Talk:Liberalism

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On "communist"[edit]

A terminological note, just so the editors have a better perspective. In the "Neo-liberalism" section:

"While communist states and liberal democracies competed against one another, an economic crisis in the 1970s inspired a move away from Keynesian economics, especially under Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Ronald Reagan in the US. [...] Meanwhile, nearing the end of the 20th century, communist states in Eastern Europe collapsed precipitously, leaving liberal democracies as the only major forms of government in the West."

Despite the widespread misconception, communism technically refers to a state-less, class-less, and money-less order, and the states in Eastern Europe in question had a state (obviously), class divisions, and a currency. The "communist state" article suggests, referencing The ABC of Communism (1920), that "communist state" is a contradictio in terminis. Prominent socialists including anarchists & communists have suggested that the USSR was not even socialist and can be more appropriately called state-capitalist:

"Nothing has contributed so much to the corruption of the original idea of socialism as the belief that Russia is a socialist country [...] I had seen little evidence that the USSR was progressing towards anything that one could truly call Socialism." (George Orwell, Animal Farm, 1945)
"Association of socialism with the Soviet Union and its clients serves as a powerful ideological weapon to enforce conformity and obedience to the state-capitalist institutions." (Noam Chomsky, Soviet Union Versus Socialism, 1986)
"Soviet Russia, it must now be obvious, is an absolute despotism politically and the crassest form of state capitalism economically." (Emma Goldman, There Is No Communism in Russia, 1935)
"The proletariat, instead of developing into a revolutionary class within the womb of capitalism, turns out to be an organ within the body of bourgeois society. [...] Lenin sensed this and described “socialism” as “nothing but state capitalist monopoly made to benefit the whole people.”" (Murray Bookchin, Scarcity Anarchism, 1971)

The USSR was state-capitalist in that their mode of production was analogous to that of capitalist corporations, where the few at the top make decisions for & collect the surpluses produced by the many below. Nikolai Bukharin, a major Bolshevik, at a 1926 government conference, acknowledged that their regime was not achieving genuine socialism as a necessary transitional stage toward communism, and explained why they had to pretend to be socialist/communist: "If we confess that the enterprises taken over by the State are state-capitalist enterprises, if we say this openly, how can we conduct a campaign for a greater output? In factories which are not purely socialistic, the workers will not increase the productivity of their labor." (Bolshevism or Communism, 1934). So, it must be noted that the conventional use of "communist", such as adopted by many Wikipedia editors, is based on a pretense/mistake.

Also, it seems misleading that the article begins by defining liberalism as "founded on ideas of liberty and equality" and then sets it against "fascism and communism", when the origin of communism is characterized by a libertarian and egalitarian language. The word "libertarian" as a political descriptor itself was coined by an anarcho-communist, Joseph Dejacque. Living Utopia documents how the anarcho-communist movement in the 1930s Spain stood against both capitalism and Stalinism and made dramatic improvements on people's civil liberty and economic equality. The "liberalism" article does not differentiate genuine communism from Stalinism when it introduces communism as an "opponent" of liberalism. --Mirandansa (talk) 13:48, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

These are good points, but I'm not sure how Wikipedia can deal with them, since we have to deal with the dictionary definition of words, rather than a definition based on philosophy, history, or academic expertise. In common parlance, "communist" means "like Stalin's USSR, Mao's China, and Castro's Cuba", and that meaning is not likely to change.Rick Norwood (talk) 18:01, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

We should capitalize "Communist" - capital "C" Communist refers to states run by Communist parties. Whether they were socialist or state capitalist or something else is something better discussed in other articles. TFD (talk) 21:11, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Good suggestion, TFD. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:08, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
I agree. In common and academic usage "Communism" is rarely used to suggest the early Christians or the Shakers who shared their possessions equally. Like it or not the Communist Party seized control of the term. Here's the Merriam Webster dictionary definition: 1 a: a theory advocating elimination of private property b: a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed 2 capitalized: a doctrine based on revolutionary Marxian socialism and Marxism-Leninism that was the official ideology of the U.S.S.R. b: a totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production c: a final stage of society in Marxist theory in which the state has withered away and economic goods are distributed equitably d: communist systems collectively. Rjensen (talk) 19:12, 23 August 2014 (UTC)

What is this sentence getting at?[edit]

The article contains this sentence: The Liberals in Australia support free markets and have both social conservative and social liberal factions. I am unwilling to change a sentence with four references (though most of the references are books that can't be easily verified) but the sentence seems to suggest that social conservatives and social liberals are opposites or somehow mutually exclusive, when they have almost nothing to do with each other. While the more socially liberal members of the party may be less likely to be socially conservative and the more classically liberal ones may be more likely to be socially conservative, this certainly isn't universal. I'm sure there are many members of the Liberal Party who are both social conservatives and social liberals, and especially, consistent libertarians who are neither. Colonial Overlord (talk) 06:33, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

It might be more accurate to say they have socially conservative and socially liberal factions. I know they appear to have two factions as evidenced by the struggle between Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott. But I think they disagree over a range of issues. TFD (talk) 04:35, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

Yellow flag? Is Wikipedia calling liberal thinkers yellow-bellied cowards? Sophomoric baiting has no place here.[edit]

Surely this is a joke from someone of a conservative mindset? Here, it seems an inappropriate and editorializing conflation of a color long associated throughout the English-speaking world with "cowardice" with the term "liberal." "Yellow" may occasionally have been chosen by various political groups for various reasons, but liberalism is a political philosophy––it does not have a flag!

