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Freedom. Rights. Equality. Democracy. Rule of Law. Free Enterprise. These are the tenets of liberal democracy (the word “liberal” referring not to left-leaning progressivism but to the Latin word for “freedom”). Most Americans across the political spectrum take these principles for granted. But today liberal democracy is being attacked from both the left and the right.
Despite the alleged polarization of our politics, some conservatives and some liberals are agreeing with each other that our constitutional liberties and system of government (and their equivalent in other parts of the world) are to blame. But, of course, they criticize it for different reasons.
Left - Rights - Liberty - Right - Arms
To generalize, the Left is currently frustrated with such constitutional rights as religious liberty, the right to keep and bear arms, and freedom of speech, believing that they give the individual too much latitude and prevent the government from taking collective action to ensure justice for all, including preventing discrimination. Politically, the Left would like to change the Supreme Court, the Electoral College, and tenets of democratic federalism that helped elect Donald Trump. Liberal democracy empowers individuals at the expense of groups and makes for smaller, weaker governments that cannot take effective action against social injustice.
But the Left’s problems with liberal democracy go deeper. Accompanying personal and political freedom is economic freedom, a.k.a., “capitalism,” which has enabled some individuals to become extremely wealthy and politically influential. This is held to contradict the democratic principle of equality and to allow the wealthy and members of other privileged groups to exercise power over workers, minorities, women, the poor, and other “marginalized” groups.
Generalizations - Right - Freedom - Democracy - Family
Continuing the generalizations, the Right believes that the freedom made possible by liberal democracy undermines the family, destroys communities, and weakens the church and other moral authorities. This side, like the Left, also criticizes free market economics for pursuing profit over...
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