Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. Based on this definition of liberalism most people think that it equates to being a good person. Progressives as well as conservatives say that they are for equality but any person with sense knows that most conservatives aren’t about true equality. The idea that conservatism is about preserving the old guard isn’t groundbreaking. I’d rather spend this time trying to debunk the idea that progressives are some gaggle of do-gooders.
Example. Bill Maher is touted as a progressive’s progressive. He uses comedy to make occasional excellent points. Who doesn’t enjoy someone who’s perceivably intelligent using the power of laughter to point out societal flaws? This doesn’t mean that I agree with every one of his opinions. I find myself agreeing with a lot of what Rand Paul has had to say in the past few months even though he’s about as conservative as they come. I find it odd that if one person labels themselves as a progressive and the other as a conservative, the former is perceived as better than the other.
My issue with progressives like Maher is how they are labeled. It’s possible to be overall progressive but also be intolerant about certain issues. Maher, I believe is progressive as far as race issues, women’s rights, etc. but he is bigoted when it comes to religion; Islam in particular. He throws jabs at Islam but hides behind his atheism when it is brought up that he favors one religion over another. He’s gone on record stating that he thinks that Islam, “with its propensity towards violence, is a religion not like others”. I believe he is an intelligent man so I’m befuddled that he can overlook violence in the name of other religions; Christianity in particular. It’s as if he’s never heard of the Crusades or that non-Muslims carried out 90% of terrorists acts on U.S. soil.
This is not just limited to Bill Maher or even individuals. A progressive city like Portland, the city in which I currently reside, is a historically blue state with a new minimum wage of almost $10. On November 4th many expect Measure 91 to pass which would legalize recreational marijuana for anyone over 21 years of age. Oregon also has the Right to Die with Dignity Act which has caused controversy as of late. Oregon is one of thirty-two states to legalize marriage equality. It was named by the Washington Post as the best state to live in if you want to avoid corruption.
By most measures if you are progressive you would love to live here. That is unless you’re Black. The Black/African American population of Portland is 6% which soars above the state’s populace of the same demographic (2%). This low number of Black residents isn’t by accident.
“…In 1844, pre-state Oregon declared slavery illegal. But making slavery against the law and embracing a diverse society are two different items, and from its beginnings Oregon was modeled as a white homeland. That same 1844 law ordered all black people out of the Oregon Territory under threat of lashing. This “Lash Law” mandated black people be publicly flogged every six months; however, before it could be enforced, it was modified and the whippings were replaced with forced labor.
In 1849 another law excluded any more blacks from settling in the territory. The passing of the Oregon Donation Land Act of 1850, granted free land to Whites only. The 1859 constitution included in its Bill of Rights a racial exclusion clause banning black people from immigrating to Oregon, as well as prohibiting them from owning land and entering into contracts.” 1
There are still people who believe things like this today. Miscegenation is accepted amongst some progressives but equal rights for marriage are not accepted among others. There are some liberals who believe that women should get equal pay for equal work but don’t believe that a woman should have full control over her body. This labeling of progressivism and liberalism is problematic to me. No one person leans all the way left or all the way right. No one has completely conservative or liberal beliefs.