Essay:CP on liberals
Following a discussion on what makes Fred Phelps a liberal (as Conservapedia insists he is), the following table has been assembled to explore what sort of "liberal" criteria Phelps meets even by Conservapedia's own clearly biased, yet sometimes modestly accurate, definition of the term. Included is an analysis of how much of an actual liberal trait each of these assertions is. To cover another oft argued point, the "liberal"-ness of one Mr. Adolf Hitler has also been explored.
|Alleged liberal trait
|How liberal it really is
|Does it apply to Phelps?
|How about Hitler?
|Taxpayer-funded and/or legalized abortion
|The latter pretty much fits the bill, the taxpayer part is slightly less concrete. (Contradicts the "impeding freedoms of others" below, which is allegedly also a liberal trait)
|In Phelps's own words: "Abortion is murder. God hates baby-killers."
|Nazi policy was to allow only "racial undesirables" to have abortions and impose the death penalty on anyone else who had one. But abortion was not the hot-button issue it is today, a big deal was certainly not made about Hitler's views on abortion, whatever they may have been
|Censorship of teacher-lead prayer in classrooms and school sponsored events
|"Censorship" is altogether the wrong word in that context, but the idea that the government should not be promoting religious beliefs is a general liberal trait
|Uncertain; as a pastor, he might have reason to oppose it, but as a pastor who is unlikely to have his own preferred brand of prayer recited by the teacher, he might support it so as to avoid having his flock exposed to the prayers of "f**-enabling heretics"
|I'm pretty sure school prayer was common under the Third Reich, but again, this wasn't the political issue it is today
|Support for gun control
|A basic liberal trait, although rather vague, as few people want absolutely no restrictions on gun ownership (while there may be few polls on how many people think ex-cons or 8-year-olds should be able to buy fully automatic weapons by the truckload, it's difficult to imagine a large number who think this is a good idea)
|No evidence Phelps supports gun control
|The general Nazi policy was to relax gun control laws, although Heinrich Himmler believed that anyone who wanted a gun should join the Brown- or Blackshirts, and civilians did not need one. Allegedly Hitler supported gun control, although with just about every semi-abled man or boy in the army at some point, guns weren't exactly hard to come by
|Support of obscenity, pornography and violence in video games as a First Amendment right
|First amendment rights in general are usually supported by liberals. (Again, this being a liberal trait seems to contradict the trait below about liberals wanting to restrict others' rights)
|No evidence Phelps feels this way
|There were no video games at the time obviously, nor does the 1st Amendment apply to Germany, but Hitler was no fan of obscenity
|Income redistribution, usually through progressive taxation
|Progressive taxation is generally supported by liberals, but has widespread support among the general population. Flat taxation is still a bit of a fringe issue
|Not sure what form of income taxation Phelps prefers
|I'm unsure of the issue of progressive taxation at the time
|Government-rationed medical care, such as Universal Health Care
|"Rationed" is another snarl word (apparently conservatives have no problem when insurance companies ration care) but yes, most liberals support government-funded healthcare, as the vast majority of the population does. Elimination of Medicare, for instance, is still a far-right stance
|No evidence Phelps supports government healthcare beyond the Medicare he is likely covered by (along with every other senior in the country, who certainly aren't all liberals)
|A vexed question indeed. Universal health care predated Hitler by decades. He kept it going.
|Taxpayer-funded and government-controlled public education
|Certainly supported by liberals, but by no means confined to them. There is no evident support at any level of government in the country for complete elimination of public education. Vouchers, a more conservative approach, still use government funds to pay for schooling
|No idea what Phelps' take on this is, but assuming he doesn't want to dismantle public education entirely, it hardly makes him a liberal
|It would be difficult to find any 20th century leader who wanted to dismantle public education, so unless every leader in the world is liberal, then this is irrelevant. Nevertheless, yes, Hitler did support public education
|The denial of inherent gender differences
|Hardly a defining liberal trait, but it is probably true that liberals are less likely to try pigeon-hole people based on their sex
|Phelps definitely supports some gender differences: boys must like girls and girls must like boys, anything else is anathema. So no, he doesn't fit the bill here
|Hitler was not a fan of equality of the sexes, though this was again not an issue in his day
|Insisting that men and women be placed in the same jobs in the military
|There is still plenty of controversy about certain combat roles, even among liberals. For non-combat roles, liberals support women in the military (as do certainly a number of conservatives)
|No evidence Phelps feels this way; seems unlikely
|I believe there is a scene in Der Untergang which depicts a young girl helping man a howitzer as Berlin is about to fall. Nevertheless, women in Germany were not on the front lines
|Legalized same-sex marriage
|A pretty liberal position, certainly. Polls show the country pretty close to evenly divided on this with certainly more support coming from the left
|Not even close. If this is a liberal position then Phelps is the most conservative person in the country on this issue
|Not an issue in his day. In any case, given his persecution of homosexuals, it's pretty clear he didn't support this. Besides, if Hitler wanted same sex marriages in Germany, there would have been same sex marriages in Germany. He tended to get his way.
