Where Did All The Classic Liberals* Go? [UPDATED]

How do we define a classic liberal* as opposed to a Liberal**?

Princess Bride, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

*liberal: adjective 1. willing to respect or accept behavior or opinions different from one’s own; open to new ideas. 2. relating to or denoting a political and social philosophy that promotes individual rights, civil liberties, democracy, and free enterprise.

**Liberal: noun supporter of political policies that are socially progressive and promote social welfare.

Notice the clear difference between those two definitions and how the noun is capitalized and the adjective is not. Today’s Liberals** have bastardized the word liberal* to the point that they are no longer liberals* and have morphed into partisan Liberals**. A simple example of a 21century Liberal** is a very partisan person that only supports Liberal** policies and would like to see the Democrats win more elections; therefore, they only support the Democratic Party and they only vote for Democrats.

Partisan: a strong supporter of a party, cause, or person.

I wonder if there are many classic liberals* left in the United States or have they have all been swallowed up by Liberals** who are essentially progressives hiding behind a false facade. Progressives with a false facade preaching classic liberal* ideals like a willingness to respect opinions different from their own and open to new ideas but their actions scream the same kind of totalitarian core that extreme progressives ooze from every pore, open intolerance.

Case in point, Madison Wisconsin’s Liberal** Democrat ex-mayor Dave Cieslewicz.

Cieslewicz began a blog a while back called Yellow Stripes & Dead Armadillos and labeled it “a safe place for moderates in a polarized world”. Cieslewicz told readers that “it’s not easy being in the middle” and also shared his Principles of Moderation so we know where he is coming from. Cieslewicz tells us in his About post that “Anyone who refrains from demonizing his opponents and is looking for a place to get away from the hard lines and hard feelings of the left and right is welcome here”; here is my question, is this self-proclaimed classic liberal* Madisonian able to keep to his principles?

Demonize: portray as wicked and threatening.

Since Cieslewicz’s first post in December of 2020, he has regularly posted blogs and covered a wide range of topics. The commentary on his blog has been very sparse to non existent until I came on to the scene back in February 2021. I was referred to Cieslewicz’s blog in a blog post from another Madisonian blogger David Blaska of Blaska Policy Werkes. I read Cieslewicz’s Principles of Moderation and his About pages and my first thought was, this is an old fashioned Liberal** that actually honored classic liberal* ideals that I, as an independent that has voted on both sides of the political aisle my whole adult life, should be able to comfortably engage in debate and after he told me in his about page that “anyone who refrains from demonizing his opponents and is looking for a place to get away from the hard lines and hard feelings of the left and right is welcome here” I felt here’s a place for me to converse directly with a classic Liberal politician.

That was then.

To be honest, I have tried to engage with Liberals on their blogs in the past and I haven’t had very good luck with them actually being willing to respect or accept opinions different from their own or being open to new ideas it seems that I always hit a wall of intolerance and hypocrisy which has led me to question where did all the classic liberals* go?

I chose to give Cieslewicz’s blog a chance. I’ve shared my agreements and my disagreements with things Cieslewicz has written, I even nominated Cieslewicz as an Ethics Hero on EthicsAlarms.com for his It’s OK to Reject Critical Race Theory blog post. When writing about my Ethics Hero nomination on Ethics Alarms, I wrote in part…

For a prominent Liberal such as Dave Cieslewicz to stick his neck out against critical race theory like this in the Madison progressive bubble is quite significant….

Do we or do we not want to encourage behaviors and attitudes that are inline with our ethics and morals? Yes or No.

Do we or do we not want to discourage behaviors and attitudes that are not inline with our ethics and morals? Yes or No.

I choose yes as my answer for both of those questions and I do it every day. I choose to encourage people to stand up for what’s ethically and morally correct regardless of what they have done in the past. I also choose to discourage behaviors that I think are devoid of ethics and morals. Why do I do these things; because I believe people can change their behaviors and I have no problem being a catalyst to these kinds of changes.


Above I wrote, “that was then”; well folks, this is the disappointing now that followed.

A disturbing trend has taken hold at Cieslewicz’s blog, it appears that I am in the midst of a de facto banning from the Yellow Stripes & Dead Armadillos blog. One hundred percent of my comments go into moderation and [UPDATE: only a rare few] make it out of moderation. In a email conversation with Cieslewicz back at the beginning of March he did inform me that he changed the settings for comments and they all go through moderation, what’s changed is now [UPDATE: most of] my comments are stuck in that moderation black hole. To be completely fair, there were a couple of comments over the last couple of weeks that agreed with Cieslewicz’s position that got through moderation but now the rest are stuck in that moderation black hole with no explanation from Cieslewicz as to why and I took the effort to asking him directly via email, all I get back is the sound of crickets in the night. It appears that a de facto banning is in effect from a person claiming to be a moderate supporting classic liberal* ideals, well the one classic liberal* ideal is being ignored, willingness to respect opinions different from one’s own and now the same kind of intolerance and censorship that progressives are pushing are in full view.

