Liberal Democrat

Liberal Democrat
Liberal Democracy

Monday, May 28, 2018

The Economist: Liberalism- Where Did it Come From and Are its Days Numbered?

Source: The Economist- Lady Liberty!
Source: The New Democrat

On this overcast, ugly, cool Memorial Day in the nations capital just outside of Washington, I thought as we celebrate as a country the lives of the people who died for our freedom, I would explain how we got that freedom as a country and the philosophy that our freedom and individual rights is based on. Whether you want to call it classical liberalism or as I prefer just liberalism, liberalism is what our individual freedom and individual rights are actually based on. No other political philosophy has given us that. As well to speak to The Economist piece, do I believe liberalism is in trouble in America and around the world or not.

Source: Tedfri Teff- Good definition of liberal democracy
Liberalism is based off of liberal democracy and the principles of what's called classical liberalism. Representative democracy where the people elect their leaders and politicians. But what also comes with liberal democracy is individual rights and things like separation of powers. A free press for example so government can't control both their own operations and enforcement, as well as the information that the people receive in the country. As well as free speech for individuals so people aren't arrested or detained simply for disagreeing with the government or anyone else. And that right to express themselves so long as they aren't falsely accusing, harassing people, or inciting violence. And that even covers offensive and hate speech. ( Sorry, political correctness warriors )

Source: My English Teacher- Good definition of Liberal
But not just a constitutional right to free speech which is a liberal right to free speech which covers a lot of ground, but individual rights, freedom, self-determination in general, that comes with limited government with again separation of powers, as well as the rule of law. People have the freedom over their own lives in a liberal democracy, but not the freedom to take someone else's freedom away from them, especially the right to life ( another liberal individual right ) unless it's in self defense. Our Founding Fathers ( our Founding Liberals ) didn't create America because they wanted to bring the British authoritarian monarchy here, but because they wanted to get away from it and create a liberal free society based off of self-determination, individual rights, and limited government.

Do I believe liberalism is in trouble in America and around the world? Yes, but because you have two competing authoritarian populist factions that don't believe in freedom and see it as dangerous. The Nationalists on the Far-Right, who don't believe in immigration, integration, multiculturalism, the rule of law, a free press, would like to see views that are critical of them be outlawed and the people who express those views be jailed. We see this with the Donald Trump movement in America, but also with Nigel Farage Nationalists in Britain.

And we see it with young people in America and in Europe on the Far-Left. Who have more respect for Karl Marx and Che Guevara and see Communists and Socialists as their pop culture icons as well as ideological heroes. And look down at people like Jack Kennedy, Tom Jefferson, and other Liberals who gave us our liberal democracy and freedom. They see Liberals as corrupt and bigoted, but Communists as great people who should be celebrated. it's not just the Bernie Sanders social democratic wing ( or Democratic Socialists ) that young people in America and in Europe are in love with ideologically and culturally, but authoritarians who are even further left of the Democratic Socialists in America and in Europe.

As long as you have these two growing political factions in America and in Europe, that see political diversity as a dangerous thing and that the other side aren't just political opponents, but enemies, with both major political parties in America expecting their political party to nominate someone from their fringe wing or they won't bother voting in the general election, liberalism and liberal democracy will be in danger in America. You'll always have a President who believes that anything critical of him should be punished and not allowed to get out in the public, especially if it's true. And an opposition party that believes they should not only defeat the party in power, but replace it with their own fringe and replace the Nationalists with Socialists and Communists, the people who believe in liberal democracy and freedom in general, will suffer.
The Economist: Liberalism- Where Did it Come From and Are Its Days Numbered?

Monday, May 21, 2018

The New Yorker: Will Storr- How Millennials Became The Selfie Generation

Source: The New Yorker- Narcissism on display-
Source: The New Democrat

Just on a personal I note: I'm really glad I went to and graduated high school in the early and mid 1990s and not today with the personality I have then and now. Going to high school today must feel like you're on a reality TV or daytime talk show or something. With practically every teenager in school feeling the need to talk, look, and act like they're favorite celebrity that they saw or read about online the previous night. Social media narcissism and faddism is in and individualism is dying with the Millennials and we'll see what Generation Z is like when they're out of high school and college as well.

