Where have all the Liberals Gone? I found one!

Where have all the liberals gone, long time passing?
Where have all the liberals gone, long time ago?
Where have all the liberals gone?
Progressives picked them, every one
Oh when will they ever learn, oh when will they ever learn?

With apologies to Peter, Paul and Mary (and by way of introduction to those of you who did not live through the music of the 1960’s), we have been asking ourselves at the Center and among our friends, whatever happened to good old fashioned liberals? These are people we can imagine working with on big and small things.

For example, a liberal is someone who would have called for the prompt prosecution of the masked thugs who showed up to riot and assault people attending a Trump Rally at the Capitol on March 4 this year. And yet because one of them is the son of U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, and any number of other bad reasons, the prosecution has stalled out.

That sense of shared right and wrong has all but disappeared over my lifetime as our institutions have moved to the Left; America is “sorting out” by state and even neighborhood in reaction. Everything is infected by politics.

But apparently not all liberals have gone Progressive Left, not every one.

In the Star Tribune this weekend, Doug R. Berdie, a semi-retired marketing executive and researcher, wrote a marvelous letter to “liberals” entitled “Seven Ways Liberals Must Realign with Middle America.” Noting recent election results, and seeing the lay of the electoral map, Mr. Berdie basically said that the Left created Trump.

This guy is calling out his side and offering sound advice. If most liberals were this reasonable, this civil war going on between Left and Right would simmer down.

Here are Mr. Berdie’s seven recommendations (I have shortened them up but it is worth reading in full):

1)Liberals must reclaim the First Amendment and defend it loudly.

Colleges and universities must bring back controversial speakers so all sides can be heard, and the doctrine that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” must replace hypersensitivity over such things as “micro-aggressions” and “triggers.”

2)So-called hate crimes laws must be repealed and replaced replaced with aggressive enforcement of actual criminal behaviors rather than the motives for them.

Related to political correctness, these laws are based on the assumption that people should be punished for their wrongful ideas as well as their wrongful actions. Punching someone in the face because they are of a different ethnic background has always been punishable as assault and battery. Adding additional punishment based on the puncher’s motive is a step toward saying the government should be able to limit what people think….

3)Liberals must resist the temptation to lie with numbers and instead enhance their reputation as purveyors or truth.

President Trump is not the only one who uses “fake news” and twists data to suit his purposes. For years now, liberals have asserted such things as: “The percentage of blacks arrested is higher than the percentage of blacks in the population, and that is proof that police are not acting fairly.”

This claim is absurd. There are many explanations for such disproportionate numbers — not the least of which is that blacks are proportionately committing more crimes….

4)Liberals must stop denigrating individuals based on false “cause-effect” assertions.

Saying: “You’re only successful because of ‘white privilege.’ Had you been born black, you would not have been successful,” is untrue and alienates many who have worked hard to achieve….My wife, who grew up in an impoverished, single-parent household, became a college professor. To denigrate the hard work that led to her achievements by asserting they were all attributable to “white privilege” is wrong and offensive.

5)Drop the reparations push (which, again, alienates people and prods them toward Trumpism) and replace it by looking for ways to help people improve their skills and find employment.

…. To assert that every living white person should be accountable for the “sins of some white fathers” many years ago is a “coattail” claim related to the notion of “white privilege” and has all the same shortcomings….To make such a claim plausible at all, activists would need to offer proof that little or nothing has been done (or spent) to overcome the problems blacks have experienced. Unbiased reports of government spending for welfare programs and minority business grants and set-asides over the past 65 years would be a good start.

6)Change the mantra Black Lives Matter to All Lives Matter.

“Black Lives Matter” was, and is, a marketing disaster. Although its intent is to state, “Black Lives Matter, Too,” many take it to mean black lives matter more than white lives…. This type of tactic is, in large part, responsible for the disappearance of the middle in the political spectrum. People feel forced to take one side or the other. That has to stop.

7)Finally, liberals need to “slow down” on some agenda items and find more palatable ways to address concerns.

….Think about the pre-election push for transgender bathroom rights. It’s as if someone had said: “I know, let’s find a demand that some will perceive as allowing invasions of privacy or even sexual advances against their young daughters and really push it right before an election.”

I could have Thanksgiving dinner with this guy and talk about important issues because he is an old- fashioned liberal; he is not a Leftist. We have so much in common that we could build on.

William F. Buckley purged the conservative movement of the John-Birch-Society-types in the 1960’s. We did not want anti-Semites and racists in the movement. So leaders like Buckley kicked them out, marginalizing them. They are still hanging around but they are the fringe (and we have to stomp on them from time to time).

Similarly, liberals and trade unions were patriotic and understood that democratic capitalism produced jobs and prosperity. They aggressively purged, for example, Communists from their ranks. With the advent and rapid growth of public unions after 1960, the labor movement was infected by a socialist, leftist (and I would argue racist) ideology. Between public unions and college professors, liberalism has been pushed aside by leftists. Most of the media now plays the role of the useful idiot.

What Mr. Berdie is pointing to but did not say, is that the Progressive Left has not only taken over the Democratic Party but it has pushed liberals and common sense to the outer fringe.

Let’s hope that Mr. Berdie represents a “silent majority” of Democrats and that the staggering losses of his party will encourage more people like him to speak up and kick the Leftists out. He has a standing invitation to my house on Thanksgiving.