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PoliCon
08-28-2011, 01:48 PM
by Leland B. Yeager | Posted March 09, 2011
I propose that we call left-liberals just that, not “liberals” without qualification. Doing so would help reclaim the original name of an honorable old political tradition. It would resist the purloining and perversion of the word “liberal” as used in the United States. It would avoid ambiguity by bringing American usage into line with usage in much or most of the world outside the United States, where the word “liberal” retains its classical meaning, as I shall try to show. Left-liberals contrast sharply with classical liberals; they incline to interventionist and redistributionary policies extending into ever more aspects of life.

John Kekes’ Against Liberalism (1997), although a generally meritorious work, illustrates the ambiguous use of words. From a self-styled conservative, I expected an attack on his doctrine’s classical rival. But no: Kekes muddles classical and left-liberalism together, making his attack less incisive than it might have been.

Beyond inviting misunderstanding, controversialists put themselves at a disadvantage when they let their opponents define the terms of debate. When classical liberals and conservatives let “liberal” be purloined and even use it themselves (as a term of abuse), they concede too much to their opponents.

Words and Policy

The word “liberal” derives from the Latin for “free.” Classical liberals do not all share the same detailed understanding of their values; but to minimize repetition in what follows, it is convenient to list typical characteristics. Classical liberals typically believe in the importance of individual responsibility; in the freedom to live one’s own life, to travel, to change residence, and to choose one’s own occupation; in freedom of speech and press; in tolerance of the opinions and lifestyles of dissenting minorities; in capitalist enterprise with secure property rights and free markets for domestic and international trade; in freely and honestly elected representative government of defined and limited powers that protects human rights; in the rule of law, equality before the law, independent administration of law and justice, and separation of church and state.

Left-liberals share many of these values, of course; the chief difference concerns the character and scope of government, which affect the degree of respect that left-liberals have for others among those values.

Liberalism, if not yet so called, became a powerful force in the Age of Enlightenment. It rejected hereditary status, the divine right of kings, absolute monarchy, and established religoin. Leaders of the American and French Revolutions used liberal philosophy, including insistence on consent of the governed, to justify overthrowing tyrannical rule. The 19th century brought more or less liberal governments to countries in Europe and the Americas.

CONTINUED . . . . (http://www.libertyunbound.com/node/496)

Long but well worth the read!

Novaheart
08-28-2011, 01:52 PM
So is conservative still going to be claimed by right wing fundamentalist jackasses? Or can we go back to a respectable definition for that one as well?

PoliCon
08-28-2011, 02:27 PM
So is conservative still going to be claimed by right wing fundamentalist jackasses? Or can we go back to a respectable definition for that one as well?

aw. You're just adorable when you're being a smug self-righeous twit. almost as cute as this guy:

http://sitstaylearndogtraining.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/helldog.jpg

fettpett
08-28-2011, 03:30 PM
So is conservative still going to be claimed by right wing fundamentalist jackasses? Or can we go back to a respectable definition for that one as well?

hey butthead, American "Conservatives" are Classical Liberals, not these progressive commie/socialist jackasses that took over the Democrat party

Starbuck
08-28-2011, 04:54 PM
So is conservative still going to be claimed by right wing fundamentalist jackasses? Or can we go back to a respectable definition for that one as well?

Actually, a pretty good question.

The answer, of course, is that we will go nowhere:

Conservatives,for the most part lacking the verbal skill of most liberals, will either cringe at being called liberal or punch the caller in the mouth.

Liberals, for the most part, will continue to either deny their beliefs or flaunt it in an attempt to get punched and thereby becoming another victim of the evil conservative movement.

Articulate_Ape
08-28-2011, 05:41 PM
hey butthead, American "Conservatives" are Classical Liberals, not these progressive commie/socialist jackasses that took over the Democrat party

Sort of true, but actually the Libertarians are closer to the historical definition. However, since that toothpaste cannot be put back into the tube, conservatives are certainly closer to the intended definition than today's Liberals.

MrsSmith
08-28-2011, 10:05 PM
So is conservative still going to be claimed by right wing fundamentalist jackasses? Or can we go back to a respectable definition for that one as well?

As the jackasses are concentrated on the left, this doesn't seem to be much of a problem for the right. :D

lacarnut
08-29-2011, 06:52 AM
We should call progressives by their real name which is left wing liberals. If they want to go the right wing route, we should go the left wing route. Tit for tat. Either that or just call everyone of these suckers liberals which many have recognized is not a popular term with independents.

txradioguy
08-29-2011, 09:35 AM
So is conservative still going to be claimed by right wing fundamentalist jackasses? Or can we go back to a respectable definition for that one as well?

Why does it matter? Even when we try to be nice to the other side...you respond with measured "intellectual" responses like yours above.

The left belives only one side has to play nice.

So why would it matter to you?