A Friend Confuses Liberalism With Ayn Rand

A friend writes:

I am not a progressive like you. This explains why you have a need to introduce me as a Republican, thereby demonizing and marginalizing me in Progressive Seattle. P.s., I’m a pretty hard core atheist.

I answer:

Your are write. I do sometimes refer to you as a Republican.  I apologize.  You are what I WISH was normal for Republicans today.  That said,  since when am I a “progressive?    You need some categories that are more than two dimensional. I call myself a Jeffersonian because I believe the essence of America should be equality of opportunity.   Like you I do not subscribe to a party mandated catechism.  Still, I see a systemic mental illness of today’s GOP, not just because of Trump but because that party’s conservative ideology has been lost in a toxic soup of commitments to ideologies I see as hateful.  

As to the piece you copied me. where is it from?  The Wall St. Journal?  Anyhow I did Google it and have marked it up for you:

Liberalism: Believers Need Not Apply

Progressives have triumphed spectacularly over faith and tradition. Now they are targeting conscience itself.

Really?  Lets see who show conscience today?  Trump? The Kochs?  or POpe Francis and Jimmy Carter?

Does liberalism have any room left for Christians and other believers? The question has been posed countless times, and each time liberals answer more decisively than the previous: No.

Really?  Lets see who today celebrates Christianity today?  Pence? The Falwell?  or Pope Francis, Jimmy Carter?, The nuns in the bus?

On Thursday Britain’s Liberal Democrats delivered that message to their leader, Tim Farron, forcing him to resign over his mildly conservative views on homosexuality and abortion. The Lib Dems supposedly carry the torch of 19th-century classical liberalism, though more recently it’s been difficult to distinguish them from any progressive party, anywhere.

Hunhhh??? Maybe you need to read the Economist to learn what liberalism?  In the US its leaders include the Heritage Foundation, Rand Paul, and the Kochs.  I doubt many Americans who call themselves “progressive” identify as liberal in the European sense.

Not least when it comes to gender-and-sexuality orthodoxy. The media and many in his own party have hounded Mr. Farron for years because he deviated—gently, almost imperceptibly—from that orthodoxy. A working-class evangelical Christian, Mr. Farron imagined that his liberal opinions on other big issues like climate change and the European Union would protect him. He was wrong.

Again, utterly irrelevant to the American world liberal.  Many of the most liberal democrats are devout Christians .. including Carter and Pelosi.

Soon after he took the party reins in 2015, Mr. Farron was asked whether, as a Christian, he considers homosexuality a sin. The Lib Dem leader gave the quintessential Christian reply: “We’re all sinners.” But it wasn’t enough. The question would resurface amid the election campaign this spring.

And what does this have to do with American liberalism?  Do you mean that Americans are intolerant of such views on being gay?  I agree.  Of course, the GOP CELEBRATES the racism, islamophobia, and antisemitic hatred of the Southern Baptist Convention.

During a TV interview on April 18, he was pressed four times, and four times he demurred. Quiescence wasn’t enough.


Pressure mounted, and the next day Mr. Farron relented. No, he clarified in remarks at the House of Commons, homosexuality isn’t a sin. That still wasn’t enough. The latter-day Gletkins and Ivanovs needed to be sure that Mr. Farron believed this in his heart of hearts, not merely as a matter of public confession. If he didn’t think homosexuality a sin, asked a BBC interviewer a few days later, why had it taken him so long to say so? Mr. Farron was reduced to spouting gibberish.


Then the Guardian newspaper unearthed a 2007 interview, in which he had suggested that “abortion is wrong” but also cautioned Christian activists that an immediate outright ban would be impracticable. Confronted with his own words on the campaign trail, Mr. Farron pleaded that he’d never advocated abortion restrictions. It wasn’t enough.


In his resignation statement, Mr. Farron wrote: “To be a political leader, especially of a progressive liberal party in 2017, and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, has felt impossible.” He added: “I seem to have been the subject of suspicion because of what I believe and who my faith is in.”


The concept he was grasping for is conscience.

Conscience?  So you would use the same term for a Muslim who considers Buddhism and Hinduism sinful?  When religion is judgmental must this be accepted or can I see it as bigotry? 

Mr. Farron’s politics recall the liberalism of Gladstone, Chesterton and Isaiah Berlin, which treated conscience as king. Today’s liberalism has triumphed so spectacularly over the claims of faith and tradition that it has nothing left to conquer but the individual conscience. This is why modern liberals are so unmagnanimous in victory.

Again, this is a bizarre conflation of the liberalism of Ayn Rand with the liberalism of Bernie Sanders. 

It isn’t enough to emancipate transgender people—you, rabbi, must adhere to strict pronoun guidelines and feel in your soul that Chelsea Manning was always a “she.” It isn’t enough to legalize abortion—you, Tim Farron, must like it.

Lets leave this aside.  Antisemitism is hardly an argument for any sort of poltical view outside of Nazism. 

Liberals welcome believers insofar as religion can be deployed in service of liberal causes, to be sure. But any expression of theological or moral judgment is met with hostility.

I actually agree.  The truth is even worse, much worse, in the GOP.  

Witness, across the Atlantic, Sen. Bernie Sanders’s tirade against Russell Vought, President Trump’s nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. During a Senate confirmation hearing last week, the Vermont socialist grilled Mr. Vought about his contention, in a blog post published last year, that Muslims “do not know God, because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned.”

Yes?   And is not reasonable to worry that this sort of bias might make someone inappropriate for a government job?  Would you object to hiring a Black Muslim?

Mr. Vought’s was a particularly stark summary of the basic Christian teaching that faith in the God-Man is essential to salvation. Plenty of Americans might disagree with the substance, phrasing or both. But Mr. Sanders went further, arguing that Mr. Vought’s views were “Islamophobic” and “hateful” and therefore disqualifying.

Even if this were an accurate view of Bernie, he is hardly the only voice for American liberals … much less so than Donald Trump or Jeff Sessions or Ted Cruz speak for the conservatives. 

Set aside the senator’s riding roughshod over the Constitution, which prohibits religious tests for office. What was most depressing about his outburst was the bleak vision of civic life behind it.

OK, I am not a Bernieoid either.  So? As for a violation of the Constitution, this guy needs to read it. Beliefs are not the same as religion.  Being a Muslim is protected, belief in polygamy is not.

To wit, Mr. Sanders implied that a devout Christian can’t hold fast to his faith’s most demanding claims and at the same time exercise public authority with decency and honor. If you disagree with someone’s theology, in other words, it must mean you hate him. Yet at its best the West has stood for the opposite principle: that people can build and share a democratic public square across and even through such differences.

This is called projection.  Putting YOUR words and YOUR beliefs in someonw else’s mouth. 

That principle is decaying across much of the West, and authoritarian adversaries like Vladimir Putin are no doubt trying to accelerate its demise. But it wasn’t Mr. Putin who made Western politics so inhospitable to large segments of society—and to conscience.

Errr, ahhh … it seems to me that Putin’s politics are pretty much like the conservatives.  Is he now the exemplar ? 

Your Comment