Liberalism has choked itself.
Just in case, to make things clear: freedom of an individual is the leading idea and the superior value of liberalism.
In the heat of political excitement it turns out that the majority of environments connected with politics are so engaged that they become lost in their own values and views. The right wing hands out money, the centre is focused on complaining and the hidden left wing is looking for what is left to be offered. Concentrating on new, catchy party identities makes the political chaos even deeper. It is obvious and understandable that the right-wing populist groups stick to the strategy of chaos, since chaos gives the expected effect in terms of retaining popularity when conducting unpopular activities.
The imprisonment or freezing of the values of freedom in liberal groups is a separate (and more difficult to be logically justified) phenomenon. Journalism and liberal-centre policy seek and show the evil of current liberal government, express disapproval and criticise it. That’s right – that’s the task of the opposition. The effect is foreseeable. The supporters of the liberal attitude towards the world confirm their conviction that the conservative-populist group wielding power is not right. In the end, all parties are even more concerned about their own righteousness and mutual unjustness. The social moods become even hotter, demonstrations and marches are organised in the streets, everyone would like to express and share their own emotions. Uneasiness, mess, lack of direction.
Is it only in the “heat” that the emotions we express reflect our true values?
The authors of the 3rd Republic of Poland’s success, the most talented Polish politicians and thinkers, the faces of the bright side of the journalism and media write elaborations which do not fit the main liberal values. Almost all headings in the media are foreseeable.
The analysis on the front newspaper pages each Arabian horse, monument, unfortunate speech of the populist politician or any other issue that would normally be omitted, plays a rather emotional than informative function. The quality of liberal rhetoric is dangerously reaching the level of the populist one. We arrive at a situation when all actors on the scene become a homogeneous, political pulp. The effect is the following: social weariness and gradual indifference, lack of plan and resignation => paradoxically, it is a situation fostering populist activities.
Does the centre-liberal electorate really need all those elaborations, publications and commentaries in order to understand that populism is no good? Will the centre-liberal voter’s knowledge become richer and their life become better after reading a book telling that the current government is bad and should be doing something else?
A liberal person is free and lets others be free as well. Liberal people do not bind themselves or others with their own vision. The liberal is led by with faith and respect to individuals, no matter what they are like and lets them live and develop in their own way. The liberals observe first, then make an opinion and act, preventing themselves from adjusting others and the surroundings to their own views. Imposing one’s own views on the others means heading towards the authoritarian direction. A liberal offers, shows, teaches, allows, but doesn’t manipulate, ridicule and combat.
True liberals are focused on freedom. It is the energy of freedom that makes them generous and this makes them strong and gives their voters the sense of stability.
The political scene doesn’t need authoritarian and malcontent moods any more. The current government has them in stock and its offer seems to be extensive. We lack a mature liberal offer nowadays.
But maybe we should let the ruling party be what they are – observe them building many monuments, changing the names of some streets or squares, emitting morning or evening shows for the children, closing an uncomfortable theatre or appointing incompetent people to hold political and media posts. It is costly, of course, and we’ll all have to pay for that. However, the benefit may be two-sided: liberals will free their liberalism and conservative populists will go through their collective lunatic state, which is apparently needed in order to regulate their own past and become a mature right-wing group. Pushing ahead, ridiculing and constant combating leads to nowhere because… it doesn’t solve the stem of the problem in any way. The problem which equals the discontent of many citizens and is a fact at the moment.
There are many reasons to be discontented – take the natural drive making us momentarily feel better than the others. This may be the repercussions of some educational legacy, e.g. pathological division of co-responsibility in families, many young people living with their parents, the lack of the need to be independent and so on. Also the social trust in the system has for years determined the development of the society => the citizens of western Europe were caressed, whereas the ones from the east were rather punished. That’s why there is a conviction that we do better on our own rather than acting according to what the system offers us. This, in turn, gives us a mandate to complain about the establishment.
People who chose or choose the populist, conspiratorial or extremist options need understanding and noticing that their fear, regret or other negative emotions have been soothed. A long feeling of injustice created a conviction that the restriction of liberties, authoritarian policy and increase in control will be a good solution, which will protect everyone from the internal and external dangers. The fact that these dangers in majority are irrational or invented for the needs of some kind of ideology doesn’t mean that they don’t seem real for the half of the society which experiences them on the cognitive, emotional or behavioural level. The expression of the support for the people who promise they will combat these dangers is a reaction to such world reception.
A liberal lets the discontented one be discontented, and a contented one to be contented. The only way to settle the disputes is the understanding and the obligation resulting from the fact of being a liberal, even though this might have an only one-sided reasoning. A turn towards populism is the right of an individual, as well as a democratic tool. The liberal declares to be sensitive to such calls and propose an alternative solution. A liberal protects the individual’s right of choice.
There’s no need to fight with anyone. There’s no need to claim that one is or was right or to impose one’s views on anyone. What is needed is rather human kindness and openness to the world and people, no matter what they are like.