Thread: Reclaiming the Word “Liberal”
#1 Reclaiming the Word “Liberal”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 . . . .
Long but well worth the read!Stand up for what is right, even if you have to stand alone.
08-28-2011, 01:52 PM
- Join Date
- Mar 2010
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?
08-28-2011, 03:30 PM"Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings..." Patrick Henry
- Join Date
- Oct 2009
- Southwest Michigan (in Exile)
08-28-2011, 04:54 PM
- Join Date
- Mar 2010
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.
08-28-2011, 05:41 PM"Our president delivered his State of the Union message to Congress. That is one of the things his contract calls for -- to tell congress the condition of the country. This message, as I say, is to Congress. The rest of the people know the condition of the country, for they live in it, but Congress has no idea what is going on in America, so the president has to tell 'em." ~ Will Rogers
08-28-2011, 10:05 PM-
In actual dollars, President Obama’s $4.4 trillion in deficit spending in just three years is 37 percent higher than the previous record of $3.2 trillion (held by President George W. Bush) in deficit spending for an entire presidency. It’s no small feat to demolish an 8-year record in just 3 years.
Under Obama’s own projections, interest payments on the debt are on course to triple from 2010 (his first budgetary year) to 2018, climbing from $196 billion to $685 billion annually.
08-29-2011, 06:52 AM
- Join Date
- May 2008
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.
08-29-2011, 09:35 AMIn Memory Of My Friend 1st Sgt. Tim Millsap A Co, 70th Eng. Bn. 3rd Bde 1st AD...K.I.A. 25 April 2005
Liberalism Is The Philosophy Of The Stupid
To Achieve Ordered Liberty You Must Have Moral Order As Well
The libs/dems of today are the Quislings of former years. The cowards who would vote a fraud into office in exchange for handouts from the devil.
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