How do we define a classic liberal* as opposed to a Liberal**?
*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?
To be completely fair and allow you the reader to make up your own mind based on the actual facts, below are the comments that I posted, word-for-word, that have been swallowed by the Cieslewicz’s moderation black hole, I’ll also share a link to the blog post where the comments were posted. I’ll be back at the end…
I’m back briefly.
Please note that I reposted the comment above to the Cancel Culture Is Real blog and removed the word “bigoted” which means “obstinately or unreasonably attached to a belief, opinion, or faction, in particular prejudiced against or antagonistic toward a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular group”. I fully believe that the use of the word is accurate but it seemed to me that the black hole moderation began after I posted that comment so I tried reposting it without the word.
Side note; Cieslewicz used the word bigoted to describe a person, not their words like I did, he actually called the person bigoted in his blog post titled Bigotry which I linked to above. If Cieslewicz de facto banned me for using bigoted to describe his words then he is openly engaging in hypocrisy but since he has refused to tell me why he’s de facto banned me he’s hiding behind his silence and that is a cowardly thing to do.
Now back to the comments stuck in the black hole of moderation…
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”?
I'm just another person that's been around the block a few times offering their opinion about the observed world around us. I don't write every day so don't expect daily instant gratification, I write when I see or hear about something that is morphing society and the urge strikes me.
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