Inaccurate assumptions about liberals | Letters | July 16
July 16, 2010 · 10:52 AM
While reading "Living Deep in BI’s Enemy Territory" (July 9), I was struck by the author's misinterpretation of what liberalism is. In his letter, Aaron Covert claims: “It has been said that conservatives (like me) value liberty, and liberals value equality. It is actually that liberals believe that all societies are equal and conservatives do not believe this."
This is not true; while there are certainly liberals who (erroneously) believe that all societies are equal, and conservatives who do not believe this, the belief in the equality of nations is not the distinguishing characteristic of liberalism.
Liberalism is at its core a philosophy of equality; not equality in the sense of believing that all people are equal, but in that we believe all people are entitled to equal rights and protection.
On the other hand, conservatism values tradition and maintenance of the status quo over other ideologies. Conservatives could not possibly value liberty over equality, because if they did, they would support gay marriage and the legalization of cannabis.
As for Aaron's claim that “the typical liberals, because they see every civilization to be equal to ours, claim we stole our wealth, hence, we have a responsibility to redistribute it,” I further disagree.
I don’t believe that because all nations are equal to ours we stole our wealth; I believe we stole our wealth because our society has historically used the peoples of the world merely as means, not respecting their natural rights. Regardless of political ideology, one must admit that America’s greatness today was built at least in part on the shattered bodies of slaves and Native Americans.
Aaron is incorrect in his belief about the nature of liberalism. I hope, in the future, he refrains from blanketing liberals or conservatives with inaccurate assumptions.
Lucas Barash-David, age 16