The so-called "Color Revolutions," whether rose, blue, orange, green––or Kyrgistan's yellow––were all political movements with associated colors. But philosophies don't have flags or colors. Do Platonists? Augustinians? Machiavellians? Utilitarians? Keynesians? No. Not even the Marxism philosophy wiki is associated with a flag, although red has been the chosen color of many Marxist political movements. And the more recent association of American political parties as Blue Democrats and Red Republicans further confounds the issue, because those colors weren't chose by the parties themselves, which always favored red, white & blue bunting equally. The Blue/Red labeling began as mere map coloring conventions used by television on election night reportage. Again, they have nothing to do with political philosophy. There have been liberal Republicans, e.g. Abraham Lincoln. And conservative Democrats, e.g. Strom Thurmond.

None of the political philosophies mentioned above are associated with color flag illustrations. And neither, tellingly, does the existing wiki on "Conservatism." Gosh, why no flag there? Should liberals run up a fist squeezing blood from a turnip on the Conservatism wiki? Of course not. Wikis aren't the place to carry out silly little tit-for-tat gamesmanship. The purpose of Wikis is to inform.

If illustrations are required, then perhaps it would be best to combine portraits of a few famous liberal thinkers. Alternatively, Wiki editors might consider an illustration of the ancient Greek academy, as the word liberal as applied to philosophy, derives from learning the "liberal arts," which all free men of learning were expected to know. True, Greek democracy began as a slave state, but it was one of the earliest states known to have recognized the right-to-vote by at least some of its citizens as an essential ingredient of governance. Whereas, conservative philosophers down through the ages have long mistrusted the vox populi as a less reliable guide than the ruling elite.

In short, the yellow flag must go––to eliminate editorializing insinuations, to avoid confusion with specific political movements as opposed to philosophies, for the sake of consistency with Wikipedia's other political philosophy entries, and to inform correctly. If no one else makes this change, I will be checking back and making it myself.Un Mundo (talk) 23:46, 15 January 2015 (UTC)

I think various political ideologies have traditionally been quite uniformly associated with certain colours. Blue is the colour of conservatism, red is the colour of social democracy, yellow is the colour of liberalism and libertarianism, green is the colour of environmentalism, brown is the colour of fascism, black is the colour of anarchism, and so on. I don't know why there's no flag or colour at conservatism. Social democracy has a red colour scheme but not a flag; I agree there should be some consistency. Anyway, if you're serious about the "yellow=cowardice" thing I'm afraid that's rather ludicrous. One can find a negative association with any colour: "red is the colour of blood; social democrats are blood thirsty", "blue is the colour of sadness; conservatives want to make us all miserable". Colonial Overlord (talk) 00:57, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
The color yellow is traditionally associated with liberalism. See for example the logos of the Liberal International, Liberal Democrats, the Free Democratic Party (Germany), The US is unique in that both parties are liberal and neither uses colors. Conservatives did not see themselves as part of an international movement but mosly use blue. TFD (talk) 03:30, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

Rjensen's edit[edit]

Rjensen added the phrase "By its opponents" to the section on neoliberalism. I would like to see some evidence that neoliberals do not so self-identify. Also, in any case, please fix the capital B in "By".

+ "This classical liberal renewal, called neoliberalism By its opponents, ... "

Rick Norwood (talk) 18:54, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

While opponents are more likely to use the term than adherents, it seems like the standard term to use. What other term is there? TFD (talk) 20:25, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

"called libertarianism by its opponents"[edit]

Does this recent edit make any sense? Rick Norwood (talk) 12:21, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

No, it's incorrect. --NeilN talk to me 15:17, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
No. Libertarianism is a self-description and is different from neoliberalism. TFD (talk) 15:24, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

Same phrase. Pejoratively is redundant as that is implied by "opponents" and there's no need for scare quotes. --NeilN talk to me 13:50, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

The Glorious Revolution[edit]

In the lead, the Glorious Revolution is listed alongside the American Revolution and the French Revolution as a founding movement of liberalism. But the Glorious Revolution was primarily anti-Catholic, and therefore illiberal. The article Glorious Revolution does not use the words "liberal" or "liberalism". Should it appear here in the lead? Rick Norwood (talk) 17:27, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

There will always be arguments about who was a liberal in the centuries before the term was coined. But many documents coming out of the Glorious Revolution such as the Bill of Rights and Locke's Treatises are considered core to liberalism. Locke argued that Catholics owed allegiance to the Pope which conflicted with loyalty to England, so even for liberals there were and are limits to tolerance.
The Revolution was more about whether there should be absolute monarchy or supremacy of parliament.
TFD (talk) 06:28, 18 April 2015 (UTC)

Thanks.Rick Norwood (talk) 11:25, 18 April 2015 (UTC)