Liberalism is portrayed by most “progressives” as caring and compassionate — helping the oppressed and downtrodden — while conservatism is dubbed mean-spirited, racist, money-oriented, etc. Though I do my very best to remain open-minded about beliefs — whether they are religious, scientific, or political — open-mindedness notwithstanding, even with reading about politics every day as part of my job and trying my utmost, I am having a difficult time in figuring out how increased progressivism, in general, in the country is supposed to be an improvement and, on a related note, how any American who considers himself/herself to be caring — especially Christians in this country — can back the liberal agenda.
I’ll tell you what I see, and you tell me how I am wrong.
First, however, let’s go through the stated goals of progressivism/liberalism: Stop intolerance and bigotry, aid the poor and people of color, provide well-paying jobs, clean up and protect the environment, provide for the elderly, reduce crime, give youth a good education, provide equality between the sexes and eliminate sexism, encourage free speech, improve public health, protect animals (both wild and domestic), use science to guide public policy, and, to top things off, increase individual freedom. All in all, a list of admirable goals that most Americans would agree with — including me.
So, you might wonder, why can’t I find “caring” in liberalism, and why am I stumped in looking for societal improvements in liberalism? In short, it’s not the goals I find fault with; it’s the actions perpetrated in the name of achieving the goals that prove bothersome.
As a former public-school teacher, I’ll start with education. According to liberal pronouncements, a good education is a must, and it can best be attained via strong, abundant affirmative action programs, national standards (versus local ones), keeping religion out of schools, and government financial backing of public schools — including high pay for teachers and funding for preschool programs.
Response: Those beliefs are not based in science — here defined as a “systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject” — but rather, they are based upon either biased self-interest or political chicanery. In fact, besides maybe the fact that “a good education is a must,” the other assertions could be deemed lies. First, high teacher pay very definitely doesn’t equate to “learning.” Some of the highest-paid teachers in the country — in Detroit and Washington, D.C. — have students with the lowest achievement levels, with only four percent of Detroit eighth-graders ranking proficient in math in 2016 (and ranking almost as bad in science, social studies, and English), while homeschooled children tend to do better on SATs than either private- or public-school kids. And not one of 114 tests administered to first-graders showed a significant positive effect of child enrollment in the Head Start program.
This is in a country that is among the top spenders in the world on education. (Liberals always say that the fact that America spends so much on healthcare yet doesn’t have the top-ranking healthcare in the world is virtually criminal, and means we must radically change the system, yet defend year-after-year failure in public education in the face of proven fixes.)
Liberals’ financial backing of schools means being against allowing parents to use tax monies (which those parents pay into the system) to put their kids in the schools of their choice — part of this is founded on the notion that religious schools shouldn’t get money and part on the idea that it takes money from public schools, hurting the schools — yet a gold-standard study by the leftist Brookings Institution found that “using a voucher to attend private school increased the overall college enrollment rate among African Americans by 24 percent,” showing once again that people who care about kids’ education should back such programs. (As public schools deteriorate yearly in terms of making students more capable — approximately 50 percent of public-school students in California scored in the lowest category for reading and comprehension on state tests, and the tests aren’t rigorous — stopping kids from using school monies to go to higher-performing schools is virtually criminal; it’s also against freedom of choice and personal liberty, which liberals constantly say they are defending. Arguments claiming that vouchers take money away from public schools are really arguments to retain failure and are, inarguably, political paybacks for teachers’ Democrat votes.) And by the way, it’s likely all schools teach some form of religion, usually secular humanism or atheism.
Too, both college affirmative-action programs and national standards have proven to be disasters. In their book Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It’s Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won’t Admit It, self-professed ultra-liberals Professor Richard Sander and journalist Stuart Taylor point out that allowing minorities into programs that their qualifications don’t merit sets the kids up for failure in school and the workplace, with abundant proof to back it up, such as that blacks with relatively low qualifications who were allowed into selective law schools had much lower rates of passing the bar exam and worse on-the-job performance than equally qualified blacks who went to less-selective law schools. The two men are all for prestigious colleges recruiting qualified minority candidates, but not for allowing minorities into programs where they would be so far behind that they would be plagued by self-doubt, high drop-out rates, and negative stigma — and likely college loans that they will never be able to repay. The two find such consequences abominable — as should we all. Additionally, affirmative action programs center on racial preference based on the color of one’s skin, and are clearly racist — go figure.