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Why liberals need to be vulgar

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Liberal democracy is best enjoyed with enlightened quantities of humility and discipline. If those two are missing, the principle of being able to do anything as long as the action doesn't infringe on the liberties of others affected by the action, descends into bullying by minorities and muscular righteousness of those in power. When I look around me I believe to observe an acute lack of humility and discipline, often even an angry rejection of them. The principle of liberal democracy seems to be alive and well.


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Apparently, Fawcett's strength is not clarity. Let me provide a more concise definition of liberalism.

Liberalism is a belief system that asserts that nobody should be held responsible for their own welfare. Furthermore, should anyone rise above the masses, they are to be brought back down by whatever means available. No inequality in any form will be tolerated. Competition is one of the 'black arts'.


I do always find it so fascinating that self-proclaimed liberals manage to simultaneously proclaim that they're there to give people more freedom, yet in the same instant tell people where their money should go, who should insure them, and what type of energy they should power whatever devices they have with.

For the love of God, can we please go back to a world where the political parties AREN'T "the socially conservative one with the economically (classical) liberal ideas" vs. "the socially liberal one with the economically (classical) conservative ideas?"

I'd genuinely love to contemplate issues like involvement in foreign wars and abortion and things like that - except that since the left somehow does this while constantly launching campaigns against my personal property or what i can say or do, i find myself helplessly unable to do anything but ensure that my property is protected and hope for a smarter tomorrow.


All that, and in the end I still don't know what everyone else means by "liberalism". I doubt even liberals know what the heck they mean by liberalism. That, in a nutshell, is the fatal flaw of liberalism. Rather than go back to some imagined "roots" which none of them will be able to agree on anyway, they should probably read the Socratics and "know thyself". If you know what you stand for as an individual, the label others might want to attach to you is irrelevant. "Liberalists" are actually "labelists" -- they want to give the appearance of a group collective under the umbrella term "liberal", because they are all individually uncomfortable in their own skin, unable to reconcile their legitimate differences on a myriad of issues.
"Conservatives" (at least in the US) have, for the time being, completely dropped the pretense of operating under a big tent. They each believe what they want to believe, and clearly don't care what other people think, even within their own political structures. This has factionalized them into impotence, but I can at least acknowledge the refreshing thought that they are being true to themselves unapologetically.


Liberals should reject both the "more to everyone" and the "more to a few" approaches to politics. The former is simply an unaffordable utopia, and the latter goes against the rule of law and competition.

Fr8train316 in reply to guest-ojeliiw

sounds like a good case-in-point for the typical liberal approach: divide the world into as many chunks as possible (like the one you just kicked out, (your world of angry board gamers)) and proclaim the one as being better off than the other or having oppressed the other or having looked at the other with a dour countenance and thus creating a new voting block of underdogs for themselves who didn't feel all that belittled until they got told dozens of times a day by their new leaders that they're being belittled...and never mind that the act of telling them is often the primary thing that's actually belittling them.

Reid1605 in reply to guest-ojeliiw

... and your world is filled with liberals whose first response to anyone who disagrees with them is denigration.

Don't like competition? Blame Mother Nature or God for the world we live in. Guess they weren't liberals.

I'm pretty sure the people who think they are being oppressed don't think that just because some liberal intellectual told them so. That's not really how this works.

And hey if we are all the same in your world of mutual respect, maybe our votes could actually count towards the same amount of representation in Congress instead of rural and small state votes counting for way, way more? That would be swell. I'm pretty sure that is what we ultimately want, and the fact that you resist and fight actual equality at every turn kind of supports the oppression hypothesis.


Liberals are now not very broadminded at all. They are thought police who put people out of work for any deviations from their "progessive' dogma. They constantly update and extend the range of unacceptable thoughts to maintain the pressure to conform.
If a doctor mentions the word 'obese' in the patients notes this is now grounds for a written warning on conduct despite it being a defined medical term (BMI greater than 30).
I have been in two meetings now were anyone who voted for Brexit has been asked to leave the room. Wearing a cross at work is now unacceptable whereas praying five times a day during working hours cannot be criticised.
For liberals to succeed they have to learn tolerance and humility. Rigid rules on behaviour and vindictive vigilance for aberrant ideas is what characterises 'liberals'.
Everyone believes their own ideas are the correct ones but sometimes even the Economist needs to look outside the box.

