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making my peace with being a liberal

I’ve been thinking and mulling it over in my head, since my last unfortunate encounter with Radical TWoC tumblr. At the time, I mentioned that given our respective positions the likelihood is that all or most of them would write me off as a ‘liberal’.

Now. I don’t actually subscribe to this framework of {conservative, liberal, radical}. Sure, yes, I’ll use Left and Right as economical ways to refer to a general group of vastly divergent ideologies, but it isn’t really how I tend to think of my own position, nor anyone else’s (unless they insist). However, I recognize that many people do.

As such, I’ve actually made my peace with the fact that, relative to some and depending on how you slice it, I end up in the liberal position. And, tbh, many of my underlying positions are much closer to philosophical liberalism than it is anything else. My commitment to pluralism is a great example of this. Neither the Radical nor the Conservative can allow for much (if any) room for pluralism and articulations of it. It is what it is.

Note that I state ‘philosophical liberalism’ since liberalism as formal ideology is not equivalent to how it functions as a political party, economic theory, or ethics (although it of course provides the framework from which those derivatives arise)1. Of which ‘pluralism’ is itself a type of liberalism. In many ways, I suppose some of what I’ve been writing over the past year (in particular) has been me fleshing out the shape and substance of my type of liberalism.

Now that I’m revisiting the philosophic concerns of liberalism… I find myself shrugging at the possibility of being labelled as such. I mean… as the SEP entry states, the fundamental value of liberalism is…. liberty. Lmao. I can’t really say that I’m uncomfortable with this, especially given how many times over the past few years I’ve outright stated that my main concern in doing what I do is: freedom. For me and for those like me.

Since by pretty much no one’s estimation am I likely to ever be considered ‘conservative’, the only other category left within this frame work is… radicalism of some variety. And, I think I’ve also been fairly clear (both implicitely and explicitely) that I do not (and would never) call myself ‘radical’. Indeed, I have many problems with various radical positions. I also have various issues with how my personal experience of ‘community’ within such spaces has been.

Many of the things I’ve been talking about recently, things like Ideological Purity and The One True Path have been commentaries on radical communities as I’ve perceived and experienced them. Does this mean that I actively oppose radicals? No. Just as there are things worth criticizing about radicalism in whatever its forms, so too with liberalism (and conservatism). Certainly, I think that radicals have significantly more to offer than conservatives and if the time comes and I must ‘pick a side’ that’s the way I’ll be going.

In any case, I’d prefer that people not attempt to locate my philosophy nor its positions within this {conservative, liberal, radical} framework. But since this isn’t really under my control, I’ve made my peace with where the most suitable place is for me. At least until some radical theory sufficiently convinces me that it actually has found the One True Path.

So be it.

  • For further reading, I recommend The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's entry on it.  </fn></footnotes>