Is the liberal philosophy basically about indulgence?

Nov 2014
408
ph
#1
Basically it seems from a general philosophical point of view conservatism seems to go along the lines of self restraint, or restraining one's impulses in favor of tradition, while the liberal philosophy is that of something feels good, then the best course of action is to indulge in it? Or at least that seems it be the line of thinking when it comes to social and sexual issues?
 

robto

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,068
Lisbon, Portugal
#2
Which strain of liberalism are you actually referring to? Liberalism, in its original form, is basically all about individual freedom.

Liberalism is the basis of our socio-economic and political system. The fundamental elements of contemporary society worldwide have liberal roots. Unless you are a raging Islamic fundamentalist or a Neo-Nazi "Dark Enlightenment" type of guy, your political opinions subscribe to some liberal ideals.
 
Dec 2011
2,282
#3
ren, the liberal philosophy allows people who want to do things by tradition, with self-restraint, should be free to do so (as long as doing that doesn't harm anyone else). It also allows people who want to do things that feel good, they should be allowed to do that (as long as doing that doesn't harm anyone else). Liberalism claims to be rational, perhaps utilitarian. A conservative might value behaviours simply because they have been done for a long time, while the liberal, I would say, would decide each case on its own merits.
 
May 2018
119
Houston, TX
#4
ren, the liberal philosophy allows people who want to do things by tradition, with self-restraint, should be free to do so (as long as doing that doesn't harm anyone else). It also allows people who want to do things that feel good, they should be allowed to do that (as long as doing that doesn't harm anyone else). Liberalism claims to be rational, perhaps utilitarian. A conservative might value behaviours simply because they have been done for a long time, while the liberal, I would say, would decide each case on its own merits.
So, if I want to do something that feels good, and in the process does not harm anyone else, but harms my own self, that should be 'permissible' within this philosophy? I am thinking of drug abuse here more than anything else. Very poignant to me, as I recently lost a grandson to sustained drug abuse and died from an overdose. Actually, now that I think about it some more, there was harm done to our family, especially his parents, whom he bled dry financially and emotionally trying to help him. Perhaps I answered my own question....
 
Jul 2009
9,913
#5
Liberal at one time had an understood definition. Now it is just a label.

When the term liberal (adjective or noun) became somewhat widely understood, perhaps in the first half of the 19th century, it was mostly a political concept. It was not revolutionary, but rather progressive in character. Constitutional government - and constitutional monarchy; a broader population base involved in public life, and some improvement in individual educational and material conditions.

Profligate behavior, sexual deviation, violations of social taboos, and pornographic material existed - as they always had - underneath the socially acceptable veneer.

What seems to be discussed above is 'hedonistic' behavior. That is nothing new in philosophy as Epicurus promoted such things in like 300 B.C. I don't think he was politically 'liberal.'

As language has evolved and also been weaponized in some ways, now 'liberal' is often not much more than a pejorative label for persons on the political right to disparage those on the political left. Those on the left of course frequently have their own pejoratives for the right.

It is a sad and discouraging state of affairs, but it doesn't have much to do with feeling good IMO. :lol:
 
Jul 2009
9,913
#6
So, if I want to do something that feels good, and in the process does not harm anyone else, but harms my own self, that should be 'permissible' within this philosophy? I am thinking of drug abuse here more than anything else. Very poignant to me, as I recently lost a grandson to sustained drug abuse and died from an overdose. Actually, now that I think about it some more, there was harm done to our family, especially his parents, whom he bled dry financially and emotionally trying to help him. Perhaps I answered my own question....
Behavior that drives people to tragic ends is not philosophical in any sense. Self destructive lifestyles, whatever their roots, are expressions of despair. Many of us have acquaintances or family members who have orbited that world.
 

robto

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,068
Lisbon, Portugal
#7
Liberal at one time had an understood definition. Now it is just a label.

When the term liberal (adjective or noun) became somewhat widely understood, perhaps in the first half of the 19th century, it was mostly a political concept. It was not revolutionary, but rather progressive in character. Constitutional government - and constitutional monarchy; a broader population base involved in public life, and some improvement in individual educational and material conditions.

Profligate behavior, sexual deviation, violations of social taboos, and pornographic material existed - as they always had - underneath the socially acceptable veneer.

What seems to be discussed above is 'hedonistic' behavior. That is nothing new in philosophy as Epicurus promoted such things in like 300 B.C. I don't think he was politically 'liberal.'

As language has evolved and also been weaponized in some ways, now 'liberal' is often not much more than a pejorative label for persons on the political right to disparage those on the political left. Those on the left of course frequently have their own pejoratives for the right.

It is a sad and discouraging state of affairs, but it doesn't have much to do with feeling good IMO. :lol:
Liberalism, specially in the late 18th and beggining of the 19th century, was indeed a revolutionary idea and many of its proponents advocated for the violence overthrow of the current establishment.
 
Oct 2015
943
Norway
#8
Another perspective on liberalism is that it's about fighting oppression. Oppression of the poor, women, homosexuals etc.
I'm not saying 0312 is always wrong, but I also hopes he sees there is something in what I wrote about fighting oppression.
 
Aug 2012
45
The Desert Sands
#9
So, if I want to do something that feels good, and in the process does not harm anyone else, but harms my own self, that should be 'permissible' within this philosophy? I am thinking of drug abuse here more than anything else. Very poignant to me, as I recently lost a grandson to sustained drug abuse and died from an overdose. Actually, now that I think about it some more, there was harm done to our family, especially his parents, whom he bled dry financially and emotionally trying to help him. Perhaps I answered my own question....
Liberalism, in my mind, is nothing more than a moral philosophy that has been conjoined with democracies of the past three centuries or so. Thus, the term "liberal democracy" emanates from this. The democracy of ancient Athens, as Josaih Ober has poignantly written, was not like the democracies that have appeared in the Early Modern Period to the present.

Liberalism does promote less restraint among the polity, meaning that under this philosophy so long as your actions do not harm that of another, then that action is permissible. Though many persuade that this philosophy is innocuous, I have concluded that with the passage of time and the loosening of moral restraint, that societies tend to trend toward lawlessness and eventually chaos.
 
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Apr 2017
1,372
U.S.A.
#10
Modern American liberalism is significantly different than what it used to mean/still means in other parts of the world. The hippies of the 60-70's took over the Democrat party and changed their policies and declared it "liberalism." Eventually this term became too toxic and they again changed it to being Progressive. Occasionally the term liberal is still used. Their policies are a mix of socialism, anarchism and other concepts, generally wrapped around the concept of protecting people and allowing people to do as they please.