In Defense of the 2nd Amendment
With yet another US Supreme Court case about gun-ownership concluding soon, I thought it prudent to put forward my analysis of this rather misunderstood amendment within the Bill of Rights.
Of all the amendments to the Constitution of the United States, none is as hotly debated more than the 2nd amendment. The meaning and purpose of the 2nd Amendment seems to elude not only much of the general public at large, but also those “experts” within the halls of both legal and scholarly enterprise
What I have found in the 12 years of researching the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution has led me to the inescapable conclusion that neither the collective-rights model nor the quasi-collective rights model, nor the states-rights model is accurate. It is clear from the amendment itself that all of those “new models,” are based on the erroneous theory of “The Living Constitution.” That idea is as intelligent as the mediaeval theory that the Earth is the center of the universe and everything revolves around it, which is utter balderdash.
The Individual-Rights model, which is based on the facts surrounding the creation of the constitution of the United States as created by the people of the United States (Founding Fathers), who in turn put their trust in the citizens-militia to protect the Republic from not only foreign enemies but from the several states themselves, is the only correct “interpretation.”
The Constitution IS NOT in a foreign language, nor is it in the often times deceptive legalese of modern-law. It was written plainly, so that all citizens would understand its meaning without question or need of a legal interpreter.
The amendment makes clear WHO comprises the militia, and THAT the people have the right to arms for the purpose of maintaining the security of a FREE as opposed to TYRANNICAL state.
The missions of the militia are to enforce the laws of the Union (the Constitution and Bill of Rights), to put down insurrections (presumably by State select militia forces, military, and/or police forces), and repel invasions (from foreigners who cross the border illegally). This militia is composed of all male citizens of the United States, as opposed to State Citizens, who may be granted the right to keep and bear their own arms by their respective State Constitutions.
The Militia Clause
In order to defend this amendment properly from those who clearly wish to undermine its meaning for totalitarian purposes I must define, dissect, and explain with evidence what this simple amendment actually says.
First, allow me to start with the first half of the amendment, “A well-regulated militia being necessary to security of a free-state…”
Sheldon Sheps attempted to define this portion of the amendment (he is a Canadian lawyer who did a 4-page piece for the ADL, and is quite fond of Juggling I might add. ), but upon researching his information I find that the term “un-organized militia” did not exist at the time of the 2nd amendments creation, nor did the term exist as law until the “Militia Act of 1903.” His assertion that the un-organized militia is forbidden to train in military discipline and that they were no longer to keep and bear arms is non sequitur. Sadly, his research is what much of the Gun Control community use as “historical evidence” to support their position of the so called “collective rights model.”
On the other side of the argument is the NRA, which seems convinced that there is somehow a separation between the first and second parts of this simple amendment. US courts at every level of government have made very clear that this is not the case.
The only two groups who seem to have a grasp of what the amendment means is Gun Owners of America, and Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.
That view is essentially that all able bodied persons (that includes women as well) between the ages of 17 and 45, are members of the militia.
Allow me to explain by starting with the original intent of the amendment, and the attitude of the time.
George Washington laid out this attitude quite well when he purportedly said;
“Government is not reason;
It is not eloquence;
It is force!
Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
The distrust of government force (that is regular troops/armies) was very much alive in 1787, as can be seen in much of the writings of the day (like the Federalist and anti-federalist papers).
This is precisely why Article 1, section 8, paragraph 12 gives congress the power to “raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years.” Section 10 of the Federal Constitution goes on to state, “No state shall, without the consent of congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops, or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another state, or with a foreign power, or engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit delay.”
The founding fathers put their trust in the militia.
The founders made it VERY clear who comprised the militia of the United States:
George Mason: When the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually. . . I ask, who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers.
George Mason: “That the people have a Right to mass and to bear arms; that a well regulated militia composed of the Body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper natural and safe defense of a Free State…”
Alexander Hamilton Federalist paper #29: There is something so far-fetched and so extravagant in the idea of danger to liberty from the militia, that one is at a loss whether to treat it with gravity or with raillery; whether to consider it as a mere trial of skill, like the paradoxes of rhetoricians; as a disingenuous artifice to instill prejudices at any price; or as the serious offspring of political fanaticism. Where in the name of common-sense, are our fears to end if we may not trust our sons, our brothers, our neighbors, our fellow-citizens? What shadow of danger can there be from men who are daily mingling with the rest of their countrymen and who participate with them in the same feelings, sentiments, habits and interests?
Alexander Hamilton (Fed papers 184-188): “The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.”
Patrick Henry: “The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able may have a gun.”
Rep. Elbridge Gerry (of Massachusetts 1789): “What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty…Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins…”
Patrick Henry: “Are we at last brought to such an humiliating and debasing degradation that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defense? Where is the difference between having our arms under our own possession and under our own direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?”
Richard Henry (Light Horse Harry) Lee in his Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republic (1787-1788): “A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves . . . and include all men capable of bearing arms . . . To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them . . . The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle.”
James Madison: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.”
James Madison: “The highest number to which a standing army can be carried in any country does not exceed one hundredth part of the souls, or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This portion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Besides the advantage of being armed, it forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. The governments of Europe are afraid to trust the people with arms. If they did, the people would surely shake off the yoke of tyranny, as America did. Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America with the suspicion that they would be less able to defend the rights of which they would be in actual possession than the debased subjects of arbitrary power would be to rescue theirs from the hands of their oppressors.”
Thomas Jefferson: “For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well organized and armed militia is their best security.”
Thomas Jefferson: “Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every Free State.”
Militia act of 1792: “…each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia…”
Quotes by Tench Coxe (1755-1824 American political economist):
1) “The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American …the unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.”
2) “The militia, who are in fact the effective part of the people at large, will render many troops quite unnecessary. They will form a powerful check upon the regular troops, and will generally be sufficient to over-awe them”
3) ”Whereas civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as military forces, which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.”
The citizenry of the United States differed from those of the Kingdoms of Europe because they are able to keep and bear arms. James Madison made this clear in federalist paper number 46;
“The advantage of being armed . . . the Americans possess over the people of all other nations . . . Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several Kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”
The founders spoke of the militia and the people as one entity, which have the right to keep and bear arms to ensure the security of a Free State in the tradition of the common law of England and the British Bill of Rights of 1689. Therefore, it would be inane to think that the “people” spoken of in the 2nd amendment was somehow the individual states.
Let us not forget that the colonists had just fought a war against the most powerful nation of their day, which under the direction of King George the third, had tried to confiscate all private arms. It would be foolish to think they would create the 2nd amendment in order to ensure a “collective right” that State or Federal forces could use and posses arms, that is the thinking of the Old World Order and has been the custom and policy of governments the world over for the better part of 5000 years of history.
No, it is clear whom the first half of the Amendment is referring to and that is the citizenry of the United States as each individual, not collectively through some government agency or military force. The 2nd Amendment is a Liberal idea, thus it was forward looking and saw that in a true civilized-society of progress the move from the old ways of select governmental military forces to the new way of the citizen-militia was the correct path towards freedom.
The Right to Keep and Bear Arms clause
The second half of the amendment is actually more precise in its meaning then the first half: “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
“People” is the operative word here. The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that the word “people” as used in the Federal and State Constitutions and their amendments, has always meant the common citizenry, no matter what amendment is under consideration.
Now I must admit that I have seen and entertained some of the deranged arguments about what infringed means in the past. However, upon engaging in this lengthy quest for the truth it has become clear that for some 200 plus years, what the word People meant.
It is also quite clear what that the founding fathers knew what the word infringed meant when they drafted the 2nd Amendment.
According to Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary Infringed is synonymous with Infraction which means “The act of breaking; breach; violation; non-observance; as an infraction of a treaty, compact, agreement or law. According to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate dictionary 11th edition, It means to “encroach upon in a way that violates law or rights of another,” and is thus synonymous with Trespass. Infringed means now what it meant then.
“To keep and bear” is obvious.
“Keep” means to own and posses.
“Bear” means to carry on one’s person or within one’s vehicle.
Therefore, the second amendment more or less means;
A well-trained citizens’ army, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of every individual citizen to own, transfer, purchase, carry, transport, and store, all manner of military weaponry useful to the common defense shall not be encroached upon by any act of congress or lesser positive law.
Let us not forget in this analysis the battle cry of the Gun-Control advocates who lay claim to the arguments that, “the founders never envisioned machine guns, high-capacity magazines, semi-automatic weapons, etc”
It is clear these types of arguments stem from ignorance of the history of the development of firearms and weaponry as a whole. There are surviving examples of snaphance revolver rifles of the 1590s and up, which have from 6 to as many as 15 chambers within their cylinder, or as many barrels on a revolving mechanism. These weapons are capable of firing all cylinders within 1 minute. Additionally, there was the Miquelet-type, breech-loading rifles of the mid 1600s, which could be reloaded in half a minute.
Then there is James Puckle’s famous “defense” or “Wall” gun that had a removable 64-cylinder drum (that is 14 more shots than a 50 round AK-47 drum magazine).
Puckle guns and other various types of new “revolving cylinder” guns where plenty known about both in Europe and the colonies. Therefore, it is safe to assume the founders knew exactly what types of arms would be available in the future (in so far as small arms are concerned).
Handgrenades, artillery, and cannon were all part of the private arms collections of many of the founders, so what kinds of arms they meant in the 2nd amendment is very clear, the types necessary to defend a country from invasion and ensure that no tyranny could succeed on American soil.
There it is in a nutshell, the founders’ version of the 2nd amendment. The two questions now are what the efficacy of the militia is today, and does the 2nd amendment apply in modern America.
The evolution of the use, and/or interpretation, of this amendment is a long one. I shall attempt to hit upon only the most relevant court cases so as not to drag this on tediously.
Prior to the Militia Act of 1903 there were many cases that had ruled on the meaning of the second amendment, all understood it as an individual right, some courts however saw the possibility of restricting how the weapons were to be carried.
In Aymette, the Tennessee Supreme Court applied that State’s 1834 Constitution, which provided “that the free white men of this State have a right to keep and bear arms for their common defense.” This court case was dealing with the Constitution of the state of Tennessee, which reads: “That the citizens of this State have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defense; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms with a view to prevent crime.”
It is interesting to note that in 2002 the ninth circuit court in Silveira v. Lockyer relied on this 1834 case to hand down a decision in favor of the “collective-rights” view, yet rejected the majority of the opinion in Amyette, and all previous and subsequent case law. The Ninth Circuit chose only the particular quote from the case that suited their purpose. It should also be noted that six members of the Ninth Circuit dissented from denial of rehearing en banc and endorsed the individual rights model.
Amyette also pre-dates the passage of the 14th amendment, which gives all citizens of the US equal protection under the Federal Constitution.
The Aymette case did provide a definition of what kinds of weapons are protected by the Tennessee constitution:
“The arms, the right to keep and bear which is secured by the constitution, are such as are usually employed in civilized warfare, and constitute the ordinary military equipment; the legislature have the power to prohibit the keeping or wearing weapons dangerous to the peace and safety of the citizens, and which are not usual in civilized warfare.”
It is this portion of the Amyette case that the Supreme Court, in US v. Miller, cited in order to provide a legal basis for whether or not the 2nd Amendment applied the ownership of a double-barrel sawed-off hunting-shotgun by a member of the militia.
In [Alabama] State v. Reid (1840) the Supreme Court of Alabama unanimously upheld the State’s new ban on carrying guns or knives secretly, finding no violation of the provision in the State’s 1819 constitution that “[e]very citizen has a right to bear arms, in defense of himself and the State.” In so doing, the court recognized that the provision’s right to “bear arms” was a right of an individual, who could bear them to facilitate his self-defense.
