Best 204 of Liberalism quotes - MyQuotes
[T]he state should not impose a preferred way of life, but should leave its citizens as free as possible to choose their own values and ends, consistent with a similar liberty for others.
Richard John Neuhaus
One must never underestimate the profound bigotry and anti-intellectualism and intolerance and illiberality of liberalism.
If Communism was liberalism in a hurry, liberalism is Communism in slow motion.
Liberalism is a mental disorder.
Liberalism is unsustainable. When things go wrong in liberalism they pile more liberalism on top. Pretty good example of what's wrong with the US budget, US healthcare. Liberalism breaks it. Government breaks it. They pile more liberalism on top of it until it eventually implodes, like Obamacare is going to, or like Social Security is going to. All of these things, they're not sustainable, because liberalism isn't.
The tender plant of spirituality will die if exposed too early to the action of a constant change of ideas and ideals. Many people, in the name of what may be called religious liberalism, may be seen feeding their idle curiosity with a continuous succession of different ideals. With them, hearing new things grows into a kind of disease, a sort of religious drink-mania. They want to hear new things just by way of getting a temporary nervous excitement, and when one such exciting influence has had its effect on them, they are ready for another. Religion is with these people a sort of intellectual opium-eating, and there it ends.
The only place that liberalism can truly flourish is within a capitalist society.
Since, in our societies, a gendered division of labor still predominates which confers a male twist on basic liberal categories (autonomy, public activity, competition) and relegates women to the private sector of family solidarity, liberalism itself, in its opposition to private and public, harbors male dominance. Furthermore, it is only modern Western capital culture for which autonomy and individual freedom stand higher than collective solidarity, connection, responsibility for dependent others, the duty to respect the customs of one's community. Liberalism itself thus privileges a certain culture: the modern Western one. As to freedom of choice, liberalism is also marked by a strong bias. It is intolerant when individuals of other cultures are not given freedom of choice-as is evident in issues such as clitoridechtomy, child brideship, infanticide, polygamy, and incest. However, it ignores the tremendous pressure which, for example, compels women in out liberal societies to undergo such procedures as plastic surgery, cosmetic implants, and Botox injections to remain competitive in the sex markets.
Ludwig Von Mises
When, thirty-five years ago, I tried to give a summary of the ideas and principles of that social philosophy that was once known under the name of liberalism, I did not indulge in the vain hope that my account would prevent the impending catastrophes to which the policies adopted by the European nations were manifestly leading. All I wanted to achieve was to offer to the small minority of thoughtful people an opportunity to learn something about the aims of classical liberalism and its achievements and thus to pave the way for a resurrection of the spirit of freedom after the coming debacle.
They need a deen that's not your uncle's deen.
Here’s a hot tip: If you think calling someone a social justice warrior is an insult, you might be a horrible person.
too many left-wing student groups treat no one as badly as students of color or women who consider themselves to be classical liberals, libertarians, or conservatives, or who merely disagree with the actions of progressive protesters on campus. They’re seen as special kinds of traitors.
In American popular usage today, 'liberalism' means left-liberalism – not to be confused with 'neoliberalism' ... and is expressly contrasted with 'conservatism'. In this usage a liberal is one who leans consciously towards the underprivileged, supports the interests of minorities and socially excluded groups, believes in the use of state power to achieve social justice, and in all probability shares the egalitarian and secular values of the nineteenth century socialists.
There were two things, they told Doremus, that distinguished this prairie Demosthenes. He was an actor of genius. There was no more overwhelming actor on the stage, in the motion pictures, nor even in the pulpit. He would whirl arms, bang tables, glare from mad eyes, vomit Biblical wrath from a gaping mouth; but he would also coo like a nursing mother, beseech like an aching lover, and in between tricks would coldly and almost contemptuously jab his crowds with figures and facts - figures and facts that were inescapable even when, as often happened, they were entirely incorrect.
If Trump does not start seeing things through an ideological prism, he will never understand the method, the motive, and the how and why these attacks against him happen. He doesn't see liberalism, and because he doesn't see liberalism, he can be outfoxed by it every day. He's not an ideological person.
