Talk:Liberalism

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Problem[edit]

We have a problem here. Aint got no nothing on liberalism.--User:Brxbrx/sig 02:05, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

Overhaul[edit]

Just signalling my intent to overhaul this page. At the moment it's got some partially relevant and accurate information but mostly it is just a beffudled taxonomy of the different ways in which the term "liberal" is used. I think I'll work towards a format of:

The Essentials of Liberalism

  • Capitalism
  • Liberal Democracy
  • Multi-culturalism & Secularism

Liberalism vs Conservativism vs Progressivism

Liberalism and Human Rights

Liberalism and Fascism

That should provide an accurate summary of the key features of liberalism, common misconceptions around its relation to other ideologies and a brief run-down of its successes and failures re: authoritarianism. Tikitime2 (talk) 17:20, 26 September 2023 (UTC)

I have no objections. Carthage (talk) 17:32, 26 September 2023 (UTC)
Page has been overhauled. Still a bunch of work needed to pretty this up and give more concrete examples + better references. But I think this does a much better job of situating liberalism in context alongside the major challenges that it faces. Tikitime2 (talk) 17:40, 12 October 2023 (UTC)

Bad Logic.[edit]

This article essentially says liberals are fascists or have only supported ever-supported fascism. This is a complete sign of faulty logic. Mussolini was a socialist before the creation of his Fascist doctrine yet nobody blames socialism for fascism. — Unsigned, by: ConnorJoe / talk / contribs

This is a misrepresentation of the article's content (ie, a strawman). The article doesn't say that "liberals are fascists or have only ever supported fascism," what it says is that historically speaking traditionally liberal elites tend to support fascist movements once in power through their own self-interests. To whit:

As a movement it has historically represented the interests of the upwardly mobile middle-class and the owners of industry. Care should be taken to differentiate between liberalism understood as the ideology that emerged out of the industrial revolution as the hand-maiden to capitalism and the more wrong commonplace/american understanding of liberalism as "progressivism".

And:

Multiculturalism and a respect for human rights typically sets most progressive liberals in opposition to fascism. However throughout the cold war the United States and others liberal societies lent significant support to far-right governments as a way of squashing socialist movements in the third world. On top of this the demographics one would normally associate with liberals, wealthy industrialists, played a key role in the National Socialists rising to power in 1930's Germany; their anti-communism being very appealing to captiains of industry and an anxious middle-class keen to hold on to their wealth having just witnessed the russian revolution.

Note that the article says "the demographics one would normally associate with liberals" (as in, "the ideology that emerged out of the industrial revolution as the hand-maiden to capitalism" and "As a movement it has historically represented the interests of the upwardly mobile middle-class and the owners of industry." Not the progressives or social liberals.
Whether or not Mussolini was a socialist before he was a fascist is also irrelevant to the fact that "captains of industry" (ie, liberals) supported the fascist efforts to crush socialist organizing.
So, to sum it up: this objection is full of bad logic. Ironic, huh? Carthage (talk) 09:18, 29 October 2023 (UTC)

Removing Representative People/Groups[edit]

It's a relic of the old page and largely arbitrary. Might be worth re-adding in the future once someone, or me, figures out a more systemic way of presenting them that is inline with understanding of liberalism provided in the body of the article. — Unsigned, by: Tikitime2 / talk / contribs

Domenico Lisurdo as a source[edit]

GeeJayK unilaterally removed the following text:

Liberal societies are often quick to ignore the rights of those who they deem to be threatening, undesirable or just "beneath" them: see guantanamo bay, the genocide of native americans and colonialism more broadly. And the founding architects of liberalism certainly never enviseged the kind of human rights framework that we have today. Many early liberals were terrified at the thought of universal suffrage, believing it would inevitably descend into mobocracy, and many early liberal thinkers owned slaves and saw nothing wrong with the practice.[1]

