Why I’ve Decided to Stop Calling Myself a Liberal

I’ve been meaning to write this for a while but just hadn’t gotten around to it. Heck, odds are most people won’t even read it anyway. But I felt the need to “vent” a little and explain myself going forward for those who often read things that I write, follow me on Twitter or have been with me since the beginning on my Facebook page Right Off a Cliff.

From here on out, I no longer consider myself a “liberal.” I don’t like labels anyway, as they often pigeonhole people to blindly follow one set of ideas as opposed to leaving their minds open to other possibilities, but in a world where we label just about everything I’ve decided to simply consider myself a progressive advocate for common sense going forward.

In my opinion, lately far too much of what’s considered “liberalism” has been hijacked by far-left liberals who often act just as ignorant as their right-wing counterparts. Liberals who often mock conservatives for ignoring facts – as they proceed to treat facts with which they disagree much in the same regard as many conservatives do. That is, when those facts don’t support what they want to be real, they simply dismiss them.

I abhor extremism in any form, be it conservative or liberal. Extremists can rarely be reasoned with and they’re often ridiculously irrational. And I’m sorry, but I’m seeing far too many liberal extremists becoming the tea party version of the liberal movement.

Then again, I’ve always felt the term “progressive” better describes what it is I stand for. Isn’t progress what we want to bring to this country? The term “liberal” ties people into one set of ideas much in the same way “conservative” ties people in with another. I can’t count how often I’ve been called a “fake liberal” because I dared to question the “almighty wisdom” emanating from the far left – or how many emails I’ve gotten from conservatives telling me I’m a “radical liberal.”

Though I’ve never quite figured out how someone could be both a fake liberal and a radical liberal at the exact same time. Oh, yeah I know how. It’s because extremists (no matter what side they’re on) want people to follow everything they believe, without question, otherwise they’re either a “radical for the opposition” or a “traitor to their own cause.”

Because that’s the kind of mindset that will really get us far in this country, right?

My belief is that facts should never become subjective simply because they don’t happen to coincide with your system of beliefs. I don’t believe that the world is best run by people saying to other people “it’s my way or the highway.” Nor do I think that there’s one set of ideologies that’s the blanket “solution” for a society.

Take for instance a few issues we commonly talk about in this country:

  • Why can’t someone be both pro-choice but still support stricter restrictions on abortions such as bans on them after 20 weeks?
  • Why can’t someone be both pro-immigration reform but also support measures that seek to prevent millions of future immigrants from coming here illegally?
  • Why can’t someone support programs that help poor Americans feed their children and take care of their families while still supporting rules that seek to get people off these programs if they’re legitimately abusing them?
  • Why can’t someone support our Second Amendment rights, while still being on the side of passing sensible gun reform that seeks to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them?
  • Why can’t someone understand that tax cuts do not create jobs, nor does demonizing all wealthy Americans and raising taxes always provide a benefit?
  • Why can’t someone be pro-war when it’s needed and anti-war when it’s not? Since when did the decision for going to war suddenly become a popularity contest? Sometimes war is needed, sometimes it’s not. There should never be a blanket “I’m pro/against war” movement in this country because that makes absolutely no sense.
  • Why can’t someone be a Christian, while understanding that millions of others are not?

I could keep going on and on, but I think I made my point. But, sadly, almost no one who stood for the issues I just listed, in the way I listed them, would ever get elected.

You know why? Because they would be annihilated by the far-left and the far-right when it came to the primary elections. And even if they survived their primary, they would probably get killed in the general election against the candidate that simply decided to pander to either the far-left or far-right.

Now, am I saying liberals are bad? Of course not. Nothing about anything I believe has changed, though I’m sure many liberals reading this will claim I’m the one who’s “drifted away from liberalism.” I’m just not really sure if the behavior I’ve seen recently from far too many liberals (specifically many within the internet liberal media and the far-left) still represents me.

But what all of this really comes down to is labels, which as I said before I really don’t care for in the first place. But I am sick and tired of being called a “fake liberal” because I dared to question the almighty doctrine of the far-left. A grouping of people who claim to be open-minded and accepting, but can often be just as judgemental and hateful as those on the far-right.

So that’s why from here on out, I’m considering myself a progressive advocate for common sense. Because I don’t think any of us should be beholden to one set of ideologies simply because “that’s what we are.” None of us should reject facts simply because they might not coincide with a belief we want to be real but isn’t.

But at the end of the day, everyone is free to call themselves whatever they want. Because who you are and what you believe isn’t based on a few letters strung together to make a name. Ignorantly attaching oneself to a particular set of ideologies where facts are often ignored simply because they’re not convenient to those beliefs is what conservatives do. And no matter what we decide to call ourselves, we should never behave like they do.

Feel free to hit me up on Twitter and let me know what you think.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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