Angus Cunningham

Autocracy gives way to oligarchy. Given humankind's current mental and emotional shortcomings, all attempts at democracy, whether liberal or conservative, are bound to revert to oligarchy, or even autocracy. In either case, oligarchs or autocrats then responsible will have no peace without serious and intelligent effort to move social institutions back toward genuine democratic aspiration. Beware of all 'isms' in between -- whether populism, capitalism, socialism, or liberalism.

Reid1605 in reply to Angus Cunningham

Democracy is as flawed a system of government as was communism. Let anyone vote, and when the majority realizes they can confiscate the minority’s property ‘legally’, the end is just around the corner. Democracy without intelligent voters who believe in individual rights is just an advertising gimmick.

Your property is only "yours" because the state gave it to you to begin with. That is why taxes are not theft.
Perhaps it does not seem that way to you, but when we get down to the heart of what property rights really are, they are really a bundle of rights afforded and enforced by the state over things that by their nature belong to no one.
The problem is that the natural way (i.e. in absence of state enforcement) of sorting out who owns what generally involves a great deal of violence, with only the most vicious and cruel persons able to hold anything for very long. Meanwhile. no other human endeavours but bloodshed are possible.
So the state stepped in in its role as monopolizer of violence and said "You are entitled to these rights in relation to this tangible or intangible good or service or laborious skill, and anyone who infringes shall be put to death (or more recently, imprisoned for long stretches of their life)."
But this is an artifice. It is a house of cards. When the state fails, property rights will fail.
New entrants to the market must be afforded a reasonable opportunity to acquire property or it will fail. And since property on this earth is scarce, it falls to the current property owners to afford this opportunity.
One means of ensuring this is through taxation and government services they help fund to prepare people with the skills necessary to compete in the marketplace.

"It is obviously impracticable in the Federal Government of these States to secure all rights of independent sovereignty to each, and yet provide for the interest and safety of all. Individuals entering into society must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest. The magnitude of the sacrifice must depend as well on situation and circumstance, as on the object to be obtained. It is at all times difficult to draw with precision the line between those rights which must be surrendered"

Guess who wrote this and when.

Angus Cunningham

Autocracy gives way to oligarchy.Oligarchy. Given humankind's mental and emotional shortcomings, all attempts at democracy, whether liberal or conservative, are bound to revert to oligarchy, or even autocracy. In either case, oligarchs or autocrats will have no peace without serious and intelligent effort to move social institutions back toward genuine democratic aspiration. Beware of all 'isms' in between, whether populism, capitalism, socialism, or liberalism.


There is classic liberalism and there is the junk of modern western liberalism which is a twisted replacement for the spirituality lacking in the lives of the people claiming to be. Liberalism is an orthodoxy at least, but more resembling a theology. And to challenge a group's religious views invites their wrath.

War Beagle

TE is not a liberal publication anymore. TE's editorial orientation is towards multinational globalism, which almost always involves strong government involvement. TE rarely advocates for classically liberal policy positions and virtually never endorses classically liberal political candidates.

Kremilek2 in reply to War Beagle

I think that TE still has some liberal features like an advocacy for open and free markets. But its stance on an open immigration is in my view not really connected with the liberalism but more with wishful thinking that everything will go well. I also think that TE's position on the government involvement is not really liberal but more centrist.

Fawcett's fourth pillar of liberalism - everyone deserves society's respect, whomever they are - is only true conceptually or academically. In a theoretical morality, sure, everyone deserve's society's respect. In practical reality there are all sorts of people who don't deserve a smidgen of respect. These people can be protected by constitutional or legal rights, yes, but saying everyone is deserving of respect is going too far. Deserving of who's respect? Am I supposed to respect people whom I consider selfish, lazy-minded (not to be mistaken with mentally-handicapped), purposeless, greedy, shallow, etc.? This seems to be a signature flaw in modern liberalism: the disdain of common standards in favor of compelled acceptance.



