Susan McNeal Velasquez appeals to “heart and imagination” to soften abrasive political relations in Laguna Beach. The concern is with local development policy, but her “wisdom” impinges on a much wider debate about political hatred in America.
Western democratic processes have diverged from classical liberalism since the Enlightenment, a severe challenge for society to address. Liberalism (ie, “classical”) has evolved robustly with progress intentionally brought about by open debate and deliberate reform. Certain principles have guided progress, such as valuing the individual, open markets and free enterprise, limited government and separation of powers, legal due process and democratic restraint (plus respect for science and its methodologies).
In China, Western democracy is seen officially as selfish and unstable. In America, controversial liberal values are seen by some populists as imposed by privileged elites.
Classical liberalism embraced free trade and (ultimately) globalization. Our liberal processes still must “activate our willingness to be truthful” (Velasquez), which compels a realization that global integration of economies and people (globalization) is the manifest destiny of world society.
Trump’s populism fomented distrust of “experts” who ostensibly had foisted liberal priorities and institutions on the people. Trump turned to economic nationalism and away from multilateralism; but Biden also resorts to unilateralism, protectionism and sanctions—little improvement. The GOP defines Biden as a hapless Bolshevik. He seems a hostage of his own illiberal left and loyalty to woke causes.
A similar stalemate hampers progress toward solving problems in Laguna Beach, impeding sensible compromise between pro- and anti-development interests.
Douglas Sikorski, Laguna Beach