John C. Goodman
President Obama is said to have made the case for a liberal public policy agenda in his State of the Union speech the other night. But what is liberalism? The conventional view is that liberalism is an ideology. In fact it is a sociology.
An ideology is a set of ideas that cohere. Socialism is an ideology. So is libertarianism. Suppose I told you that socialists believe the government should nationalize the steel industry and the auto industry. You would have no difficulty inferring what their position is on nationalizing the airline industry. Right? Suppose I told you that libertarians believe in a free market for tinker toys and ham sandwiches. You would have no difficulty inferring that they also believe in a free market for Rubik's Cubes.
Sociologies are different. They represent a set of ideas that are often incoherent. These ideas are likely to come together not because of reason, but because of history or happenstance. Not only do the ideas not cohere, they may be completely contradictory…… For the Obama administration, that sociology is liberalism. Its adherents once called themselves "liberals." Today, they are "progressives."...To Read More......