Yuval Noah Harari
The Germans were eventually beaten only when the liberal countries allied themselves with the Soviet Union, which bore the brunt of the conflict and paid a much higher price: 25 million Soviet citizens died in the war, compared to half a million Britons and half a million Americans. Much of the credit for defeating Nazism should be given to communism. And at least in the short term, communism was also the great beneficiary of the war. The Soviet Union entered the war as an isolated communist pariah. It emerged as one of the two global superpowers, and the leader of an expanding international bloc. By 1949 eastern Europe became a Soviet satellite, the Chinese Communist Party won the Chinese Civil War, and the United States was gripped by anti-communist hysteria. Revolutionary and anti-colonial movements throughout the world looked longingly towards Moscow and Beijing, while liberalism became identified with the racist European empires. As these empires collapsed, they were usually replaced by either military dictatorships or socialist regimes, not liberal democracies. In 1956 the Soviet premier, Nikita Khrushchev, confidently told the liberal West that ‘Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you!
Liberalism has become a moral vaccine that immunizes people against stigmatization.
Graças a Churchill, não foi a Alemanha que passou a dominar a Europa, mas sim os Estados Unidos e a Rússia. Graças a Churchill, o fascismo deixou de desempenhar qualquer papel significativo no mundo, ficando o liberalismo e o socialismo a travar a luta pela primazia na política interna dos países. (...) Churchill não desejava grande parte destes cenários, embora aceitasse como mal menor num contexto mais pessimista.
I know that no matter how liberal or progressive I profess to be, no matter how successfully, how diligently I seek to be enlightened and nuanced in my understanding of the world and those around me, I know that there still is a tiny, virulent nugget, a germ of prejudice that exists deep within me — the product of those stereotypes and awful jokes of childhood and adolescence, and that it must always be powerfully held at bay by reason, understanding and love.
Yuval Noah Harari
So far we have looked at two of the three practical threats to liberalism: firstly, that humans will lose their value completely; secondly, that humans will still be valuable collectively, but they will lose their individual authority, and will instead be managed by external algorithms. The system will still need you to compose symphonies, teach history or write computer code, but the system will know you better than you know yourself, and will therefore make most of the important decisions for you – and you will be perfectly happy with that. It won’t necessarily be a bad world; it will, however, be a post-liberal world. The third threat to liberalism is that some people will remain both indispensable and undecipherable, but they will constitute a small and privileged elite of upgraded humans. These superhumans will enjoy unheard-of abilities and unprecedented creativity, which will allow them to go on making many of the most important decisions in the world. They will perform crucial services for the system, while the system could not understand and manage them. However, most humans will not be upgraded, and they will consequently become an inferior caste, dominated by both computer algorithms and the new superhumans.
I think the whole student rebellion is not really a rebellion at all....They want a certain kind of identity; they're jockeying with each other for political power in their own culture. The basis for this behavior is a desire for notoriety.
On matters where it is difficult or impossible to pin the blame for their policies' failures on conservatives, the fallback position has been to hurl a slur at anyone pointing out the obvious failure....The left's never-ending use of these worn-out attacks on the character and motivations of those who disagree with them has caused them to lose their effect....At the ground level, since liberals have lost the ability to win any and every political discussion by hurling a slur, they are simply resorting to the next level in political interaction: violence and physical intimidation.
But we humans now represent a new and perhaps decisive factor. Our intelligence and our technology have given us the power to affect the climate. How will we use this power? Are we willing to tolerate ignorance and complacency in matters that affect the entire human family? Do we value short-term advantages above the welfare of the Earth? Or will we think on longer time scales, with concern for our children and our grandchildren, to understand and protect the complex life-support systems of our planet? The Earth is a tiny and fragile world. It needs to be cherished.
Liberalism is the transformation of mankind into cattle.
Yuval Noah Harari
Digital dictatorships are not the only danger awaiting us. Alongside liberty, liberal order has also set great store by the value of equality. Liberalism always cherished political equality, and it gradually came to realise that economic equality is almost as important. For without a social safety net and a modicum of economic equality, liberty is meaningless. But just as Big Data algorithms might extinguish liberty, they might simultaneously create the most unequal societies that ever existed. All wealth and power might be concentrated in the hands of a tiny elite, while most people will suffer not from exploitation, but from something far worse – irrelevance.
[W]hat possible purpose does this lashing-out serve? Will activists be shamed into recovering their previous enthusiasm? Will Republicans stop their vicious attacks because Obama is lashing out to his left? It was pure self-indulgence; even if he feels aggrieved, he has to judge his words by their usefulness, not by his desire to vent. This isn't about him.
