Nicholas Defends Smike From Nicholas Nickleby By Charles Dickens Author, liberal, reformer
For discourse … not discord…
For democracy… not demagoguery…
Changing The Political Culture
A Welcome To The Website
From Lorenzo Cherin
Welcome to The Liberal Arts Cause. Please scroll, browse and read the opening page, and importantly, the Statement of Purpose, further on, at the conclusion of this page. It is a statement that truly explains what here, we are all about.
Whether through working in the arts and culture, participating in politics or campaigns, in the many ways I do, and the ways many do, I seek to contribute. I have started this site, as a home for freedom of thought and freedom of expression. It combines the personal with the professional, the political with the poetical. It is a project to help create real progress.
The great Liberal philosopher and member of parliament, John Stuart Mill, referred to “the art of living.” He was steeped in the Utilitarian ideas of “the greatest happiness of the greatest number,” yet went beyond that notion. Here, we are indeed interested in each individual person, in people’s happiness and well-being. As with so much in his writings and indeed his own life, Mill showed us ways and gave us pointers, to a good life, not least through his Harm Principle, that we should live and let live, at liberty, unless we do harm. This is what here, we have in mind, in advancing Liberalism with this site.
The great poet and exile, Ovid, urged us “not to be cruel.” This was the essence of the effect of art to him, in a sense. The connection with the philosophy of Mill, and the similarity of this sentiment, to the Harm Principle, might not be a coincidence, as Mill was very influenced by the arts, poetry, and the classics. The liberal arts, which Ovid so contributed to and encouraged, and Mill so appreciated and needed, are important. This is not an art website, but as influence and inspiration, the liberal arts form a backdrop to, and are at the heart of, the Liberalism, we are celebrating here too.
This site does not have one view, of the word, often distorted, which is liberal. It does not mean “bleeding heart,” nor “neo-liberal.” It is for a liberal attitude and a movement, that is more subtle and has more strength, than a “knee jerk !”
Here we have a sensibility that is humane and a sense of humour! If traditionally, philosophy, is amongst the liberal arts and humanities, the necessity, practically, to develop Liberal ideas as an art form should be humanity’s decree! We are, here, for the developing of a philosophy of life, rather than an ideology or dogma.
And we attempt changing the political culture. This site avoids, something which might be found elsewhere, sometimes, for example, as a feature of certain student campuses across the Atlantic, and in politics itself. I refer to the tendency, even amongst those who profess liberalism, to illiberal intolerance of other opinions, calling things offensive, when what is the case, is merely a difference of opinion, or a different way of explaining it, not to one’s liking! Safety first, can make sense, but the desire for safe spaces, ought not to lead to a bunker mentality. Obvious insults and name calling, are not liberal, and must not be accepted, but are not the same thing as disagreement or criticism. In the well meaning desire to avoid the cesspit that the internet can become, there is a danger of sites having, a form of social media, cleansing ! To not want to attend a School for Scandal, is understandable, but this does not mean we should turn into a Sunday school at best, a correction school at worst! But the political forum that has been referred to as the bully pulpit, in it’s modern form here online and on this site, shall be no place for bullying! As I often find party politics, off-putting, whichever way we look at this, though, be assured, I shall not be a party to putting people off politics. This is a site that encourages liberal, social interaction, but that is not libertarian, self indulgence!
This site is mainstream, and as radical as it could, or sometimes, might be, it is, appropriately for an online venture, a moderating influence, in it’s political preferences, rather than it’s technological tendencies! in a political and technological terrain, that is, it has to be said, increasingly, extreme and chaotic, moderating here shall only be to dispel and defeat extremism and not to avoid chaos! Although it is a noble desire to avoid it, there are ways and means whereby it is best avoided!
The site mainly encourages the enhancement of the art of politics, as well as the development of the politics of the arts, and as a result, the betterment of both. It intends to be different, not for the sake of it, but is interested in making a difference, for the sake of all of us. It continues work begun and ongoing, both online and elsewhere, by me, and takes it forward, and takes with it, with me, and any who join me here, those who inspire, or who are, inspired…
John Stuart Mill
Philosopher, Liberal mp
“Scope for all sorts of mental culture… room for improving the art of living.”
John Stuart Mill
Poet, Roman exile
“A faithful study of the liberal arts… humanises character and permits it not to be cruel.”
” I smell of nothing but scrubbed liberty and polished independence!”
Cyrano de Bergerac
Lady Chatterley’s Lover, the novel, was banned
The Cradle Will Rock, the production, was stopped
Actress Helen Gahagan Douglas had her run for Senate thwarted, smears from Nixon and his associates!
Don Quixote John F. Kennedy
Symbol of idealism Democrat U.S. President
Giuseppe Verdi Domenico Modugno
Composer, liberal patriot, mp Singer-songwriter, activist, mp
Harriet Beecher Stowe Josiah Wedgewood Designed Pendant
Author and Abolitionist Anti-slavery Symbol
Baroness Floella Benjamin Joan Baez
Performer, liberal politician Singer, human rights activist
“Among the liberal arts…let us begin with the art that liberates us.”
Michel De Montaigne
“I read Shakespeare and the bible, and I can shoot dice. That’s what I call a liberal education!”
“The word liberal has always been associated with the arts…any political creed must be sensitive to its effect on civilisation.”
“At a time when politics deals in distortions and half-truths…truth is to be found in the liberal arts.”
Joyce Carol Oates
The Liberal Arts Cause has a particular affinity, with the Statue of Liberty.