You shall not be allowed to debate us on University Campus. We shall stone you if you speak against us and our perfect ideas.

You shall not be allowed to select your own health insurance policy. We shall dictate to you which policy is acceptable.

You shall not be allowed to defend your own family. We the government...and only the government ...shall have guns. You pathetic little worthless sheep shall not be allowed to have guns.

You shall give us all of the fruits of your labor (high taxes) and then if you obey us we shall return to you a portion of your labor.

We shall force your 17 year old girls to shower with 17 year old boys at their high school gym

You shall shut your mouth. Look down. Be silent. Do as we say....and always remember that we are the smart ones. We are the Liberal Progressive Leftist Democrats. You are pathetic. You are worthless. You exist to serve us. You exist to serve pathetic worthless stupid little sheep!!


What a silly suggestion.
Once again, without even a perfunctory effort to provide a mere idea on what liberalism means in your context. Neither did the person interviewed bother with anything other than a non-answer for an answer.
Is TE is suggestion a competition on who can be more vulgar between the liberal and the illiberal? What is happening to your paper? Have you lost it all? Are you paving the path for your own use of vulgarity when you hold editorial positions of "liberalism", which you do?

ashbird in reply to ashbird

Look, many of us readers have been doing, in many instances, on many topics, your work for you, in terms of providing bona fide sources of respectable research and knowledge from their life's learning. They give their time and erudition away for nothing.
The ROI from reading the Comment sections has increasingly overtaken the once joy of reading what you produce. Granted you produce the headlines.
There was a surge in quality of your articles when you initially dispensed with providing the Readers Comment section - for a while the surge stayed. This reader reasoned, "Good, TE's staff are free to write in quiet, unhampered by the enormous quantity of trolls selling love potions, magic spell and $26,00/day get-rich schemes (why is it so hard for you to get rid of them to begin with??)
Now things are going downhill again. Downhill invariably starts with the ill-fitting headlines you write. They are either gratuitous in sensationalism, or, in the case of talking about countries and cultures you know' zilch or near ziltch about, insufferably condescending, using bits and pieces of half-truths and fake-facts as grist to start the mill, some of which 500+ years old.
Can you make up your mind on what you want to be, whom you want for your "intelligent readers for an intelligent paper"? What kind of readers you want to cater to?
I certainly hope you are not hinting a new TE makeover is afoot featuring vulgarity as the main attraction, and the contributors will be in the persons of your readers.
Fat chance. Pay your own staff to do it.

It was inevitable when the Agnelli family bought the majority stake in the Economist that this would happen.

It fits with the larger trend taking place across the entire spectrum of news media: A wealthy conglomerate/interest buys up a series of outlets and reduces them to pandering clickbait entertainment so as to eliminate any real informative role of the media to the masses which might in some way pose a threat to their appallingly unjustifiable positions of power and privilege.

Anyone who believed the protestations of maintained editorial independence in a paper majority-owned by a single billionaire family looks terribly naive now. Notice what has developed since that occurred: The comments on most articles have been closed. The quality has nosedived. Most of the older authors have been siphoned off.

That is pretty much why I come here. Not because the Economist is the worst offender in this regard, but because it is a wolf in sheep's clothing now and is rightfully assailed as a sham of liberalism.....

This paper serves the interests of concentrated capital, ultimately. It is just sneakier about how it goes about it. Yeah, not fooled.

The Agnelli's have turned the Economist into the mouthpiece for the interests of their investment bank, Exor. Which pretty much shares the same interests as all the other bankers of the world who perpetrated a massive fraud on the lesser peoples and recouped their own losses through state largess, doubling the victims expense.

Any Economist article you see at all questioning the status quo in this regard will be poorly written or dull, because the goal is not to inform around this issue, it is to make the other side look stupid or ill informed with facile boobery.

I believe the reason the Economist cannot figure out what it wants to be is that in order to survive, it knows it must start catering to younger audiences.

But most of those younger audiences want things that are contrary to the interests of the Economist ownership.

