The Problem with Liberalism

Although he does not address the issue of liberalism, philosopher Dr. Timothy Dalrymple says something that applies to liberalism.

In a commentary about radical faith, Dr. Dalrymple says, “We must have warm hearts, but we must also have cool heads.  The excellence of our intentions should be matched by the excellence of our actions.”

The problem with liberalism is that it promotes excellence of intentions while also promoting actions that are anything but excellent.

This problem was illustrated by Bernie Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot. Referring to President Obama, Marcus said, “His speeches are wonderful. His output is absolutely, incredibly bad.” [Quote Source]

In his commentary Dr. Dalrymple states the following:

Finally, a focus on being “radical” can lead us to bad solutions. Tell me this. Which is more radical: living upon the streets in order to give your money to a homeless shelter, or investing your money in launching a business that can employ hundreds of people and supports their families? Now, which is actually more helpful to more people? Or to give another example, which is more radical: assembling an organization that helps people in poverty or assembling an organization that strengthens marriages, preventing divorce and all of the poverty that often follows from divorce?

Replace the word “radical” with the word “liberal”, and Dr. Dalrymple’s comment would still be true.

Liberalism often promotes ideas that make liberals feel good about themselves, but that in the long run do little, if any, good.

Consider the following modern proverb:

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

Liberalism says, “Give a man a fish.” Doing so enables the man to eat immediately, but it makes the man dependent on the party giving the fish, and in order for the man to eat tomorrow, the man has to continue receiving fish from the other party.

Conservatism says, “Teach a man to fish.” Doing so may not enable the man to eat immediately, but once the man knows how to fish, he can feed himself without receiving handouts from another party. He does not become dependent on another party for survival.

When confronted with the long-term negative results of liberal ideas, liberals console themselves by saying, “It’s the thought that counts.” Tell that to the hungry man who has to wait each day for someone to give him a fish.

By the way, conservatives are not opposed to giving a man a fish as long as he does not know how to fish.  Conservatives simply want the man to become self-reliant. So, conservatives will give the man a fish while they teach him to fish. Then, conservatives want the man to catch his own fish after he learns how to fish.

Of course, a man who is self-reliant has no need for people who give hand-outs.  In other words, self-reliance breeds conservatism.

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