What Makes a Liberal?

Liberal: An Ill-Defined Epithet

Given that finding a single definition of liberalism that accurately describes the views of liberals has been a frustrating endeavour in the academic community, it should come as no surprise that just who exactly deserves to be called a liberal is not apparent. Now, despite the impotence of the learned to clearly define liberalism and by extension the word liberal, a superior understanding of what liberalism is enables one to clear the confusion.

Liberalism is best defined as a denial that human beings have a moral obligation to find and embrace objective religious truth. Thus, in the widest and truest sense anyone who believes that it doesn’t matter what religion one belongs to or whether one belongs to any religion at all is a liberal. However, because the word liberal has not been well understood by many until now, it remains to be shown whether or not common understandings of the what makes one a liberal actually does mean that they are a liberal based on the most accurate definition of liberalism. In addition, it is possible that there are persons who most people would say are definitely not liberal, but they may actually be liberal because most people’s concept of liberalism is not accurate.

Liberal as Anti-Catholic

The simplest way that one would guess about whether or not any person is a liberal is to see whether he has any beliefs contrary to the doctrines of Catholicism. Furthermore, as far as politics goes there are general principles which stem from Catholic doctrines which one must accept to be considered Catholic. The most essential principle in this regard is that authority to govern men, in any context, comes directly from God. To disobey a just law/rule is to disobey God. The corollary to this is that for laws to be binding in conscience, it is necessary for them to be not contrary to Divine law (i.e. just).

Nowaday’s, if one wanted a fairly accurate if imperfect litmus test for whether or not someone was a liberal, one would only have to find out whether the person believed that birth control is wrong and that they objected on religious grounds. The vast majority even of those who call themselves “Catholic” have admitted to using birth control.

Examples of Liberal Beliefs

What are some examples of liberal beliefs insofar as they are anti-Catholic? One, that the government should have no hand in regulating the market and international trade. Two, that workers should not have the right to organize into unions and that it is wrong for there to be closed shops (where one has to be a member of a union to be employed). Three, that government has authority over marriages and can grant divorces. Four, that marriage is not between a man and a woman.  Five, that the Bible alone is a sufficient rule of faith (i.e. Protestantism).  Six, that the state is the primary educator of children and not their parents. Seven, that religious instruction has no place in public education or that parents should not be able to use money from the state to send their children to private schools which may teach religion. Eight, that there should be a wall of separation between the Church and the state. Nine, that wives are equal to their husbands and thus do not owe them obedience. Ten, that it is wrong to kill animals. Eleven, that the government has no business in outlawing sexual immorality.  Twelve, that abortion is not murder. Thirteen, that there can be rape between spouses. Fourteen, that it is morally wrong for husbands to corporally punish their wives. Finally, that women should not take care of their own children, but should give them to others even if is possible for them to do so themselves.

One can easily see from the above list that liberals need not be only Democrats, but can even be conservatives and Republicans. In truth, probably more than 99% of the United States is liberal. However, it need not stay this way.