. This is not a chicken-and-egg complex. I think things first. Then I claim to be a liberal as a direct result of the things that I think. If you take a statement about an issue, worded the exact same way, and have a right-winger say it or a liberal I am one of those people that will agree or disagree with them equally, regardless of what they call themselves.
Where does your logic take you?