Author Archives: Denis Rixson

Agenda 2020 Essay #21: What it means to be a Liberal Democrat today

Editor’s Note: The party has been running an essay competition for members of the Liberal Democrats, to submit 1000 words on the theme “What it means to be a Liberal Democrat today.” The deadline for contributions was in November and the winner was announced at Spring Conference. If you would like us to publish your submission, send it to [email protected].

Some things do not change. Liberalism is always, everywhere, about freedom. Historically this was freedom from – from political or religious authority; from the king, the church, or foreign power. In the west many such freedoms have been won, or rewon. But, though freer, are we free from want and sickness, custom and convention, from the pressure of the norm, from worry, fear and hate, from ignorance and prejudice? There are many battles still to be fought.

The test for a liberal is always freedom for an individual, not a sect or class, nor group nor gender – but freedom for the person, however they term themselves. We judge our freedoms by ever-changing benchmarks; as each summit is reached we see distant horizons, further freedoms beckon. Gaining political freedom, we seek social, sexual, economic freedoms now. We are ambitious for our selves. We treasure personal liberties. Being free, growing in freedom, is a process, not an achievement; a journey, not an ending.

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