Monday, February 11, 2019

Is Liberalism Really Winning?

Retired Israeli General Benny Gantz
One would think that in the current political climate, that liberalism is on the rise. If the last election showed us anything, it showed a definite leftward tilt. At least as far as the Democrats are concerned. Combined with the low popularity of the President, it seems like a virtual certainty that liberal politicians will return to rule the day in 2020. And liberalism will be restored as America’s credo.  

My response to this is; Not so fast! I am not convinced at all that liberalism is on the rise. Sure – that may be the case in the Democratic party. But I’m not so sure that the vast majority of Democratic voters are all that liberal. At least not as it is defined today. I certainly hope that is the case considering what that means for Israel.

Liberalism is not what it used to be. Liberals used to be Israel’s biggest supporters. Not today, That distinction now belongs to Republicans. Today, liberalism also tends to support legislation that is anathema to religious values. Like gay marriage for example.

Back when I was a liberal, it meant treating all people equally and not favoring any segment over another. It meant not favoring one group over another.That is what allowed the Jewish people access former restricted areas such as certain neighborhoods, hotels, country clubs, and universities. No longer could there be quotas be applied to Jews. It also meant ending segregation and treating black people  and other minorities equally. 

But liberals have re-instituted quotas for under-privileged minorities. It is called Affirmative Action. Which means that being underprivileged matters far more than merit. Merit went out the window. It was all about leveling the playing field. 

That this might lower the standard of excellence expected from students doesn’t matter. Nor does it matter that graduates might not be as proficient in their fields as students with greater merit. 

This is why they lost me. And if you think about it, Affirmative Action does a disservice to the individual that takes advantage of the schools that apply it. Prejudice will certainly exist towards them as not being as proficient in their fields as those that did not need it to get into those schools.

And then there is Israel. Liberalism in the form of socialism was the governing principle at Israel’s founding. Kibbutzim were considered the core of Israeli society. A Kibbutz is basically a commune where everyone has a job to do and all material goods and services are provided equally to all by the Kibbutz - paid for by the collective wealth the Kibbutz earned. No one individual got more than any other individual - regardless of how much actual effort he put into his job.

Things have changed there. The political champions of the Kibbutz was the ruling liberal/left Labor party of Israel's founders: Ben Gurion, Rabin, and Perez. They were all socialists and believed in the concept of the Kibbutz. To them it was the jewel in the Israeli crown. 

But this once powerful dominant party is about to become extinct it seems. A recent issue of the liberal/left Ha’artez made note this with a series of articles on how to prevent that from happening. 

I don’t think it will help. Menachem Begin changed everything, when his party, Lkiud, won the election and took over the government. Israel has been moving rightward ever since. The only party that is challenging them now is the centrist, Yesh Atid. If they combine with the the Resilience Party formed by retired General Benny Gantz, polls show they might win the next election. I do not believe liberalism will make a comeback in Israel any time soon.

Which brings me back to the US. It would seem that liberals are poised to return to power in 2020. But I would not place any bets on that. I believe that the kind of liberalism that has taken over much of the Democratic party is to the left of most Americans. Including Democrats. They may not like Trump. But I’m not sure if the typical voter is ready to vote for the likes of Elizabeth Warren or Kamela Harris. 

But even if they are - just to get rid of Trump - there is Howard Schultz. He is running as an independent. He will surely siphon off votes from the Democratic candidate. Meanwhile the Republican  base will vote solidly Republican. 

Does this mean we are in for 4 more years of Trump? Could be if  isn't impeached and runs for a second term. But it also means that liberalism loses. And in its current incarnation, that is a good thing.