"Do you want to know what liberalism is? It is the intuitive sense of the greater good, followed by self-examination over criticism of opponents, followed by action in accordance with the individual's reasonable conclusions about self and society. That's liberalism."
To understand Liberal Gun Owners's stance on modern political views, one must first understand a concept: superficial position. Superficial position describes an intellectual state where the possessor engages in the following:
- They define their worldview from the echo chamber of the culture in which they are comforted.
- They engage in an insufficient intensity of intellectual effort to obtain relative objectivity.
- They quickly and inaccurately perceive their position as adequate, strong, or special.
In superficial position, the majority of significant intellectual capacities are left unused as it pertains to real self-education, investigation, measuring the truth, etc. Although the subject's perspective and beliefs may contain truthfulness and meaning, the presence of truthfulness or meaning is completely reliant upon inputs from inside of the subject's culture or already established poor mental habits. Because these inputs and habits go unquestioned, unmeasured, and undeveloped, the presence of measures-of-truth is usually just a pacifier which allows for a greater susceptibility to intellectual narcissism, dogma, misinformation, and propaganda. Liberal Gun Owners concludes that the majority of what is happening in the modern political arena, on both sides of the spectrum, is the result of superficial position.
Liberal Gun Owners observes that culture-wide superficial position is both the product of human nature and of mass manipulation of information and perception by structures of the establishment. One of the key points of manipulation is reinforcing strict delineation amongst political philosophies, creating cultural repercussions for anyone who doesn't subscribe to remedial, binary political perspectives. It is our view that the common, modern views on liberalism are actually the result of this phenomenon. It is also our view that, in order to understand the pure root of liberalism, one must release it from connection points to the modern iterations: the democratic party, modern political platforms, the historical connection to views espoused by John Locke etc. We observe that the current political division in our country could be reversed and combatted by both the conservative and liberal political cultures releasing from their superficial positioning. We observe that both cultures urgently need to enter into a rediscovery of root and essence. Of course, this observation could apply to any political philosophy that lies upon the wider spectrum.
Despite what has happened to the definition of the terms "liberal" and "liberalism", we believe the roots of being liberal are primarily connected to the following two precepts:
1. That self-preservation and fulfilment in life, which will inescapably include the well-being of others, are the prime motivators of essential and evolved human activity. As such, these motivators need constant facilitation.
2. These prime motivators will be under constant threat from human systems, institutions, cultures, individuals, ignorance, dogma, and misinformation. As such, the constant employment of intellect, reason, discernment, intuition, and compassion are essential in the effort to wipe away the fog of the intruding world. Without efforts to clarify the truth, true self-preservation and fulfilment in life cannot exist.
The basic understanding and exercise of these two precepts is the heart of what we consider the true mechanisms which constitute liberalism. At its root, liberalism is akin to the concepts elucidated by ancient philosophers, (like Aristotle and Lao Tzu) who attempted to describe the fabric of Natural Law and the inherent connection that human consciousness has with understanding the greater good. At its root, "liberalism" is one term that was coined to describe iterations of this natural phenomenon of consciousness which, in society, measures the tension between optimal living and the barriers created by man-made systems like religion, government, corporations and their fusions. This greater sense has been pervasive in society throughout all time and has been historically emboldened during periods of intense abuse by overarching, human-made constructs. These periods of enlightenment, which have served to vault civilization out of bondage are the result of true liberal mechanisms.
Modern society, as society is wont to do, skews the pure understanding of the liberal well-spring. Unfortunately, greed is one of the dominant forces in civilization. This greed is responsible for the collection of immense powers that look to serve their own interest. In serving their own interest, these powers use the dissemination of information to their advantage by creating and reinforcing political and cultural delineations that keep people separated and confused. In the context of the modern left, information and delineations are used in political culture as leverage to separate people from the true liberal well-spring. This is what results in modern, educated humans starting their beliefs with some benevolent concepts, but then almost immediately residing in echo-chambers and superficial positions.
