Opinion
Education Opinion

What is “A Liberal”?

January 10, 2008 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Over at the blog This Week in Education, colleague Alexander Russo accuses me of imagining to be a liberal. Were it that simple.

Read my reply.See Alexander’s posting and my reply here, or read my reply (with helpful links) below.

For the record:

While I might have been imagining myself as a Liberal Democrat in 2008, I was not imagining my political philosophy.

I’m what was once called a “Rockefeller” Republican or a (Scoop) “Jackson” Democratic. I was born in Boston and grew up on the North Shore of Massachusetts, where it was probably the consensus. My father was an immigrant Frenchman and a serial small business entrepreneur, my mother a full-time, feminist, anti-war, civil rights activist from a family with deep ties in the area’s Scottish diaspora. I think I learned something from both that made me comfortable with my region’s traditionally centrist pragmatic politics.

Today, I think the term for Republicans like me is “crunchy.” “Hard” on national defense, fiscal conservatism and taxes, not entirely trustful of larger government, but “soft” on matters of civil and individual rights, and a respect for the role of government in the redistribution of wealth and opportunity from the top to the bottom.

Governor Weld remains a hero. Senator Jackson’s was the last Democratic candidacy for President that got me excited. With the defection of what are now derisively called neoconservatives to the Republican Party in the 1980’s, culminating in the ejection of Senator Lieberman last year, I don’t think the Democrats have enough Jackson Democrats to justify a new designation. (Are enough neoconservatives trying to return to the fold to be identified as “Webb Democrats”? ) But my social liberalism follows from morality, rather than institutional affiliation, and so for me, the political attachment to teachers unions is minimal.

I support the need of employees for collective bargaining, and hence for unions. But (perhaps as a Yankee) I have no great love for concentrations of power - union, corporate or government, and the tendency of the leadership of those institutions to confuse their own self interest with the interests of their members. As a definitional matter, I think that package of beliefs puts me squarely in the political philosophy classically called liberalism.

Posted by: Marc Dean Millot | January 10, 2008 at 17:31 PM

The opinions expressed in edbizbuzz are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: January 12, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education School Bus Driver Retires After 48 Years Behind Wheel
Charles City school bus driver Betty Flick sat behind the wheel for the final time last week, wrapping up a 48-year career for the district.
3 min read
Charles City school bus driver Betty Flick poses with one of her farewell signs. Flick has been driving for Charles City School District for 48 years.
Betty Flick quickly fell in love with the job and with the kids, which is what has had her stay in the district for this long.
Courtesy of Abby Koch/Globe Gazette
Education Briefly Stated: December 1, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: November 17, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read