A “liberal” then, would be a person who is open-minded, ready to listen to another point of view. “I’m not bound to any traditions; I’m open-minded. I am liberal.”
Yet, recently, liberals are showing they are as close-minded as the “conservatives” they claim have it all wrong.
For instance, Mozilla’s Brendan Eich was forced out as the company’s leader (despite the company’s strong stance on tolerance) because he had contributed to a pro-traditional marriage movement in California a few years back.
There’s more. At Swarthmore College (a liberal arts college that prides itself on its “diversity of perspectives“), a student complained about a political debate between Dr. Robert P. George, a conservative, and Dr. Cornel West, a liberal, who also happen to be friends.
In reaction to the debate, one student told the student newspaper that she was “really bothered” with “the whole idea … that at a liberal arts college we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion.”
An assistant professor of philosophy has stated that those who do not believe in global warming should be imprisoned. Yup: you don’t believe in something that has yet to be scientifically proven – off to prison with you.
A German homeschooling family that sought asylum in the United States due to the German state removing their children from their home got caught up in this weird tangle of illiberal liberalism.
Germany’s law banning homeschooling has merit, the U.S. Department of Justice argued in its legal brief, because it brings “people of differing views together to learn from each other and to learn to accept those whose views differ from their own.”
“Teaching tolerance to children of all backgrounds helps to develop the ability to interact as a fully functioning citizen of Germany,” the DOJ continued.
In other words, the DOJ believes that the German government’s intolerance of homeschoolers teaches tolerance and it values diversity by making homeschooled children accept views that are different than their own.
You say: ‘There are persons who lack education” and you turn to the law. But the law is not, in itself, a torch of learning which shines its light abroad. The law extends over a society where some persons have knowledge and others do not; where some citizens need to learn, and others can teach. In this matter of education, the law has only two alternatives: It can permit this transaction of teaching-and-learning to operate freely and without the use of force, or it can force human wills in this matter by taking from some of them enough to pay the teachers who are appointed by government to instruct others, without charge. But in the second case, the law commits legal plunder by violating liberty and property.’
Do we wish to have a society where there is the give-and-take of opinion between two benevolent parties, or do we wish to have the will of one forced on the will of another? Both “liberals” and “conservatives” need to answer this question and act upon it.
The Law was originally published in French in 1850 by Frederic Bastiat and is the work for which Bastiat is most famous. This translation to American English is from 1874.