|Tax and spend
|Vague. Everyone agrees some taxes need to be levied somehow, and some money needs to be spent. Where it should be spent and how much and what type of tax are the issues
|No evidence Phelps supports taxing and spending more than the average guy.
|Every leader of every nation ever has taxed and spent. Certainly Hitler spent enormous amounts on the military, but that's generally considered a conservative trait
|Trying to impede the freedoms of others
|Not a liberal trait, per se. There are plenty of examples in this list of promoting freedoms being deemed a liberal trait (abortion, video game violence, opposition to wiretapping, gay marriage)
|Phelps certainly wants to restrict the freedoms of gays, but so do most conservatives, so this isn't a liberal trait in this case
|Certainly he did, but this is hardly a trait unique to liberals
|Implementation of affirmative action
|Generally associated with liberalism
|Unknown; as a civil rights lawyer he might be prone to support it, but he is known to be rather hypocritical in that area
|Did not exist at the time in Germany, and while Nazi-influenced countries did impose racial quotas, these were for the benefit of the majority, being inspired by ethnocentric monomania, and are thus far removed from what we would consider "affirmative action"
|Vague, basically meaningless, though often associated with liberalism
|Waving placards stating "God Hates Fags" is about the least PC thing a person can do
|The Nazis invented their own spin on the German language, called in retrospect "Lingua Tertii Imperii" by some bystanders; although the specific goal of all this word-twisting was different from the goal espoused by the "PC police" of today, and swastikas are now about as un-PC as you can get
|Support of labor unions
|Generally a liberal trait
|No evidence Phelps is pro-union, particularly in cases in which unions support anti-discriminatory practices against homosexuals
|Polar opposite of Hitler's stance. Unions and union leaders were some of his earliest targets
|Teaching acceptance of promiscuity through sexual "education" rather than teaching abstinence from sex.
|Liberals do tend to like what works, and often do support sex ed
|No evidence Phelps supports this, and given his religious fervor, it seems unlikely
|Not very relevant to the era. Hitler was widely considered quite prude, in any case
|A "living Constitution" that is reinterpreted as liberals prefer, rather than how it was intended
|Certainly liberals don't like to pretend we're living in the 1780s anymore, so many give at least some support to this concept
|No evidence Phelps does, though his take on it would is almost certain to favor whatever interpretation can be best used to attack homosexuality
|Government programs to rehabilitate criminals
|Liberals tend to support this, as it's nice if, when a criminal is released from prison, he is no longer a criminal
|No idea of Phelps' take on this, though it's possible he supports it
|Not as far as I can tell
|Abolition of the death penalty
|Generally supported by liberals, but not always. Some religious conservatives are against it too
|No idea what Phelps thinks of it, though he seem to want to apply it to homosexuality
|Let's just remind everyone that he killed about 10 million people
|No idea. His early support for Gore might hint at some environmentalism, but it doesn't appear to be an issue he cares much about
|Hitler predated the environmental movement. Some of his hokey health obsessions might border on a form of environmentalism, but that's quite a stretch
|Generally favored by liberals, but not exclusive to them; START recently passed the Senate with conservative support
|No idea of Phelps position here
|He was a big fan of breaking them
|Again, very vague. Certainly the rioters at the G-20 summits don't seem to be conservative to me. Supported by moderates on both sides, condemned by radicals on both sides
|No idea. Though clearly international statutes on human rights which protect homosexuals he would condemn
|Again, not relevant to the time, but he was ideologically far removed from this position. His utter nationalism conflicts heavily with a globalist perspective
|Opposition to the Bible and God.
|Vague. Not a liberal trait, as most liberals are still Christian. Atheists are more likely to be liberal, however (though let us not discount the Objectivists)
|Phelps claims everything he does is supported by God and the Bible. Though most people would dispute this, the fact that he claims it is so means he does not oppose them.
