Liberalism as I understand it means working toward the goal of a good society, one that works well for all the people. The point is to build the kind of world we want to live in. That means other sorts of goals -- maximizing freedom, for example, or focusing on "rights," or punishing criminals because people who do bad things should suffer, and so on -- must sometimes be sacrificed. Liberalism as I understand it is pragmatic, always focused more on the impact of policies than whether they seem right or wrong. I think the doctrine of "human rights" has been on the whole positive, and by a focus on overall goals I don't mean ignoring the situation of individual people -- the society I want is one in which nobody is ever silenced or imprisoned by the state without very good cause. But the point of politics is to make the world a better place, not to take a stand on abstract principles.
We have to start this conversation from a different point. We must ask: “What kind of society do we want to build, and what kinds of workers, soldiers and citizens should populate that society?” If we want that society to be prosperous and safe and filled with healthy, well-educated and well-adjusted people, then the policy directions become clear.
They are almost the exact opposite of what we are doing.