The theological perspective of participation actually saves the appearances by exceeding them. It recognizes that materialism and spiritualism are false alternatives, since if there is only finite matter there is not even that, and that for phenomena really to be there they must be more than there. Hence, by appealing to an eternal source for bodies, their art, language, sexual and political union, one is not ethereally taking leave of their density. On the contrary, one is insisting that behind this density resides an even greater density – beyond all contrasts of density and lightness (as beyond all contrasts of definition and limitlessness). This is to say that all there is only is because it is more than it is. (...) This perspective should in many ways be seen as undercutting some of the contrasts between theological liberals and conservatives. The former tend to validate what they see as the modern embrace of our finitude – as language, and as erotic and aesthetically delighting bodies, and so forth. Conservatives, however, seem still to embrace a sort of nominal ethereal distancing from these realities and a disdain for them. Radical orthodoxy, by contrast, sees the historic root of the celebration of these things in participatory philosophy and incarnational theology, even if it can acknowledge that premodern tradition never took this celebration far enough. The modern apparent embrace of the finite it regards as, on inspection, illusory, since in order to stop the finite vanishing modernity must construe it as a spatial edifice bound by clear laws, rules and lattices. If, on the other hand, following the postmodern options, it embraces the flux of things, this is an empty flux both concealing and revealing an ultimate void. Hence, modernity has oscillated between puritanism (sexual or otherwise) and an entirely perverse eroticism, which is in love with death and therefore wills the death also of the erotic, and does not preserve the erotic as far as an eternal consummation. In a bizarre way, it seems that modernity does not really want what it thinks it wants; but on the other hand, in order to have what it thinks it wants, it would have to recover the theological. Thereby, of course, it would discover also that that which it desires is quite other than it has supposed
Whether it’s the growth of the economy, audience shares, publications – slowly but surely, quality is being replaced by quantity. ... And driving it all is a force sometimes called “liberalism,” an ideology that has been all but hollowed out. ... Freedom may be our highest ideal, but ours has become an empty freedom. Our fear of moralizing in any form has made morality a taboo in the public debate. The public arena should be “neutral,” after all – yet never before has it been so paternalistic. On every street corner we’re baited to booze, binge, borrow, buy, toil, stress, and swindle. Whatever we may tell ourselves about freedom of speech, our values are suspiciously close to those touted by precisely the companies that can pay for prime-time advertising.
At the center of this worldview is the evil of oppression, the virtue of “marginalized” identities—based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion or disability—and the perfectionist quest to eliminate anything the marginalized may perceive as oppressive or “invalidating.” Such perceptions are given a near-absolute presumption of validity, even if shared by a fraction of the “oppressed group.” Meanwhile, the viewpoints of the “privileged”—a category that includes economically disadvantaged whites, especially men—are radically devalued.
I am just stupefied here. The left has officially stamped it now: Oil is a villain. Now, please ask yourselves: When did this start?
The traditional, correct pre-Marxist view on exploitation was that of radical laissez-faire liberalism as espoused by, for instance, Charles Comte and Charles Dunoyer. According to them, antagonistic interests do not exist between capitalists, as owners of factors of production, and laborers, but between, on the one hand, the producers in society, i.e., homesteaders, producers and contractors, including businessmen as well as workers, and on the other hand, those who acquire wealth non-productively and/or non-contractually, i.e., the state and state-privileged groups, such as feudal landlords.
The liberal ideals of the Enlightenment could be realized only in very partial and limited ways in the emerging capitalist order: "Democracy with its mono of equality of all citizens before the law and Liberalism with its right of man over his own person both were wrecked on the realities of capitalist economy," Rocker correctly observed. Those who are compelled to rent themselves to owners of capital in order to survive are deprived of one of the most fundamental rights: the right to productive, creative and fulfilling work under one's own control, in solidarity with others. And under the ideological constraints of capitalist democracy, the prime necessity is to satisfy the needs of those in a position to make investment decisions; if their demands are not satisfied, there will be no production, no work, no social services, no means for survival. All necessarily subordinate themselves and their interests to the overriding need to serve the interests of the owners and managers of the society, who, furthermore, with their control over resources, are easily able to shape the ideological system (the media, schools, universities and so on) in their interests, to determine the basic conditions within which the political process will function, its parameters and basic agenda, and to call upon the resources of state violence, when need be, to suppress any challenge to entrenched power. The point was formulated succinctly in the early days of the liberal democratic revolutions by John Jay, the President of the Continental Congress and the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court: "The people who own the country ought to govern it." And, of course, they do, whatever political faction may be in power. Matters could hardly be otherwise when economic power is narrowly concentrated and the basic decisions over the nature and character of life, the investment decisions, are in principle removed from democratic control.