|While the argument over Hitler's exact religious beliefs will probably never end, he did express devotion to God and the Bible, and stated that he was "defending the Lord's work" with his anti-Semitic crusade. How much of this is lip service we will probably never know
|Opposition to full private property rights
|Not really much of a liberal trait, though they may be generally more in favor of zoning laws. (Conservatives have been known for NIMBY stances as well.) Kelo v. New Loudon, the case cited here, isn't exactly a case liberals rally around the way Roe v. Wade is (blame the founding fathers for writing the takings clause into the 5th amendment)
|No idea what Phelps thinks here
|He seized property whenever he liked, so no, he wasn't a huge private property wonk. Not exactly a liberal trait, and certainly of no relevance to Kelo v. New Loudon
|Reinstating the Fairness Doctrine
|Hardly a liberal bellwether, as it's unlikely most liberals even know what the Fairness Doctrine is. In any case, it seems conservatives are the only ones who talk about it
|As it would give the pro-gay crowd more air time, it is almost certain Phelps is against this
|Not relevant, and given Goebbels's domination of the media he was certainly not in favor of giving the other side equal time
|In 2005, it was reported by CBS News that liberals were the most likely supporters of the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution is a key component of atheistic ideologies in the Western World.
|A very roundabout way of saying "belief in evolution" then, yeah, liberals do tend to be more pro-science
|Doubtful. Phelps seems like a creationist, though I can't back this up right now
|Hitler expressed belief in evolution, for what it's worth. Though conservatives are less likely to accept evolution, this does not make him a liberal
|Opposition to domestic wire-tapping as authorized in the Patriot Act
|The right to privacy is advocated much more by liberals than conservative, who routinely deny its existence (see "Trying to impede the freedoms of others" above)
|No idea what Phelps thinks of this
|Not applicable, but given his struggle to maintain complete control over the citizenry, wiretapping is certainly something he would support
|Calling anyone they agree with a "professor" regardless of whether he earned that distinction based on a real peer review of his work (see, e.g., Richard Dawkins and Barack Obama).
|Not Applicable. No one cares about this but Andy
|Too stupid of an assertion to further refute
|Opposition of Operation Iraqi Freedom, a major part of the War on Terrorism.
|This has been a strong liberal trait for the better part of a decade
|It might seem Phelps is on board here, but he celebrates the deaths of soldiers, implying he must favor the wars that kill them. Hard to say for sure, and there seems to be no evidence he actively opposes this
|Not applicable, though he was a huge fan of levying war and then pretending that it was pre-emptive
|Withholds support to our armed forces fighting overseas to protect their freedoms.
|Not a liberal trait; unclear what it even means
|Phelps take on stuff like this is too fucked up to be placed anywhere on the political spectrum
|Very, very pro-military
|Promote arrogance through what they consider superior lifestyles.
|A blatant attack, not a liberal trait, nor even a political stance. Andy, who is trying to write a better version of the Bible, is the pinnacle of arrogance. It's also terribly obvious that he considers his Christian, conservative lifestyle to be superior to liberalism and any other religion, so by this definition he's a liberal too
|Phelps certainly thinks his anti-homosexual lifestyle is best, but that's not a liberal trait
|Hitler was more in favor of promoting arrogance through what he considered to be superior genes
|Tolerance of wrongheaded ideas and lifestyles.
|Since "wrongheaded" is just whatever one disagrees with, this assertion is meaningless
|Phelps is obviously wrongheaded in the eyes of 99.9% of the population, and supports the "wrongheaded" idea of homophobia, but homophobia is clearly not a liberal trait
|Same as Phelps
|"The long romance of Western leftists with some of the bloodiest regimes and political movements in history is a story not told often enough ....
|Out of place quote. If what is meant is "support of historical bloody regimes" then not so much. Stalin had some supporters on the left for a while, but once the truth became obvious that waned, and he has few left today. No one likes Hitler. Some liberals defend Castro; some conservatives defend Pinochet. Most on both sides aren't crazy about any dictators. No defining liberal trait here
|Phelps likely supports any bloody regimes which persecuted homosexuals, but that doesn't make him a liberal
|Considering he was one of the bloodiest regimes in history kind of makes this one a circular argument
|Support of leftist ideologies such as socialism and nazism
|Socialism is an ideology on the left end of the spectrum; Nazism is not. Support for some degree of socialism (e.g. social security) is supported by the left, but usually not through and through socialism (again, poorly defined)
|Not sure about Phelps' take here. It seems entirely possible he at least agreed with Hitler's anti-homosexual policies, but they weren't a major part of his worldview. In any case, not a liberal trait
|Hitler was opposed to leftists of all sorts, particularly communists. The second aspect (Nazism) is another circular argument; Hitler's economic policies were to the left of most conservatives' but right of most left-wingers', which is probably why no one except a handful of far-right figures consider Nazism left-wing