Recently I heard some lectures on European history about the struggle amongst Social Liberalism vs. Economic Liberalism vs. Monarchy/Royalism vs. the Communist Experiment-- and it really gave me a way of thinking about politics and political evolution that seems more practical. It seems to have given me some tools to try to sort out political positions that we in the USA reduce to Left versus Right.
For example, the USA's Civil War was in a major aspect a war of social liberalism (anti-slavery) and economic conservativism (no laissez faire in regards to allowing a Slaver Economy) of the North pitted against the social conservativism (Slaver worldview of total European/'white' supremacy) and the economic liberal stance (laissez faire should include ANY KIND of economic choice desired, including chattel slavery). No wonder it was VERY hard to reconcile such huge differences!
And the categories of Social Liberalism and Economic Liberalism make sense in sorting out how the Southern conservative Dems revolted when the Dem Party in the mid-1900s embraced pro-civil rights policies. And when the Republic Party became an enclave of anti-civil rights resentment, socially liberal Republicans started to back away from the GOP.
The parties are always evolving, or rather, shifting, but this shift has us in its seemingly mysterious grasp right now, so it gets confusing.
The GOP has become not just the repository for 'white' southern ideology, but a holding place for the desire to undo every progressive social achievement via a fury of regressive activity (unfortunately activated in the USA by a VERY troubling religious fundamentalist American Taliban).
And the OFFICIAL Democratic Party -- what's happening with the Democratic Party Hierarchy who makes the decisions (as opposed to 'little people' Dems in the populace who mostly seem confused about what is transpiring)? The Democratic Party has become the expression of the former liberal Republicans who didn't mind social liberalism's progress as long as their economic/financial liberalism was allowed full, unfettered, deregulated expression in the "freedoms" George Bush I and George Bush II were always talking about; thus, we see Free Market corporatist Republican views refashioned as DLC/Clintonian Democratic views.
And, the richer these leading economic liberal Dems get as they enjoy the spoils of their corporatist policies, the less they care to get fired up defending the social changes that have benefitted the average American. (The image of Al Gore ignoring the Congressional Black Caucus regarding voter rights violations in Florida in 2000 -- that image of Gore's cold rejection is emblematic. As was Bill Clinton's GATT that gave the huge push to the collapse of our working class stability, and the Dems okaying Bush's Wall Street Bail-Out, which finished the job with the mortgage collapse free-fall. And we see it in President Obama who never even invited single-payer advocates to the REAL healthcare deliberations! -- Obama favors economic liberality and usually only pays lip service to truly progressive social ideals, a rhetorical device that consistently gets him elected!)
Are the parties truly polarized? Primarily on social issues, and even that gap seems to be shrinking from my perspective -- particularly as I see regulations and environmental protections as really belonging to the socially liberal worldview.
Social Liberalism (which brought us its first triumphs in the late 1700s and 1800s -- such as, universal male suffrage and an end to feudal serfdom -- is now more and more being thrown under-the-bus by the Economic Liberals of the One Percent and their Oligarchs in their drive for the Freedom-to-Profit-At-Any-Cost.
I think we Americans would be benefitted by seeing our social/economic/political history as part of a greater continuum of European history and discussed in terms consistent with those used to discuss European history.
Next, I need to apply this to New World Order Globalization -- and presently it looks to me like Obama expresses it clearly: The NWO Globalization is about snookering the public into thinking that socially liberal ideas are going to be realized, while in reality it is not freedoms of the social arena that are going to be realized. The NWO only seeks to realize/institute economic liberalism's "freedoms" for the few in the Global Ruling Class and their oligarchs.