Nor is he liberal who gives with pain; for he would prefer the wealth to the noble act, and this is not characteristic of a liberal man. But no more will the liberal man take from wrong sources; for such taking is not characteristic of the man who sets no store by wealth.
John Stuart Mill
It still remains unrecognised, that to bring a child into existence without a fair prospect of being able, not only to provide food for its body, but instruction and training for its mind, is a moral crime, both against the unfortunate offspring and against society; and that if the parent does not fulfil this obligation, the State ought to see it fulfilled, at the charge, as far as possible, of the parent.
My feeling is this whole country is founded on the principle of 'if you are not hurting anyone, and you're not fucking with someone else's shit, and you are paying your taxes, you should be able to just do what you want to do.' It's the freedom and the independence.
Darwin and Nietzsche were the common spiritual and intellectual source for the mean-spirited and bellicose ideological assault on progress, liberalism, and democracy that fired the late-nineteenth-century campaign to preserve or rejuvenate the traditional order. Presensitized for this retreat from modernity, prominent fin-de-siècle aesthetes, engages literati, polemical publicists, academic sociologists, and last but not least, conservative and reactionary politicians became both consumers and disseminators of the untried action-ideas. Oscar Wilde and Stefan George were perhaps most representative of the aristocratizing aesthetes whose rush into dandyism or retreat into cultural monasticism was part of the outburst against bourgeois philistinism and social levelling. Their yearning for a return to an aristocratic past and their aversion to the invasive democracy of their day were shared by Thomas Mann and Hugo von Hofmannsthal, whose nostalgia for the presumably superior sensibilities of a bygone cultivated society was part of their claim to privileged social space and position in the present. Although they were all of burgher or bourgeois descent, they extolled ultra-patrician values and poses, thereby reflecting and advancing the rediscovery and reaffirmation of the merits and necessities of elitism. Theirs was not simply an aesthetic and unpolitical posture precisely because they knowingly contributed to the exaltation of societal hierarchy at a time when this exaltation was being used to do battle against both liberty and equality. At any rate, they may be said to have condoned this partisan attack by not explicitly distancing themselves from it. Maurice Barrès, Paul Bourget, and Gabriele D'Annunzio were not nearly so self-effacing. They were not only conspicuous and active militants of antidemocratic elitism, but they meant their literary works to convert the reader to their strident persuasion. Their polemical statements and their novels promoted the cult of the superior self and nation, in which the Church performed the holy sacraments. Barrès, Bourget, and D'Annunzio were purposeful practitioners of the irruptive politics of nostalgia that called for the restoration of enlightened absolutism, hierarchical society. and elite culture in the energizing fires of war.
[Obituary of atheist philosopher Richard Robinson] An Atheist's Values is one of the best short accounts of liberalism (a term Robinson accepted) and humanism (a term he ignored) produced during the present century, all the more powerful for its lucidity and moderation, its wit and wisdom. It may now seem old-fashioned, but during those confused alarms of struggle and fight between the ignorant armies of left and right, thousands of readers must have taken inspiration from Richard Robinson's rational defence of rationalism. It is a pity that it is now out of print, when there is still so much nonsense and so little sense in the world.
Liberalism, the dominant ideology of our time, has been dangerously distorted by the impact of economism. It is that impact which has knocked the citizen off his pedestal and replaced him with the consumer.
The local liberal press, much molested by the censorship, had its courageous and skilful writers such as VM Doroshevich, the master of that semi-literary and semi-journalistic essay at which Bronstein himself was one day to excel.
By offering the educated a semblance of freedom he made the denial of real freedom even more painful and humiliating. The intelligentsia sought to avenge their betrayed hopes; the Tsar strove to tame their restive spirit; and, so, semi-liberal reforms gave way to repression and repression bred rebellion.
Of all the varieties of virtues, liberalism is the most beloved.
