Earlier today I posted on Facebook this anecdote:
Today's moment in public shaming. We sat down to eat lunch, Michael got up to move seats saying, "I don't want to see a Confederate flag," indicating one on the front license plate of a car outside. I responded, "Yeah, they're just announcing that they are racist assholes." When the people at the table next to us departed, it was their car. They had heard our entire exchange. We enjoyed our lunch all the more.
An uncle responded:
The problem with liberalists.....if people don't have view points that match them then they are wrong....everyone is entitled to their own view points even if they are different.
And I replied:
Anyone sporting a confederate flag on their car wants other people to think they are racist assholes, that's the point I'm making. If they didn't want people to think that they wouldn't sport a confederate flag. And you are completely wrong on what I think about disagreement within a pluralistic democracy, see this blog postfor instance.
Plus I reposted this link to a recent blog post in which I explicitly addressed the issue of the Confederate flag in the north.
Good liberals do not believe they are correct and everyone else is wrong. Good liberals have embraced criticism, for criticism is an essential trait of liberal thinking. Every idea must be open to criticism and revision based upon new evidence or hearing a new perspective.
But does this mean that one can never arrive at any settled truth, anything firm convictions? No. As the American Pragmatists (particularly Peirce, James, and Dewey) demonstrated in their thinking the methods of democratic inquiry in a community and with scientific methods will fix our beliefs.
What liberals reject is ideological dogmatism, particularly of the kind that has been proven to be harmful.
Racism and white supremacy are wrong. Doesn't mean that one can't continue to hold such views, but the community, through centuries of thought and conversation, have determined that these positions are morally wrong. Might some evidence arise to make the community revise its decision? Possibly, but very improbable.
But, here, the rub, I am not a liberal. In the imprecise way that Americans use the term, fine, I accept the label, but in the more precise uses of the term, that is not who I am.
The best description of who I am is Christian. I took the name of Jesus at my baptism. So, there are basic truths that one must accept if one is to be called by that name, and one of those truths is that all people are equal in the sight of God. So, based upon my faith, I can say with confidence that the person flying the Confederate flag is wrong. He may have a free expression right to his view, but he has no moral right to. He is in violation of the moral law.