Source: FY Society- Welcome to 21st Century America 
Selfies similar to coffee house cups and smartphones, are props. People use them to tell everyone else that they're up to date and in style with whoever is cool or awesome at the time. And I'm willing to bet a lot of times when you see someone walking doing a street or out of a building looking down at their phone and holding a coffee house cup, the cup is probably empty and they're just looking at their phone. And that draw dropping OMG expression that you see, is just that. But there probably isn't actually anything extraordinary going on with that person at that time because again they're just looking at their phone because they want people to think they're just as cool or awesome and in as the people that see them.

Source: Rawhide Boys Ranch
Well, selfies are props as well for people who feel the need to be seen doing whatever they're doing that day and being at whatever the trendy place is and that place will probably be a coffee house or some trendy cafe and they'll feel the need to get those pics up on Facebook ( or whatever they're favorite social network is ) almost as soon as their pics are taken. The need to feel cool by the people they believe are cool and who they want to be seen with. Faddism is in with young adults today and the need to be seen like their favorite celebrities and individualism and risk in life is out. Because if people act like themselves the person they talk to in their head and see in the mirror when they're just being them self in private, they're worried that person might not be seen as cool with the in crowd.

Source: Amazon
I'm all in favor of self-esteem and people feeling good about themselves, as long as it's deserved. When someone fails at something whether it's in school or at work, the first reaction shouldn't be it will get get better. Doesn't mean it won't get better, but that shouldn't be the automatic first reaction. The first reaction should be a self-examination and be a question which is why did you fail. Failing and screwing up should be opportunities for self-improvement. "This is why I failed and this is what I can do to prevent future failures and be successful in the future." Instead of, "that is just a onetime thing and it will automatically get better in the future." Because if you don't fix what went wrong the last time, it won't get better until you do.

Self-esteem, the so-called self-esteem movement of the 1990s, was the start of the rise of narcissism in America. With people feeling the need to be seen and be seen being cool and hanging out with cool people and feeling like if something went wrong in their life it wasn't because of them and it wasn't a personal failure on their part. And we see that with selfies today with people feeling the need to be liked and popular and be told they're great, oh I'm sorry awesome and doing awesome things and being around awesome people and feeling the need to be associated with whatever the popular trend is. And the internet and social media today have just taken those issues in American culture to extreme levels, along with celebrity culture and how important that seems to be with so many Americans. 
The New Yorker: Will Storr- How Millennials Became The Selfie Generation

Monday, May 14, 2018

Alfred Hitch Blog: Wemisse- Vertigo 1958: ‘I Need You To Be Madeline For a While’

Source: Alfred Hitch Blog- Kim Novak, under the Golden Gate Bridge-
Source: The New Democrat Plus

I saw North by Northwest for like the 200th time last night ( not that I’ve been counting ) because it’s my favorite movie and I hadn’t seen in about like an entire year and it has my favorite actor in Cary Grant, as well as my favorite director Alfred Hitchcock. I was just in the mood to see that movie again and watch Cary make a comedian of himself in every basic scene in the movie, with absolutely no direction from Hitch. The scene where he’s climbing out his hospital room and sneaking into another room from by going out his window into another window, is a perfect example of that. So I’m sort of in a Hitchcock mood, plus I love Kim Novak as well.

Source: Paste Magazine- Hollywood Goddess Kim Novak 
Vertigo is not the perfect movie, but North by Northwest is, but Vertigo has a lot things in it that are perfect. Where the movie takes place and is shot which is San Francisco, which is at least arguably the best looking big city in America, if not the world. You couldn’t shoot a movie in a better looking big city than San Francisco. The director who I don’t need to mention. The two lead characters with Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak. Kim playing a woman who in many ways is a lot like herself. Sort of shy and lacking in self-confidence. Which is almost impossible to believe when you look at Kim Novak and then she’s also a very good if not great actress as well, because she’s so real and turns herself into the women she plays.

