How can you be a liberal?
By definition, you can be a "liberal", by being open minded and not so strictly bound to the observance of orthodox, traditional or established forms or ways. Of course, if one were to use that definition as the sole parameters of being liberal, then that definition necessarily becomes orthodoxy and an established form of liberalism. How can you be a liberal if being a liberal means acting solely as liberal has been defined? Being a liberal is quite different than being liberal. We can be liberal with the peanut butter when we spread it upon our bread and conservative in our politics. We can be liberal with our generosity yet conservative with our trust. But in the end, being liberal is not the same as being a liberal.
In the realm of politics there are two primary views by which we regard the law and the governments created to enforce that law. There are those who take a conservative view of the law, giving as much weight and credence to the historical context of the law as to its relevance today and who rely upon the original text of any given legislation or constitution as a means to interpret the laws intent. A liberal, on the other hand, will keep an open mind about the text, only acknowledging the text and any historical context are only part of the truth, and that often times the true intent of law can not be found solely within the text. In simple terms a liberal will discuss the spirit of the law and a conservative will discuss the letter of the law.
There is no right or wrong or good or bad in being either liberal or conservative. The viewpoint is yours, and as long as the goals are the same, then the variance in view point only helps us attain that goal rather than keep us from getting there. Liberals and conservatives are not diametrically opposed to each other, they are inextricably bound to each other in their purpose. As the liberal demands progress and demands it now, the conservative does not seek to impede any progress but only insure that progress is being made by insisting that prudence and patience in the effort while adhering to the letter of the law as the best and surest way towards that goal. So, while the conservative demands we keep a tight reign on the beast of burden we call government, the liberal will continue to dig their spurs into the beast, prodding it onward, demanding the ass perform as if it were a stallion. And indeed there have been times, when liberals have managed to convince mules to be stallions, and government can do remarkable things. Even so, the conservative will want to slow that progress down to a measured response.
Does progress only happen because of liberals? Consider the myth of Icarus, where he, imprisoned on an island with his father, learned to fly. Learning to fly is indeed progress for humans. It was Icarus' father Daedalus, who designed and built the wings that would facilitate their escape from the island. Daedalus took the feathers from birds and fastened them together with rope and wire and hoped to keep them together with wax. His design worked and Daedalus was able to fly. He built a pair of wings for his son Icarus and taught him how to fly and then warned him not to fly too high in to the sky so as to avoid the heat of the sun that would surely melt the wax that kept the wings together. Icarus being young had a more open mind about such things and once airborne he couldn't help but soar as eagles do, higher and even higher in his majestic escape. Daedalus pleaded with his son to fly low, but Icarus kept progressing upward until the heat of the sun was finally hot enough to melt the wax of his wings and then the wings began to fall apart and disassemble and young, willful Icarus plummeted down towards his death, his progress cut short by his own hubris. Daedalus lived a long life mourning the loss of his son because he maintained a conservative view of what could be done and what should be done. Even though it is Daedalus who survives the journey, it is Icarus who is remembered. Daedalus survived but his survival enabled the myth of Icarus to flourish as the tale of a young boy who dared to soar where no man had ever soared before and for a brief and shining moment flew gloriously into immortality before discovering his own very real mortality.
The myth of Icarus is a cautionary tale that warns that hubris comes before the fall. To be open minded and not bound by any dogma does not necessarily lead towards hubris and to be sure the dogmatic can just as easily be felled by their own hubris but to be open minded means to be willing to accept all information as true or at the very least as possibly true. To be open minded means to accept information that very well could be false data, as viable and equal to true data. The boundaries of right and wrong and good and bad become far more expansive to a liberal than to a conservative and herein lies the comfort of being conservative and the angst of being liberal because a conservative shouting out that that liberal on the other side is wrong is to be expected, but when a self professed liberal shouts out that the conservative is wrong, that open mind is so open any more and the boundaries of right and wrong just got closer and more constrictive. If a liberal, for example, embraces multiculturalism as a valid view point, but then rejects any culture that embraces racism or genocide as valid measures, isn't exactly embracing multiculturalism. It is this fundamental contradiction that troubles many liberals while conservatives can remain comfortable in their orthodoxy.
There seems to be much confusion on what a liberal and a conservative is. It, of course, doesn't help when new terms are invented such as "neo-conservative" or "Social liberal but fiscal conservative." These terms only reveal the problem with language. Words should not be used to further confuse an issue, unless, of course, your intent is to lie. It should not be assumed that it is the intent of either a liberal or a conservative to deceive If either a liberal or a conservative are lying they are not being liberal or conservative but are instead acting upon their own agendas. The liberal and conservative are in the same camp it is the left wing and the right wing of political parties that act upon agendas. Liberals are often associated with the left wing and conservatives associated with the right wing but this is quite simply fallaciousness as the left wing is just as dogmatic in their socialist and communist orthodoxy as the right is in its corporatist and oligopolistic dogmas. Both the right and the left engage in class warfare in order to achieve their goals. Liberals and conservatives should have no business with this, as both the left and right are parties filled with brutes and bullies who seek to pervert the law towards their own end rather than interpret the law in an effort towards achieving the greater good. When we are acting in ways that lead us all towards the the greatest good to the greatest amount we are no longer left or right even though we have either a liberal or conservative viewpoint in what action best accomplishes that greater good.
How can you be a liberal? You can be open minded and embrace many forms of knowledge on your journey towards progress and if your really smart you'll maintain your alliances with conservatives who might help you prevent any stumbles or falls or tragic plunges that come from majestic actions.