Which is funny, because many of the Founding Fathers owned slaves, and those whinging over owning slaves still owned slaves. These Founding Fathers, like Thomas Jefferson, also engaged in acts of colonialism and indigenous genocide. Obama never abolished Guantanamo Bay. Why was this text deleted then? I looked at Wikipedia, and the book cited had a generally positive reception from critics. Unless I receive a good justification that isn't an invocation of the genetic fallacy, I might just revert this unilateral deletion. And no: "imagine unironically using Domenico Lisurdo as a source" is not a valid justification. Carthage (talk) 16:56, 24 November 2023 (UTC)

Although I don't particularly care either, so I might not. I would also recommend Tikitime find references that aren't Wikipedia articles for their latest edition. The cited Wiki articles should have plenty. Carthage (talk) 16:58, 24 November 2023 (UTC)
What does the founding fathers have to do with the fact that Losurdo is a shitty source? It isn't genetic fallacy when your source is known to be wrong about everything. You can keep the paragraph if you find a better source saying something similar, but using someone who praises fucking Stalin and fucking Mao is not the way to go. GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 17:01, 24 November 2023 (UTC)
Lusordo is a well respected historian and the book in question "Liberalism: A Counter History" was well recieved by academics. One of his other works "Stalin: History and Critique of A Black Legend" did cause more controversy, though it was polarising more than it was universally panned. However it is un-related to the topic at hand and primarily a moral criticism of the author (primarily as Geejay has presented it at least). I see no reason to remove the reference other than what seems to be an unrelated grudge. Tikitime2 (talk) 17:18, 24 November 2023 (UTC)
Either way this whole thing is moot because I found sources other than Lisurdo. Carthage (talk) 17:35, 24 November 2023 (UTC)
Well thank you for doing that work. Though for the record, I take umbridge with the idea that GeeKay can scrub references to Lusordo from all article that makes use of his bibliography regardless of whether his grievance is relevant to the matter at hand. Tikitime2 (talk) 17:46, 24 November 2023 (UTC)
(EC) Losurdo's credentials as a historian are the same as Thomas DiLorenzo, David Irving and Grover Furr (ie. none). Many conservative thinkers wrote well-received books. That doesn't mean that they are good. Regarding the current version, it is still problematic because you're quote mining your own sources, like Britannica and just using what you like. Britannica's article shows argues that the Founding Fathers have a very mixed legacy on slavery, while your edits suggest that they fully support it. GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 17:47, 24 November 2023 (UTC)
This section is specifically a critical analysis of liberalism, although I will mention that not all Founders supported slavery (didn't stop them from abolishing it, though). Carthage (talk) 17:52, 24 November 2023 (UTC)
The entire article turned into a hit piece, and the fact that you will change it only when I called you out suggests that you are not editing this in good faith since you're omittingbasic information from your own sources. I'm not going to revert it to the oldest (also terrible) version, but if you want to say that liberalism is not immaculate, than you're saying something obvious. If you want to deny that, despite all their flaws, liberalism, even in the classical tradition, was one of the most progressive ideologies of the 19th century, and yes, it played a crucial role on human rights, decolonization slavery abolishment and many other ideas that we take for granted, you'll have to do more than that. Yes, liberals were racist 200 years ago. Everyone in Europe and America were (including socialists). Does that change the fact that these two groups had advanced views? No. Would the third wave of feminist be as strong as it is today without liberal feminism? No. GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 17:58, 24 November 2023 (UTC)
You seem to think I'm the one rewriting the article into something more critical than what it used to be. I'm not, that's Tikitime. Also, weren't you the one who said that the wiki tends to accentuate the negative? Carthage (talk) 18:04, 24 November 2023 (UTC)
Specifically: "We usually cover the "bad" things about everyone, so adding those remarks from two GMU professors is something that we probably won't do" - [1]
A critical analysis of liberalism is going to emphasize the more negative elements of liberalism. If you want to add bits that will emphasize the more positive elements of liberalism, go ahead. It was liberals who introduced the concepts of "rights" after all. See? No need to invoke accusations of bad faith here. Carthage (talk) 18:04, 24 November 2023 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── It is important because that's what you did. Using only the parts of your source that agree with you and ignoring the rest is literally bad faith. Or you didn't read you own source (how many times have you done that?). I'm not going to dispute this article anymore for now because I have more important things to do though. I don't mind if the article will be critical or not, the problem are the arguments being presented here that suggest that liberals have always been a bunch of hypocrites because some of them didn't share views that we find (usually because of liberalism) obvious today. That is blantant presentism. GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 18:10, 24 November 2023 (UTC)

