A Trad Lib View on Political Realignment

Today, I’m going to respond to an interesting idea that was recently discussed by Ben Shapiro and Dave Rubin on the Ben Shapiro Show. Basically, they seem to be seeing a potential political realignment, that could even be accelerated by the current pandemic. Discussing the issue from the Right, Shapiro sees that it could be splitting into a more libertarian faction, and a more common good faction that could perhaps support the government stepping in to save the economy post-lockdown. Rubin then talked about how he differed from more pro-government conservatives on issues like banning pornography.

I think the truth is, neither the left nor the right is a monolith, and the internet age means they can’t pretend to be so anymore. Unlike Rubin, I don’t think there will be a post-realignment left or right that shares a solid idea. The new reality is, each side is now a coalition, that needs to also win the votes of other unaligned people and groups, people like myself who don’t consider themselves left or right. The quicker a campaign comes to this understanding, the better they will do. In 2016, the Trump and Bernie campaigns both understood this but Hillary didn’t. This time, it seems like the Biden campaign is finally catching up, so it will be interesting to see which side is more effective now.

In this brave new world of politics, I think a Trad Lib, or traditional liberal, faction will definitely emerge. I feel like many people are actually Trad Libs, they’re saying trad lib ideas aloud already without realizing that it is a political orientation that many of us share. So who are the Trad Libs? We are true to the original cannon of liberalism, particularly pre-1968. FDR was a trad lib, so were JFK and LBJ. We agree with FDR’s New Deal approach to economics, but we also have concerns around free speech, family values, and the way some parts of the left have become illiberal culturally, like Rubin keeps reminding us. Furthermore, we don’t want to give up one for the other. To go into the Right, like Rubin is now openly identifying as, would be to give up the New Deal approach. To go into the Left would be to embrace this renewed New Deal energy, but they keep saying that cultural issues are a distraction, telling us to shut up and focus on the economics while letting the Critical Theory driven illiberal New Left do whatever they want. The truth is, it’s OK to want UBI and absolute free speech without compromising one or the other. It’s OK to want universal health care and strong family values without compromising one or the other. In fact, people like Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard have shown us that these things actually go together very well. For myself, if that means cooperating with the Left economically and the libertarian-Right culturally at different times, then so be it, and in this fractured brave new world of politics, I think it will actually work out fine for us.

The other thing about this new model of politics is that one can identify with different ideas, and be informed by different traditions, at the same time. Conventional political factions have fragmented into many pieces, and we can just pick up the pieces and build our own philosophy that is true to our own conscience. For example, besides being a Trad Lib, I’m still also a libertarian, a Moral Libertarian, an old-school progressive when it comes to civil rights, a moderate conservative when it comes to traditional institutions and family values, and so on. It’s the best time in history to be able to follow your conscience and use it to make the difference you want to see in this world. And those of us who won’t follow labels like Left or Right blindly anymore will stand to be the most productive in this.

Originally published at http://taraellastylia.blogspot.com.

TaraElla is a singer-songwriter, independent journalist and author, who is passionate about free speech, liberty and equality. She is the author of the Moral Libertarian Horizon books, which focus on developing a moral case for freedom-based politics in the 21st century.




Doing sociology and philosophy in real time. A project to renew the values and principles of liberalism for the 21st century West.

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Author and singer-songwriter. Doing sociology and philosophy by looking at Western politics and culture. Moral Libertarian. https://www.taraella.com

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