"No freebies" was one of the guiding principles I grew up with in the Bronx - one of America's great working class communities and a bastion of Muscular Liberalism.
Basically it means I would rather mix it up with those who disparage Liberalism than not engage them in the name of civility. Especially at a time when the reflexive rule followers who reflexively support Donald Trump, and habitually ridicule Liberals as fragile "snowflakes," are blanching before the backlash they've precipitated.
Working class scrappiness is an implicit part of the American ethos, which I bring to The Cynical Times whenever Wingnuts, Hillbots, and their fellow Wall Street cheerleaders run their ballwashers in our online community of proud Liberals. Especially when they start regurgitating The Right Wing Noise Machine's five knowing lies about Liberalism.
I encourage my fellow Liberals to be equally proud and pugnacious toward those who put party and profits ahead of people, and to understand that compassion and empathy do not translate into passivity with these bullies. The vast majority of whom are fake tough guys living out the same adolescent fantasies as our Draft Evader-in-Chief.
The core Liberal principles of equality, democracy and freedom are the founding principles of all of the world's great Democracies. Including our own. They're worth defending. Both online and offline.
Also worth attacking for the men who would be king, like Trump and his kindred spirits in Russia's Vladimir Putin, Turkeys' Recep Tayyip Erdogan, The Philippines' Rodrigo Duterte, China's Xi JinPing, Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu, and North Korea's Kim Jong-un.
Liberalism emphasizes empathy and compassion for the needy. However, these qualities should not be interpreted as being passive about political corruption, corporate oligarchy, hereditary wealth and power, and those who benefit from them.
Meaning the tyrants who now habitually camouflage their ambitions behind titles like "CEO" and "President." Just as pedophiles once cloaked their predatory agendas in titles like "teacher" and "preacher" to place themselves above suspicion.
Quite the opposite. Liberal champions in the United States, France, Russia, Italy and Britain all fought violently against both royals and their supporters to replace absolute monarchy with democracy in the 1700s, 1800s and 1900s. We must be equally assertive in its defense.
I'm inherently suspicious of conspiracy theories. However when you look at the five big lies about Liberalism being distributed by the Right Wing Noise Machine you have to wonder whether there's a single wealthy hand responsible for them.
Let's address them one by one.
Big Lie No.1: "All Liberals are Pacifists"
Not true. There is absolutely nothing hypocritical about aggressive Liberals. We are not all pacifists. Never have been.
Like The Founding Fathers, we must engage. Regardless of whether the setting is a restaurant, online discussion group, gym, or corner bar. We must confront those who enrich themselves by monetizing our freedoms.
All of the Founding Fathers were Liberals because it's the antithesis of hereditary wealth and power. It is the positive foil to the tyranny of absolute monarchs like The British King they revolted against. As well as the French King XVI who was beheaded in 1793; the Russian Czar who was shot dead in 1917; the German Kaiser who was forced to abdicate in 1918; and the Austo-Hungarian Emperor who was ousted in 1918.
This is relevant to the present, because a new generation of toxic elites is trying to reestablish the tyranny of absolute monarchy in the guise of corporatism. It's not enough for them to be rich. These modern day royal wannabees also crave unlimited power over the poor and faltering middle class.
The painful truth is that absolute monarchy is a form of slavery. It employs a different name and operates behind the illusion of choice, but the expectation of absolute obedience to the silver spoons is the same.
That's what the rich scoundrels pushing corporate oligarchy are really after.
The closer you are to them, the more rights you have. There's no equality or meritocracy in the caste system they're installing.
That's why the billionaires needed the U.S. Supreme Court to establish corporations as people in its disastrous Citizens United ruling in 2010. The decision allowed them to hijack our democracy by giving the super wealthy the right to make unlimited anonymous political donations through the corporations they control.
Meanwhile, the rest of us are still limited to $2,700 and must identify ourselves at a time of rampant class warfare, continuous job destruction, and growing wealth inequality.
Not that it matters when most Americans are struggling for basic survival and can't afford a $20 donation.
Royal wannabees like Trump, Putin and Erdoğan are busily gnawing away at our hard-won democracies. They hope to replace them with a new form of hereditary wealth and power based on the wealthy citizens who now hide behind corporate names like Comcast, Koch Industries, Wal-Mart, Apollo Global Management, News Corp., 21st Century Fox, Hancock Prospecting, Purdue Pharma, Samsung, Saudi Aramco and Mars.
Big Lie No. 2: "Liberals are Rich Hypocrites"
The paid liars our toxic elites employ at places like Fox News habitually misrepresent Liberalism as the privileged hypocrisy of modern day royal wannabees like the Clinton and Kennedy political dynasties, a pair of Wall Street cheerleaders who are already grooming their sheltered children for future leadership. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Liberalism champions neither privilege nor hereditary wealth. In fact, it is the sworn enemy of both. Our people have fought and slain royalists and their supporters by the trainload to establish the representative democracies now under attack by those who see themselves as First Class Citizens and want the rest of us to ride coach.
