Classical Liberalism of the 18th century was a political philosophy that espoused individual liberty and economic freedom through the idea of limited government, private property rights, and free market capitalism. Those ideals cannot be ascribed to today’s liberals, but applied well to conservatives. The founders of our Constitution would have been Classic Liberals, a label shared in name only with modern Liberals. In fact, modern-day liberalism represents the complete opposite of these ideals.
Liberalism as known today is merely watered-down Socialism, wherein the ‘rights’ of society are promoted over the rights of the individual. Socialism (including its 1st cousins Communism and Fascism) places above all else the State. “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs”, is socialism’s creed, but this ‘workers paradise’ is paid for by abrogation of individual freedom and rights. This is clearly in direct opposition to the founding principles established in the Constitution.
Indeed, when examined as a whole, the Constitution repeatedly and forcefully establishes the supremacy of the individual over the government. The founders did not fear too little government, they feared too much government. They wrote extensively in the Federalist Papers about limiting the role of government, and promoting the liberty and rights of individuals over the state. The Bill of Rights doesn’t protect the government from the people; it protects the people from the government. The founders believed that individuals should be free to succeed or fail without interference from the government. They established liberty as the very foundation of our Republic. For socialism to be “successful”, on the other hand, it must restrict and ultimately eliminate individual liberty, since only through conformity and uniformity can socialism succeed.
Modern liberals believe that all of society’s problems stem from inequalities in relative socio-economic power. They perceive the “rich” to have an unfair advantage over the poor and middle classes, and this perceived class inequality is what motivates liberals to pursue their socialist goals. Every policy and position liberals assume is based on their need to address their perceptions of socio-economic inequality. Until there are no more rich and no more poor, the liberals and socialists of the world will not be happy. They believe that the reason some are poor is because some are rich, and that the way to raise-up the poor is by bringing down the rich. They forget the words of one of their favorite presidents, (JFK) who, when justifying a very large tax cut said, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”
Conservatives, however, (like their Classic Liberal forefathers) seek to address socio-economic inequalities by bringing those on the lower rungs up through individual liberty and economic freedom and opportunity.
Penalizing the successful for simply being successful enslaves the poor and middle class to the State in that it is teaches that success is inherently evil. Not everyone will be successful, but instead of celebrating that success and finding ways to emulate it, liberals choose to despise it.
We are therefore presented with two philosophies on how our society should be governed: On the left we have the view that the rights of the State shall supercede those of the individual. On the right is the concept of individual liberty and the rights of the individual over those of the state. The left not only believes that you are not capable of succeeding on your own, they believe that if you do succeed without the help and “guidance” of the State then your success came at the cost of another’s failure, and for that you should be penalized.