Jewish Journal

I Am a Liberal. Are You?

Photo from The Blue Diamond Gallery.

I am a liberal

And I’m here to take back the word from those who have hijacked it for their illiberal agendas.

I am a liberal

Which means I believe unconditionally in the Enlightenment principles of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, democracy and civil rights.

I am a liberal

Which means I understand that different policy stances can emanate from these principles, that an orthodoxy of opinion is the opposite of liberalism.

I am a liberal

Which means I understand that unbiased reporting is part of the responsibility of a free press.

I am a liberal

Which means I understand that unbiased teaching is a prerequisite for civil society.

I am a liberal

Which means I understand that shutting down dissent, especially at universities, is an act of fascism.

I am a liberal

Which means I understand that boycotting a group or country based on race or religion is also an act of fascism.

I am a liberal

Which means I understand that individuality — not group identity or conformity — is the foundation of liberal ideology.

I am a liberal

Which means I am obliged to speak out against injustice and tyranny wherever it arises.

You are not a liberal

If you attempt to shut down speech just because you disagree with it.

You are not a liberal — if you attempt to shut down speech just because you disagree with it.

You are not a liberal

If you engage in biased journalism.

You are not a liberal If you teach your students your opinions rather than the truth.

You are not a liberal

If you judge people by the color of their skin, rather than the content of their character.

You are not a liberal

If you engage in moral or cultural relativism; if you don’t apply the same standards to everyone.

You are not a liberal

If you call yourself a feminist but never call out the very real oppression of women in countries like Iran or Pakistan.

You are not a liberal

If you oppose Zionism, the self-determination of the Jewish people, the return to our ancestral homeland.

You are not a liberal

If you don’t understand that, as long as force is not involved, sexuality is private; my life doesn’t revolve around your sexuality.

You are not a liberal

If you think maintaining your status is more important than telling the truth.

I am a liberal.

Are you?