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Memories of the 28th Century

Liberalism, Philosophy of Freedom

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The philosophy and idealism that was championed during the Enlightenment and cherished in the United States of America and restored by the Counter Culture in the 1960’s and 1970’s is starting to erode again. There seem to be people who think that their opinions and religious beliefs are better than the opinions of others. I learned that that opinion is best characterized as totalitarianism, and it has led to religious persecution in the past and in the present. That is the philosophy that ISIS is trying to force upon people in the Middle East and that Boko Haram is trying to force upon people in Nigeria and nearby parts of West Africa. I was hoping that I wouldn’t encounter people pushing that sort of attempts to enforce opinions here in the U.S.A., a country that explicitly allows the freedom of religion.

“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.” This quote by Voltaire beautifully sums the essence of liberalism, but liberalism has become unpopular, and people wish to enforce their philosophies both political and religious on everyone else now, while they continue to claim to be liberals.

Some people seem to think that certain ideas are preferable to other ideas, and that some people should be afforded better treatment than others. This discriminatory attitude is especially popular among people who espouse neoliberalism as it is put forth in the U.S.A. A good example of this is “Affirmative Action”, which was put in place to give advantages to people whose ancestors were treated shoddily. It does nothing for the people, who were abused, and it does not punish the abusers, but it may have assuaged the guilt of some people.

Neoliberalism has also been used to restrict the religious freedom of people whose religion is not politically correct. For example, attempts have been made to have religions that forbid certain activities to accept those actions, but this is still being fought. The act that imposed medical insurance on the U.S. required that religious affiliated hospitals perform abortions, even if the organizations explicitly ban abortion. And there are some attempts to require religious institutions that ban homosexuality to perform marriages of homosexual couples. This is a question that is still open. Most people fail to notice that the fundamental issues are not whether homosexuals should be allowed to marry, but that there are laws that discriminate in favor of married persons. Everyone would be better off, if government were not involved in marriage in any way, but most of the states in the U.S.A. do not recognize common law marriage.

George Orwell’s allegory “Animal Farm” addressed many of the problems that have arisen in neoliberalism. Everyone is equal, except that some get more rights than others. Whether those extra rights are affirmative action or the requirement that a church cater to people who refuse to accept the tenets of the religion is a matter of has been drummed in by the popular press and a few people who demand that their opinions are better than mine.

There are very good reasons for the open language of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and I hope that all Americans will remember that there should be no special “rights” for any individual or group. Everyone should be equal before the law, and the laws should reflect this.

It saddens me that some people wish to enforce their opinions on others. I would like people to agree with me, but if they don’t want to; that’s their problem.
Voltaire bio