In America, royal wannabees have long subverted our democracy via economic apartheid. On paper, we're a Nation of Laws where all are equal in the eyes of justice. In reality, those who can afford $1,200 a hour lawyers have huge advantages over those who cannot. The same is now true in medicine, education, and politics.
That's not capitalism. It's tyranny.
Capitalism is about competition. Hereditary wealth and power stifles competition.
Big Lie No. 3: "All Liberals are Democrats"
Liberalism is associated with neither Democrats nor Republicans, although members of both parties have been Liberals. Basically, anyone who wants to make the world a better place for everyone - both rich and poor - is a liberal. Anyone who wants to make it better for the rich at the expense of the rest of us is not.
Liberalism has absolutely nothing to do with the wealthy Wall Street champions of The Republican and Democratic political machines, or their privileged offspring - like Ivanka Trump and Joe Kennedy. All of whom are habitually sheltered from the masses behind the barred doors of elite prep schools, wealthy enclaves, and gated communities.
A lot of them want to bring America's poor and middle class to their knees now.
Because it's a lot more fun to be The Lord of The Manor when the masses have to knock on your kitchen door to beg for scraps. That's why so many of the rich oppose labor unions, empowered citizens and representative democracy. They don't like when workers are independent and "saucy."
It's also why they oppose Liberalism and why our Congress has morphed into a veritable House of Lords over the past 20 years.
U.S. senators and representatives now boast a median household wealth of more than $1 million, while the decent working people they supposedly represent have a median income of roughly $50,000 a year. A figure that does not include the 40 percent of the adult population which is jobless.
That's the real unemployment figure.
One which is habitually misrepresented by the two political machines that sell political protection to corporate America like the protection rackets once run by the Mafia families of old. They've even put criminal loan sharks out of business by undermining the state usury laws which had capped annual lending rates at 11 percent for more than century.
Big Lie No. 4: "All Liberals are Communists"
Don't ask me how we can be rich hypocrites and Communists simultaneously, but apparently we're the human embodiment of all things bad in the eyes of the rich, lazy and parasitic and their paid liars. From fire ants, to genital herpes, to wasps, hornets and yellow jackets.
The Right Noise Machine habitually equates Liberalism with Communism, just as it misrepresents marijuana as a gateway drug to heroin. Sorry, that's Oxycontin. The prescription drug which has caused more than 200,000 fatal overdose and generated more than $35 billion for the Sackler Family and their corporate alter ego since its 1995 release.
Communism is a system in which companies like Purdue Pharma are owned by the government.
That's not Liberalism.
Historically, American Liberalism is simply a form of capitalism in which the market is efficiently regulated by the government to advance the greater good. As opposed to Wall Street's preference for unregulated profit growth, which has transformed our business community into the human equivalent of a cloud of locusts, consuming everything in its path.
The Right Wing Noise Machine has advanced the knowing lie that the opposite of inefficient government regulation is no government regulation. Instead of efficient regulation.
That's opened the door to the financial crises which produced the Housing Bubble and Bust, and The Great Recession. More crises lie ahead.
The advent of high speed trading and analytics has taken us from capitalism to savage capitalism. Which is akin to going from a system where you're expected to try to pay for your medical care to a system where you're denied medical care if you can't pay for it.
It has to, because the one truth about forever profit growth is that it eventually leads to influential corporations like Facebook monetizing the rights and freedoms of the masses, and weakening the very fabric of our society.
To be silent in the face of such inherently unAmerican behavior is to be a coward. To be civil, is to be complicit.
Piracy, rape and slavery are all examples of the evil that is savage capitalism, which celebrates the taking of anything or anyone that can be overpowered.
Think about savage capitalism in the context of the film Hacksaw Ridge, which depicts combat medic Desmond Doss saving 75 soldiers on Okinawa during World War II. Now, imagine if each time he raced up to an injured soldier he asked them for their credit score and entire life savings before administering life saving care. That would be an example of savage capitalism.
It's completely incompatible with the idea of a functioning society as a place where people with shared interests work together to advance them. Whereas regular capitalism, democratic socialism and Liberalism are compatible.
It's also completely incompatible of the concept of heroic sacrifice embraced by both the U.S. military and law enforcement communities. Savage capitalists like Cadet Bone Spurs don't sacrifice themselves, they sacrifice others.
Big Lie No. 5: "Liberals Cannot be Republicans.
Savage capitalism differs greatly from the mix of democracy and democratic socialism which now characterizes the rest of the Western World and characterized the United States from 1939 -1980. The period Trump points to when he says we need to "Make America Great Again."
It was a time when Liberal Democrats like Franklin Deleanor Roosevelt, John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson shared the White House with Liberal Republicans like Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. Ike expanded Social Security, integrated the military and established The Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Nixon founded the Environmental Protection Agency.
If you've read this far, you're probably scratching your head about now and thinking "Gee, I got lied to a lot about Liberalism. I wonder why?"
Let's think that through together: If you wanted to destroy the democracies that Liberalism and a free press gave birth to and restore hereditary wealth and power, what's the first thing you would do?
If you said discredit Liberalism and destroy the Free Press you win a cookie.
Disclaimer: The Cynical Times advocates neither physical violence nor violent revolution.