The Statue of Liberty is uniquely symbolic of liberty, yet also, of artistry, with it’s remarkable design and sculpture, by Frederic Bartholdi, and creation with his colleagues.
It also has, as part of it, another great work that expresses liberty and reveals artistry, the poem, The New Colossus, featured on the plinth of it, was written by the wonderful poet and progressive activist, Emma Lazarus.
a liberal quantity… of liberal quality…
a liberal amount…of liberal attitude…
Sir Peter Ustinov, actor, writer, director, humanitarian, UNICEF Ambassador, lifelong Liberal.
Sir Peter Ustinov with Baroness Shirley Williams, Liberal Democrat politician and political academic.
Audrey Hepburn, actress, humanitarian, UNICEF Ambassador
Lord Richard Attenborough, actor, producer, director, humanitarian, UNICEF Ambassador, whose liberal, social democratic, values led to his making “Gandhi,” and “Cry Freedom!”
Angelina Jolie, actress, producer, director, special envoy to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Vaclav Havel, playwright, dissident, later President of the Czech Republic. In 1990 he received the Prize For Freedom from Liberal International.
The Saudi Arabian Liberal writer, Raif Badawi, is in jail, sentenced to ten years and a thousand lashes, for creating a Liberal blog website! He too, was honoured with the Liberal International Prize for Freedom recently.
UK Liberal Democrat, Jo Swinson, has spoken and written about the need to include and emphasise well-being and quality of life, as indicators of happiness, and their importance as well as GDP.
This Is The Liberal Arts Cause
A Statement of Purpose
By Lorenzo Cherin
We live today in dangerous times, but was it not ever thus ? Did the citizens of the ancient civilisations in antiquity, not sit side by side the most uncivilised behaviour. And did they not make art? Were the DeMedicis of Florence not contemporaries of the Borgias of Rome? Did the Renaissance not precede the Inquisition? Was the first Elizabethan era not threatened by the Armada? Surely the Age of Enlightenment, was the name for something that had somehow always been there, and in a sense never would. Yes we live in dangerous times, yet wonder if it was ever thus.
But now, more than ever, we can speak our mind, and now, more than ever,we must. A few can shatter buildings, where people once, went innocently going about their business. Or they can vandalise buildings, where people once, were individually showing us their brilliance. But they cannot destroy an idea, if an idea is worth believing in! We will always remember 9/11, and Palmyra is part of our world. An idea can become an ideal, and an ideal can be made real. What is imagined in the human mind, and made with human hands, must be maintained, and more. It is through our creativity, we can try to create a better world.
To create, is to cultivate. The artist is an amateur, the arts are much loved. The artist is a professional, the arts can be hard work. The artist is a dreamer, the arts help us dream. The artist is a thinker, the arts make us think.The artist is a student, the arts are worth studying . The artist is a teacher, the arts teach us so much. The artist is an actor, singer, dancer. The artist is a writer and a painter. And the arts, in each act, are a song and dance, a writing of wrongs and a putting the world to rights, or a painting of a picture, of what might be. Within, all artists could be free radicals, without each artist, there would be a monoculture.
We need the arts, for a better quality of life. While the needs of the artist, are for a greater equality of living standard! Our goal in art and life must be fulfilment of potential. Too often in the specific field of the arts, the contrast is falsely assumed, or wrongly made, between public art and private achievement, subsidy and success, the obscure, and the ostentatious. So it is in politics, one way or the other, win or lose, left or right. But the truth is often in between and beyond. This is a metaphor for much in our discourse and debate. It can serve us when seeking to advance ideas. Why must the answer to that which we do not like, automatically be the opposite of it? Why does it have to be either or, why can’t it be neither and something more?
In order to achieve this, we are indeed, changing the political culture, and doing so, on the political stage. If politics is the art of the possible, then a political artist can help make things possible. Here is the context of a cause and a setting for it’s significance. Where classical liberal, can relate to the classic arts, and social liberal can relate to their social value. Here classical liberalism and social liberalism combine with cultural liberalism.
But for some today and for some time, what we can see and say, is there is a culture shock. Forces are rejecting the cultural norms of liberal and tolerant societies. There are indeed cultural influences that are themselves hostile to our popular culture. But we cannot successfully combat that which is not understood. We shall though here, go beyond multiculturalism and way beyond moral and cultural relativism. We can defeat the extremism, nationalism, populism, overcoming racism and antisemitism, with an effort for liberalism, internationalism, humanitarianism, combining realism and idealism.
Whether cultural policy, or cultural diplomacy, with creative thinking, or creative writing, when campaigning, or consulting, we are for conscience and common sense, and work cross-party in co-operation.
And so here is our statement of purpose. Of course the aim is to be enlightening. But also the objective is to be entertaining. To advance the policies and issues about which we’re rightly concerned. To feature the personalities and the individuals and those who’re rightly celebrated. This is the Liberal Arts Cause. It is a cause for concern and celebration. It is a cultural prospectus, for liberal democracy. It is a rallying cry, for realising freedom. It is the reasonable hope, that we be responsible with it. It is cultivating liberty, and liberating artistry. It is articulating a cultural liberalism, as a Liberal revivalism. It is for developing, the art of Liberalism.
Give an honourable mention, to the best of human intentions, enrol in the Liberal Arts Cause and extend the honour roll!
This site welcomes debate or discussion, comments and contributions. You can get in touch at the email above.
The category Mill’s Turn, is for Liberty, and thus can be a useful forum for ideas, the category Ovid’s Kind, is for Artistry, and therefore can also be an individual platform for the arts.