E. J. Dionne explores reasons for liberalism’s poor public image (“A Wrong Turn Led to the ‘L-Word,’” August 22). One reason he overlooks is that American liberalism today, as a political philosophy, is illiberal. Focusing on outcomes (such as income “distribution”), it often ignores complex processes. Obsessed with rescuing underdogs, it finds underdogs even where none exist – and then sanctimoniously rescues people who need no rescuing.
Maurice Cranston wrote that “By definition, a liberal is a man who believes in liberty.”* Today’s “liberals” carelessly discard liberty whenever it interferes with their favorite social-engineering schemes.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Chairman, Department of Economics
George Mason University
* Maurice Cranston, Liberalism, The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (1967).