Or maybe I had to search for sources because you unilaterally removed a bunch of text without going to the talk page first. And again, I'm not the one largely responsible for rewriting the article. Take this up with Tikitime, not me. I'm trying to actually be constructive here. Not just unilaterally deleting text. Instead I found sources, adjusted the text to the material supported by the sources, just as you said I should (although it was more of a challenge). Carthage (talk) 18:17, 24 November 2023 (UTC)
I didn't know I had to go to the talk page because one small paragraph that uses a literal Stalin and Mao fanboy as a source. I actually want to remove most of the current contet of the article, but I would never do this before taking it to the talk page. Now, if you found the sources, why did quote mine them? That's not a gotcha, that's a question that you haven't answered. GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 18:25, 24 November 2023 (UTC)
It's not a hit-peice, or at least not intended as such. The bulk of this article simply demarcates the core elements that make up liberal society, because understanding liberalism is important to understanding pretty much all of modern politics, and simply contrasts the ideals of liberalism with the reality of liberal history - which will include mentioning the fact that the foremost liberal democracy was built by slaves on land that was stolen during a genocide with a ruling class that considered universal suffrage to be madness. It also crucially talks about the paradoxical relationship that liberal society has with authoritarianism and how that frequently undercuts its ideals, which is plenty missional as is the fact that it invented a particularly brutal form of chattel slavery before abandoning it once the money dried up. And no, not everyone was on board with racism 200 years ago... not if you count black people as part of everyone. Which was kind of the problem in the first place.
I think I probably can and should carve out a section on the improvements that liberalism made to feudalism. A section on "what did the liberals do for us" in the style of Monty Python would probably make for a good opening to this article.
I see no quote mining on Carthage's front. I do however see a good amount of straw-manning on your front GeeJay. If you genuinely think History and Critique of Black Legend is fanboying over Stalin then I find it hard to believe that you have ever met a tankie (or read the text in question in good faith) and the fact that you use your strawman to justify unilaterally wiping content on a completely seperate matter as oppossed to simply removing the citation and placing a "citation needed" mark or at least querying in the talk-page if we have better references, doesn't position you as the reasonable one here. It seems more like you delete whatever offends you personally, hope it doesn't get challenged and then bluster retroactively when it is. Tikitime2 (talk) 18:35, 24 November 2023 (UTC)
A bunch of things. 1 It is quote mining when you ignore the part of your source that contradicts your argument. And it's not the first time Carthage does that. I've called them out many, many times, including on their talk page, for not reading their own sources accordingly. 2 It is a hit piece when you just want to show bad aspects and claim that liberalism has always supported crimes against humanity, and has not being a a force for progress just because it is not perfect. I don't mind criticism, the problem is, you're just posting the hypocritical part of liberalism on human rights while ignoring that the views from these people were progressive back then. 3 To quote Wikipedia, Racism in AfricaWikipedia "has been a recurring part of the history of Africa" (the article is problematic, but also shows many cases of African people being racist). Genocide, slavery, human rights abuse and stuff have been the norm in human history. Liberalism, at worse, mitigated these problems and they are in their all-time low. 4 Yes, I've read a huge part of Losurdo's book. It's garbage. You can read here, from an actual historian (and a Marxist one)[2] what is wrong with his book. 5 If I wanted to delete everything I disagree with, I would have reverted your edit in October. Did I? No. So why are you casting aspersions? GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 18:57, 24 November 2023 (UTC)
You have no evidence that I failed to read my own sources. Instead, it seems more like your typical insinuations to bad faith. I also already answered your contention of quote-mining. In a section mentioning liberalism' messy history with slavery, the fact that, say, Thomas Jefferson signed a bill into law banning the foreign slave trade seems extraneous to the point (and also doesn't undermine the fact that liberalism has a messy history with slavery. Banning the foreign slave trade benefited the economic interests of Virginia slaveholders, of which Jefferson was one.) Either way, you brought up points of criticism which I found valid, and updated the article accordingly. That suggests a willingness to constructively contribute to the article, which you're willfully ignoring. Carthage (talk) 19:03, 24 November 2023 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── This will be my last post on this thread, at least for now, since this is not even more about this article. Yes, I can't prove that you didn't read your sources (just like you can't prove that Jefferson only signed the bill because he wanted to earn money, so this should be removed from the article). But I can prove that they often don't say what you claim. This happened on this article again: you only used the "bad" things that the Founding Fathers did regarding slavery. If you don't see this as quote mining, then whatever . GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 19:16, 24 November 2023 (UTC)

This is a sceptics wiki so probing liberalisms blind spot is more than to be expected! And to say that Liberalism "at worse mitigated these problems" completely falls on its face to consider the way in which liberalism intensified the problems alluded to. Yes, ethnic bigotry and slavery occured all over the world (this is in fact a common far-right talking point when attempting to minimise the legacy of western slavery) but it was under liberalism with the aid of scientific racism and capitalisms limitless desire for profit that the idea that the vast majority of the worlds population were sub-humans who could be bred like cattle with their children being raised in bondage was the norm. It was under liberalism that western colonialism truly flourished, only receeding when its projects became financially and strategically untennable and commiting countness war-crimes fighting tooth and nail to hold onto its ill gotten gains until the bitter end - with little to no reparaitions paid to this very day. Much of the global economy still mirrors the colonial distribution of wealth!
Giving liberalism credit for, eventually, pulling out of colonialism once it had filled its belly (and largely swapping it for an obliquely less exploitative post-colonial set up) is like praising a home-invader for closing the door when he leaves after murdering your children.
I mean... fuck... taking the U.S. as the dominant liberal power.... the Jim Crow laws were around until the 60's. And what... highest incarceration rate in the world, still? At war for close to 90% of its existence? Extensive spying network monitoring virtually all of its citizens communication via the NSA? Progressive thought is a legitimate strain in liberal society but its far from the dominant one. And its usually had to fight against the other parts of liberal society in order to get heard. Liberalism and progressivism have a much more complicated history than you, and many other liberals, are willing to admit.


The fact that you think you not nuking the article is a sign of your reasonableness is worrying. Acting as though that was ever an option that was realistically available to you suggests a level of entitlement. I personally have a lot of disagreements with a number of our articles but I have no plans to unilaterally wipe them, or believe that I am owed credit and consideration for refraining from thinly veiled vandalism. "Hey, I haven't shat on your rug!" is a pretty poor excuse for pissing through someone's letterbox.
Also, citing Jean-Jacques Marie to take on Critique of a Black Legend... fucking lol.

Tikitime2 (talk) 22:34, 8 December 2023 (UTC)


Keep in mind that both the Democrats AND Republicans overwhelmingly voted for both the Iraq War AND the passing of the Patriot Act. France still maintains a neocolonial empire in Africa, and is the only European power to still hold territory in mainland America. This is ignoring the fact that Western powers directly propped up genocidal dictatorships as long as they were anticommunist in the Cold War, and still continue to play nice with the Saudis (regardless of what you think of liberalism's merits, this fact right here makes many in the Middle East view Western influence and "values" as hollow). It didn't help when Trump directly announced that the Saudis paid the US military for it services (ie that the might of the American war machine can be bought and sold, reduced to rank mercenaryism). Carthage (talk) 22:46, 8 December 2023 (UTC)
It should also be pointed out that the Brits and the French didn't abolish slavery out of the "good of their hearts." They pushed it through because of economic and political reasons: [3] The Jacobins, for all their faults, abolished slavery. Napoleon, that famed spreader of liberal values across Europe, brought it back. Carthage (talk) 22:50, 8 December 2023 (UTC)
  1. https://www.versobooks.com/en-gb/products/2188-liberalism Liberalism: A Counter History by Domenico Losurdo