October 2018

The conservative echo chamber resonates with claims made about what liberals believe and stand for. As you might expect, there is no factual basis for what they say. Let’s analyze their top dozen mischaracterizations:

1. Liberals want open borders, where anyone, for any reason, can come to America at any time.

Liberals do not believe in ‘open borders’. They do believe what makes America an ‘exceptional nation’ is the hard work, pluck and fortitude of immigrants of every color, race, and religion. And they believe it is economic foolishness to turn away today’s strivers.

However, liberals have no more desire to allow entry to gang-bangers and terrorists than anyone else.

Liberals understand that a border wall won’t slow the flow of undocumented immigrants or illegal drugs and as such is a colossal waste of scarce resources.

They do believe that ICE has spit the bit and exceeded its mandate and that it should be disbanded and replaced with a more professional, better-led organization.

Liberals also believe that seasonal and temporary worker permits should be increased. There should be no cap on people who can present reasonable grounds for refugee status. And they do not think barring people simply because of the country of their birth is a humane idea.

And they assuredly do not believe that ripping kids away from their parents to deter immigrants represents American values

2. Liberal want to ban all guns and are coming to grab yours.

Liberals are not against the legal ownership of guns by people with proper training, licensing and insurance. They are against violent criminals and potentially dangerous lunatics owning guns.

They agreed with Justice Scalia when he said, in the Heller vs. DC decision, that the second amendment does not forbid the government banning some types of weapons or barring certain classes of people from owning guns.

3. Liberals want to take your money and give it to people who don’t want to work.

Liberals do believe that a more equitable distribution of wealth would lead to greater prosperity for everyone. Much as it was in the 1950s & 60s when a single wage earner could keep his family in the middle class – while the rich were still rich.

They also believe that if people need money because they have been laid off, their jobs have been outsourced or the economy is in recession then there should be a safety net. And most importantly they believe no American should go hungry in the land of plenty.

4. Liberals want everyone to have free healthcare.

Liberals understand that healthcare costs money. But they do believe it should be universal and free, or low cost, at the ‘point of sale’. For example Medicare for all.

A universal healthcare system paid for by payroll-withholding would improve the health of the average American and would save the country billions.

5. Liberals want free higher education.

Liberals believe that every American should have an opportunity to receive higher education without spending most of their working life paying it off.

School loans should be a government-run program. Loan interest rates should be the same as the 10-year treasury bond rate.  Business should not be allowed to profit from gouging students struggling to pay for an education.

6. Liberals want to gut the military.

Liberals do want America to have a powerful, capable military. They don’t want billions wasted on expensive weapons that don’t meet the needs of modern warfare. We already spend three times as much as the next country (China). Judicious use of limited resources rather than an open check book would produce better results.

Liberals also believe that the first dollar spent on our military should go to the troops. And that as a country we should ensure that our veterans are home, housed, healed and hired.

7. Liberals want to make America an atheist nation.

Liberal want an America as the Founders envisioned it. Religion should be a private matter, and no faith should inform the nation’s laws. Religious conservatives say America was founded as a Judeo-Christian nation. It wasn’t. The Founders were clear on that.

The Declaration of Independence refers to “Nature’s God,” “Creator,” and “Supreme Judge” – not a single Abrahamic divine reference. And the US Constitution, including the presidential oath, excludes God completely.

8. Liberals want to suppress conservative voices.

Liberals believe in the first amendment. But they don’t think that private social media companies (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) should be required to carry hate speech or support foreign influence in US elections.

Conservatives have plenty of platforms on which they can say whatever they want.

9. Liberals hate America.

Criticism is not hate. Anymore than unqualified love is patriotism. True patriots want to live in the best possible version of their country. And they work hard to realize that goal.

10. Liberals are socialists.

‘Socialism’ is not a synonym for ‘left-wing’. Socialism involves state or worker ownership of the means of production. And no serious liberal politician has ever suggested that.

Market regulation and a government-run safety net are not socialism. Nor are higher tax rates. As long as there is private ownership of businesses, a free flow of capital and the right to make a profit, America will be a capitalist economy.

11. Liberals use schools to indoctrinate kids in unhealthy lifestyles and one-sided science.

Nature is what nature is. Not everyone is heterosexual nor born with a gender identity that matches their biology. But no school has ever changed anyone’s mind about their sex or sexuality.

As for science, it is not an opinion. What you feel is right, or what some old book says is right, or what some imaginary voice whispered in your head is right, is not science.

Liberals believe in fact-based education, and if that upsets you – too bad.

12: Liberals actively promote abortion.

Liberals are committed to a woman’s right to choose and if she chooses abortion then that is her choice alone. However, liberals believe that effective sex ed, the wide availability of free contraceptives, reasonably priced child care and a living wage, all contribute to fewer unwanted pregnancies – and thus fewer abortions.

*

To conservatives, the world is black and white. If you are not 100% for something, then you are necessarily 100% against it. If you told a conservative cook there was too much salt in the stew, he would accuse you of trying to get rid of salt altogether.

Liberals on the other believe in nuance, proportion and fine-tuning – which is why conservatives are so confused.

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