With liberals, opinions are constantly in flux since they are updated with every input of fresh data. This is something that conservatives fail to grok.
Conservatives usually have opinions based on an ideology. These opinions tend to be static since the ideology that is their base evolves very slowly, if at all.
Liberal ideology (which is almost an oxymoron) is a very loose set of guidelines that is constantly being revised. Liberal opinion based on these guidelines is by no means uniform. The guidelines are loose enough to accommodate differing opinions.
Liberals do not all think alike and they do not agree on anything more than a very small list of ideals. If you wait for liberals to agree on everything you will be waiting until the heat death of the universe.
Ideology is a trap for those that can not adapt to a changing environment or changing circumstances.
Adapt or die are the only two choices we are given. To pretend we can maintain a static existence is a denial of reality. If it appears static it's only because you haven't looked at a large enough time line.
This Liberal's Notion of a Government's Functions
I can only speak for myself, so I make no claims that any other liberals agree with any of the following. Please leave suggestions for changes in comments.
What I need my government to do, what I expect from properly functioning government. (this is government collectively: local, state, federal)
- Mutual Defense and Domestic Tranquility. This includes DoD as well as law enforcement, fire departments, and related. These functions are the duty of the government to provide for all citizens. We need the DoD. How big its budget needs to be is what the arguments will be about.
- Promote the general welfare.
- Everyone is entitled to an education at government (taxpayer) expense. Currently K-12 is covered. I advocate that K-12 is inadequate. It should be K-whatever level the student is qualified to go to. The implementation of this is open to debate.
- Everyone is entitled to health care. Right now we only have everyone that is disabled or over 65 is entitled to health care. This has to be fixed to everyone is entitled to health care. I think most liberals are on this same page now. I have advocated single payer health care for over thirty years but I used to be pretty much by myself. Now that things have gotten totally fucked up and unacceptable, more people have finally noticed that the system we are using does not work primarily because some insurance companies have used the system to reap lavish profits for doing nothing other than rationing health care and making it hard for people to get health care. U.S. workers can never compete in a global employment market until we have this.
- Regulation of Capitalism and Commerce and regulation of Corporations. 100% Free Markets are a bad idea because Capitalism ignores externalities like pollution and greenhouse gas generation. Also, when the markets are filled with Monopolies, Cartels, and Oligopolies you don't really have free markets anyway. (This is us now. And our government has allowed the corporations in these positions to rob us blind.)
- The government is responsible for regulating industry so that everyone has clean water to drink, clean air to breath, pure foods to eat, and safe drugs to treat disease. In the 60s and 70s there were no E. Coli or Salmonella poisonings of Americans. In 1981 Reagan began the dismantling of EPA and FDA and we now have regular events of food and water supply contaminations. The conservatives take a working government, under-fund it into a nonworking government, and then stand back and say "See, we told you that government doesn't work." This horse-shit has gotten old.
- The government is responsible for regulating the durable goods, consumer goods, and transportation industry so that citizens are protected from corporate greed. Products and services that harm customers are not allowed.
- The government is responsible for regulating the banking, financial, insurance, and investment industry so that citizens are protected from corporate greed. We can't afford to protect ourselves legally against corporations and yet corporations are lobbying for tort reform to eliminate our ability to sue them at all.
- If it hasn't been covered by any of the previous items, The government is responsible to regulate all businesses so that citizens are protected from businesses.
- Social Services. Let's come up with a welfare system that is designed for the circumstances of the 21st century instead of the 1930s, that covers everyone, and that doesn't punish people that are underemployed.
What I don't want my government doing at all:
- Creating laws based on somebody's religious beliefs. We can have laws based on morality and ethical behavior without modeling a religious dogma in our laws.
- The government has no business in my bedroom or anyone else's. Such intrusions are direct violations of the principles espoused by the founding fathers.
- The government has no business telling me or anyone else what I can or can not put into my body. That is my decision and if I want to kill myself, I may.
- The government has no business spying on its citizens.
Additional Observations on Current Problems
The deregulation of the banking, investment, insurance, and financial industries by Gramm-Heath-Bliley was the biggest stupid fucking move of the past half century. Gramm should be hung.
Corporations have too much power. We will not regain control of our government until something is done about this. Lobbying, Campaign Financing, and treating Corporations like a virtual human all have to be addressed and corrected.
Churches should lose their tax exempt status since it is being abused. Churches should instead be given generous deductions for community service activities that they perform. If this is done correctly, most churches will wind up not owing any tax. Reward them for their good work, but don't give them a subsidy to tell their parishioners how to vote.