Source: WTOP Radio- Hollywood Goddess Kim Novak 
To be familiar with ‘I want you to be Madeline for a while”, you have to be familiar with Vertigo itself. Which should go without saying, but it’s about a man who hires an old classmate of his who is a retired San Francisco police detective ( or inspector ) who is now in retirement completely and I guess living off of his pension, to essentially spy on his wife, because he believes she in some type of trouble. Or that’s what he tells Scottie ( played by Jimmy Stewart ) but really what this is about is Gavin Elster ( played by Tom Helmore ) playing Scottie for a fool and making him believe that Madeline ( played by Kim Novak ) is in love with him. And he falls in love with her and then she suddenly dies in the movie or that is what Gavin and Madeline want Scottie to believe. And he goes crazy and has a nervous breakdown and is not able to communicate at all and even does some time in a rest home to recover from his condition.

And then Madeline comes back, except that Madeline is now Judy Barton ( also played by Kim Novak ) and Scottie sees Judy who he believes strongly resembles Madeline at a store and Scottie is still in love with Madeline and decides he wants Judy to be Madeline and dress like Madeline and go to the same restaurants and places that Scottie and Madeline went to when they had their affair. Except that Judy is really Madeline Elster and she never actually died. She and her husband are just playing this scam on Scottie that he never figures out ( even though he’s a detective ) until the last scene in the movie. Where she actually does die for real.

If I had to do a scale for the best Hitchcock movies of all-time, Vertigo would be like number five. Alfred Hitchcock made a lot of films and made a lot of great films, but North by Northwest, Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, Dial M For Murder, Family Plot, are all better so Vertigo wouldn’t even be in my top five, but again Hitch made a lot of great movies, so number 6 is actually pretty good. But it had a great cast, great director, the writing is a little cheesy with grown men and women using words like darn with no sense that any of these people are very religious at all and there in San Francisco and in the late 1950s when moderate swearing in Hollywood movies was becoming somewhat noticeable. But it has am iterating plot and Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak, are both very entertaining by themselves and Kim is hot, sexy, and adorable enough to get met to watch her in anything that she does.
Source: The Monty An Drew: Vertigo 1958- 'I Need You To Be Madeline For a While'

Monday, May 7, 2018

The New Republic: Opinion- Win McCormack: 'Are You Progressive'- Differences Between Progressive, Socialist & Liberal

Source: The New Republic- The Progressive Era-
Source: The New Democrat

Before I offer you my own personal definition of progressive and progressivism and there really isn't any official of progressive and progressivism unlike liberal and liberalism, or conservative and conservatism, I want to lay out what progressive and progressivism isn't. Even if others believe their so-called progressive values are the real progressive values. And people who disagree with those values are regressive or right-wingers.

Source: The Slide Player- Theodore Roosevelt, Progressive Republican 
Progressives aren't Liberals and they're not Socialists either. Progressives and Liberals, share similar values, but Progressives also share similar values with Conservatives, which I'll explain later. You can be a Liberal and believe that people who are down should be able to get help from to help them sustain themselves in their time of need ( for lack of a better phrase ) and to help them get back up. And you can be a Progressive who believes in free speech, the right to privacy, personal freedom generally, but who isn't a Liberal more broadly.

And just as important, Progressives aren't Socialists ( democratic or communist ) and Socialists aren't Progressives. In many cases the opposite is very clear. One of the most if not most regressive ( anti-progressive ) political philosophies in the world is communism. ( For all you young hipsters who think Communists are cool and communism is cool and wear Che Guevara t-shirts ) When it comes to Democratic Socialists, similar to Liberals, Democratic Socialists share similar goals and in some cases values. The belief in a minimum wage, the right for workers to organize, health care for everyone, that poverty should be addressed, etc. But tend to differ in how to accomplish those goals and don't have a big centralized welfare state tax hike solution, to accomplishing all those goals.