In the modern context, superficial position can include adequate attempts at the above-outlined precept #1, but it is almost always devoid of adequacy as it relates to precept #2. As an example, when anyone engages and enhances their view based upon only maximized exposure to mainstream media outlets, social media, and communications with others who share the same views and habits, they are almost always comforted to the point of not employing, in an effective way, precept #2. In the modern era, misinformation and propaganda are being employed through a constant stream of broadcast. Without a thorough dedication to precept #2, the average person has no chance of achieving anything outside of superficial position. Superficial position is not a product of liberal mechanisms. If a liberal does not engage in self-examination before criticism of others, they are not operating as a liberal. They are operating on the same superficial plane as their cultural adversary. If liberals question the world and are perplexed as to why there is such little improvement, the reason is due to society's inability to adequately employ self-examination over criticism of "opponents". Do you want to know what liberalism is? It's the sense of the greater good, followed by self-examination over criticism of opponents, followed by action in accordance with the individual's reasonable conclusions about self and society. That's liberalism.
In the view of Liberal Gun Owners, the modern application of the term liberal is some form of co-opted political extension of the above-mentioned two-precept baseline. It is absolutely not the prime owner of the term. It is a weakened extension. It is a relative. It lives in the subsequent, less effective tiers in the history of the phenomenon. Without the strong application of the outlined two precepts, modern American liberalism is just a blue-tinged, superficial position. A liberal can strongly apply these two precepts and fight for social policy. A liberal can strongly apply these two precepts and believe that central government can be useful or necessary in the pursuit of fulfilment in life. A liberal can also use these precepts and conclude that a centralized government is not useful or necessary in the pursuit of fulfilment in life. Freedom of intellect and choice is inherent in these precepts. If there is no allowance for uniqueness of intellect and uniqueness in values, then the pursuit is not liberal.
As it applies to Liberal Gun Owners, and our organizational view, the individual's right to freedom of intellect is not something that we will work against. We are not interested in a community where everyone is influenced to think in the same manner or come to the same conclusions. We are accepting of the fact that, even by applying the outlined liberal precepts, good human beings will come to different results. As such, LGO will not demonize members because of differences in conclusions. In our forums, there are consequences for disrespectful conduct. There are no consequences for differences in belief.
Specifically, we do balance the range of beliefs against our primary mission: enjoyment of firearms discussion. The combination of a robust political view with the attribute of being an untoward asshole is not something that we tolerate. While we believe in the asshole's right to intellectual freedom, we have no desire for assholes in our forums. Our beliefs in individual rights and our decisions pertaining to enjoyment in our forums do often live on two separate roads. Liberal Gun Owners believes that liberalism is about the strong application of the above two precepts, by the individual. The conclusions and political activities that occur as the result of applying these tools are the prerogatives of the individual. These conclusions are not qualifiers to liberalism. The application of the precepts, adequately, combined with freedom of intellect, are the qualifiers to liberalism.
As one example, there is absolutely no basis in truth that a liberal can only follow the two precepts into voting blue, or supporting the social policy outlined by the modern Democratic party - although, many of us do. Some of us follow the precepts into the conclusion that the merging of state and corporate power is far too great for our central government to ever return to honesty or effectiveness. No one person will be able to find their conclusions in absolute truth or certainty. We will all have varying degrees of certainty in our conclusion, and it is up to the liberal to then take their conclusions and exchange with other liberals, or other people in general, to become more informed before making choices.
Differences are a part of reality. Liberal Gun Owners will not create division over it.
There is only one reason that causes LGO to decided to divide itself from anyone. That reason is whether or not a human being can stop being a selfish, immature asshole. There's no better way to put it. It is an important delineation. It is important that this aspect is included in LGO's statement on liberalism. In our history, there have been many attempts to brand LGO as falsely liberal due to the fact that we censor and eject untoward people. The implication that the concept of liberalism equates to some form of acceptance, that eliminates the discerning activity of rejecting assholes, is extremely immature. It is most definitely immature as it relates to an organization whose primary purpose is enjoyment.
Ultimately, in our view, liberalism isn't a fixed set of beliefs. It's more the application of precepts and their results. It is the opinion of Liberal Gun Owners that the application of these essential precepts is sorely needed in the current culture of division. As an organization, we are doing our level-best to apply them.