10 minute read

Be an anti-anti-liberal

By Gabriel Staples
First written: 6 Sept. 2020


In the Book of Mormon, there was one people who distinguished themselves not by what they were, but by what they weren’t. They were the Anti-Nephi-Lehis (see also Wikipedia here). “Anti” here apparently means they were not descendants of Nephi, the son of Lehi. Why “Nephi-Lehi” in the name, instead of just “Nephi”? Because otherwise, one would say, “which Nephi are you talking about!?” There were many Nephis, and it was almost certainly a common name, so “Nephi-Lehi” certainly, I speculate, must have meant “the Nephi who is the son of Lehi.” Why “Anti” in the name? Well, all that means is that the Anti-Nephi-Lehis were NOT descendants of that Nephi who was the son of Lehi. Rather, they were descendants of Laman and Lemuel and Ishmael–ie: the Lamanites. BUT…and this is a BIG BUT…they were NOT Lamanites. They were Lamanites by blood only, but NOT anymore by culture, tradition, beliefs, or actions, because they had become “converted unto the Lord” (Alma 23:13) and had become a righteous people. They truly were “Anti-Nephi-Lehis”–neither descendants of Nephi, nor Lamanites. They identified more by what they weren’t, in this case, due to necessity of creating a new identity, than by what they were.

16 And now it came to pass that the king and those who were converted were desirous that they might have a name, that thereby they might be distinguished from their brethren; therefore the king consulted with Aaron and many of their priests, concerning the name that they should take upon them, that they might be distinguished.

17 And it came to pass that they called their names Anti-Nephi-Lehies; and they were called by this name and were no more called bLamanites.
(Alma 23:16-17)

So it is with our day and age. I am not a liberal and a Democrat, but I certainly am not a modern anti-liberalist Republican either. Modern Republicanism is marked by anti-liberalism, bigotry, hatred (to some extent), non-acceptance of others (to some extent), propaganda (anti-liberalism is spread by these Republicans on places like Facebook rampantly, regardless of its origin or truth), fear (the bulk of the Republican agenda is based on inciting fear into people–fear of what those “Democrats” and “evil liberals” might do, for instance), and lies (how much of this anti-liberalism agenda is produced by foreign nations and government agencies?–a non-zero amount), and I am not part of that. Today, I’m here to stand for something other than liberalism and definitely not anti-liberalist Republicanism. I stand for “anti-anti-liberalism”. The concept is simple: you can be Republican, but don’t be governed by fear and ignorance: don’t be anti-liberalist.

How can I be an Anti-Anti-Liberal?

So, let’s say you lean more Republican but you don’t want to fall into the mainstream trap of anti-liberalist Republicanism, bigotry, and fearmongering. How can you be an anti-anti-liberalist? Here’s a few thoughts:

  1. Have compassion for people. When you hear of Hispanic illegal immigrants and their children getting separated from their mothers and families at the Mexican Border, you can choose to think, “that’s horrible that their circumstances are so bad they are willing to risk their own lives and their families lives making this dangerous crossing, rather than staying put in their home countries”, instead of: “serves them right! Laws must be abided by, and what kind of a mother brings their children into this danger anyway! They don’t deserve their children!”. Don’t be an anti-liberalist Republican.
  2. Don’t spread fearmongering anti-liberalist propoganda
    1. Spreading these untruths which are just created to further divide our nation, and which are based on lies anyway, and serve the interests of foreign governments, doesn’t help our nation. Don’t spread anti-liberalist fearmongering propaganda!
    2. Seek truth instead!
  3. Don’t criticize that which you do not understand:
    1. Just because something is different, doesn’t mean it is evil. I am different. My hair is about 1.5 ft longer than the average male. That does not make me evil. One of my favorite things about living in a less-conservative and more liberal part of the country is that I get to be who I want to be, rather than people telling me who I *must* be or how I *should* be. God’s greatest gift to man-kind is “agency” to act and choose for one’s self. Choose to use that agency to be respectful of others even if you disagree.
    2. Do research.
    3. Choose to disagree if you wish, but do it without fearmongering.
  4. DO provide people with adequate individual consideration.
    1. The “one size fits all” policy is just as wrong as as the “do whatever you please” philosophy. Abortion, for instance, is seriously wrong in general, as it deprives a human being’s right to life while they are a living, moving, acting human being, but it demands individual consideration.
      1. Some evil Democratic lawmakers try to make abortion legal for any reason, as though it was a woman’s right. We don’t deserve a right to murder another human being just because that other human being is part of our own body.
      2. On the other hand, some evil Republican lawmakers try to put into anti-abortion laws wording which forbids doing the right thing in the right circumstances. For instance, in an anti-abortion state it may be considered illegal and an abortion by definition to induce labor before X weeks have occurred, even if inducing labor at that premature date is done under individual, extenuating circumstances, with the intent of saving both the mother and the baby’s life. In other words: under many anti-abortion laws considered illegal and an abortion to try to induce birth and save the baby rather than letting the baby remain in the womb and surely die. OH THE IRONY: THE ACT OF INDUCING BIRTH in an attempt to SAVE THE BABY is, by definition, an early termination of the pregnancy, and therefore an “abortion” by defintion, whether the baby lives or not!. These circumstances are rare perhaps where a mother needs to do this type of “abortion by legal definition” in order to save the mother AND the baby, but they MUST NOT BE FORBIDDEN BY ABORTION LAWS. THE RIGHT TO INDIVIDUAL CONSIDERATION MUST BE UPHELD! And what of the 5, 6, or 7 year old girl [or even 8, 9, 10, 11, etc.] who is impregnated after being raped by her uncle1. Should a 6 year old be forced to have a baby??? Some of these are not easy questions to answer, so DON’T ANSWER THEM, and MAKE SURE THE LAW DOES NOT FORCE AN ANSWER UPON THESE MORE DIFFICULT CASES EITHER. Let individual consideration rule the day. Individuals and particular, individual circumstances, deserve individual answers and freedom to not be prosecuted when a doctor tries to save a baby by inducing labor early (instead of being charged with abortion), or a family decides to have their 6 year old have an abortion instead of a baby. These are hard decisions, and anti-liberalist Republicans need to recognize they exist, and not forbid the right thing from happening here!
  5. Find a way to kindly reject anti-liberalist fearmongering propaganda when it is handed to you.
    1. I have no idea how to properly do this one, but I’m kind of tired of receiving anti-liberalist fearmongering propaganda from well-meaning people who are close to me.
  6. Separate the word “bad” from “Democrat”, and “good” from “Republican (or vice versa, if you lean the other direction or hear it said the opposite):
    1. If you are accustomed to being surrounded by “Republican” rhetoric, such as what your parents and family have been saying for as long as you can remember, you need to learn this one simple truth: a good person is a good person because a good person is a good person, not because a good person is a Republican. And: a bad person is a bad person because a bad person is a bad person, not because a bad person is a Democrat. A Republican is neither inherently good nor evil, and a Democrat is neither inherently good nor evil. Neither side is neither one, nor the other, in and of itself. This is NOT the case with all groups or affiliations, as absolute truth does exist, and absolute morality does exist, so this is NOT a case of “moral relativism.” Rather, in the present day, regarding these two particular parties, one must simply recognize that there is both good and bad among them both, and so it is not accurate nor good nor fair nor representative of the truth to brand one side, in this matter, as good and the other as evil.
    2. Making that brand, in this case, is in and of itself, evil, and bad. At different times and in different places, different groups which are not inherently evil have been branded as evil until a later day when it was discovered they were actually good. It can be argued that such groups inappropriately mass-branded as evil in the past (and present) might include: the Jews by the Nazis, the Japanese by the Americans, American Indians (Native Americans) by the Americans (United States citizens), Blacks by the Americans, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by the Americans, Muslims by Christians and Americans, ancient Christians by ancient Jews, Mexicans by Americans, women by men, men by women, the poor by the rich, the rich by the poor, Democrats by Republicans, Republicans by Democrats.

So, if you’re prepared to seek truth, don’t brand people as evil who are not inherently so, avoid fearmongering, seek understanding, and allow for individual consideration in extenuating circumstances. You can choose to be an anti-anti-liberalist. I know I am.

Note 1: the world’s youngest known mother gave birth at age 5

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