Again, about what progressive isn't, you can be a man-hating, anti-Caucasian, Che Guevara and The Weather Underground loving, radical feminist Marxist-Socialist, or just a Socialist but not a Marxist with those other political characteristics. Who believes individualism and property rights are selfish and capitalism and private enterprise is racist, and personal freedom and free speech are dangerous, or you can be a Progressive. Who is forward looking and believes that progress can be obtained through government action, but isn't looking to destroy or takeover the American Federal form of government with checks and balances and replace it with a  socialist government. But you can't be a Progressive and a Socialist-Communist. They don't go together and tend to be at odds with each other. Progressives believe in progress through government action. Socialists and Communists, believe in collectivism, whether it's democratic or communist.

So what is progressive, what are Progressives and what is progressivism? I actually know the answers to these questions, otherwise writing this piece would be a waste of my time.

As I briefly hit on before in the last paragraph Progressives believe not only in progress, but that progress can be obtained through government action. Doesn't have to be the Federal Government necessarily, we live in a federal republic with a federalist form of government. Which means the states and localities have a role in addressing a lot of these domestic issues. Also doesn't mean that the Federal Government doesn't have any role in addressing issues and problems in the country. Again, Progressives are different from Socialists, but also different from Conservative-Libertarians.

One thing that I like and respect about progressivism is how non-ideological and pragmatic it is. Barack Obama should really be the modern spokesperson and father for what progressivism really is in America, because of how pragmatic he was as President.

Progressives like to solve problems in American society. They're not looking to nationalize this or that, or restrict this current freedom or take that one away and make the country more collectivist.

And this is true going back to the Progressive Era ( which actually was progressive ) to the New Deal of the 1930s, the Dwight Eisenhower Progressive Republican Administration of the 1950s, where President Eisenhower successfully addressed civil rights in America with school desegregation and gave us along with Congress our national infrastructure system. Or the Great Society of the 1960s, as well as smaller but important accomplishments of President Richard Nixon dealing with the environment, President Carter with energy independence, President George H.W. Bush with civil rights, President Clinton with family and medial leave, President Obama with health care. Which I believe is just as important as anything from the New Deal, if not more important.

The first word in progressive is progress and the second word is ive. Maybe someone will someday define ive for me, ( ha, ha) but nowhere in the word do you see socialist, collectivist, communist, feminist, or even liberal. Our most Progressive President's have been our most anti-authoritarian and anti-communist President's. Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Barack Obama even with his major campaign against Islamism and ISIS.

I mentioned earlier ( feels like yesterday at this point ) that I would show you something that Progressives and Conservatives have in common. ( Mission impossible to believe, right ) Well, I just did that with the President's that I just mentioned. The belief in that America has to be both strong at home as well as abroad. That liberal democracy is a great thing that needs to be defended and supported and that authoritarianism whatever the philosophy, needs to fought and defeated. As well as limited government and fiscal responsibility. Before President Bill Clinton, the last American President to have a balanced budget, was President Lyndon Johnson. something to think about when you're looking at political philosophy and labels.

There's been a lot of discussion the last few years, more like going back to the start of the Obama presidency, about what's the difference between Liberals and Progressives, or are they the same thing and what's the difference between Liberals and Socialists, or Socialists and Progressives, are they the same things. Senator Bernie Sanders, has been labeled as all three or that he's all three. Which is not true because he's a Democratic Socialist and a proud one at that.

When you think of Socialist, think of socialism democratic or communist depending on the person. When you think of Liberal, think of liberalism which is about liberal democracy. When you think of Progressive, think of progressivism through government action, but in a limited form. Not government trying to do everything for everybody and trying to run people's lives for them. Which if anything is actually regressive with all the individualism and freedom that people would lose as a result.
Source: Learn Liberty: Progressivism & The New Deal