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John Fugelsang on Religion, Atheists, and Liberal Media

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Dave Rubin on Being a Liberal

The Rubin ReportMay 11 '16

"The world is constantly changing and I'm not ashamed to admit my opinions have changed along with it. That isn't the position of a man without conviction, it's a position of a man with a conscience." Stay tuned for clips from this week's interview with John Fugelsang (comedian and TV/Radio host) coming today 5/11, tomorrow 5/12, and the full episode on Friday 5/13.


Published on Ora TV on May 11, 2016:

Let's talk about the L Word today. No, not that L word, the other L word, Liberal. I've always considered myself a liberal, probably before I even knew what it really meant. As a kid, I remember thinking that liberals were the good guys. Liberals were looking out for other people, liberals wanted a fairer society and liberals didn't care about race or religion.Before I go any further, you guys know I like definitions, so let's actually define the word liberal according to the Oxford Dictionary.

1. Open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values.

2. Concerned mainly with broadening a person's general knowledge and experience, rather than with technical or professional training.

Being open to new opinions and broadening your knowledge both seem like good ideas, right? With these two definitions in mind you can understand why liberals have been on the forefront of the civil rights movement, workers rights, women's right's and marriage equality. Sometimes to get everyone to a place of equality you have to throw out the societal norms and be willing to accept a new normal. Conservatives often argue that change isn't good, or at least change that comes too fast isn't. I think in certain cases there can be some truth to that mentality, but if you're the black person sitting in the back of the bus, or the woman trying to vote or the gay person who can't get married, change can't happen soon enough.

I mention all this because I don't wanna lose my cred as a real liberal. Since I've had some conservative guests on The Rubin Report, I've seen people suddenly calling me a conservative or claiming I'm a Republican. As I've mentioned before, I've never voted for a Republican for any major office, so if I'm a Republican I'm a pretty bad one. Just because I talk to Ben Shapiro or Milo Yiannopoulous, or Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute, doesn't mean I share all or any of their beliefs. And that's exactly the same as when I talk to left leaning guests like Jimmy Dore, Areva Martin, or my guest this week, John Fugelsang. I listen to people, push back when I see fit and see where the conversation goes. I know some of you want me to electrocute guests every time they say something I disagree with, but there's a litany of legal reasons we can't do that. But beyond the legal reasons I'm a firm believer that good ideas always beat out bad ideas if you let the light shine on both of them. It's not liberal, or even decent, to shout down or silence ideas just because you don't like them. That has been, and always will be, the driving force behind The Rubin Report.

I view liberal thinking and liberal ideas as generally good. Over the past few months as I've explored classical liberalism, with it's focus on civil liberties and economic freedom, I've come to realize in many cases liberal ideas aren't that far from libertarian ideas. You can make excellent arguments for racial equality, gender equality and marriage equality all from both liberal and libertarian points of view. The main difference is how you think the role of government should be applied in any of those cases. A liberal may want marriage equality because they believe that a gay couple deserves to be treated the same as a straight couple. A libertarian may want marriage equality because they don't believe the government has the right to tell any two people what kind of contract they can partake in.

The silent majority of us have much more in common than we have apart, especially if you're a moderate on either side or just a good old fashioned centrist. I tend to think most of you who watch The Rubin Report fall somewhere on that spectrum. I don't pretend to have every answer because it's preposterous to do so. Unfortunately, not having an answer doesn't stop most talking heads. I prefer to analyze each situation with the same level of critical thinking that I apply to the rest of my life. Unfortunately, many liberals have taken a turn into stifling dissent with cries of racism and bigotry every time they hear an idea they don't like.

To me, being liberal is a constant evolution of ideas as time goes on. This concept doesn't mean changing my ideals or my morals from day to day, but it means I can change as the world changes. I see the world in shades of grey rather than black and white. The world is constantly changing and I'm not ashamed to admit my opinions have changed along with it. That isn't the position of a man without conviction, it's a position of a man with a conscience.

As liberals we must be brave enough to have our ideas challenged, just like we challenged the ideas that came before us. At the end of the day this isn't about right and wrong, it's about having the bravery to defend your ideals. So to my liberal friends who have chosen censorship over ideas and smearing over debate, I challenge you to be brave. If our ideas are good and our cause is just, we shouldn't be afraid to defend them.

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