What Liberals Used to Be Like

Yascha Mounk of Harvard University, who numbers among the liberal thinkers overwrought about populism and Donald Trump (Mounk is the author of The People Vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It), has posted on Twitter a list of “Ten Commandments of Liberal Inquiry” by Bertrand Russell from way back in 1951. Back in those days, intelligent liberalism meant Reinhold Niebuhr, Lionel Trilling, Isaiah Berlin, and even Arthur Schlesinger (at least in his best book, The Vital Center). Hard to find many of their stature and respect on the left today. Instead we get former Enron adviser and Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman.

Anyway, here from ThreadApp are Russell’s Ten Commandments, and count up how many have been completely abandoned today (especially by the climatistas, the sufferers of Trump Derangement Syndrome, campus leftists, and media outlets like The Atlantic and Business Insider):

In 1951, Bertrand Russell took to the @nytimes to argue that the best answer to fanaticism was a calm search for truth. His Ten Commandments of Liberal Inquiry could not be more relevant today.

(Number 6 will blow your mind! 😉 )

1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.

2. Do not think it worthwhile to produce belief by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.

3. Never try to discourage thinking, for you are sure to succeed.

4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.

5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.

6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.

7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.

9. Be scrupulously truthful, even when truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.

10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.

One of the greatest dangers, as Russell saw it, was that “the man who has any doubts” would be “despised.” But liberalism, he argued, “is not so much a creed and a disposition.” It involves tolerance for what you believe to be others’ errors.

They don’t make liberals like they used to. I’d say most of today’s liberals are 0 for 10 on this list.

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