Question: A number of people have noted that you use the term "libertarian socialist" in the same context as you use the word ''anarchism." Do you see these terms as essentially similar? Is anarchism a type of socialism to you? The description has been used before that anarchism is equivalent to socialism with freedom. Would you agree with this basic equation? The introduction to Guerin's book that you mentioned opens with a quote from an anarchist sympathizer a century ago, who says that "anarchism has a broad back," and "endures anything." One major element has been what has traditionally been called "libertarian socialism." I've tried to explain there and elsewhere what I mean by that, stressing that it's hardly original; I'm taking the ideas from leading figures in the anarchist movement whom I quote, and who rather consistently describe themselves as socialists, while harshly condemning the "new class" of radical intellectuals who seek to attain state power in the course of popular struggle and to become the vicious "red bureaucracy" of which Bakunin warned; what's often called "socialism." I rather agree with Rudolf Rocker's perception that these (quite central) tendencies in anarchism draw from the best of Enlightenment and classical liberal thought, well beyond what he described. In fact, as I've tried to show they contrast sharply with Marxist-Leninist doctrine and practice, the "libertarian" doctrines that are fashionable in the U.S. and UK particularly, and other contemporary ideologies, all of which seem to me to reduce to advocacy of one or another form of illegitimate authority, quite often real tyranny.
Oddly enough the left’s culture war of hating white people has only made them more likely to vote for anyone other than the left....Lefties like to believe that they lost because the voters who picked the other side are bad people....But maybe they just don’t like being hated....the white man is the devil isn’t just the creed of the Nation of Islam. It’s also the core belief of the progressive left....People won’t vote for you if you hate them
The author and intellectual Cornel West has said that 'justice is what love looks like in public.' I often think that neoliberalism is what lovelessness looks like as policy.
Feminism, which is supposedly for everybody, apparently has no place for conservative women. Why would feminists need to exclude entire swaths of the population? Because they know their ideology cannot stand up to challenges, they know they themselves do not understand it, and they know that to accomplish their goals they cannot allow discussion to occur....To pretend that your ideology is impenetrable and the obvious answer to modern social problems and then to turn around and exclude people from the discussion only creates more holes in the theories themselves and serves to demonstrate the liberal superiority complex.
The great liberal betrayal of this generation is that in the name of liberalism, communal rights have been prioritized over individual autonomy within minority groups. And minorities within minorities really do suffer because of this betrayal.
Ludwig Von Mises
It is illogical to say, as many etatists do, that liberalism is hostile to or hates the state, because it is opposed to the transfer of the ownership of railroads or cotton mills to the state. If a man says that sulphuric acid does not make a good hand lotion, he is not expressing hostility to sulphuric acid as such; he is simply giving his opinion concerning the limitations of its use.
Conservatives and those on the right are usually willing to settle for thinking themselves correct on political issues; those on the left have always needed to feel not so much that they are correct but that they are also good. Disagree with someone on the right and he is likely to think you obtuse, wrong, sentimental, foolish, a dope; disagree with someone one the left and he is more likely to think you selfish, cold-hearted, a sellout, evil-in league with the devil, he might say, if he didn't think religious terminology too coarse for our secular age. To this day one will hear of people who fell for Communism in a big way let off the hook because they were sincere; if one's heart is in the right place, nothing else matters, even if one's naive opinions made it easier for tyrants to murder millions.
And then came the war. That certainly raised the pressure from the personal front. It also brought relief for all the Progressives. They had been against war. It was part of the new creed that war was simply due to sex-repression. Sex, being unrepressed by Progressives, they naturally maintained that they had debunked war and they dismissed it with a laugh. But this war was different. It was present, pressing. The enemy was obviously suffering frightfully from sex-repression. The free, unrepressed peoples must unite now to oppose and end this sex-repression. So the Progressives found themselves freed from their awkward loyalty to peace, which, anyhow, was only a by-product of being unrepressed. After all, if little Alec is permitted to hit Susie on the head for fear he’d grow up repressed if he didn’t, surely if I have been repressed during childhood—not allowed to kick and bite father and mother—I had better get it out of my system now, especially when the enemy is so reactionary and would never permit children their charter right to kick their elders.
Yuval Noah Harari
At the beginning of this chapter we identified several practical threats to liberalism. The first is that humans might become militarily and economically useless. This is just a possibility, of course, not a prophecy. Technical difficulties or political objections might slow down the algorithmic invasion of the job market. Alternatively, since much of the human mind is still uncharted territory, we don’t really know what hidden talents humans might discover in themselves, and what novel jobs they might create to offset the loss of others. That, however, may not be enough to save liberalism. For liberalism believes not just in the value of human beings – it also believes in individualism. The second threat facing liberalism is that, while the system might still need humans in the future, it will not need individuals. Humans will continue to compose music, teach physics and invest money, but the system will understand these humans better than they understand themselves and will make most of the important decisions for them. The system will thereby deprive individuals of their authority and freedom