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Friday, July 22, 2005

Who is the Monolith? Left or Non-Left?

While Allen Gorin provides us a distinction between "Leftists" and "liberals", to me there does not appear to be the gradations among them on the various issues of the day that ones sees in the self-labelling of "conservatives".

In a series of essays in FrontPage Magazine, Keith Thompson has been chronicling his philosophical outlook that began as a lifetime liberal and, after reflection, has turned into what?

He repeats a comment from an emailer that he always believed:

“I too dislike what the left has become, but the monolithic, conform-or-die right terrifies me.”

Thompson and I both believed this sentiment for many decades of our lives as liberals from teenager through much of adulthood. However, Thompson and I have found the conservative umbrella contains many gradations with civil but strong disagreements on a number of issues.

Writes Thompson:

If only my anxious correspondent could scan the many hundreds of smart, good-natured, reasonable (and typically quite funny) messages I got from a veritable non-monolith of readers who identified themselves with these kinds of labels: independent, libertarian, classical liberal, conservative, federalist, culturally Western, free-trading, constitutionalist, free-marketeering, religious, religious-and-secular, spiritual-but-not-religious, patriotic. This self-description, spoken more than any other, comes closest to monolithic: “I am an American.” Dangerous stuff — call out the campus grievance committee.

Within this blog the contributors differ on such issues as abortion on demand, foreign policy, the First Amendment, free trade, the proper role of government and other issues. Some of us came gradually to conservatism, or its related offshoots, and some were always there. Our contributors are thanked as they can provide new insights for all of us to consider.

The monolith today is the Left and its offshoots. Concluded Thompson:

I've come to find my way outside the narrow confines of the Left — and life after the Left is liberating.

My fear is that the seeming difference between Leftism and liberal is that Leftism preaches overt socialism while liberals are either being covert or are unwittingly leading us on "The Road To Serfdom".

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