The court first looked to the origins of the right in the “provisions in favor of the liberty of the subject” in the English Declaration of Rights. Quoting the right of subjects to have arms for their defense, the court explained: “The evil which was intended to be remedied by the provision quoted, was a denial of the right of Protestants to have arms for their defense, and not an inhibition to wear them secretly.”
This decision would appear to appeal to the view that the right is subject to regulation. However, the court went on to say; “A statute which, under the pretence of regulating, amounts to a destruction of the right, or which requires arms to be so borne as to render them wholly useless for the purpose of defense, would be clearly unconstitutional. But a law which is intended merely to promote personal security, and to put down lawless aggression and violence, and to that end inhibits the wearing of certain weapons, in such a manner as is calculated to exert an unhappy influence upon the moral feelings of the wearer, by making him less regardful of the personal security of others, does not come in collision with the constitution.”
Notice that the court’s decision does not allow for the banning of weapons, only the regulation of how they are worn.
In Nunn v. State [Georgia],, the Georgia Supreme Court not only recognized that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right, but also applied that right to the states:
“It is true, that these adjudications are all made on clauses in the State Constitutions; but these instruments confer no new rights on the people which did not belong to them before. When, I would ask, did any legislative body in the Union have the right to deny to its citizens the privilege of keeping and bearing arms in defense of themselves and their country?? The language of the second amendment is broad enough to embrace both Federal and State Governments—nor is there anything in its terms which restricts its meaning… [D]oes it follow that because the people refused to delegate to the general government the power to take from them the right to keep and bear arms, that they designed to rest it in the State governments? Is this a right reserved to the States or to themselves? Is it not an unalienable right, which lies at the bottom of every free government? We do not believe that, because the people withheld this arbitrary power of disfranchisement from Congress, they ever intended to confer it on the local legislatures…. If a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of the State of Georgia and of the United States, it is competent for the General Assembly to take way this security, by disarming the people? What advantage would it be to tie up the hands of the national legislature, if it were in the power of the States to destroy this bulwark of defense? … The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of free State.”
The reason this case is important is because Chief Justice Joseph Henry Lumpkin (who handed down the opinion in Nunn v. State) started his carrier in law, and grew up in a prominent Georgia family surrounded by members of the generation that had fought the revolution, and at that time, many of the founders were still alive.
Some forty years later, the US supreme court decided in Presser v. Illinois that:
“It is undoubtedly true that all citizens capable of bearing arms constitute the reserved military force or reserve militia of the United States as well as of the states, and, in view of this prerogative of the general government, as well as of its general powers, the states cannot, even laying the constitutional provision in question [the Second Amendment] out of view, prohibit the people from keeping and bearing arms, so as to deprive the United States of their rightful resource for maintaining the public security, and disable the people from performing their duty to the general government.”
In Dred Scott v. Sandford the Supreme Court considered whether a freed Negro was to be considered a citizen, and therefore whether he had the right to maintain a lawsuit in the U.S. courts. The Court held that such a person could not be considered a citizen, and reasoned that if he were, he would be entitled to all the rights of a citizen:
“[Persons] who are recognized as citizens in any one state of the Union [have] the right to enter every other state, whenever they pleased . . . full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might meet; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went.”- Id. at 417.
In U.S. v. Cruikshank the Court recognized that the right is an individual right, but held that it was a limit on the power of the federal government and not the states:
“The second and tenth counts are equally defective. The right there specified is that of ‘bearing arms for a lawful purpose.’ This is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed; but this, as has been seen, means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress.”
In Cruikshank, the Supreme Court recognized that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right that existed prior to the adoption of the Bill of Rights. Such a right is protected, and not created, by the Second Amendment.
It is interesting to note that the Supreme Court was in fact trying to uphold states rights to deny freed slaves (blacks) the right to keep and bear arms, stating that the fourteenth amendment only applied to the federal government and not state governments.
The idea that the 2nd Amendment only applied to the Federal government and that freed black slaves did not have the right to keep and bear arms was backwards thinking by the standards of the post-civil war era, and would be considered racist by our standards today (and rightfully so).
The thinking of many Southern States in those post-civil war times was that states had the power to deny blacks any and all of the rights outlined in the Bill of Rights through state law.
From the Liberal viewpoint this is just plain wrong on every level of civilized thinking. However, Cruikshank epitomizes the lengths that racist-elitist-hoplophobes will go to in order to disarm those they see as the “chattel” of society.
In Miller v. Texas the Court refused to apply the Bill of Rights to restrict state action under the Fourteenth Amendment, although the Fourteenth Amendment issue in that case was not reached on the merits because “it was fatal to this claim that it was not set up in the trial court.” This refusal to apply the right to keep and bear arms as a limit on state action was consistent with the Slaughter-House Cases.
The Slaughter House Cases of 1872 centered on a major series of lawsuits against the State of Louisiana owned slaughterhouses. This case is long, so I will summarize its importance here. In short, it provided a clear distinction between natural rights and privileges protected by the Federal constitution (and Bill of Rights, and amendments) and state constitutions. Of great importance in this case was how the 14th amendment changed the citizenship status of all state citizens into US citizens.
In Andrews v. State [Tennessee] the opinion of the court was “The right to keep arms, necessarily involves the right to purchase them, to keep them in a state of efficiency for use, and to purchase and provide ammunition suitable for such arms, and to keep them in repair.”-50 Tenn. at 178, 8 Am.Rep. at 13.
In Robertson v. Baldwin the District court of Northern California stated that: “[describing the Bill of Rights as embodying "certain guaranties and immunities which we had inherited from our English ancestors"] While some might argue that, as an original matter, the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause (which makes no reference to any “right” or “freedom”) was an exception to this rule, the Supreme Court has held that it too creates an individual right, applicable even against States.
The Robertson case adds additional credence to the fact that the Bill of Rights extends beyond the jurisdiction of the Federal government into the states, municipalities, and local governments all the way down into the homes and lives of every individual who is a citizen of these United States of America. Thus, it is clear that the right protected by the 2nd Amendment cannot lawfully be nullified by any state or local law, local covenant, or similar obstruction of the right.
The birth of a Progressive Scheme, “The Collective Rights” Model
After the passage of the Militia Act of 1903/Dick Act, a completely new “theory” on the amendment was formed: the aforementioned “collective rights” theory.
This is where the proverbial headache begins, primarily because of the stated intent of the Militia Act of 1903 in the first place:
“…to allow use of military force against the civilian population in accordance with the Posse Commitatus Act.”
The ability to do precisely what the founders feared is what the Progressives in control of the Federal government at the time did when they formed the National Guard in 1903. Again, we must take into account the attitude of the times. There was still a great deal of animosity and suspicion between the Northern and Southern states over the Civil War and the freeing of the Negros. The Progressives, “humanitarians” that they were, saw the need to violently put down any resistance to their Utopian policies that they were trying to impose upon the population. From income tax to the Federal Reserve System, the rise of Progressive-socialism has gone hand-in-hand with the rise of gun-control throughout the civilized world.
In City of Salina v. Blaksley (1905) the Kansas Supreme Court held that a clause in the Kansas Bill of Rights, providing that “[t]he people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security,” and that this alluded, “to the people as a collective body” which dealt “exclusively with the military.”
The court failed to even recognize the possibility of individual citizens comprising the militia without military service and claimed “people shall exercise this right” though their State government, which the court stated was responsible for organizing, equipping, and disciplining the militia.
The Kansas Supreme Count went on to insist that the 2nd Amendment applied “only to the right to bear arms as a member of the state militia, or some other military organization provided for by law.”
The court seems to have been influenced by a provision in the state constitution admonishing against standing armies in time of peace, and praising civilian control of the military that immediately followed the text of the right. The court also failed to cite any historical authority, and provided very little explanation to support their decision. Instead, they pointed to the Second Amendment itself as analogous and thus reinforced their interpreted reading of it.
Salina’s novelty did not go unnoticed. Another state Supreme Court sometime thereafter, during a survey back to Bliss, Reid, Nunn, and Aymette, described Salina as reaching “further than any other case” by declaring that the right to bear arms in the Kansas Constitution imposed no restriction on the legislature’s power to prohibit private individuals from carrying arms.
Once again, we see a decision based on a State Constitution rather than the Federal Constitution in order to support the “collective rights” agenda.
The Kansas Supreme Court failed to take into account that all citizens of the United States are in fact under the jurisdiction of the Federal government due to the fourteenth amendment, which states:
“No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
What the 14th amendment means is that we are no longer solely citizens of any individual state, but Federal citizens entitled to the protections and immunities of the federal constitution thus nullifying any state laws which may infringe and/or restrict any right protected by the federal constitution.
The decision handed down in the Slaughter House Cases makes this very clear:
“It declares that persons may be citizens of the United States without regard to their citizenship of a particular State, and it overturns the DRED SCOTT DECISION by making all persons born within the United States and subject to its jurisdiction citizens of the United States. That its main purpose was to establish the citizenship of the Negro can admit of no doubt. The phrase, ‘subject to its jurisdiction’ was intended to exclude from its operation children of ministers, consuls, and citizens or subjects of foreign States born within the United States.”
It is of further interest to note that all state militias were put under federal control by the National Defense Act of 1916 as a reserve force of the National Guard. The National Guard was made a reserve force of the United States Army by the National Guard Mobilization Act of 1933.
The changes made to the status of the selective-militia forces of the States into Federal forces was the final separation of said forces from that of the militia mentioned in the 2nd amendment.
The much-misrepresented case of U.S. v. Miller
Perhaps the most important case of the early 20th century has to be the 1939 U.S. v. Miller case.
Gun-control and collective rights advocates use this case in error simply because they point to it claiming that the high court ruled against Miller when it stated that:
“The Court can not take judicial notice that a shotgun having a barrel less than 18 inches long has today any reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia; and therefore can not say that the Second Amendment guarantees to the citizen the right to keep and bear such a weapon.”
What they either fail to realize or fail to recognize whether out of their own bias, or simply ignorance, is that the Supreme Court defined a militia using the 1792 Militia Act and not Title 10 or the Militia Act of 1903. Had their view of the militia been in accordance with the “National Guard is the militia” argument, they would have citied the Militia Act of 1903 and Title 10, section 311.
No instead, the opinion read as follows;
“The Constitution as originally adopted granted to the Congress power—‘To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.’ With obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted and applied with that end in view.”
“The Militia that the States were expected to maintain and train is set in contrast with Troops, which they were forbidden to keep without the consent of Congress. The sentiment at the time strongly disfavored standing armies; the common view was that adequate defense of country and laws could be secured through the Militia–civilians primarily, soldiers on occasion.”
“The signification attributed to the term Militia appears from the debates in the Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies and States, and the writings of approved commentators. These show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. “A body of citizens enrolled for military discipline.” And further, that ordinarily when called for service these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time.”
This opinion is in accordance with the ideology that was prevalent during the creation of the Federal Constitution. Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations contains an extended account of the idea of what constitutes the Militia. It is there said: “Men of republican principles have been jealous of a standing army as dangerous to liberty. In a militia, the character of the labourer, artificer, or tradesman, predominates over that of the soldier: in a standing army, that of the soldier predominates over every other character; and in this distinction seems to consist the essential difference between those two different species of military force.”
One of the most respected books on this subject, “The American Colonies In The 17th Century,” affirms in reference to the early system of defense in New England–“In all the colonies, as in England, the militia system was based on the principle of the assize of arms. This implied the general obligation of all adult male inhabitants to possess arms, and, with certain exceptions, to cooperate in the work of defense. The possession of arms also implied the possession of ammunition, and the authorities paid quite as much attention to the latter as to the former. A year later  it was ordered that any single man who had not furnished himself with arms might be put out to service, and this became a permanent part of the legislation of the colony [Massachusetts]
The chief justices presiding over the Miller case in 1939 knew full well who comprised the militia. It is for this reason that the court in Miller also rejected the States militia model with regard to both the second amendment and limitations on Federal power over the States:
“Considering Sonzinsky v. United States (1937), 300 U.S. 506, 513, and what was ruled in sundry causes arising under the Harrison Narcotics Act2 –United States v. Jin Fuey Moy (1916), 241 U.S. 394; United States v. Doremus (1919), 249 U.S. 86, 94; Linder v. United States (1925), 268 U.S. 5; Alston v. United States (1927), 274 U.S. 289; Nigro v. United States (1928), 276 U.S. 332–the objection that the Act usurps police power reserved to the States is plainly untenable.”
The court also upheld the National Firearms Act in Miller because a double-barrel sawed-off Savage model hunting-shotgun was:
“…in the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a shotgun having a barrel of less that eighteen inches in length at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that is use could contribute to the common defense…”
Therefore, US v. Miller make four things clear:
1) The original meaning of “militia” had not changed in 159 years and it still meant “every able bodied man between the ages of 17 and 45.”
2) The Federal Constitution and Bill of Rights are the SUPREME LAW of the land and take precedence over State laws.
3) Weapons which are not of a military nature or useful to the common defense are not useful to the militia and thus not protected by the 2nd Amendment.
4) There IS a “litmus test” for determining what weapons are and are NOT protected by the 2nd Amendment, and that test is simple: the weapon must be of a military nature and useful by the militia to a) uphold the laws of the union (Constitution and Bill of Rights), b) put down insurrections, and c) repel invasions.
Unfortunately, the weapon Miller transported in interstate commerce was just a double-barrel shotgun, had it been a Thompson submachinegun (or other military weapon) the case most likely would have gone very differently. The Thomson M1 was the standard military submachinegun used by officers, paratroopers, and artillery personnel in the US Army during the 1930s. Submachineguns ARE useful for the common defense against invading armies and are the weapon of choice by Police forces in the US for dealing with insurrections.
The best hope of the Progressives, the GCA of 68
There were a few state cases in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s that dealt with the 2nd Amendment, but nothing of any great importance.
It was not until the Gun Control Act of 1968 that many new court decisions were handed down. The majority of which used the “collective rights” model, without any accurate historical legal precedence whatsoever.
During the senate hearings on the FFA, the senate panel grilled LBJ’s attorney General Katzenbach over the proposed GCA’s registration and licensing provisions.
Even in 1968, the US senate determined that registration and licensing were violations of the 2nd amendment.
The GCA of 1968 was considered so repugnant in the way it was enforced by the BATF that Republican President Reagan attempted to amend the GCA of 1968 with the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act, which recognized “the right of citizens . . . to keep and bear arms under the second amendment.”
From 1968 to 1999, there was a legal and political “tug-of-war” between the “collective” and “individual” rights versions of the 2nd amendment.
The entire basis for the “collective” rights version rests on the so-called State militias and National Guard. What is interesting is that all National Guard members must swear allegiance to the Federal Power. In addition, the National Guard is subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and is now classified as members of the armed forces. The National Guard is clearly not the militia spoken of in the 2nd amendment, nor are the State Defense Forces or other select militias.
Even in light of all the evidence against the National Guard being the militia spoken of in the 2nd Amendment it was not until the year 2001 that a decision was handed down that held any constitutional basis for its decision.
In US. v. Emerson the fifth circuit court ruled the 2nd amendment protected an individual right. The court cited the long case history, and historical record, as well as the original intent of the founding fathers.
The following year (2002) the Ninth circuit court in Silveira v. Lockyer rejected Emerson with an extended counter-analysis and reaffirmed its adherence to the “collective-right” view. Six members of the Ninth Circuit dissented from denial of rehearing en banc and endorsed an individual-right view.
On August 24th, 2004 the Department of Justice handed down its MEMORANDUM OPINION FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL on WHETHER THE SECOND AMENDMENT SECURES AN INDIVIDUAL RIGHT.
Their conclusion was an overwhelming yes.
In 2008 the Supreme Court of the US once again heard a 2nd Amendment case in D.C. vs. Heller and stated:
1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Pp. 2–53.
(a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2–22.
(b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation
Whether intentionally or not the SCOTUS has effectively nullified the first clause of the 2nd Amendment (not that it needed nullifying) by stating that the right is NOT dependent on an individual’s service in a militia. Thus, due to Heller, we now have a situation in which there is no excuse for gun-control laws that ban, regulate, or restrict this right, they are all unconstitutional.
The dissenting opinions in Heller relied on the same tired old and worn-out lower court cases and “collective rights” lie that has been pushed since the Progressive-Socialists started trying to disarm the US population in early 20th Century.
The only question that remains due to Heller is whether or not the 14th Amendment will apply (which it should based on the historical, and judicial evidence) and the upcoming McDonald vs. City of Chicago case before the Supreme Court of the US at the time of this writing (March 20th, 2010). This case should affirm the supremacy of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights unless the court wishes to undermine the power of the 14th Amendment and the case law that supports it—which is highly doubtful.
The Progressive mantra-“When first you don’t succeed, lie, lie, again”
Therefore, I must now the ask the rhetorical question; where does this leave the “collective-rights” version of the 2nd amendment?
Any grade school student can answer that query; the “collective rights” lie is exactly where it was from a constitutional standpoint to begin with, as a sort of doppelganger Progressive-socialist tool that was trying to force itself over the original meaning in order to reshape the political landscape of American society and pave the way for a tyrannical Oligarchic state.
The Progressive-Socialists will not stop however. They will continue to peddle their lies, half-truths, and pedantic delusions of a “gun-free society” which will never exist.
China, the country with perhaps the strictest gun-control laws on the planet, also has one of the fastest growing gun-cultures. The Proletariat of China knows that only they can protect themselves from criminals, be they street-punk hoodlums or government jackbooted thugs.
The Proletariat of the world seems ravenous for arms to defend themselves and their brethren (the Bourgeoisie) from the Socialists and Corporatists that plague our planet. We here in the United States should be thankful that the founders of this country understood the evils of the mercantilists of their day and thus the Liberals (anti-Federalists mostly) embedded in our Bill of Rights the 2nd Amendment.
The Efficacy Argument
This leads me to the final argument made by the Progressive-Socialists: that being the efficacy of the militia in modern times.
The Radical-Leftists of the United States push this erroneous notion that the American people are incapable of resisting a tyrannical state should one manifest itself (and the Left does hope they can erect one). Their claim is that the technology and overwhelming firepower of the US military (if they went along with such a takeover) would be enough to maintain control under a totalitarian US government.
However, a cursory examination of the even the basic facts illustrates just how pathetic their argument is. If in fact, a group of Progressive-Socialists did successfully erect a dictatorship, would the armed citizenry be able to contend with it?
In 2009 alone there were 14,000,000 firearms sold in the United States. That’s more weaponry than the smallarms of 21 countries combined!
- People’s Republic of China: 2,255,000
- United States: 1,473,900
- India 1,414,000
- North Korea : 1,106,000
- Russia : 1,037,000
- Pakistan : 619,000
- South Korea: 687,000
- Iran: 545,000
- Turkey: 514,850
- Vietnam: 484,000
- Egypt: 450,000
- Myanmar: 428,250
- Indonesia: 400,000
- Brazil: 369,000
- Thailand: 306,600
- Syria: 296,000
- Republic of China (Taiwan): 290,000
- Colombia: 285,554
- Germany: 284,500
- Iraq: 273,618
- Sri Lanka: 266,700
- TOTAL: 13,785,972
Current estimates (according to Gun Owners of America) put the total number of gun-owners in the United States within a range from as low as 85,000,000 to as high at 100,000,000+ as of 2008, and that nearly half a billion (yes with a B) firearms are in private hands within the US.
If only 10% of the firearm owners in the United States were to “stand-up” against our hypothetical oppressive political regime in the US, that would constitute a force of at least 8.5-10+ million individuals. This is over double the total number of military combat forces and Federal combat police forces worldwide, never mind the continental US.
Therefore, it is painfully clear that the efficacy of the militia is NOT in doubt. Such a force is a deterrent to any (sane) political party determined to create a tyranny in the US—although an insane one might still try.
As gun-control is clearly unconstitutional under the 2nd amendment, 14th amendment, and the 9th amendment, one must ask oneself, WHY do the courts continue to support it?
It was crystal-clear in Marbury v. Madison, (1803), what the role and extent of power of the Federal Constitution possessed when chief justice John Marshall stated:
“…So if a law be in opposition to the constitution: if both the law and the constitution apply to a particular case, so that the court must either decide that case conformably to the law, disregarding the constitution; or conformably to the constitution, disregarding the law: the court must determine which of these conflicting rules governs the case. This is of the very essence of judicial duty.”
“If then the courts are to regard the constitution; and the constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the legislature; the constitution, and not such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply.”
This sentiment was again reiterated a decade later in M’Culloch v. Maryland, (1819), when the SCOTUS stated that the constitution was established as the supreme law of the land and all inferior statutory and state law must concur with it or be null and void.
Therefore, I ask why has the Supreme Court not given a definitive decision on this subject and rendered all gun-control unconstitutional? As was done over abortion in Roe v. Wade, and was done to all the laws that violated the rights of blacks or homosexuals, none of which is even mentioned in the Bill of Rights.
The answers to these questions are basic and can be found as far back as Aristotle when he said in his “Politics, Chapter 10, paragraph 4:”
“Both oligarch and tyrant mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of their arms.”
Our Republic is a Constitutional one. That means that the relationship between government and the people is NOT a Master/Slave or Ruler/Subject relationship. It is not a system set up where tyrants and oligarchs can rule by decree or on a whim. It is government that is governed by laws agreed too and set up by the citizenry.
The very definition of a Constitutional Republic is as follows;
“Constitutionalism is descriptive of a complicated concept, deeply imbedded in historical experience, which subjects the officials who exercise governmental powers to the limitations of a higher law. Constitutionalism proclaims the desirability of the rule of law as opposed to rule by the arbitrary judgment or mere flat of public officials.-(from Constitutionalism: Ancient and Modern by Charles H. McIlwain”
This has been understood in the United States as being true from the times of M’Culloch v. Maryland and Marbury v. Madison in the early 1800s up to Education v. Barnette. The Constitution is SUPREME in its power and the only proper way of “upgrading” the constitution was spelled out clearly within the body of the constitution as stated in Education v. Barnette:
“….the very heart of the American concept of constitutionalism, that the constitution is a fundamental written law superior in obligation to all other forms of law. Indeed, there is a standard for measuring the justness of governmental acts which is not only binding upon all agents of the government, but which is independent even of the will of the current popular majority. While the American system is committed to majority rule as being preferable to rule by elites or by divine right, it is also committed to the proposition that government must be righteous and just, in spite of majority rule. These objectives are sought through a variety of devices, including judicial review by an independent judiciary, an enforceable Bill of Rights, the guaranty of equality before the law, the diffusion of governmental power through territorial federalism and functional separation of powers, checks and balances, and the subordination of military to civil authority. The government is obliged to observe the fundamental law, and the Constitution cannot be changed except in some special way.”
That special way is only through the amendment process, which is exactly what Chief Justice John Marshall said in Marbury v. Madison back in 1803.
As the 2nd amendment has not been repealed, nor has any amendment been passed to amend it or replace it, all gun-control law stands in opposition to the Federal Constitution.
Slavery was certainly a vice of the early colonies, as was the disenfranchisement of women. Both of which were remedied through the proper special legislation, the 13th amendment, 14th amendment, and the 19th amendment, respectively.
Thus we, the people of the United States, must demand that our elected representatives, judges, and officials illustrate to our satisfaction an amendment which gives the Federal or State legislatures the power to ban weapons or any kind, or to prohibit the militia from training, or declares the National Guard the militia, or allows for any form of “reasonable gun-control.”
It does not exist. It is, as I have said already, nonsense, a political lie that has been pushed upon this populous for the purpose of general disarmament of the militia in clear violation of the 2nd amendment.
Final thoughts on why gun-control is pushed on the citizenry (ideology behind it)
When the Liberals like Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, and Patrick Henry took to arms and freed the colonies, it sent a shudder through the souls of the tyrants of the world: in particular the monarchs of Europe. We should remember the words of some of the world’s most famous Socialists (Progressive or otherwise), many of whom were of the aristocracy of Europe, to better understand their reasons for disarming the Proletariat by instituting gun-control.
The first real successful Scientific-Socialist whose abhorrent theories took root was Karl Marx. He stated that, “The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to Socialism.” Therefore, when Progressives talk about gun-control being necessary for peace or to reduce violence, what they’re really saying is that they are trying to put an end to any resistance to their policies or rules.
Gun-control really isn’t about crime, or guns, it is now, as it always has been, about control.
Marx went on to say later in one of his speeches, “My object in life is to dethrone God and destroy capitalism.” Again, we see here the attitude of the elitist. There can be no god in the Scientific-Socialist system since the psychopaths and megalomaniacs who seek to impose such a horrible system of government on the proletariat see themselves as Nietzsche’s Übermensch. Thus, the rulers in a Socialist State think they are God and an armed proletariat could unseat that power and prove that they are mere men—oh the terror (sarcasm).
The first real leader to put Marxian (Scientific Socialism) theory into practice was Vladimir Lenin. At the start of the Revolution Lenin told the proletarian revolutionaries:
“Only an armed people can be the real bulwark of popular liberty. The sooner the proletariat succeeds in arming, and the longer it holds its fighting positions as striker and revolutionary, the sooner will the army begin to waver; more and more soldiers will at last begin to realise what they are doing and they will join sides with the people against the fiends, against the tyrant, against the murderers of defenceless workers and of their wives and children.”
Nearly as soon as the Bolsheviks had taken control of the Russian government Lenin turned his back on the people. He stated in a speech just after the revolution that, “A system of licensing and registration is the perfect device to deny gun ownership to the bourgeoisie.”
His corrupt successor, Joseph Stalin, put into practice what Marx only dreamed about in written word. It was Stalin who said,
“If the opposition (citizen) disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves.”
Uncle Joe saw no hindrance in spreading this ideological approach to transforming the world into a Socialist State. He had his sights clearly set on the United States, as he said, “America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.”
Gun-control is certainly not the only ailment which currently plagues the US like a festering cancer, no, it is simply one of the tumors that metastasized from the larger whole of Progressive philosophy that has infected every corner of the media, academia, and now government. Gun-control is a symptom of this fatal affliction not the cause.
Nikita Khrushchev, who succeeded Stalin, made the same observation:
“We can’t expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism.”
Khrushchev was right, and it was far more then just arrogant words spoken to try and frighten the US and the western world.
Yuri Bezmenov, a Russian born, KGB trained subversion expert explained to G. Edward Griffin in a 1984 interview how the Soviet Union influenced Western media to bring about so called “real change” in the West. He describes the stages of the communist takeover and its implementation.
”The main emphasis of the KGB has not been in the area of intelligence gathering. Only 15% of time, money and man-power is spent on espionage. The other 85% is spent on “ideological subversion” or “active measures”. It is a great brain-washing process. It takes a long time.”
“The process consists of 4 stages, one of which is called “Demoralization”. This stage takes between 15 and 20 years. This is because this is the minimum number of years required to educate one generation of students. The process exposes the students to the ideology of the enemy i.e. the Marxism-Leninism ideology and is pumped into the soft heads of young students for at least 3 generations without being challenged or contra-balanced by the ideology of the basic values of American patriotism.”
“Most of the people who graduated in the ’60s, the drop-outs, the half-baked intellectuals now occupy the positions of power in the government, civil service, business, mass media and education system. America is now stuck with them.”
The process of demoralization is then complete and irreversible. It will take another 15 to 20 years to wash away the intellectual contamination and corruption of values. A person who is demoralized is unable to process truth.”
If the Soviets could think of this system then surely the Progressive-Socialists could do so as well. In fact, the whole history of the Progressive movement within the US and its European counterpart, the Fabian movement, has engaged in this very process.
One only has to look at the President who gave us the so-called “New Deal,” Franklin D. Roosevelt to see this process in action. Roosevelt himself said:
“I do not believe in communism any more than you do, but there is nothing wrong with the communists in this country. Several of the best friends I have are Communists.”
Fast-forward from the “New Deal” thirty years to 1963 and you find Linden B. Johnson’s “Great Society,” was supposed to help the inner city communities and poor black families. It did not.
According to Star Parker’s Coalition for Urban Renewal (CURE) the effects of LBJ’s “Great Society” programs has been as follows:
- 60 percent of black children grow up in fatherless homes.
- 800,000 black men are in jail or prison.
- 70 percent of black babies are born to unwed mothers.
- Over 300,000 black babies are aborted annually.
- 50 percent of new AIDS cases are in the black community.
- Almost half of young black men in America’s cities are neither working nor in school. What we have here is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.
Not only did the “Great Society” spawn an entire slew of crippling new entitlement programs, but also it was the primary vehicle for the passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968.
Another thirty years later we find the Progressive agenda alive and well with President William Jefferson Clinton who pushed the envelope against the constitution even further. He went so far as to say, “We can’t be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans…”
The Brady Law, “Assault Weapons Ban,” and Lautenberg Amendment were all part of Clinton’s legacy of unconstitutional, Progressive, gun-control laws which further eroded the 2nd Amendment.
Now another two decades have nearly passed and our current President, Barrack Obama, is plagued with the same ilk of anti-American, Progressive-Socialist, elitists who have gone so far as to label gun-owners and military Vets as potential terrorists.
If this is so called “progress” then what we as a country really need is to hit the “system restore” button and regress back to a more sensible state. That being the time when the constitution reigned supreme and the 2nd Amendment meant what it says, not what some Progressive-Socialist wants it to say.
With that I say to my fellow Proletariat and Bourgeoisie brothers and sisters, let us preserve the only means we have against oppression and slavery, let us keep and bear the instruments of our freedom and never relinquish them to those who view us as chattel.
 3 Debates on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution 326 (J. Elliot ed., 1836).
 (Source: in the Virginia Convention on the ratification of the Constitution, June 14, 1788, in Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution,_ Jonathan Elliot, ed., v.3 p.386 (Philadelphia, 1836)
 (Source: I Annals of Congress 434, June 8, 1789)
 See Sir Thomas Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England
 (source “Guns and Rifles of the World by Howard L. Blackmore Copyright 1965, ISBN: 65-17169)
 Amyette v. State, 21 Tenn. 154, 159 (1840)
 1 Ga. (1 Kel.) 243, 249-51 (1846)
 116 U.S. 252 (1886)
 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393 (1857)
 92 U.S. 542 (1875)
 153 U.S. 535 (1894)
 83 U.S. (16 Wall.) 36 (1872)
 50 Tenn. 165, 182, 8 Am.Rep. 8, 16 (1871)
 165 U.S. 275, 281 (1897)
 Book V, Ch. 1
 Osgood, Vol. 1, ch. XIII
 (Adamson v. California, 332 U.S. 46 (1947) and United States v. Tot (1942)), 1950s (Johnson v. Eisentrager, 339 U.S. 763 (1950)
 Federal Firearms Act: Hearings Before the Subcomm. to Investigative Juvenile Delinquency of the Senate Comm. on the Judiciary, 89th Cong. 40-41 in 1965,
 (Pub. L. No. 99-308, § 1(b), 100 Stat. 449, 449 (1986), 18 U.S.C. § 921 note (2000) (law signed by President Reagan)
 10 U.S.C. § 304 (Supp. 1988)
 (10 U.S.C. § 802(a)(3) (Supp. 1988)
 (10 U.S.C. § 311 (Supp. 1988)
 (The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people)
 (319 U.S. 624, 638), (Flag salute case, 1943)
 From an address to Western Ambassadors at the Polish embassy in Moscow on November 18, 1956
 Source: The New York Times, May 6th, 1933
 USA Today, March 11, 1993
Defining what actually constitutes the “Left-Wing” and “Right-Wing” political spectrum with regard to Americanist-Liberalism.
Much is discussed in the media, government, and academia about what is and what is not “left” or “right” within politics. However, rarely do we as casual viewers get an actual definition of what is meant by these terms from television, internet blogs, websites, and other sources of information. Most people assume that “Left-wing” means policies and agendas pushed by the Democratic Party of the US and that “Right-wing” means policies and agendas pushed by the Republican Party. Some of us may delve deeper into political thought and see “Left” and “Right” as Liberal verses Conservative or a group of “ologies” and “isms” competing with each other.
However, human history tells a very different story about what constitutes the polar sides of politics. Whether they are “Left” or “Right” is irrelevant for the most part. What is important is whether the ideologies of a political group are Totalitarian or Anarchist in nature.
Scales and Charts have been created over the years that attempt to fit ideologies and political beliefs into groups to understand them better. From the use of the French Parliament’s seating arrangement in 1789 up to the Nolan Scale of today, there have been attempts at trying to define what “left” and “right” is in American politics.
Many of those charts and scales are fine for detailed discourse and in depth study of political thought. However, this blog is intended for the common gentleman and Ladies of the working masses, we the Proletariat (and the Bourgeoisie who we Proletarians aspire to be).
Therefore, in an effort to create a chart that emphasizes what is in our best interests, as a Proletarian I created a political chart that at a glance gives the viewer a definite idea of what constitutes “Left” and “Right” wing from a Proletarian’s perspective.
Since the Proletariat is the working class, we respect rugged individualism and strength from one’s own hands, not lofty ideals about some fantastical Utopian Brave New World.
Thus it is only natural that the Right-Hand, the traditional place of honor, be the side of total-freedom (Anarchy), while the Left-Hand, the traditional meaning of which is Backhanded, Dubious, or Treacherous, should be reserved for Totalitarianism.
This chart also identifies what is “Radical” (meaning it causes great change or a shift from the old) and what is “Conservative” (meaning is seeks to maintain the old order/status quo).
Proletarian’s political Spectrum chart:
As is plain on this chart, it also indicates where America’s government started out in the “Original US political Spectrum” between the large brackets, and where we find our country now as indicated in the “Current US political Spectrum.”
We as Proletarians will not benefit from the current sphere of political thought that dominates US government policy and law making.
The reasons are perfectly clear.
Under Socialism, we Proletarians are what Engels termed; a class of wage-earners who, having no means of production of their own, are reduced to selling their labor power in order to live.
While that may have been true in mercantilist Europe of the 1800s, it was not true of the early United States Republic.
Marx and Engels, in both the Manifesto and Das Kapital, wrote as if we of the Proletariat are too stupid, ignorant, or mentally deficient to produce or manage the means of production. The whole gamut of Socialist thought (from Democratic to Progressivism) proceeds from the ill-conceived belief that the Proletariat is subhuman or of a lesser grade of intelligence or ability.
That is simply not true.
While a Proletarian’s ability may not stem from some lofty Ivy-league school, he is nevertheless adept with his hands as a worker or tradesman rather than a politician, lawyer, Progressive-professor, or corporatist-banker. The Proletarian is resourceful, ingenious in his ingenuity and ability to adapt in the face of adversity and hardship. He is a survivor. He is there for his neighbors when they need him for handyman work, or help in time of need. The Proletariat supplies business with the very means to produce, without them there is no manufacturing, no agriculture, no mining, no shipping, no cleaning, no caretaking, and no production.
However, without politicians, lawyers, corporatist-bankers, corporatist-executives, and Progressive-professors, our civilization will still get along just fine, yet these kinds of people are who view themselves as superior to the Proletariat.
What an attitude of utter self-delusion and Peter-Pannery on the part of these aristocrats for them to think that they are somehow necessary when in truth they are nothing but useless eaters.
I ask you, how many Progressive-PhD’s can change his own oil in his car? How many even know where the dipstick is? Most people of this ilk see such work as below them, which is an outlandish attitude to say the least.
The Proletarian not only can change his oil, he can also, if need be, rebuild the entire engine of his automobile in order to continue using it for his or her trade. The back-yard mechanic of yesteryear is the epitome of the Proletarian (and to some extent the Bourgeoisie) of today. Automotive mechanics is not necessarily the proletarian’s trade, but is one of numerous skills he or she must acquire, to one degree or another, in order to survive in our modern Corporatist America.
That is why Socialism is the great failure of the 20th Century. It proceeds from the fallacy that there are men and women who are superior (Übermensch as Nietzsche called them) to other lesser humans simply because one talent is deemed more desirable than the other is by aristocrats and elitists.
Corporatism is headed down the same path of failure and collapse that Socialism followed, and may find itself the great failure of the 21st Century. The state of worldwide economics is proof enough of that. The adherents of modern-corporatism (Keynesian philosophy for the most part) have, as Lenin once remarked, “sown the rope that will hang them.”
The proponents of this philosophy (in its myriad of incarnations) also view the proletariat as inferior or lesser. The corporate elite see us as “human resources,” as though we are like animals, minerals, or agricultural products to be used and disposed of at their convenience. Such was the attitude of the mercantilists of the 19th Century and such is the ideology of the current crop of corporate elite whose mega-corporations use and replace people without regard for the well being or contributions of both the Bourgeoisie (middle-class) and Proletariat (workers).
The Achilles Heel of the Corporatist is the consumer. Why you ask? It is because the primary consumer is the Proletariat and the Bourgeoisie. As the corporations feed off the masses and lower the standard of living for the Workers of the World, the pool of money flowing into their coffers will slow and their fiat currencies will wither and die. We have seen the beginning of this in the bursting of the economic bubbles and the outsourcing of jobs to other countries from the US. The influx of illegal aliens and their use as slave labor by the corporatists of the United States has further undermined the Corporatists’ own security and economic stability. As they reduce the size of the Bourgeoisie, they increase the size of the Proletariat and thus the size of the “People’s Movement” that has already begun, that movement being the Taxed Enough Already movement (TEA Party).
Whether the TEA movement flourishes or not will become mute in the wave of discontent brewing over the policies of the current US political spectrum (as shown on the chart above). In order for prosperity and national stability to be rekindled we must elect to office individuals who will move our country back on course to its original forward looking ideas.
Returning to the pre-Revolutionary state of colonial America by rebuilding the class system through Socialist and Corporatist policies is regression back towards Feudalism. We need to continue where the Real-Liberals started from after the Revolutionary War of 1776, and evolve our society into a state of greater individualism and self-determination. Dependency was the way of the Serf of Mediaeval Europe, not the enlightened view of the American Liberal. We should embrace Smith, Locke, Jefferson, VonMises, and Hayek; and reject the ideals of backwards thinking elitists like Marx, Engels, Keynes, and Frederich Jameson.
Thus I have created for us Proletarians, and the Bourgeoisie (since we Proletariat do seek to be middle-class as it is the egalitarian ideal) this Chart which should help guide you my brothers and sisters towards what can truly be a more advanced, prosperous, civilized, and equal state of being for all members of an Americanist-Liberal society.
So what are left and right defined as? Left is slavery, right is freedom, which is how I shall define them for this blog.
This blog stems from my disdain of being constantly bombarded with the labels ”Conservative” and “Liberal” within the mainstream media, academia, and other common sources of information who use these terms without clear definition of what they are.
Most often then not the terms are thrown around the media-talk circuit on shows like those found on FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, etc. without regard for their actual meaning.
Put in their simplest terms a Conservative is an individual or group that believe that established institutions should remain as they are and not change irregardless of their detriment to society or individuals.
The actual opposite of a Conservative is a Radical rather than a Liberal.
A Radical is an individual or group who wish to effect change within a society to that of either a new form of government or return to the original principles of said society or government from a state which is found to be reprehensible.
Thus for purposes of this blog and all subsequent entries within it, the terms Conservative and Radical shall be used in their actual meanings rather than those ascribed to them by the main stream press/media and other politically active groups.
The term which has been most abused in this back and forth between Conservatives and Radicals is the term “Liberal.”
I see within many circles online and off, a desire to be truly Liberal, but a total misunderstanding of what it actually means to be a Liberal.
Thus the question is begged as to what a Liberal really is.
The answer can be found in nearly any dictionary: a Liberal is one who holds individual freedom in the highest regard.
I would add that being Liberal is not dependent on either a Conservative or Radical agenda thus there are Conservative-Liberals and Radical-Liberals.
Some would contend that I am speaking of Libertarians, let me assure you that I am not.
Libertarians fall within their own category that cannot be considered Liberal because they are too extreme in their view of total individualism to qualify as actual Liberals in the truest sense.
It would be far more accurate to classify them as Liberal-Idealists in which the smallest amount of government is required for a society to operate efficiently and effectively.
Let me assure you that I am not of that opinion though I do not entertain socialist idealology either as it is diametrically opposed to the Liberal viewpoint as I will explain below.
If a label is truly required of a person who is of like mind as myself then I think that a Classical-Americanist-Liberal is the best description that I can find and I do try to abide by that philosophy.
However, more often than not when Conservative TV Opinion pieces are speaking of a “liberal” we viewers often get the standard “they’re a pinko commie type” line, by that same token when we see “Liberal” [Radical] TV Opinion pieces and they speak of “Liberalism” we so often hear how it demands of us that we must “do our share,” or “pay our debt to society” and/or other collectivist talking points.
These views of Liberalism are of course not correct but have, since the early 20th Century, been attached by those who push for so called “social justice” and the “redistribution of wealth” that Frederich Engels first spoke of in his work Socialism: Utopian and Scientific.
Since this stereotype is associated with the left-wing of the US, and for the most part the Democratic party, I became motivated to explain what a Liberal and Liberalism was and/or is, as opposed to what it is generally thought of as being.
So as not to confuse readers of this blog I have decided to start this first article on why the political left of this country cannot, or more correctly should not, be classified in the general term “liberal.”
I’ll start this article off with a quote from one of my favorite (English)philosophers:
“The authoritarian sets up some book, or man, or tradition to establish the truth. The freethinker sets up reason and private judgment to discover the truth… It takes the highest courage to utter unpopular truths.”
That’s what this endeavor so often feels like, an unpopular “truth.”
Before I delve into the meat of what I would like to say allow me to note that I am in no way attempting to place a label of “good” or “evil” on Liberalism, the US left-wing, or the Democratic party. I am simply comparing the actions, political ideology, and agendas of the US left-wing, with that of the philosophy(ies) of Liberalism (in its pre-New Deal form) in order to properly demonstrate the clear incompatability that exist between the two concepts of Liberalism and what I is actually Progressive-Socialism.
First I shall define what liberalism is in detail through the words of men who knew precisely what Liberalism is and were far greater in a posteriori knowledge of it due to the conditions in which they lived. That being under the abject tyranny of Feudalism as opposed to all of us who live under a truly Liberal document (The Bill of Rights and the US Constitution) today within the United States (pity it isn’t honored anymore).
In the words of Adam Smith;
“The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition is so powerful that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations.”
In the words of John Stuart Mill;
“The only freedom deserving the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental and spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.”
Mill went on to simplify this statement when he said; “Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.”
In other words, the idea behind Liberalism, in its most basic form, is the idea that individual liberty and freedom of economic action, is to be held in the highest regard which as I stated previously is precisely what most dictionaries define it as.
The current Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary lists Liberalism as;
1) the quality or state of being liberal
2) A: a movement in modern Protestantism emphasizing intellectual liberty and the spiritual and ethical content of Christianity
B: a theory in economics emphasizing individual freedom from restraint and usually based on free competition, the self-regulating market, and the gold standard.
C: a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties.
D: the principles and policies of a Liberal Party
Seems simple enough, as well it should, but when the Progressives took control of the word in the early 20th Century the waters of Liberalism were muddied.
Take for example what we see listed on the popular online encyclopedia website Wikipedia;
Liberalism is an ideology, or current of political thought, which strives to maximize individual liberty through rights under law. Liberalism seeks a society characterized by free action within a defined framework. This framework is generally seen to include a pluralistic liberal democratic system of government, the rule of law, the free exchange of ideas, and economic competition. Liberalism rejected many foundational assumptions which dominated most earlier theories of government, such as the divine right of kings, hereditary status, and established religion. The fundamental principles of liberalism include human rights, especially the right to life, liberty, and property; equal rights for all citizens under the law; government with the consent of the governed as determined by open and fair elections; and transparency in government.That definition seems to emulate the idea of “holding individual freedom in the highest regard” but then the article there goes on to explain the “different forms” of “Liberalism” some of which are can be considered incompatible with the above definition from the article.
Forms of liberalismPolitical liberalism is the belief that individuals are the basis of law and society, and that society and its institutions exist to further the ends of individuals, without showing favor to those of higher social rank. The Magna Carta is an example of a political document that asserted the rights of individuals even above the prerogatives of monarchs. Political liberalism stresses the social contract, under which citizens make the laws and agree to abide by those laws. It is based on the belief that individuals know best what is best for them. Political liberalism includes the extension of the right to vote to women, non-whites, and those who do not own property. Political liberalism emphasizes the rule of law and supports liberal democracy.
Economic liberalism, many of whose adherents term it classical liberalism, is an ideology which supports the individual rights of property and freedom of contract. The watchword of this form of liberalism is “free enterprise”. It advocates laissez-faire capitalism, meaning the removal of legal barriers to trade and cessation of government-bestowed privilege such as subsidy and monopoly. Economic liberals want little or no government regulation of the market. Some economic liberals would accept government restrictions of monopolies and cartels, others argue that monopolies and cartels are caused by State action. Economic liberalism holds that the value of goods and services should be set by the unfettered choices of individuals, that is, of market forces. Some would also allow market forces to act even in areas conventionally monopolized by governments, such as the provision of security and courts. Economic liberalism accepts the economic inequality that arises from unequal bargaining positions as being the natural result of competition, so long as no coercion is used. This form of liberalism is especially influenced by English liberalism of the mid 19th century. Libertarianism is the closest present representative of this intellectual tradition today. Minarchism and anarcho-capitalism are forms of economic liberalism. (See also Free trade, Neo-liberalism, liberalization )
Cultural liberalism focuses on the rights of individuals pertaining to conscience and lifestyle, including such issues as sexual freedom, religious freedom, cognitive freedom, and protection from government intrusion into private life. John Stuart Mill aptly expressed cultural liberalism in his essay “On Liberty,” when he wrote, “The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.” Cultural liberalism generally opposes government regulation of gambling, sex, prostitution, the age of consent, abortion, birth control, terminal illness, alcohol, and marijuana and other controlled substances. Most liberals oppose some or all government intervention in these areas. The Netherlands, in this respect, may be the most liberal country in the world today.
Social liberalism, also known as reform liberalism, arose in the late 19th century in many developed countries, influenced by the utilitarianism of John Stuart Mill. Some liberals accepted, in part or in whole, Marxist and socialist exploitation theory and critiques of “the profit motive”, and concluded that government should use its power to remedy these perceived problems. According to the tenets of this form of liberalism, as explained by writers such as John Dewey and Mortimer Adler, since individuals are the basis of society, all individuals should have access to basic necessities of fulfillment, such as education, economic opportunity, and protection from harmful macro-events beyond their control. To social liberals, these benefits are considered rights. These positive rights, which must be produced and supplied by other people, are qualitatively different from the classic negative rights, which require only that others refrain from aggression. To the social liberal, ensuring positive rights is a goal that is continuous with the general project of protecting liberties. Schools, libraries, museums, and art galleries were to be supported by taxes. Social liberalism advocates some restrictions on economic competition. It also expects governments to provide a basic level of welfare, supported by taxation, intending to enable the best use of the talents of the population, to prevent revolution, or simply “for the public good.”
There is a fundamental antagonism between economic and social liberalism. Economic liberals see positive rights as necessarily violating negative rights, and therefore illegitimate. They see a limited role for government. Some economic liberals see no proper function of government (anarchists), while others would limit government to courts, police, and defense against foreign invasion (minarchists.) Social liberals, in contrast, see a major role for government in promoting the general welfare – providing some or all of the following services: food and shelter for those who cannot provide for themselves, medical care, schools, retirement, care for children and for the disabled, including those disabled by old age, help for victims of natural disaster, protection of minorities, prevention of crime, and support for art and for science. This largely abandons the idea of limited government. Both forms of liberalism seek the same end – liberty – but they disagree strongly about the best or most moral means to attain it. Some liberal parties emphasize economic liberalism, while others focus on social liberalism. Conservative parties often favor economic liberalism while opposing cultural liberalism.
While all four of these “types” of Liberalism may seem independent they in fact are simply facets of the same entity.
John Stuart Mill and Ludwig VonMises were both Liberal thinkers, and while they do have minor disagreements in ideas, the core beliefs are the same.
Mill and VonMises ideals are incompatible with those of Marx and Engels. While all four men would certainly decry the evils of Mercantilist/Corporatist governments (like the US is today) their solutions to the problems brought on by Mercantilist/Corporatist systems are radically different from one another (Laissez Faire/Austrian economics verses Socialism).
Thus it is only a fool who thinks that Liberalism is harmonious with Socialism as Socialism (especially Scientific-Socialism) clearly puts the needs of the collective over that of the individual therefore the two are mutually exclusive of each other.
Within the United States it is considered common knowledge that the “left-wing” political parties of the United States see government regulation of the economy as a “good thing” which promotes economic equality also known as egalitarianism. However, this poltical idealology is not compatable with the free-market system of most forms of liberal thought.
The “left-wing” rhetoric of “collective rights,” “Social Justice,” and “social equality” are among the litany of the left’s idealologies which are diametrically opposed to the tenets of Liberalism.
While it is clear that the “liberal” left-wing has pushed for the “civil rights” of homosexuals, women, and minorities, the laws which “protect” these rights are often subject to government scrutiny and can be “adjusted” to meet the agenda of a political administration or regime within the United States at the stroke of a judicial gavel, political pen, or agenda driven public-initiative.
Prime examples are the recent state bans on gay marriage and bans on firearms (or the heavy regulation thereof) in numerous states.
Liberals do not ban anything, what they do in place of such laws is to either stay out of the personal lives of the individual (as in the case of Abortion or Gay Marriage) or provide severe punishment for the abuse of said rights; an example would be a mandatory death-penalty for use of a firearm in a crime that results in the death of another person (be it negligence or otherwise). For actual Liberals, one person’s rights end where another’s begins.
Liberals are NOT advocates of so called “civil rights.”
Legally speaking, civil rights are rights appertaining to a person in virtue of his citizenship in a state or community (Black’s law Dictionary; page 1487). These rights are subject to the powers of the state and can be regulated by the state.
Whereas natural rights are rights which grow out of the nature of man and depend upon personality, as distinguished from such as are created by law and depend upon civilized society (Blacks Law Dictionary; page 1487). These rights exist because the individual exists and not because of the will of the state or the masses.
I maintain that the political “left-wing” of the United States is not Liberal in any sense of the word other than that of social “liberal”, as they no longer adhere to the ideal of individual liberty and have traded the defense of natural rights for civil rights.
Bill Clinton expressed his view of individual rights in USA today, back in 1993 (Page 2A)
“We can’t be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans…”
Bill Clinton further emphasized his feelings about individual freedoms on MTV’s “enough is enough” on 3-22-94.
“When we got organized as a country and we wrote a fairly radical Constitution with a radical Bill of Rights, giving a radical amount of individual freedom to Americans, it was assumed that the Americans who had that freedom would use it responsibly…. [However, now] there’s a lot of irresponsibility. And so a lot of people say there’s too much freedom. When personal freedom’s being abused, you have to move to limit it. That’s what we did in the announcement I made last weekend on the public housing projects, about how we’re going to have weapon sweeps and more things like that to try to make people safer in their communities.”
Though the political “left-wing” gives lip-service to the ideals of freedom, their actions, in the form of laws, on all levels of govenment betray their true nature.
That nature being one of social “Liberalism” or just plain socialism/communism depending on which end of the “left-wing” spectrum in the US you are looking at.
In general American [left-wing] “liberalism” currently consists of the following agenda;
The following views are associated with American liberalism, though many people who consider themselves liberal would accept some of these views and reject others:
Support for government social programs such as welfare, medical care, unemployment benefits, and retirement programs.
Support for increased funding for public education.
Support for trade unions, teachers’ unions, and government protections for organized labor.
Regulation of business – OSHA, against child labor, monopolistic practices, etc.
Support for civil rights:
Support laws against discrimination based on gender, race, age, religion, sexual orientation, or disability.
Support laws guaranteeing rights of women and minorities, particularly racial and religious minorities, the disabled, and gays.
Support for such programs as affirmative action and transitional multi-lingual educational programs for children whose first language is not English.
Support broad voting rights.
Support for reproductive rights
Support for strong environmental regulations.
Support for public transportation.
Support for minimum wage requirements.
Support for government funding to alternative energy research.
Opposition to the death penalty.
Support for animal rights – as an issue of ethical human behavior.
Support for gun control.
Support for a progressive tax system.
The above list is a fair overview of the major political agenda and philosophy which surrounds the current American left-wing.
This line of thinking leaves many questions as to its validity of being purely Liberal.
Where is the “holding individual freedom in the highest regard?”
Where is the free-market system of Laissez Faire?
Where are the rights of personal property?
Where are the constitutionally protected inalienable rights of Americans?
It is certainly not Cultural Liberalism, Economic Liberalism, or Political Liberalism. I suppose it must then be Social “Liberalism.”
However, what I see in that list above, closely resembles the communist manifesto, which lists its ten basic goals as;
From the Communist Manifesto:
1) Abolistion of property in land and application of all land to public purposes.
2) A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3) Abolition of all right of inheritance.
4) Confiscation of the property of emigrants and rebels.
5) Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6) Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
7) Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; cultivation of wast-lands; and improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8 ) Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9) Combination of argriculture with manufacturing industries; and gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.
10) Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc.
This line of similar political thinking is of interest because most “left-wing” or leaning “liberals” claim to be diametrically opposed to communism and/or socialism.
Yet the redistribution of wealth, and the regulation of the economy by the government are among the “holiest of holies” of left-wing “liberal” politics. Two political goals which are also espoused by both communist and socialist political thinking.
Another point of interest is the general claim by “left-wing” “liberals” that their ideology comes from the age of classical liberalism. I find this strange because the great thinkers of that age (Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Jeremy Bentham, and John Stuart Mill) espoused Laisse Faire economics and individual feedoms. Yet the actions (the laws they push for and support) of the “liberal” left-wing, specifically the Democratic Party, is contrary to these ideals.
The major turning point for what would become social or modern “Liberalism” was of course, the New Deal plan of FDR, Woodrow Wilson was certainly a contributor to this change in the direction of the term Liberalism, but none popularized and thus corrupted the term as much as FDR.
Before the New Deal gave the term liberalism its modern American meaning, it was a little-used word that referred to a belief in laissez-faire economics and limited government. Franklin D. Roosevelt, the president who defined liberalism for most Americans, came to power in the midst of blinding economic misery at home and barbarism abroad. A month before Roosevelt took office in March 1933, Adolf Hitler took power in Germany and Joseph Stalin was liquidating millions of peasants in the Ukraine. Democracy, according to the “best” minds of the age, was a pleasant nineteenth-century myth out of place in a world where, as World War I had demonstrated, mass sentiment could be manufactured like bicycles. Democracy, said Benito Mussolini in Italy, was insufficiently dynamic. “All the experiments of our time,” he crowed, “are anti-liberal.”
Overwhelmed by the collapse of the economy, bankers and business[men] urged the president to take extraordinary powers. The respected liberal journalist Louis Fischer spoke for many when he argued that given the collapse of capitalist democracy, the country had to choose between “capitalistic dictatorship and white terror on the one hand and Soviet dictatorship on the other.”
On the right, laissez-faire economists argued that the depression had been brought on by the trade unions which had undercut capitalism by reducing profit margins. The depression could be ended only if Roosevelt seized the emergency powers necessary to restrict democracy and restore profit margins. From the left came the assertion that prosperity could be restored only through a command economy that would necessarily restrict individual liberties. There was, said Roosevelt’s 1936 presidential opponent, Alf Landon, “no half-way house between these two systems.”
But in a nation ravaged by depression and doubt, Roosevelt chose not to choose. He neither rolled back democracy nor expropriated the expropriators. Instead, through word and deed, he made democracy a fighting faith again. Roosevelt seized on liberal, until then a word of minor importance in the American political vocabulary, to describe his New Deal, his attempt to temper economic individualism with social[ist] democratic safeguards. For millions of Americans those safeguards–such as Social Security and bank deposit insurance–would become synonymous with the liberalism they repeatedly supported at the ballot box from 1932 to 1964.
Roosevelt’s use of the term liberal angered those like Herbert Hoover who associated the word with limited government and laissez-faire economics, but its connotations of tolerance helped ward off those who labeled FDR’s policies “communistic” or “fascist.” “My friends,” said Roosevelt, turning the tables on Hoover, “I am not for return to that definition of liberty under which for many years a free people were gradually regimented into the service” of big business. Yet, Roosevelt’s liberalism was, in its unprecedented challenge to American individualism, more radical than anything the nation has seen before or since.
Many of FDR’s specific programs drew on earlier reforms, but New Deal liberalism as a whole broke with its predecessors like progressivism by giving up on the hope of reconstructing the Jeffersonian ideal. The Great Depression had decimated the independent middle classes, the small business[men] and farmers who had been the bulwark of self-government. Roosevelt redefined democracy for a mass society of industrial workers. He incorporated the wage-earning masses into the nation’s political life by supporting the growth of trade unionism. Government, through New Deal laws like the Wagner Act which enabled labor to organize, became the guarantor of the independence once supplied by property ownership.
FDR’s New Deal Liberalism created much of the semi-socialist state his detractors feared. This New-Deal caused a considerable drain on our economic system [Keynesian Economics/Corportavism at that time] and produced some of the most wasteful government programs to date.
New Deal, in U.S. history, term for the domestic reform program of the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt; it was first used by Roosevelt in his speech accepting the Democratic party nomination for President in 1932. The New Deal is generally considered to have consisted of two phases.
The first phase (1933–34) attempted to provide recovery and relief from the Great Depression through programs of agricultural and business regulation, inflation, price stabilization, and public works. Meeting (1933) in special session, Congress established numerous emergency organizations, notably the National Recovery Administration (NRA), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Public Works Administration. Congress also instituted farm relief, tightened banking and finance regulations, and founded the Tennessee Valley Authority. Later Democratic Congresses devoted themselves to expanding and modifying these laws. In 1934, Congress founded the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission and passed the Trade Agreements Act, the National Housing Act, and various currency acts.
The second phase of the New Deal (1935–41), while continuing with relief and recovery measures, provided for social and economic legislation to benefit the mass of working people. The social security system was established in 1935, the year the National Youth Administration and Work Projects Administration were set up. The Fair Labor Standards Act was passed in 1938. The Revenue Acts of 1935, 1936, and 1937 provided measures to democratize the federal tax structure. A number of New Deal measures were invalidated by the Supreme Court, however; in 1935 the NRA was struck down and the following year the AAA was invalidated. The President unsuccessfully sought to reorganize the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, other laws were substituted for legislation that had been declared unconstitutional.
The New Deal, which had received the endorsement of agrarian, liberal, and labor groups, met with increasing criticism. The speed of reform slackened after 1937, and there was growing Republican opposition to the huge public spending, high taxes, and centralization of power in the executive branch of government; within the Democratic party itself there was strong disapproval from the “old guard” and from disgruntled members of the Brain Trust. As the prospect of war in Europe increased, the emphasis of government shifted to foreign affairs. There was little retreat from reform, however; at the end of World War II, most of the New Deal legislation was still intact, and it remains the foundation for American social policy
The Supreme Court of the day put a stop to some of the New Deal, finding many of the new laws of FDR’s plan to be patently unconstitutional.
FDR’s push towards collectivized work forces and increased government control mixed with actual relief for the Great Depression;
United States bank holiday, 1933: closed all banks until they became certified by federal reviewers
Abandonment of gold standard, 1933: allowed more money to be put in circulation to create a mild inflation
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), 1933: employed young adults to perform unskilled work for the federal government
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), 1933: a government program that ran a series of dams built on the Tennessee River
Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), 1933: provided breadlines and other aid to the unemployed
Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA), 1933: paid farmers to not grow crops (Anyone else see a contradiction here?)
National Recovery Act (NRA), 1933: created fair standards in favor of labor unions
Civil Works Administration (CWA), 1933: provided temporary jobs to millions of unemployed
Public Works Administration (PWA), 1933: employed middle-aged skilled workers to work on public projects, cost $4 billion
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) / Glass-Steagall Act: insures deposits in banks in order to restore public confidence in banks
Securities Act of 1933, created the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), 1933: codified standards for sale and purchase of stock, required risk of investments to be accurately disclosed
Indian Reorganization Act, 1934
Social Security Act (SSA), 1935: provided financial assistance to: elderly, handicapped, delinquent, unemployed; paid for by employee and employer payroll contributions
Works Progress Administration (WPA), 1935: a reiteration of the PWA, created useful work for skilled workers
National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) / Wagner Act, 1935: granted right of labor unions to exist
Judiciary Act, 1937: FDR requested power to appoint a new Supreme Court judge for every judge 70 years or older; failed to pass
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 1938: established a maximum normal work week of 40 hours, and a minimum pay of 40 cents/hour
The New Deal reflected Progressive ideas that Roosevelt and most of his sycophants had absorbed in their political youths early in the 20th Century. Those ideas being a total impatience with economic chaos, distain for monopolies, and a belief fueled by determination that government regulation of the economy (the very core of socialist philosophy) was the answer to the country’s economic woes; with an emphasis on the belief that poverty was usually a product of social and economic forces, and not a personal moral failure.
None of what FDR pushed for during his four terms as President embodied the majority of liberalism, as understood in the US, prior to his “New Deal”.
The term “liberal Democrat” became a new phrase used by the New Deal Progressive-Socialist-Democrats.
During and after World War II, the Democrats expanded their use government power to cure every and all social ills. They argued against their detractors that the ”equality of opportunity” and the ideal of an “egalitarian” system of economic regulation demanded vigorous government spending and authority. Not however, on a case by case basis in response to emergency or economic threats to the stability of the country, but permanently, as a necessary function of federal policymaking. This paradigm shift from the sacred Democratic promise against the intrusion and abuse of government power could not be more clear.
The New Deal and the “Liberalism” which followed is completely contrary to the philosophy of classical Liberalism which I laid out in the begining of this article.
As the founders of what truly is Liberalism have said over two and a half centuries, the key element which comprises the core of whether something is indeed Liberal or not is that of Holding Individual Freedom in the Highest Regard.
From the words of the very men who created what Liberalism is we can see what should be defined as Liberal verses what is currently being pushed on us as “Liberal.”
“It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expence, either by sumptuary laws, or by prohibiting the importation of foreign luxuries. They are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society. Let them look well after their own expence, and they may safely trust private people with theirs. If their own extravagance does not ruin the state, that of their subjects never will.”
John Stuart Mill:
Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough; there needs protection against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling, against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them.
The liberty the citizen enjoys is to be measured not by governmental machinery he lives under, whether representative or other, but by the paucity of restraints it imposes upon him.
and another from Spencer:
The function of Liberalism in the past was that of putting a limit to the powers of kings. The function of true Liberalism in the future will be that of putting a limit to the powers of Parliaments.
Perhaps none so much as Thomas Jefferson embodied the very soul of what truly is Americanist-Liberalism. He is a hero of mine, and the father of Americanist-Liberalism IMHO:
Speaking on centralized banks and the evils of such institutions that are more often then not viewed as “too big to fail.”
We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds…[we will] have no time to think, no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers… And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for[ another]… till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery… And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.
Thomas Jefferson on dangers of government taking too large a role in the lives of the individual citizens of the United States:
I am for a government rigorously frugal and simple. Were we directed from Washington when to sow, when to reap, we should soon want bread
Thomas Jefferson on banking in general (he wasn’t a fan apparently):
I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a moneyed aristocracy that has set the Government at defiance. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs.
TJ on the dangers of pure Democracy verses that which is bound by a constitution and its tenets. We see here that a Liberal does not believe in positive rights but rather negative ones:
Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.
Here TJ is addressing the needs of a proper Liberal society to excercise in the most efficient way to ensure domestic tranquility:
A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walk.
Thomas Jefferson’s warning about big-government and his affirmation of his faith in the individual:
The way to have good and safe government is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to everyone exactly the functions in which he is competent … It is by dividing and subdividing these Republics from the great national one down through all its subordinations until it ends in the administration of everyman’s farm by himself, by placing under everyone what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best.
Thomas Jefferson’s warning against welfare:
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
Thomas Jefferson’s warning about the use of a private centralized banking system (like the Federal Reserve for example):
If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.
Another warning about the “redistribution of wealth” by TJ:
…Enlightened by a benign religion, professed, indeed, and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man, acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter — with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? Still one thing more.. .a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities
Thomas Jefferson knew what it took to create a healthy economy and it is far more simple then we have been lead to believe:
Agriculture, manufacturers, commerce, and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are then most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise.
Here is the last TJ quote I’ll burden you readers with, but it is certainly a very relevent one even for our day and age. It’s a pity we as a nation did not heed this man’s warnings:
The system of banking [is] a blot left in all our Constitutions, which, if not covered, will end in their destruction… I sincerely believe that banking institutions are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity… is but swindling futurity on a large scale
Samuel Adams may not have sonsidered himself a Liberal but he certainly understood its principles:
Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: first, a right to life; secondly, to liberty; thirdly to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can.
Some pre-New Deal and most of the post-New Deal Modern “Liberalism” consists of so called social “liberals” who advocate many ideas and philosophies which closely resemble socialism.
Particularly those found in the writings of many Corporatists like Keynes for example:
“It is not true that individuals possess a prescriptive ‘natural liberty’ in their economic activities. There is no ‘compact’ conferring perpetual rights on those who Have or on those who Acquire. The world is not so governed from above that private and social interests always coincide. It is not a correct deduction from the Principles of Economics that enlightened self-interest always operates in the public interest. Nor is it true that self-interest is generally enlightened; more often individuals acting separately to promote their own ends are too ignorant or too weak to attain even these. Experience does not show that individuals, when they make up a social unit, are always less enlightened than when they act separately.”
-John Maynard Keynes, “The End of Laissez Faire” (1926), in Essays in Persuasion (New York: Norton, 1963), p. 312
The “transformation” of the ideology of Liberalism did not go unnoticed and the opponents of the “New Deal Liberals” were quick to point out the holes in the left-wing veneer.
“In the United States, the good ship Liberalism … has been boarded and captured by a pirate crew of state interventionists and near-socialists whose ideals are unrecognizably different from those of the historic founders of Liberalism and who regard Karl Marx as more relevant to modern conditions than Adam Smith.”
-William Henry Chamberlin, The Evolution of a Conservative (Chicago: Regnery, 1959), p. 39.
John Dewey’s explaination on the subject (I’m more of a James Pragmatist myself ) clearly shows the relationship of economic socialism to the New Deal “Liberalism”.
He (Dewey) admits that there was a change from actual Liberalism to what can only be described as socialist-Liberalism.
“Gradually a change came over the spirit and meaning of Liberalism. It came surely, if gradually, to be dissociated from the laissex-faire creed and to be associated with the use of governmental action for aid to those at economic disadvantage and for alleviation of those conditions…. The majority of those who call themselves Liberals today are committed to the principle that organized society must use its powers to establish the conditions under which the mass of individuals can possess actual as distinct from merely legal liberty.
“Since liberation of the capacities of individuals for free, self-initiated expression is an essential part of the creed of Liberalism, Liberalism that is sincere must will the means that condition the achieving of its ends. Regimentation of material and mechanical forces is the only way by which the mass of individuals can be released from regimentation…. The notion that organized social control [i.e., government control, or state control] of economic forces lies outside the historic path of Liberalism shows Liberalism is still impeded by remnants of its earlier, laissez-faire phase. Earlier Liberalism regarded the separate and competing economic action of individuals as the means to social well-being as the end. We must reverse the perspective and see that socialized economy is the means of free individual development as rhe end.”
-John Dewey, Liberalism and Social Action (New York: G.P.Putnam’s Sons, 1935), pp. 21, 27, 90.
Clearly Dewey is trying to play the part of the apologist for the blatantly obvious hijacking of the term Liberal by the Progressive-Socialist movement that had all but destroyed itself during the time of Pres. Woodrow Wilson.
Perhaps the best summary of what social “Liberalism” is (that I have found thus far);
“Modern Liberalism has shifted to a belief in one or another degree of what may be called, in a general sense, statism. It has an always critical and sometimes wholly negative attitude toward private economic enterprise. Liberals accept and advocate a multiplication of the substantive activities of government in nearly all social institutions, extensive government controls over the economy, and at least some measure of government ownership and operation. Modern Liberalism insists that the entry of government into nearly every phase of social life, except religion, aids rather than hinders the attainment of the good life and the good society.
“… modern Liberalism has absorbed an important segment of the ideology of Socialism. Liberalism does not … share the total demand of orthodox Marxian Socialism: for nationalization of all major means of production, transport, and distribution; and … the non-Communist Socialist parties in most Western nations have dropped this extreme position during the past decade or so. The ideological movement has gone both ways: just as Liberalism shifted toward Socialism in its doctrine of the state and its economics, so has the reformist or democratic wing of traditional Socialism shifted toward Liberalism. The two have come close to meeting in the concept of what has come to be called ‘the Welfare State,’ and there meet up with other currents from radicalism….”
“… Liberals almost always support the side of government control, planning, financing, or take-over when this is posed as a specific issue.”
-James Burnham, Suicide of the West: An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism (New York: John Day, 1964), pp. 91-92.
Sadly the conservatives seem to be the ones who understand the difference between the “New Deal” or social “Liberalism” and what is termed classical liberalism, rather than those who claim to believe in Liberalism.
Barry Goldwater made this point quite well;
“… Liberals would plan our lives for us under the banner of Democratic [Party] administrations and the ever greater flow of federal largess.
“Behind all the premises of [Liberal] planners lies a cynical contempt for the individual freedoms which make Americans different from most of their contempories around the world. … The [Liberal] New Dealers … would legalize their direction of our lives under the guise of economic grants and other giveaways, ….”
-Barry Morris Goldwater with Jack Casserly, Goldwater (New York: Doubleday, 1988), pp. 99-100.
Throughout the post-New Deal era, conservatives and what can be termed “true liberals” or “classical Liberals” have been trying to point out the similarities between New Deal “Liberalism” (and the Post New Deal Liberalism) and socialism for quite some time.
The National Review magazine tried to point this out in 1958;
“(1) … contemporary Liberalism is in agreement with Communism on the most essential point — the necessity and desirability of Socialism; (2) … it [Liberalism] regards all inherited values — theological, philosophical, political — as without intrinsic virtue or authority; (3) … therefore, no irreconcilable differences exist between it [Liberalism] and Communism — only differences as to method and means; and (4) … in view of these characteristics of their ideology, the Liberals are unfit for the leadership of a free society, and intrinsically incapable of offering serious opposition to the Communist offensive.”
-Frank S. Meyer, “The Meaning of McCarthyism,” National Review, Volume V (June 14, 1958), p. 566.
A custom and policy of the social “liberals” within the United States has been to label the Republican and Libertarian party platforms, and economic liberalism, as a step “backwards”. This little tid bit makes an interesting point about this trend of the left-wing, and further distances them (IMHO) from “true” or Americanist-Liberalism;
“… the dominant political orientation of American intellectuals has been Liberal and Left….
“Because the great majority of intellectuals [in the U.S.A.] are Liberal, it is essentially Liberals who define what is meant by the term ‘Conservative.’ In the Liberal vision, Conservatives are people who want to either preserve the status quo or go back to some earlier and ‘simpler’ times. However politically effective such conceptions may be, in putting alternatives out of court, there are great cognitive difficulties with such characterizations. For example, there is not a speck of evidence that earlier times were, in fact, “simpler,” though, of couse, our knowledge of such times may be cruder. Moreover, the status quo in the United States and throughout much of Western Europe is a Liberal-Left status quo, entrenched for at least a generation. Alternatives to this [status quo] are arbitrarily called ‘going back,’ even when these alternatives refer to social arrangements that have never existed (the monetary proposals of the Chicago economists, for example), while proposals to continue or accelerate existing [Liberal-Left] political-economic trends are called ‘innovative’ or even ‘radical.’ Conservers of Liberal or Socialist institutions are never called by the pejorative term, ‘Conservative.’ Neither are those who expouse the ideals, or repeat the very phrases, of 1789 France. In the broad sweep of history, the systemic advantages of decentralized decision making are a far more recent conception than the idea that salvation lies in concentrating power in the hands of the right people with the right principles. Adam Smith came two thousand years after Plato, but contemporary versions of the philosopher-king approach are considered new and revolutionary, while contemporary versions of systemic decentralization are considered ‘outmoded.’ Such expressions are themselves part of a vision in which ideas may be judged temporally, rather than cognitively — what was adequate to older and simpler times being inadequate for the complexities of modern life.”
-Thomas Sowell, Knowledge and Decisions (New York: Basic Books, 1980), pp. 366-367.
Another “golden calf” of the social “liberal” is tolerance. While Libertarians and Americanist-Liberals (and others) truly are tolerant of everyone, so long as they respect the individual rights of other people, left-wing social “liberals” quite frankly are not;
“Contemporary Liberalism honors diversity and tolerance above all, but what it calls by those names is different from what has been so called in the past. Its diversity denigrates and excludes ordinary people, and its tolerance requires speech codes[political correctness], quotas, and compulsory training in correct opinions and attitudes. Nor do current Liberal totems and taboos have a clear connection with letting people live as they wish. Prohibitions, both grand and petty, multiply. To outsiders, the rules often seem simply arbitrary: prayer is forbidden, while instruction in the use of condoms is required; smoking and furs are outrages, abortion and sodomy fundamental rights.
“Tolerance” is traditionally understood procedurally, to mean letting people do what they want. Contemporary Liberals understand it substantively, to require equal respect as a fact of social life. …substantive tolerance requires pervassive administrative control of social life. A regime that adopts substantive tolerance as its goal must be intolerant procedurally because it must control the attitudes people have toward each other, and any serious attempt to do so will require means that are unforgiving and despotic.”
-Jim Kalb, “Stalking the Wild Taboo” (www.Iranic.com).
Lastly, I’m throwing this one in for good measure, much of what he (the author of the following quotes) says is inflamatory (even to me) but overall holds some truth. Modern social “Liberals” [Radicals actually] do espouse a belief that mankind is inherently good, this position falls inline with both Marx’s communism, and most forms of socialist thought, while it does not conform to the philosophy of classical liberalism;
Even Thomas Jefferson saw mankind as a fallen creature (not necessarily in the Biblical sense) who required discipline in virtues and morality in order to remain civilized.
“How can decent and often very smart people hold Liberal positions?
“There are many reasons, but the two greatest may be naivete and narcissims. Each alone causes problems, but, when combined in the same person, are particularly destructive.
“At the heart of Liberalism is the naive belief that people are basically good. As a result of this belief, Liberals rarely blame people for the evil they do. Instead, they blame economics, parents, capitalism, racism, any anything else that can let the individual off the hook.
“A second naive Liberal belief is that, because people are basically good, talking with people who do evil is always better than fighting, let alone killing them. ‘Negotiate with Saddam,’ ‘Negotiate with the Soviets,’ ‘War never solves anything,’ ‘Think peace,’ ‘Visualize peace’ — the Liberal mind is filled with naive cliches about how to deal with evil.
“Indeed, the very use of the word ‘evil’ greatly disturbs Liberals. It shakes up their child-like view of the world, their view that everybody is, at heart, a decent person who is either misunderstood or led to do unfortunate things by outside forces. [Editor's Note: A notable exception to the Liberal's unwillingness to use the word "evil" is his very strong tendency to rhetorically localize evil in those individuals and groups whom he labels "reactionaries," "Rightwing extremists." "greedy capitalists," "corporate vested interests," "racists," "Fascists," "war mongers," "militarists," "Red Necks," "male chauvinists," "homophobes" and "socially and culturally backward elements," as well as in Conservatives and other non-Liberals who oppose Liberal policies and offer non-Liberal policy alternatives. Almon L. Way, Jr.]
“The second major source of modern Liberalism is narcissism, the unhealthy preoccupation with one’s feelings. We live in the Age of Narcissism. As a result of unprecedented affluence and luxury, preoccupation with one’s psychological state and a hedonistic culture, much of the West, America included, has become almost entirely feelings-directed.
“That is one reason “feelings” and “compassion” are two of the most often used Liberal terms. “Character” is no longer a Liberal word because it implies self-restraint. ‘Good’ and ‘evil’ are not Liberal words either, as they imply a standard beyond one’s feelings.” [Editor's Note: An important exception to the Liberal's reluctance to use the word "good" is his very strong inclination to characterize as "good" basic human nature, Liberals, Liberalism, and the Liberal political agenda. Almon L. Way, Jr.]
-Dennis Praeger, “What Makes a Liberal? (www.townhall.com), August 12, 2003.
Liberalism in its true form is nothing like what we have been taught is “Liberal.”
Thankfully there are those who understand this still and the torch of real Americanist-Liberalism continues to be past down from generation to generation with the hopes of undoing the damage to the good name of Liberalism and restoring the United States to a real Liberal nation as its Constitution and Bill of Rights were written and ratified for it to be.
Fredrich August Von Hayek (Nobel Laureate of Economic Sciences 1974) laid bare the sheer foolishness of the social or collectivist line of thinking which dominates the current crop of Progressive-Socialist “Liberals”;
“Even more significant of the inherent weakness of the collectivist theories is the extraordinary paradox that from the assertion that society is in some sense more than merely the aggregate of all individuals their adherents regularly pass by a sort of intellectual somersault to the thesis that in order that the coherence of this larger entity be safeguarded it must be subjected to conscious control, that is, to the control of what in the last resort must be an individual mind. It thus comes about that in practice it is regularly the theoretical collectivist who extols individual reason and demands that all forces of society be made subject to the direction of a single mastermind, while it is the individualist who recognizes the limitations of the powers of individual reason and consequently advocates freedom as a means for the fullest development of the powers of the interindividual process.”
His [Von Hayek] definition of a liberal (source: “Why I Am Not a Conservative,” postcript to The Constitution of Liberty  (Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1972), p. 402);
“The [classical] liberal, of course, does not deny that there are some superior people — he is not an egalitarian — but he denies that anyone has authority to decide who these superior people are.”
So herein lies the question of how can the left-wing, as a whole, consider themselves liberal?
They stand against all forms of liberalism outside the New Deal Liberalism and the doctrines which decended from that. The “new” forms of liberalism they do currently espouse have been corrupted into socialism in all but name.
In contrast to classical liberalism, socialism, is the political and economic theory that advocates a system of collective or government ownership and management of the means of production and distribution of goods. Because of the collective nature of socialism, it is to be contrasted to the doctrine of the sanctity of private property that characterizes capitalism. Where capitalism stresses competition and profit, socialism calls for cooperation and social service.
In a broader sense, the term socialism is often used loosely to describe economic theories ranging from those that hold that only certain public utilities and natural resources should be owned by the state to those holding that the state should assume responsibility for all economic planning and direction. In the past 150+ years there have been innumerable differing socialist programs. For this reason socialism as a doctrine is ill defined, although its main purpose, the establishment of cooperation in place of competition remains fixed.
To “call a spade a spade” Progressivism, modern liberalism, social liberalism, New Deal Liberalism and left-wing politics in the US in general, is by its own actions and admissions, in the form of law and party platforms, socialist.
With that long-winded piece, allow me to make my point.
The Democratic Party, and the left-wing cannot be classified as Liberal or be easily reconciled with Liberalism, and in fact, the left-wing as a whole does not represent Liberalism in any form, while the Democratic Party as a whole does not represent any form of Liberalism other than social/modern liberalism which in and of itself is not Liberalism but rather Progressive-Socialism.
Within the United States there is, to my knowledge, no political party which is wholly an Americanist-Liberal party, while it is my opinion the Libertarian party comes close, that party falls short of classical liberalism, as its platform is too minarchist and shrinks the powers and duties of government far beyond that envisioned by many of the philosophers of classical liberalism and thus Americanist-Liberalism.
The Republican Party, is truly a corporate-conservative party, with some elements that advocate economic liberalism, but overall the party is corporate-conservative/Corporatist in my understanding of the meaning of the word.
Thus I conclude this article with the hope that the reader now has a clear and concise understanding of what IS and what IS not an actual Liberal.
The Americanist hyphenation that I use simply indicates that the philosophy of Liberalism is that which is embodied within the Constitution and its Bill of Rights as they are written NOT as they are interpreted by judicial degree.