And it's about time. For way too long modern liberals have perverted the liberal label and philosophy. About 20% of Americans identify themselves as liberal, and a good many of them are confused regarding what "liberal" really means in 2012.
Libertarians were robbed of the liberal label by statists who were influenced by socialistic ideas swamping the American intelligentsia in the early 20th century. Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson set the stage for FDR and, later, LBJ, until, now, modern liberalism withers as it devolved from Clinton to Obama. It has taken almost a century for modern liberalism to reach its limits. Modern liberalism (the entire nation, actually) is now forced to face the consequences of its non-ideological ideology. For all the talk about pragmatism, modern liberalism put forth a set of failed ideas which has brought America to the brink of financial collapse, although modern liberals will tell you debt is not a problem and that now is the time to borrow money and stimulate the economy. It's too fantastic to be maddening anymore -- it's pathetically funny, but still dangerous. The only reason modern liberalism is dangerous is because underneath is an ideology which has changed names and faces for centuries and survives through obscurantism.
The only reason I believe in the true death of the underlying ideology is because of the Information Age -- more and more people are becoming educated on the destruction caused by the few reigning over the many -- coercive power in the hands of a few faux-elite. They are not authenic "elite" because they don't earn the status through excellence, achievement, reason and wisdom -- they manufacture their status through deceit, control and punishment for resistance.
The only way they can maintain control is through the consent of the populace who still believe in false narratives. Democrats, and, thus, modern liberalism, won in 2008, after 8 years of Big Government Republicanism, on the outside chance that Barack Obama was a new kind of President who could change the way business is done in the DC. Now, the American people are totally disillusioned with government, resulting in the Tea Party pushing for limits, frugality and economic freedom, and OWS pushing for a system which punishes capitalism and redistributes wealth according the demands of social justice. Big Government Republicanism cannot be distinguished from modern liberalism -- it's been a partner in the statist march to stagnation, crushing debt and reckless interventionism overseas.
It would be tragic if the death of modern liberalism leads to a truly anti-free market statism. a progressivism which punishes wealth creation and rewards egalitarian mediocrity and decline. Our best hope is that applying classical liberal principles to our 21st century challenges will win the day and the State will be transcended in a new burst of creativity, innovation and widespread prosperity, protected by a limited government which has clearly defined duties and nothing more. Economic freedom and non-intervention in the affairs of other countries constitute the best course out of the modern liberal bog in which we're currently sinking.
Liberal as an adjective will surely survive, as it should. Social liberalism is not to be feared but rather embraced as we once again use the free marketplace of ideas to debate our moral/spiritual quandaries. Free, grown individuals either have the freedom to live their lives or they're destined once more to live under the arbitrary rules of the few. We've advanced far enough, although the skills of liberty have been blunted, to live our lives as we see fit as long as basic rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness are protected. This is where a limited government comes in, to protect individual rights from violation and settle disputes in courts of law -- plus, to defend the nation from attack. This has all been discussed a billion or so times throughout the history of America, but we've never put the principles into practice. Now, though, we have to do something, because we're on the brink of quick decline. Modern liberal, statist policies have been implemented over the course of a century until, now, like the USSR, we face an existential threat and must act boldly and decisively.
We have to end the games we've played between liberals and conservatives over control of a statist system and look at what major systemic changes are required to stop the slide into loss of liberty and financial collapse. As I wrote above, the current intellectual decay among modern liberals has rendered their flailing and reactionary zeal ludicrous, but they are practiced at deception, so Americans have to resist quick, simple solutions or the false image of hope and change, such as Obama's announcment today he's streamlining the executive branch -- this is illusion and deception, cynical piddling around the cusp in an election year.
Ron Paul has the only serious plan for systemic change and it's only a bare beginning. It will take a decade to turn statism around and move in a limited government/free market direction. The resistance will be incredible, but it can be done. The first step is admission of the problem -- in this case, it's the admission that modern liberalism is dead, and the time is right for the revival of authentic liberalism, the liberalism that contained actual liberty before statists perverted the philosophy.