Unintentionally I seem to have taken a summer recess in blog posting and though much is in need of comment and discussion, instead I want to start getting to some basic principles which should have been addressed long ago, namely, what do I mean by calling myself a Mighty Liberal? This is the first of what hopefully will be many installments on this point and with luck, some readers will add their thoughts.
The goal of liberalism in modern America is tricky and that is part of what makes it a slippery concept, seemingly unprincipled. But it is the seeming unprincipledness of it all which is the hallmark of liberalism. Focus on seeming because in reality that is the aspect of liberalism which makes it a dynamic force. To contrast, conservatives of all stripes make a fetish out of hewing tightly to their so-called principles to the point that the steamrolling of populations along the way becomes testimony to the lengths of sacrifice they would make to assure consistency. They are certain they know what it is that things are. Note the words I use here. They have a desire to have a world governed by "Is-ism". They know what the meaning of "Is" is. Anything which does not meet their self-definition of just about anything is then, by definition, wrong, and therefore to be scorned and destroyed at all costs by any means.
Contrary to conservatism, Liberalism is flexible. It has to be in order to strike a constant balance between liberty and anything which might threaten liberty. Solutions change. Adjustments must be made on the fly. Nothing is certain except the constant need for trying to understand as many facts, circumstances, and opinions as possible while knowing at the same time that full knowing of anything is impossible. We humans must do the best we can and strive always to do better. In the moment, the desire to always be ready to alter one's path can look pretty wishy washy to someone determined to plow ahead at all costs no matter the circumstances. But in most cases, such plowing behavior is good only for an ox.
An ox may be strong but it's not very smart. And it's a herd animal by nature as well. We are humans. We can and should be able to do better. We tell the ox what to do and where to go. And when we're done with the ox, we eat it.