“We are democrats and progressives.” — The Euston Manifesto

No, not the NerdFamily. We’re more of a Ain’t You Glad You Joined the Republicans family, and we hate Liberals just as much as anyone else on Dick Cheney’s payroll. But what bothers me the most about “democrats and progressives” is that my end political goals (freedom from tyranny, minimization of poverty and its effects, fair treatment for all) are the kinds of things that the Left swoons over.

However, ideas promoted by the Right are attacked as motivated by evil, rather than discussed on their merits. Does a capitalistic marketplace for healthcare actually provide better, cheaper medicine or is it just there so the rich can be heathier? Would tighter borders raise wages and create better working conditions for laborers, or does it just keep “those people” out?

That’s why I’m very interested in The Euston Manifesto, a statement of beliefs of a few liberals put out today who are able to see past minor political squabbles and look to the end results. It’s primarily focused on foreign policy, but I think it moves the discussion a direction that can really be fruitful. Here’s a few samples:

No apology for tyranny.
We decline to make excuses for, to indulgently “understand”, reactionary regimes and movements for which democracy is a hated enemy — regimes that oppress their own peoples and movements that aspire to do so. We draw a firm line between ourselves and those left-liberal voices today quick to offer an apologetic explanation for such political forces.

Opposing anti-Americanism.
We reject without qualification the anti-Americanism now infecting so much left-liberal (and some conservative) thinking. This is not a case of seeing the US as a model society. We are aware of its problems and failings. But these are shared in some degree with all of the developed world. The United States of America is a great country and nation. It is the home of a strong democracy with a noble tradition behind it and lasting constitutional and social achievements to its name. Its peoples have produced a vibrant culture that is the pleasure, the source-book and the envy of millions. That US foreign policy has often opposed progressive movements and governments and supported regressive and authoritarian ones does not justify generalized prejudice against either the country or its people.

Now I’m not ready to become a Euston Manifesto signatory (frankly, there are parts of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights that leave me a little queasy) but I do support the idea of looking at our core beliefs first, and making political judgements later.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *