No ideology is perfect or has all the answers; and no ideology is static, especially in America. Republicans in 2017 are far more liberal than any Democrat in the 1950s. Heck, Obama didn’t support gay marriage until 2012. Thus, to discuss the problems with “liberalism” is a bit challenging since there the ideology is fluid and ever-changing. Also, there are vast divides between the three types:
- corporate-friendly, warmongering Neoliberals (Clinton)
- traditional, Union-friendly, anti-globalist progressives (Bernie Sanders)
- dwindling anti-war progressives
Similarly, Conservatism has its own spectrum of beliefs. Trump certainly has changed the direction of the Republican party enormously. Nobody could have imagined a Republican president being anti-globalist, pro-worker, pro-Russia and a counterintuitive mix of liberalism and traditional conservatism!
All that said, there are some fundamental and consistent strains of beliefs in liberalism. These could be categorized in main areas of social issues and economic issues.
Social Issues: The biggest problem with modern liberalism is they are too open to propaganda and suggestions in social issues. Nobody even asks where these values come from! Things are repeated in the media and Hollywood … and suddenly they turn into truths and laws of the land. Without an anchor of traditional values, liberals just accept everything new that is wrapped in the social dogma of “personal freedom,” “justice,” “compassion” etc. They forget that there is a reason why some traditional values and mores have survived 10,000 years of human civilization. When you throw those values out rapidly and embrace untested norms, you create chaos. From feminism to atheism to gay issues to transgender to multiculturalism to mass immigration … everything has been changing too fast and too arbitrarily. Religion, nuclear families, tradition, patriotism, social cohesion, and morality are frowned upon by liberalism; values such as honesty, modesty, integrity and restraint are not embraced or encouraged.
The second problem of liberalism is political correctness, which are completely arbitrary, illogical, and full of double standards and authoritarian rules that are forced upon the society by unelected, unofficial and even unknown people. Nobody asks “where do these rules come from?” There is no way to appeal or change a new “rule” from political correctness. Professors and teachers in colleges and schools just come up with new rules which the students have no choice to reject. The media and Hollywood act like Moses and their tablet of political correctness has not 10 Commandments but ever-growing, endless list of commandments. Acting like linguistic Jihadists and Orwellian thought police, liberals are quick to punish anyone who challenges the rules of political correctness.
Economic Issues: For three decades after FDR in the 1930s, Democrats were strongly pro-Labor. To be fair, many good things came out of this – 40-hr week, paid vacation, sick days, pension, minimum wage etc. Sometimes they do go overboard and cause unintended consequences — an example: $15/hr minimum wage is leading to more automation and layoffs in fast-food industry. After 1990s, when Democrats started to embrace globalization, the pro-worker concept merely became a lip-service. The embrace of NATO, WTO and even TPP proves that the limousine liberals don’t care about the average person.
Democrats also lean towards socialism and government handouts. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment benefits, Food Stamps, Obamacare are all brainchildren of liberal ideology. The problem with these programs is simple math — the government has faced non-stop deficit for decades (except for 3 years in the 1990s, thanks to the Internet bubble). Once a program is created, it’s almost impossible to repeal it since it morphs from a freebie to a “right.” These programs are simply tools for politicians to buy votes. For a long time, Democrats used to fund these programs by raising taxes and thus earned the phrase “tax and spend liberals.” However, as we saw during Obama years, another less controversial but dangerous way is to simply borrow. Thus Obama increased the total national debt by $10 trillion, almost doubling the debt in his eight years. While some of the “true progressives” have been anti-war, the Democratic party has always found sneaky ways to get into perpetual wars. While LBJ had his overt Vietnam War, Obama launched covert wars and regime changes in Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Egypt, Honduras etc. His actions have devastated the Middle East and flooded Europe with refugees, the repercussions of which are going to terrifying in the near future.
The summary of liberal economic policies is this: When a party depends on poor people to get elected, its policies are only going to increase the number of poor people.