Selling the Enlightenment |

Selling the Enlightenment

Dear Editor:A reminder to gloating conservatives: The founding fathers were the liberals of their day. Yup, America was founded on liberal, progressive principles. Enlightened principles, even.Every American enjoys hard-won liberal freedom. The fanatic far right spins the word liberal to poach power. Period. The right’s fiscal prudence, once held forward like a crusader’s shield? Yesterday’s papers. Reduce the size and reach of government? An expedient slogan from the ’80s.That we protect the least powerful and listen to the voice of the minority insofar as their issues contribute a positive diversity of dialogue, that’s a liberal concept. It’s a liberal concept that separates powers of government account to the law. The environment is a more recent liberal cause that the planet is ours to protect, not pillage. Et cetera.We all move in this liberal American realm, breathe liberal air. Liberal secularism is the root of our privilege and Bush and his handlers profit by discrediting it. For liberals it’s a given that morally informed reason is God’s gift to humanity, elevating us over creatures. Religious fundamentalists can’t process this crucial insight. They cede self-determination to clerics who allege to speak for God while neocon tactics politicize the pulpit and co-opt Christ to dumb down discourse to single issues.Democrats need to sell the Enlightenment all over again. They need to sell it hard. And the right needs to remember that Thomas Jefferson and his crew were a bunch of liberals.Dan SadowskyAspen

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