If I can’t trust that a self-proclaimed moderate that professes to support classic liberal* ideals will actually uphold the principles that he shares on his own blog, what can I trust from the political left?

Personally I think Dave Cieslewicz is a decent guy and I fully understand that we don’t agree on everything, which is true with most people but we can work together for a better tomorrow. I fully understand that I’m not always right and I actually learn from my mistakes; so knowing that, feel free to share your thoughts as to why you think Cieslewicz has de facto banned me based on the principles he shared on his blog and the words I wrote in my comments. Cieslewicz started a blog, opened it up for comments and now he’s actively censoring comments he doesn’t like for one reason or another. It’s become really clear to me that I’m not welcome commenting on his blog anymore. Did I somehow violate this statement, “anyone who refrains from demonizing his opponents and is looking for a place to get away from the hard lines and hard feelings of the left and right is welcome here” and demonize my opponent?

If there are any changes in the de facto moderation taking place at Cieslewicz’s Yellow Stripes & Dead Armadillos blog, I’ll update this post.

[UPDATE: 09/20/2021] After some discussion with Dave Cieslewicz over at Yellow Stripes & Dead Armadillos, he has begun to allow me to post limited comments on his blog again.

Now it’s time to circle back around to the main topic of this post, where did all the classic liberals* go?

It’s becoming increasingly evident that many of the self-proclaimed moderates and classic liberals* have succumbed to the extremist progressive movement in the United States and those people that once held to their classic liberal* ideals have begun to shift or have already shifted their ideology and have become totalitarians or they’re remaining silent out of fear of what the totalitarians will do to them if they challenge the hive mind. We see this every day across the United States. People like Dave Cieslewicz have shown the courage to stand up against the extremists about their critical race theory but yet he shows us his intolerance for opposing opinions and that piercing the ideological bubble of his blog is not going to be acceptable, this is just as illiberal, as in anti classic liberal*, as the illiberal things he’s written about on his blog.

Liberty is Dying a Slow Death in the United States of America and there are to many individuals out there that are completely ignoring the fact that they are a small piece of the totalitarian puzzle in the United States. Like the “good” Germans in the 1930’s and 1940’s, there is a huge swath of people in the United States that are promoting, tolerating and enabling totalitarian progressives and when their Liberty is gone they’re going to be asking themselves, “how could this happened in the United States of America”?

Strong Leaders Are Needed To Inspire Nationwide Grass Roots Movements To Support The Constitution & Confront Totalitarianism

Wake up people!

P.S. I might have to fix some of the formatting after this is posted.

7 thoughts on “Where Did All The Classic Liberals* Go? [UPDATED]

  1. “One hundred percent of my comments go into moderation”

    The Gotch knows the feeling!

    Former Mayor BikeShorts embraces an ethically elastic/tangential relationship with the truth.

    C’mon, who couldn’t get behind the Classic Liberalism of a Claude-Frédéric Bastiat all day long?

    ” ‘Opinion bigotry’ is out of control in politics.”

    Sugarcoat, whydontcha.

    Its wicked step-sibling (IMO larger and FAR more pervasive and societally disruptive/destructive) is Belief Superiority.

    Not too much of a stretch to see it as a type of mental illness which requires its adherents to don Weapons Grade Thickened Industrial Strength Hardened ideological blinders to filter out any-n-all incoming information which won’t support preapproved selections from the Lefty World View Cafeteria.

    The Gotch


    1. Did you notice that that “”‘Opinion bigotry’ is out of control in politics.” was written 10 years ago in June of 2011? That was back when the progressive extremists were really just getting the tires rolling on their long slide down the slippery slope into the abyss of totalitarianism.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We now have an intelligentsia which, though very small, is very useful to the cause of Hell.”–C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

        Written eight (8) decades ago; you think things have gotten better, stayed the same or gotten worse?

        The Gotch

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Gotch asked, “you think things have gotten better, stayed the same or gotten worse?”

          Clearly my perception is that things have gotten worse, much worse.

          I’ve heard it said, and I think it is reasonable true, that logic dictates that there is always going to be a percentage (whatever that % is) of a given population that is going to be clinically insane, criminals, violent, or just plain irrational. As a given population goes up those percentages stay “relatively” the same (as in very low percentages); however, the actual physical number of clinically insane, criminals, violent, or just plain irrational people increase.

