PT. 1 Liberalism and Slavery
Let's start by clearing something up. Classically, to be liberal means to rule by compromise. If you google "Liberal definition", the Oxford dictionary will give you this first definition.
1. Willing to respect or accept behavior or opinions different than one's own; open to new ideas.
Which is a nice way of saying you rule by compromise.
Liberalism can be good or bad depending on what the new idea you are open to is. If the new idea is LGBTQ+ practices, it is good to be liberal because said practices have no negative effect on others or the planet. If the new idea is slavery, it is a bad to be liberal.
In today's political realm, it is in vogue for both the left and the right to put down liberals. A lot of these put-downs are justifiable. For example, it was liberalism that enabled slavery for decades in the United States. Pretty much everyone at the time was guilty of enabling slavery. This is because the US slavery industry was cotton and pretty much everyone wore cotton. While southern plantation owners performed the actual genocide, anyone who wore cotton was financing it and enabling it. While some people may have worn cotton but did not have respect for slave owners, they accepted and FINANCED the practices of slave owners. Liberalism.
The Liberalism got even more sinister after the Civil War. In 1862, President Lincoln signed the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act. The law prohibited slavery in the district, forcing 900-odd slaveholders to free their slaves, with the federal government paying owners an average of about $300 (equivalent to $8000 today). The slaves themselves got $0. Lincoln was willing to respect and accept the behavior and opinions of slave owners, but not slaves themselves, a terrible example of Liberalism for the whites, Racism and Fascism for the blacks.
As a society, money and convenience is what drives our decisions, not moral compasses. Our liberal democracy has enabled this. The retort to my accusation that everyone wearing cotton is guilty of financing slavery is "What else were people supposed to wear?" If you are an Existentialist like myself, you understand this is ridiculous and an absurd, Capitalist construct of reality. People could spend more money and wear silk, made from the cocoons of silkworms, an inhumane trade that is not cruelty free, but which does not involve literal backbreaking work performed by human beings and children. The retort to this is "not everyone could afford silk." This is true, but people could simply drop out and wear a barrel with suspenders. The former option is one only available for the super rich, whereas the later means having to stand out as a radical. People could have also worn hemp, whose plant is not thorny and painful to the touch.
This sounds very similar to reasons why people don't get solar panels (super high installation fee), continue to drive cars (buses take longer and are less comfortable), refuse the transformation from gas to green (change is hard, plus you can't sell sun beams or wind, so there is no financial incentive to go green) buy ethically devious products (companies who don't pay their workers living wages often have cheaper products), buy things from Amazon (the most convenient invention to ever exist), buy foods with ingredients that are illegal in other countries (Mountain Dew has Brominated Vegetable Oil, an emulsifier that can cause reproductive and behavioral problems. Its original use was a flame retardant for carpets. This is just one example), the list goes on and on. Most people don't know where their clothes come from, who made them and for what wage. In some cases, slaves still make our clothes. Money and convenience rules our marketplaces, not moral compasses. Some things don't seem to change; you either can't afford to do the right thing or you are labeled as a smug radical.
To be fair, if one goes through their life never compromising with anyone on anything, it is not a very good life. Imagine a friendship, marriage or work environment where nobody compromised on anything. However, love is a loophole out of this sad truth (more on that later).
But on the other hand, if your friend, partner or people in your work environment are slaver owners, it is vital that you stop compromising with that person immediately.
In summation, liberalism gets a bad wrap, but at the same time, if there are fascists or slave owners in your country, you can't compromise with them.
Life is a game in which you need to know when to compromise and when to stand your ground. Sometimes doing either is very hard. Sometimes the right thing to do gets confusing, other times it is inconvenient, or financial suicide, but blatantly obvious.
To end this section, I would like to advocate for reparations for the descendants of slaves. It is only mathematically fair that each household that contains a descendant of a slave would receive AT LEAST $8000 from the US government, the contemporary equivalent in capital to what slave owners received. Descendants of slaves would need to prove their ancestry to avoid corruption, a task that may be hard to perform, but at the same time would help people learn their family history, another vital piece to the puzzle of healing the wounds of the genocide which was the US slave trade. The US government should hire expert researchers to help these descendants at no extra charge.
It may sound corny, but I believe that love knows no compromise. I will argue this position. Once you take a liberal approach to love itself, it is a slippery slope towards slavery and environmental destruction.
To be continued ...