So to try to thread this needle, they churn out a bunch of short, facile blog posts that cover topics young people are interested in, while simultaneously insulting the intelligence of its readership with the facility of them and in effect lampooning the position they have purported to have taken up at the same time. So the old can rest secure in this belief that millenials just don't know what they're talking about/are just lazy/are a bunch of whiners/aka have no legitimate grievances with them and they can just go back to ignoring them and running the world into the ground.

Thanks, @Peace, re your May 17th, 23:13 reply
I didn't, and don't, know anything about "The Agnelli's". If all you said is true, then TE has turned into another Fox, only foxier.
I hope not all you said is true. Perhaps only time will tell.
In the meantime, all the "Open Future" stuff they publish in blogs and in Printed Edition does have a putrid odor.
Once a paper has lost its last shred of credibility, it is the end. Not complicated.
I have long ago begun reading only half the paper and totally ignoring the other half, and looked for the posts of informed and intelligent readers who faithfully contribute to holding down the TE fort. Some of them are truly impressive, whether on environment and climate change issues, things only a real lawyer would know, things only a real chemical engineer would know, things about American history that are not fabricated or cherry-picked, things about smallish countries in Europe - western, eastern, middle, etc. etc.
This is the last straw. Insulting the intelligence of readers is about the most stupid thing a paper can do. If they could face the integrity of the founder of the paper, good luck to them.

Re your May 17th, 23:37 post,
I see nothing inherently "wrong" in catering to younger audiences. But that has got nothing to do with insulting anyone's intelligence, young OR old.
If you take the paper as whole, it has degenerated into talking whatever music it thinks its readers want to hear. One moment X is bad but X is good when they do it. Another moment Y is good but Y is bad when someone else does it.
Anything they can spin to obtain obtuse readership and divide the world. Some "Open Future".
Yes, they are "running the world into the ground". I think that's not an exaggerated statement. Indeed, I think they are often guilty of inciting violence by the uber-sensationalized headlines they seem so proud of churning, headlines that are often not only hyperbolic but with an oxymoronic double hook for click-baits. Disgusting.
I am winding down with my comments. In time, I will hang up altogether. There are many better papers in all sorts of languages to read out there (German, French, for example), most of which provide an English Edition. They report news; all , of course, are expected to have slanted opinions, for different people can look at the same thing and come away with different opinions, since they all see things from different vantage points - that's perfectly normal, and one does not have to agree or disagree with the opinions; one simply reads to get the different vantage points, which also is totally normal, in fact well advised.
What TE does, however, is consistently and persistently, and ever so subtly, presents an angle that is aimed at stoking the fire in what already is a complicated enough world without their stoking, deliberately. I say "deliberately" because they should know they are printing half-truths in many of the things they print; if they don't know, then they sorely need to upgrade their research staff, like upgrade it from a tabloid to a serious newspaper.
And, for a paper aimed at a "GLOBAL" readership, I have yet to find one to match TE on the measure of what is known as "provincial", cringeworthy provincial. So then what do you think they attract?
Three of its best writers are gone, for no reason anyone can discern or are privy to. One several years ago. At least one showed up in a much higher-caliber paper as Editor-in-Chief. Another one has a new site. What's left? And then you encounter this piece. Quite a way to keep a loyal customer, I'd say.

I suggest you let the marketplace decide the future of TE. I have long considered their articles too liberal (or anti-conservative), and with the cessation of comments (virtually censorship), I doubt I will renew my subscription.

Other sites allow you to ignore/block comments from readers you find offensive. I think this is an effective way to deal with trolls. Let them waste their time talking to nobody.

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Peace Love and Understanding

The problem is not that you are not vulgar enough. The problem is not that you are not tough enough. The problem is not that illiberal peoples take advantage of your open forums to undermine the open forums.
The problem is you cannot win the argument. The problem is your open forum allows for unfiltered criticism of your policies. The problem is the accusations I have leveled against you below are completely accurate, and thus you have no satisfying answers to them no matter how you try to dodge them.
So like any other cowardly authoritarian, you must destroy the forum when the argument cannot be won.