          Extrapolating that; logic also dictates that as access to readily available, instant gratification, news/media sources increase the number of times any individual news/media consumer is exposed to news about the clinically insane, criminals, violent, or just plain irrational people will dramatically increase because there is a higher number of clinically insane, criminals, violent, or just plain irrational people doing crazy things in our society. Therefore; the perception is that things are getting crazier.

          Those things are reasonably true but what they don’t include is the number of people that are completely consumed (read brainwashed) by the irrational false propaganda that’s intentionally disseminated by political propagandists at those readily available, instant gratification, news/media sources. The percentage of people consumed by irrational propaganda does not stay relatively the same, as exposure to irrational propaganda increases the possibility of being brainwashed by the irrational propaganda increases exponentially. Therefore; as irrational propaganda increases and more people are brainwashed by that irrational propaganda the appearance of many, many more insane people in our society dramatically increases. Constant exposure to irrational propaganda is how a brainwashed cult of hive minded people is built.

          “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” Malcolm X

          The political left in the United States started a irrational propaganda war, yes war, in the 21st century, more specifically sometime in 2008, and hasn’t let up since. They started this propaganda war for pure partisan political purposes. What we are seeing now is the direct and indirect effects of that irrational propaganda war that has morphed into an out-of-control irrational propaganda social war. The result of that out-of-control irrational propaganda social war is there has been a major increase in apparent irrational propaganda based brainwashed individuals (cultish hive mind) in the United States.

          There is a point in the brainwashing of the masses where the overall break with reality of the population becomes irretrievably broken, I believe we have reached that tipping point. The social justice warrior cult has already won the minds of the majority of the masses and this is exactly how the United States of America will be destroyed if something drastic is not done soon.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting post on Yellow Stripes & Dead Armadillos this morning, it’s titled The Right Tries to Cancel More Books. It’s a decent post from the viewpoint of a left leaning self-proclaimed moderate Liberal that mildly rationalizing behaviors from the cancel culture, which I have recently started to call the vigilante persecutors. Within that post Cieslewicz wrote the following two paragraphs…

    But, still, when you look at those eight titles, it’s mostly stuff that challenges the status quo when it comes to acceptance of racial or sexual identity. I’m not totally on board with identity politics either, but I’m never in favor of shutting down the conversation.

    If we’re liberal — in the classical sense — we should be for maximum free speech. Society only moves forward with a strong and respectful exchange of ideas. Shutting down thought is always a horrible idea.

    My reply to this blog post is as follows…

    Personally I don’t think any of the books mentioned should be banned. The free market of ideas in the USA has been under fire for a while now and it has got to stop.

    Dave wrote, “I’m never in favor of shutting down the conversation”


    Really Dave?

    Based on the recent history in the comments section of Yellow Stripes & Dead Armadillos, which Dave personally moderates, I have a really hard time believing that you just wrote that statement. The evidence suggests that the statement “I’m never in favor of shutting down the conversation” might not be telling the whole story in a completely truthful way.

    Dave wrote, “If we’re liberal — in the classical sense — we should be for maximum free speech. Society only moves forward with a strong and respectful exchange of ideas. Shutting down thought is always a horrible idea.”

    You are saying the right words but actions can speak much louder than words.

    The free market of ideas in the USA has been under fire for a while now especially in the 21st century and it’s got to stop; and yes, that includes stopping the ongoing censorship restricting the free market of ideas in blog comments.

    NOTE: That comment is currently stuck in moderation along with the other ones mentioned in this blog post.

    There appears to be some level of personal hypocrisy that Cieslewicz doesn’t acknowledge. I’m not too sure this is the kind of character trait that Cieslewicz wants to present to the public. The ball is in Cieslewicz’s court to reform and change his ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I sent an email to Dave Cieslewicz about him de facto banning me from posting comments on his blog…

    I had honest hopes of dialogue on your blog and I gave you and your blog an honest try but I’m not wasting any more of my time with it. You like so many other so-called “classic liberals”, Liberals, progressives and partisan Democrats have succeeded once again in shutting down discussion with someone that sometimes disagrees with you. You should be ashamed of your hypocritical behavior where you publicly state that you’re for classic liberal ideals but actually engage in classically illiberal behaviors. Your actions of shutting down uncomfortable debate have made your blog irrelevant to me, it’s not likely that I’ll be back and that’s on you.

    If you want changes in your life or the world around you, the changes must begin in you.

    I encourage you to share your opinions on things I write on my blog even if you disagree with me and you can do it anonymously if you like. As my commenting policies state, Anonymity as a commenter will be honored.

    I wish you well with your blog.


    Poll for others
    Since the results of commenting on political left orientated blogs has been exactly the same on every left leaning blog I’ve tried, should I continue to try to offer comments on politically left orientated blogs or just give up on trying to communicate with what truly appears to be a hive mind?


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