Serendipity. I was just about to post on the subject “Freedom with Responsibilty” when I read Andy Davies’ comment on my last post. Andy was commenting on my description of new ACT on Campus president, Helen Simpson as a “social liberal”.
This is what Andy, a committed Christian and “classic liberal” has to say about “social liberals”.
“However, over the years I have become wary of anyone who calls themselves a social liberal. It seems that in advocating social freedoms they overlook the responsibility that goes with it. They are then no different to the socialists who advocate wishy washy anything goes type of liberalism that promotes freedom with impunity. This provides yet another excuse to redistribute wealth which is why wishy washy liberalism is so beloved by socialists. Consequences of actions should remain with those who cause them, anything else is actually socially repressive. Classical liberalism however requires freedom with responsibility.”
The reason I was about to post, was a well reasoned speech at the ACT on Campus retreat by Lincoln Uni’s, P.J. White.
In a discussion on how far AOC should go on promoting socially liberal ideas, P.J. made the point very strongly that if we’re going to talk about social freedoms, we also have to talk about the responsibilities they bring. He emphasised very strongly that the “two must go in tandem“
P.J. used the drug example. Many AOCers would like to see marijuana and other drugs legalised, as do many Greens. The difference as P.J. pointed out, is that true liberals believe people should bear the cost of any arising health problems. The socialists want the freedom and everybody wears the cost.
I look askance at those who say that ACT has more in common with socialists on social issues than they do with conservatives.
To me the key word is responsibility. True liberals,libertarians and enlightened conservatives all share a degree of belief in personal responsibility and individual liberty.
Socialists say they believe in freedom, yet abhor personal responsibilty, so that any “freedom” they achieve will be very temporary.
I had this debate more than once with Bruce Logan. What Bruce would call “liberals”, I would call socialists. AOC is full of true liberals. They very well understand that freedom cannot exist without responsibility.
I shouldn’t really be talking on behalf of AOC, but I think I’m accurate in my analysis. Perhaps someone could back me up, or tear a few strips off me?