Saturday, August 16, 2008

Who Are the Real Liberals?

By John Kubicek

So, who are the real "liberals"? Great question, huh?

The "liberal" label equates with what scholars in the West would label as "the Left", or "progressive". When it comes right down to it, I guess it would matter where in the world you are before you would define the "liberal" label as something evil or something good. For that matter, it could even depend on what time period you lived in, even here in America.

Well, my curiosity lead me to want to find out just how the dictionary defines "liberal" in the political use of the word:

1) Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.

2) Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.

(Emphasis: mine)

~~ The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language,
Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 18 Aug. 2008.>.

Now, keep it in mind that I'm still giving you the dictionary meanings of the adjective, "liberal", here:

1. favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.

2. (often initial capital letter) noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform.

3. of, pertaining to, based on, or advocating liberalism.

4. favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, esp. as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.

5. favoring or permitting freedom of action, esp. with respect to matters of personal belief or expression: a liberal policy toward dissident artists and writers.

6. of or pertaining to representational forms of government rather than aristocracies and monarchies.

7. free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant: a liberal attitude toward foreigners.

8. open-minded or tolerant, esp. free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc.

9. characterized by generosity and willingness to give in large amounts: a liberal donor.

~~ "liberal." Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc.
18 Aug. 2008.>.

When you look at some of the various definitions of "liberal" as an adjective, some of the those really don't look like that bad of a thing. As I mentioned above, the use of the word "liberal" is all relative to the perspective of geography and/or time in history. It could be a good thing or a bad thing. In America, a "liberal" political view at one time meant wanting to be a free sovereign nation away from the yoke of Great Britain, being against slavery, or favoring Civil Rights for African-Americans. In the case of the old Soviet Union, "liberal" views meant the end of Communism.

Now, in American politics, the word "liberal" has taken on whole new meaning, and most of that is based more on the word as a noun, as in "Liberal". And even more breathtaking, is the fact that the noun, "liberal", has become a label, generalized to fit a group of like-minded people, that supposedly have the "liberal" (in the adjective sense) values regarding generosity and tolerance ("free from bigotry"). What doesn't make sense is that the people with the "liberal" label don't always seem to fit into any of the actual dictionary definitions. Either that, or those definitions have been distorted and perverted to mean something entirely different.

This column came to me shortly after reading a piece that I saw this last weekend, called "Liberals are meaner, cheaper, more willing to steal than Conservatives". I was further inspired today after looking up the word "liberal" on, and seeing that many of the meanings of the word in the adjective sense don't seem to fit the characteristics of that "Liberal" label we hear about and use to define political viewpoints.

In the column referred to above, by Warner Todd Huston, he is writing about a new book by Peter Schweizer, called "Makers and Takers". It seems to me, after reading about what is included in the book, people with the "Liberal" label do not tend to fit the dictionary definitions of the adjective, "liberal". Obviously, those people, "the liberals", do not follow their own prescription for "product safety", truth in labeling!

I can tell you, in the interest of full disclosure, that when I started this article, it wasn't my initial intention to discuss the meaning of the word "liberal". However, I found it so profound how the dictionary definition didn't equate to the reality of the label "Liberal", that I had to include it in the perspective of what I learned in the quick research I did. Well, maybe, it is just that I wanted to add credibility to this column, that writing on this subject isn't "above my pay-grade" (as a certain candidate used as an excuse for not answering a quesiton....) As it turned out, I found that the discrepancies between the definition of "liberal" (adj.) and the people labeled as "Liberals", just as Peter Schweizer writes in "Makers and Takers", was the evidence that I was looking for. It was those discrepancies that is the case-closer for Schweizer's evidence he has written about. It is the fact that those with the "Liberal" label are in fact true hypocrits.

So, you "Liberals" out there, what went wrong? Well, maybe it is as Warner Todd Huston wrote in the last paragraph in his column:

Schweizer argues that the failure lies in modern liberal ideas, which foster a self-centered, “if it feels good do it” attitude that leads liberals to outsource their responsibilities to the government and focus instead on themselves and their own desires. (Emphasis: Mine)

And now you know who are the real "Liberals". And it will especially be easy to spot "Liberals" when it comes to their responses to this article... They won't be very tolerant of my point of view!

Related stories:
Liberals are meaner, cheaper, more willing to steal

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