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July 23, 2019 5:30 am

I Am a Liberal — Are You?

avatar by Karen Lehrman Bloch

Opinion

A pro-BDS demonstration. Photo: FOA / Facebook.

I am a liberal.

And I’m here to take back the word from those who have hijacked it for their illiberal agendas.

I am a liberal.

Which means I believe unconditionally in the Enlightenment principles of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, democracy, and civil rights.

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I am a liberal.

Which means I understand that different policy stances can emanate from these principles, that an orthodoxy of opinion is the opposite of liberalism.

I am a liberal.

Which means I understand that unbiased reporting is part of the responsibility of a free press.

I am a liberal

Which means I understand that unbiased teaching is a prerequisite for civil society.

I am a liberal.

Which means I understand that shutting down dissent, especially at universities, is an act of fascism.

I am a liberal.

Which means I understand that boycotting a group or country based on race or religion is also an act of fascism.

I am a liberal.

Which means I understand that individuality — not group identity or conformity — is the foundation of liberal ideology.

I am a liberal.

Which means I am obliged to speak out against injustice and tyranny wherever it arises.

You are not a liberal:

If you attempt to shut down speech just because you disagree with it.

You are not a liberal:

If you engage in biased journalism.

You are not a liberal:

If you teach your students your opinions rather than the truth.

You are not a liberal:

If you judge people by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character.

You are not a liberal:

If you engage in moral or cultural relativism: if you don’t apply the same standards to everyone.

You are not a liberal:

If you call yourself a feminist but never call out the very real oppression of women in countries like Iran or Pakistan.

You are not a liberal:

If you oppose Zionism, the self-determination of the Jewish people, the return to our ancestral homeland.

You are not a liberal:

If you don’t understand that, as long as force is not involved, sexuality is private; my life doesn’t revolve around your sexuality.

You are not a liberal:

If you think maintaining your status is more important than telling the truth.

I am a liberal.

Are you?

Karen Lehrman Bloch is editor of the forthcoming Rebels of Reason: Reclaiming Liberalism; author of The Lipstick Proviso: Women, Sex & Power in the Real World; and curator of the book and exhibition Passage to Israel. She is also a columnist for The Jewish Journal. A version of this article appeared in The Jewish Journal.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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