The Cult of the Ultra-Liberal

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Liberalism has turned into a cult that has somehow ended up rejecting the very thing it advocates for. 

When you think, “liberal,” you think, “freedom.” Freedom of speech, freedom to practice your religion, freedom to marry whosoever you want to marry. All incredibly important freedoms that have somehow become the norm to support peoples’ rights in. I love how that happened, and it’s been incredible to see how America has transformed from the ultra-conservative, Puritan society it was founded as to what it is today. And, don’t get me wrong, I love the awareness and reform-mindedness of the younger voting demographic today: let’s get rid of discrimination! Let’s abolish racial profiling and homophobia! I LOVE IT.

But I feel like the younger voting demographic has also yielded something darker, something that I perhaps don’t like as much as the sophisticated awareness of the anti-discrimination society: welcome, my friends, to the Cult of the Ultra-Liberal.

Freedom to express your sexuality? Check. Freedom to practice your religion? Check. Freedom to defend your beliefs and have a stream of thought different from those of the ultra-liberals? Not so much of a check.

I’m sixteen. I’m not as politically savvy or as aware of the real world as most twenty-somethings and newly-turned-eighteen-year-olds. But I still have my political and social beliefs, and I’d love it if you’d bear with me as I say that I’m a liberal. But what I’d love even more is if you’d bear with me and let me explain myself as I say I’m a moderate.

Perhaps what I mean when I say that I am a moderate is not that I am an almost-Republican; au contraire, I am firmly Democrat. And I’m not saying that I oppose gay marriage and feminism; those topics are two of my favorites to wholeheartedly embrace. What I mean, perhaps, is that I am a realist. I like liberal ideas and I like what they stand for. But I am not a radical. I am not an ultra-liberal. I want change, I do. But I want change that can be brought about realistically, calmly, without Texas forming its own country and seceding from the Union. (Sorry, Texans. You’re really wonderful people, but I had to.)

No, I’m sorry, I love what he stands for, but I am not the biggest Bernie Sanders fan. If I could vote, my vote would not go to him (but rest assured that it would go to a Democrat). His social changes are radical. They’re wonderful and equality-inducing and make me quiver with glee. But I still wouldn’t vote for him, because social reform is not what I look for in a president.

But perhaps my bigger question here is, Why am I apologizing for this? The term moderate is quite easy to comprehend. In fact, most of our U.S. Presidents have been moderates, a balance of liberal and conservative. So I don’t see why it took me so long to openly coin myself as one. Was it because I was too young? Was it because I hadn’t really figured it out yet?

The answer is no to all of these.

I didn’t admit this to you, Internet, because I was scared. Have you been on Tumblr of late? Back in 2014, I saw a post circulating about. I can’t seem to find it now, but it ran something along the lines of this: the post was written by the wife of a police officer. It was just after Ferguson happened, and the woman said that she was scared. She said that her husband was a good man, a good police officer, who just wanted to protect the people in his community. She said that she wanted people to stop grouping him with Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo, who were so blatantly racist and disrespectful of the world’s diversity as a whole.

And the responses were terrifying. The ultra-liberals that populate the Tumblr-verse shouted the poor woman down. Maybe they were trying to scream against discrimination, but they ended up screaming for it. “All police officers are bad,” they shouted along the lines of. And maybe I misunderstood the post, or didn’t catch it, but not one of the people on my dashboard challenged the ultra-liberal viewpoint. And so I kept my mouth shut, too.

Do yo see what I am trying to say here? In advocating for freedoms of speech and expression, ultra-liberalism has become a cult, or perhaps simply a misunderstood group of new voters and young people. The ultra-liberals shout down those who disagree with them and scare people like myself, who are perhaps not so ultra-liberal, into submission. Being a liberal, to me, means that you hear people out and listen to what they have to say. That you judge them not on their political or social beliefs, but on their justifications for those beliefs, and on their treatment of humanity, in all its glorious diversity, as a whole. You tolerate.

I support feminism. I support gay marriage rights. I support abortion if the mother so chooses, and I certainly do not want a Republican as president. But Bernie Sanders wouldn’t be my first choice, either.

