Posted By Alan Roebuck On February 22, 2008 @ 5:00 am In Political Theory, Humanities, Language, Academia, Histo, Features | 18 Comments We American conservatives are all, in a manner of speaking, recovering liberals, and we must constantly fight the temptation to relapse. Conservatives, by definition, oppose liberalism. And well they should, because liberalism, with its foolish utopian schemes based on false or impractical understandings of equality, liberty and tolerance, is inflicting serious, possibly fatal harm on America. But since, as I argue below, the worldview of the Left has near total control over the thinking of Americans, including many conservatives, it is vital that we understand liberalism so we can oppose it more effectively. And effective opposition to liberalism must begin within our own minds, as we free ourselves from pernicious forms of thought that have become conventional. It must be noted up front that there is a valid distinction between liberal and leftist, but the distinction is one of degree rather than of kind. Leftists are consistent liberals, and liberals temper the principles of the Left with common sense and common decency, making themselves inconsistent in thought and deed. Nevertheless, and in keeping with common usage, I generally use the word "liberalism" to denote the basic way of thinking. The first point to establish is that there even is such a thing as liberalism. Since leftist thinking is ubiquitous, there is a temptation to react only to its most outrageous manifestations, while failing to recognize its most basic tenets. Indeed, since most of us conservatives are temperamentally, well, conservative, we have a strong desire to affirm the status quo. But if liberalism has become the unofficial state religion of America, then the status quo must be challenged. And liberalism, being the status quo, often masquerades as common sense. How many times have you heard someone say, in effect "You have an irrational bias toward conservatism, but I'm not biased. I just go where the evidence leads." Since liberalism is taught by most of America's highest authorities (chiefly the schools, the news media, and entertainment), it is the position that requires the least thought. In fact, many people are unaware that liberalism is a philosophical system that could possibly be wrong, depending on the evidence. For them, liberalism is simply the way things obviously are. And this serves as a useful defensive strategy for liberalism: If we cannot identify it and locate it, we cannot fight it So how do we identify liberalism? To begin, imagine the following thought experiment: Assemble a list of 20 specific issues that are currently in dispute, each of which has two well-defined positions (basically "support it" and "oppose it"). For example, the list might begin with these issues: 1) Legalizing same-sex marriage. 2) Opposing gun control. 3) Outlawing abortion. 4) Establishing a comprehensive, federal-government-run system of socialized medicine. Make sure that for each issue, a typical person would label the two sides "conservative" and "liberal." OK, so we have 20 well-defined current issues which divide along right-left lines. Now imagine choosing someone and asking him for his views on the first 10 issues, and suppose he has taken the liberal position on each of these 10 issues. Question: What are the chances that he will take the liberal position on most, if not all, of the remaining 10 issues? Clearly the chances are very good. But why?