The case for being liberal

Over the years I’ve gone through the path from being a moderate religious conservative as a teen into a full fledged liberal as I like to call my self today. The journey was not an easy one and through which I came to learn that people around me understand liberalism in different ways, the ones who call themselves liberal that is.

From one side some think being open minded is equal to being liberal, others think that having a westernized-Arab mindset is liberal, while some think that the acceptance of other people’s religions is what makes them liberal.

You can read this Wikipedia article of what liberalism means and the history associated with it.

But what i want here is to share what I think being a liberal individual means (not to confuse this with political parties that call themselves that).

As a liberal it’s about really really believing in your individual freedom and of those around you and treating them as equals in their right to exist and be.

What they wear, where they want to go, where they live, what they do for a living, who they pray for, who they want to sleep with, who they want to love …

By freedom I mean everything that does not result in harming other individuals.

Yes those were BOLD. And those as many debates I’ve read, witnessed and participated in is where the confusion comes and where you hear stuff like this:

“I am generally a liberal person, but really someone sleeping around is something I am totally against, it’s harming for our society“.

“I am a liberal person, but really someone wearing an Islamic Hijab (scarf) is something I am totally against, she’s definitely oppressed”.

“I come from a liberal mindset, but really walking down the street wearing such tight short miniskirt and a transparent sleeveless shirt is definitely inappropriate! we are not in Europe!”

“Gosh this girl is wearing a scarf with such a tight jeans, she either wears a full hijab costume or take her scarf off and spare us her pathetically portrayed conservatism!”

“As a liberal, gays and lesbians can do what they want, but really I don’t think its my job or if it’s the right time and place to go defending their rights! there are more important things to fight for these days than that.”

“My wife and I are liberals, but you know how things are when you have kids, it’s the mom that has to stay home definitely not the dad.”

Those statements can not in any way, shape or form be statements coming from someone calling themselves a liberal. They can call themselves “moderates”, they can call themselves “cool”, “easy going”, “open minded” for all I care.

What do you think?

(If you are not a liberal or hate liberals and think they are the promoters of sin in society. I ask you gently to spare me your comments this post is not for discussing anti-liberalism. Thank you.)

Razan Khatib

Razan Khatib

Playing at the intersection of culture, technology, and values. Trying to structure my thoughts and share experiences, learnings, and insights. Co-founder of @spring_apps
Amman, Jordan