Thursday, 20 October 2016

Trump and women

One could get confused over the word 'liberal' these days.  In my youth, a liberal was one of two things.

The first Liberal had a capital 'L' and was a member or supporter of the Liberal Party.  The Liberals were the latter-day Whigs.  Starting as a party of the aristocracy - as did their rivals, the Tories - the Whigs became the party of the middle-class owners of industry, of the non-conforming Protestant churches, and of 'liberal' issues, including the supremacy of Parliament over the Crown and Church, the abolition of slavery, and the extension of suffrage.  They introduced the Reform Act of 1832.  The Whigs merged with other interests to form the Liberal Party.  The Liberals in Government in the early twentieth century started the welfare state system.  Gradually the Labour Party supplanted the Liberal Party, and it declined during the rest of the twentieth century, adopting policies such as membership of the Common Market and the introduction of proportional representation, and eventually merging with a number of disaffected - and largely ineffectual - Labour Party members to form the Liberal-Democrats.

The second liberal was the kind of person who would have been at home in the early Liberal Party, advocating rights and freedoms.  They would have been less happy with the later Liberals, keen on destroying British sovereignty and democratic elections. True liberals wanted liberty and equality.

So we come to the 'liberals' of today.  Far from embracing ideals of liberty and equality, the 'liberal' media seems to want rule by those whom they regard as best fitted to rule and equality on a limited stratum of society.  The people best fitted to rule are writers (especially in the media), actors and scientists.  They exclude people who own practically anything - businesses, land, even houses - and include those whom they regard as 'disenfranchised' - non-Whites and non-Christians.

I hope that the true 'liberals' of today persist in their aspirations for freedom and opportunity.  Sadly, the adjective 'liberal' is now used to describe people whose views are far from liberal.

In the United States, some politicians called themselves 'liberal' and the label was adopted by newspapers and television stations whose agenda was really ruthless exploitation.  Thus, while the loathsome Kennedys rose to and achieved power, the New York Times and the Washington Post twisted towards the rhetoric and ideology of the 'liberal' Democrats.

Unfortunately, rhetoric and ideology are the sole pillars of modern 'liberalism'.
By 'rhetoric', I mean 'language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect, but which is often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content'.
By 'ideology', I mean 'a set of political beliefs or ideas'.
They are the sole pillars because modern 'liberalism' lacks any clear policies, plans or initiatives to bring its ideology into reality.  Such policies as it does embrace are often ineffectual.

Take Mrs Clinton's stated policy on Syria.  She is proposing a full review of the United States' strategy in Syria. That sounds like inaction.  But it isn't. While Mrs Clinton has said that she would not commit more troops to Syria, her campaign advisors have said that both ISIS and Assad must be removed.  How is that going to accomplished without ground forces?  The only way to achieve military success is by capturing territory, and you don't do that with drones and missiles.  Because the ideology cannot be made to fit the realities, the rhetoric becomes illogical and cloudy.  So she promises a review.

The ideology is so flawed that it cannot recognize the reality of Syria.  There is a civil war within Syria.  While the West may be alarmed at the presence of ISIS - or, more accurately, 'ISIL', if we take the full meaning of 'as-shaam' as referring to The Levant rather than Syria specifically -  we should be alarmed at its presence in other countries, including the US.  Whatever we may dislike about the situation in Syria, we would be hard pressed to explain how it affects us.  We should also remember that much of the unrest in the Middle East is caused by a previous intervention, when a more pragmatic, and indeed liberal, view would have been to have left it alone.

Who in the liberal media is jumping up and down about the sheer idiocy of Mrs Clinton's Syria policy?  Or taxation? Or trade?

What does vex the American and some international media are remarks by Mr Trump about women.

What should trouble them is that Mr Trump's statements were typical of the way that many 'celebrities' and media people treat women.  Not only women, of course.  Some male child actors have reported abuse recently, too.  It seems as if the practice of sexual abuse among senior men within the movie industry is commonplace.  If it is, then we can also imagine that boasting about their abuse is also commonplace.  And that boasting would probably take the form of the statements made by Mr Trump in 2005.

As a presidential candidate, those remarks now haunt his campaign.  But it looks as if  many men in Hollywood have yet to be brought to account for their actions.

While there is some justification for ranting about Mr Trump's remarks, we should realize that they are symptoms of a larger, and continuing, problem.