Source: C-SPAN– Brian Lamb, interviewing Charles Krauthammer in 2005
Source: The New Democrat
I could just start with the first couple minutes of this interview on Charles Krauthammer’s comment on positive liberty versus negative liberty, because this is one issue where I agree with Krauthammer as a Liberal myself who believes in negative liberty over positive liberty and make that this whole piece. But I saw this interview last week when C-SPAN replayed it and there are a few other things I would like to talk about well like right-wing Progressives, which I believe Krauthammer was one and get into that as well.
As far as positive liberty versus negative liberty: positive liberties are things that government are supposed to provide for the people that they promise, when a political party that believes in positive liberty over negative liberty comes into power. Which is basically the freedom for people to not have to make decisions for themselves and not take control over their own lives. Not have to decide how to finance their kids education and where to send them to school. Choose which hospital to go to and send their kids. Not have to decide where to get their health insurance, because government would provide that for them. Not to have to plan their own retirement, because government will take care of that for them. Things that Socialists both democratic and communistic believe in.
Source: WFAA-TV– Charles Krauthammer quote
What Charles Krauthammer described as negative liberty, is probably the same definition that former Senator Barry Goldwater from Arizona ( Mr. Conservative ) would give for negative liberty, which is the right to be left alone from government short of hurting innocent people with what they’re doing. That goes for both economic as well as personal freedom. The right for people to make their own financial decisions like with health care, health insurance, education, retirement, starting their own business and making their own business decisions. Just as long as they personally pay for their own decisions and take personal responsibility for their own decisions.
But that negative liberty also covers personal decisions and personal freedom as well. Again, to go back to the right to be left alone short of hurting innocent people with what they’re doing. If romantic couples want to live together and even have kids together before they’re married, that’s their business. If adults want to smoke and posses marijuana, that’s their business. If they want to gamble their own money, that’s their business. If they want to image in pornographic activities and watch and read porn themselves, that’s their business. And these are just a few examples, just as long as they’re not forcing their personal adult activities onto minors or even adults that choose not to engage in them.
The main different between supporters of positive liberty which tend to be Socialists both democratic and otherwise, versus supporters of negative liberty which are Liberals, ( Classical Liberals, if you prefer ) and Conservative-Libertarians has to do with the right to be left alone short of hurting innocent people with what they’re doing. Socialists, tend not to believe in risk and investment, unless of course it’s government that’s doing the investing and tend to see freedom as the freedom to make mistakes. Liberals and Conservative-Libertarians, view risk and private investment, as the necessary tools and resources to have a truly free society.
Like I said, I could’ve made this whole piece about positive liberty versus negative liberty, but there was one other aspect here about Charles Krauthammer that I would like to get into as well which is his definition of Neoconservative people who I call right-wing Progressives, not former Liberals, but right-wing Progressives. The Nelson Rockefeller’s, George Romney’s, Newt Gingrich’s, of the world, people like Representative Paul Ryan today before he became Speaker of the House. And I know right-wing Progressive sounds crazy sort of like how a Libertarian-Communist would or even Libertarian-Socialist would sound in today’s crazy American politics, but I’ll explain what I mean by that.
According to popular American political and political pop culture, a Progressive today is essentially a statist, both democratic and communistic. Someone who believes in the state ( meaning government ) over everything else and that it’s the job of government to manage people’s lives for them and that there is a big government solution to solve everyone’s problems for them. And to get back to one of my points about positive liberty, that freedom to too risky and is dangerous and you need big government to limit individual freedom so everyone in society is taken care of. But that is not what Progressives are what progressivism is about.
The best and easiest definition of Progressive, is someone who believes in creating progress through government action, but through limited government action. That government can’t do everything for people, but needs to be there to help people are struggling get onto their own feet. With things like temporary financial assistance and a broader safety net, but who wants to use that safety net to help people get on their own feet and become economically self-sufficient and free. With things like education, job training, job placement into good jobs, infrastructure and encouraging economic development into low-income community with large populations of low-income and low-educated people.
You have the right-wing Progressives that I’ve already mentioned and then you have left-wing Progressives who again aren’t Socialists and who also puts real limits on what government should try to do for the people. Left-wing Progressives like former President Barack Obama, who believed government could be used to help people and empower people to be able to take control of their own lives. And people like former President’s Bill Clinton, Lyndon Johnson, Harry Truman, Franklin Roosevelt, and Theodore Roosevelt. Center-Left Progressives, who believed in positive government to empower people who are struggling to take control over their own lives.
Charles Krauthammer was a Progressive, but on the Center-Right a Center-Right Progressive, people who would be called Neoconservatives today. People who are very hawkish when it comes to national security and law enforcement and don’t tend to trust international organizations like the United Nations and international rule of law. Who even believe in what’s called America First, but who aren’t Nationalists, but people who believe that America should step in whenever they believe is necessary even by themselves, to protect innocent people from authoritarian regimes and to remove those regimes so democracy can takeover. The 2003 Iraq War, perfect example of that.
But, Neoconservatives are not anti-government even when it relates to the economy and tend to believe in commonsense regulations, a safety net for people who truly need it that encourages work and self-sufficiency. So Neoconservatives tend to support the American safety net like the New Deal and Great Society, but who again are very hawkish when it comes to national security and law enforcement and tend to not believe in civil liberties for suspected criminals and terrorists.
I’m just as sad as anyone else who didn’t personally know Charles Krauthammer, but who respected him even though I tend to disagree with him especially on foreign affairs and national security, because he was really sharp and honest. Wasn’t a political hack for anyone who just defended someone just because they were a Democrat or Republican, but instead spoke his mind and told people what he thinks and believes regardless of who and how to may have benefited or hurt someone.
Charles Krauthammer was brilliant at using humor to make his political arguments to point out the stupidity in American politics and government. He was a breath of fresh air in an American political culture that’s dominated by polluted air like FNC and MSNBC, that is only in the business to back their side and try to destroy the other side. And he’ll be missed indefinitely, especially by people who simply just want to know what’s going and what people think about, instead of how the news can be used to hurt or benefit one side or the other.
C-SPAN: Q&A With Brian Lamb- Charles Krauthammer: April 22nd, 2005