I’m a young person, and I am not an ultra-liberal. And it shouldn’t be an act of courage for me to identify myself as such.

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13 responses to “The Cult of the Ultra-Liberal

  1. Since I’m not a US resident, I can’t say that I’m very up to date with American politics, or be able to provide my opinion and back it up with plenty of facts, but I love the way you expressed your beliefs. I haven’t stopped by here in aages – it’s nice to be back. Lovely post, Sabrina ❤

    • Well, I feel this is less applicable to American politics than as the blogverse as a whole, because it seems to me that it is populated solely by liberals. In America, the politics are split 50-50 conservative-liberal, but “our generation,” per se, seems to be super-radical in its vein of liberalism, I think. I don’t know, I don’t really mind the new ideas, I just don’t like the smothering of other ideas. Thanks! It’s lovely to have you back as well.

  2. I really like this post! As a sixteen-year-old who follows politics quite closely and identifies as a Republican, I would definitely say there is a new wave of liberalism intent on driving down the ideas of everyone who isn’t so radical. It’s like, when it comes to social reform, if you don’t have the ultra-liberal opinion you don’t have the right one.

    • Thank you! Yeah, while I identify as a Democrat (it might have something to do with me coming from a family of immigrants, and the modern Democrats have traditionally been better-suited to the economics and social needs of immigrants and their families), I DO have some conservative ideas in my mostly-liberal ideology, and I really do try my best to respect Republicans/conservatives as well (you know, as long as they aren’t saying, “Death to all Muslims!” or “White cis straight people are the bestest ever and no one else should exist!” *coughDonaldTrumpcough*). I don’t know. I feel like American politics right now is really really messed up. And especially in our generation, just from my difficult experiences being a moderate Democrat, I can’t even imagine how difficult it is to identify as a Republican.

  3. I wholeheartedly agree with you, and I’m glad that someone said it! I live in a highly liberal town and growing up, all I ever saw was democratic, ultra-liberal ideas being pushed on to others and moderate Republican ideas being shot down because, well, they’re REPUBLICAN. I feel like as a whole I identify as liberal but at the same time, if I am able to understand or accept a conservative ideal I automatically become a racist or homophobic person, and I hate that. As liberals, we should be open to other ideas – that’s literally what liberal means – instead, it is a term that has evolved to become anti-conservative.

    Amazing post, seriously!! I applaud you for expressing your views so blatantly and unapologetically. 🙂

    • Thank you! I come from a pretty liberal town as well (actually, I think my state has voted Republican only once in living memory), and it’s weird, because sometimes my mother is more liberal than I am. I mean, obviously I’m NOT saying, “Gay/Female/Non-White people are terrible terrible beings and should never exist because of the Bible” like a lot of Tea Party Republicans are (because, um, I’m a non-white female who hails from a very gay city and never ever plans to get married or have children), but even fiscally if I’m like, “hm, that could work,” I’m suddenly a terrible person.

  4. I agree with most of what you are saying. I also wish that some Americans would stop taking ideas and concepts too far, such as in the Ferguson incident last year. Yes, some police officers are going to be racist, but there rare a lot of police officers that aren’t racist. There are always going to be a mix of bad and good in everything and everyone on this planet.

    • Yes, exactly! After Ferguson, I was afraid to admit that I liked cop shows (where cops are obviously the protagonists and portrayed as good people), because people on Tumblr and around social media were terrifying.

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  6. Oh, this is a great, thoughtful post — I’m not very educated on US politics, but I see a lot of second-hand re blogging on Tumblr and…yeah. Tumblr can be really brutal. I wish we would generally be a bit more open-minded and less quick to condemn.
    I don’t think of myself as a super political person, but at the same time I do have things I get mad about. So, yeah. Especially around election time, — I mean, I think the stereotypical idea of the right-wing parties is that they’re all posh Eton old boys who want to keep the rich rich and the poor poor. And whilst I don’t think that’s a good image to have, it’s kind of difficult when that’s actually what they’re doing. *sighs* The Labour Party also recently got a new leader, and he seems to be kind of similar to Bernie Sanders? Like, it is nice ideology but his ideas are also super impractical and don’t work. (*accidentally goes into short rant about British politics*)

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