Taking back the L word

It’s no secret. Being an L word is the worst thing one can be in the current political milieu. Looked down upon by your friends and loved ones who think that you have opted to join a Jim Jones like cult where love and marijuana are the order of the day or worse yet (Insert sarcasm here) think you are a card carrying member of the communist party. Your political opponents scoff and find it perfectly reasonable to debate your grip on reality and your ability to lead. Donald Trump will call you a loser. And the odds are you will not be invited to Sean Hannity’s 55th birthday party. Oh yes the dirty word I am of course referring to is Liberal.  

For those who think I am joking make no mistake, the hatred is out there. When Ann Coulter (who has been graced with all the tact and diplomacy of Yosemite Sam) once said: “Liberals are stalwart defenders of civil liberties - provided we're only talking about criminals.” She showed the dangers of allowing very ignorant people a public platform to espouse incredibly misinformed views.  I am a huge believer in the rights of all to freedom of speech, but I am also a major advocate for responsibility of speech. It should not be considered politically correct(Another “Swear word”) to take people’s feelings into account, respect cultural differences, believe in equality, believe in second chances and believe that we all deserve a fair share in this world to provide for our loved ones. It should be considered common logic.

But what are these civil liberties designed by liberals that Ann Coulter is grabbing up her cross and holy water to keep at bay? Is she talking about free education? Free healthcare? I don’t understand? When people like Bernie Sanders(Oh yes…I feel the Bern) or political entities in South Africa talk about civil liberties like free healthcare and education the Republican party and those on the right end of the isle go up in arms. WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR ALL OF THIS YOU HIPPIE LIBERAL WAHOO? Or WHY WOULD YOU GIVE AWAY FREE STUFF!? Well first of all allow me to say that an XBOX or a BMW if given away by the government would be free stuff.  A quality education that does not put you in crippling debt or being able to get the proper healthcare to live a long and meaningful life is not free stuff. It is called cementing a comfortable future of the world for those who will come after us. When you have families that no longer have to choose between medical aid and school or food and shelter you are creating a society of happier, well-adjusted people. When a teenage girl or boy knows that they can go to college or university regardless of their race, background or economic status then they know that what they are being told in school is true. They can be truly anything that they put their minds to.  

In our own country we have seen the consequences of not helping our student body. We think that education is expensive but in the words of Howard Gardner “Try estimating the price of ignorance”. I want us to stop for a moment and put ourselves in the shoes of those students. You spend 12 years of your life getting an education, you study in school, and are told if you work hard and apply yourself you can be anything. A doctor, lawyer and even President. You eventually get your high school certificate and then decide you want to move on to University or College. “But wait you can’t just study. You can’t just choose what you want to be, this isn’t free you have to pay for it” We as a society tell them. Lacking funds they very naively go to find work to pay for the education, but here is the ultimate cosmic joke, they cannot get a job that earns a high enough salary without the education. So we are telling them on the one hand that without an education they are doomed and then we hold the brass rings at such a lofty height that they can never reach.  And we wonder why things were set on fire. If we as a society continue to make peaceful, intellectual revolution impossible then we make violent revolution inevitable. It is simple sociological mathematics. In this case one and one do make two.

Being a liberal or a democrat in any country does not mean we want to have a free for all where we don’t check people at the borders, or just give terrorist’s free room and board, or don’t believe in safety and security for all. We are not going to take all of your things and ship you off to a gulag. In fact quite the opposite. We believe that the only way to ensure your freedoms and enhance your security is to empower you. You cannot empower people when you take away their dignity and there is no dignity without education and healthcare. These are not luxuries these are human rights. Terrorism we have seen is incredibly fertile in areas where people do not have access to quality education or the freedoms to pursue their dreams unfettered.  Terrorism, racism, and hatred these are all taught.  That is why it is so important that all children and adults alike have access to information and education that empowers them so that they do not have to turn to terrorist organisations or hate groups for stability.

When you give people the proper tools to captain their own ship they will flourish.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
15.77
-0.2%
Rand - Pound
19.81
-0.0%
Rand - Euro
16.84
-0.2%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.14
+0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.1%
Gold
1,845.52
-0.4%
Silver
21.78
-0.9%
Palladium
2,005.00
-0.3%
Platinum
942.50
-0.6%
Brent Crude
114.03
+0.4%
Top 40
61,176
0.0%
All Share
67,585
0.0%
Resource 10
74,448
0.0%
Industrial 25
72,681
0.0%
Financial 15
15,434
0.0%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE