Skip to content

We need a new definition for “liberal”

November 24, 2010

… liberal intellectuals … tend to have a classical theory of politics, in which the state has a monopoly of power; hoping that those in positions of authority may prove to be enlightened men, wielding power justly, they are natural, if cautious, allies of the “establishment.” ~ Susan Sontag

We who are liberal and progressive know that the poor are our equals in every sense except that of being equal to us. ~ Lionel Trilling

In high-school, I was taught liberals sought change towards a system of government that is “new”, while conservative sought to go back to an old system and refused change. As the 20th and 21st century has shown, I think this definition of liberalism is severely lacking. Liberals do not want something new, they just seek more of the same.

First a few definitions of the word liberal from the World English Dictionary:

  1. relating to or having social and political views that favour progress and reform
  2. relating to or having policies or views advocating individual freedom
  3. giving and generous in temperament or behaviour
  4. tolerant of other people

As you can easily see from these definitions, the typical American liberal does not fit the description in the dictionary. The first definition requires a little more extrapolation, what is progress? [from]

the development of an individual or society in a direction considered more beneficial than and superior to the previous level.

Considered by whom? By the person seeking the progress. Obviously the term progress is in the eyes of the beholder – conservatives would consider de-regulation of business “progress” while liberals would call more regulation progress. So in my opinion, the first definition of liberal is more than worthless.

But letting that objective definition slide, lets look at the “progress” liberals seek with regards to the other three definitions, along with the concept of doing something new.

Most liberal economic policies as well as many of their social policies can be seen as progressing towards a form of socialism. Is this concept new? Of course not, socialism has been tried many times over the last 100 years and has been proven to fail in every instance.

Does socialism advocate individual freedom? I think most sane people would agree it does the complete opposite. Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand, but socialism seeks to remove all individual responsibility and yearns to put it in the hands of the collective.

Is socialism generous in temperament? I guess so, if taking wealth from one group and giving it to another can be considered generosity.

Tolerant? Uhh, no. Liberals are the most intolerant people in America. For sure, they love people of all cultures and that stems from their need to group people by the way they look, fully linking one’s appearance with one’s thoughts. But what happens when that facade proves false? Does a liberal seek and relish in dissenting opinion? No, in fact they will, by any means available, seek to quiet that dissent. Whether through rhetorical charges meant to silent opposition, to implementation of policies such as the Fairness Doctrine and the Disclose Act, liberals are wholly intolerant of views that aren’t their own.

What other “progress” do liberals seek? Universal health care. That one has been done already as well. Come on guys, can’t you think outside the box for once? How many countries have government-run health care systems? Despite claims by Michael Moore and his ilk, America has the gold standard in health care – even the king of Saudi Arabia seeks to forego his national health care system to use ours.

How about taxation. Liberals love high taxes for the evil rich folk. Once again, that has been done before, most notably right here in the good ‘ol USA. It was at its highest, 94% in 1945, but was still at 91% in 1963. Imagine if you will, that you make a ton of money, lets say $500k a year, which given inflation is a load of cash. In 1963, the top tax bracket started at $200,000. For that extra $300k, the government would have taken $273,000, leaving you with $27,000 (that’s just federal taxes by the way). Makes you wonder why anyone bothered to try to make more than 200k doesn’t it?

American liberals truly don’t seek anything new, Obama loves to talk about the failed policies of the past, interesting how he fails to see the abject failure of socialist polices.

The American liberal loves to hijack terms that are the exact opposite of what they stand for. For most of the rest of the world, liberal refers more to the description of a “classical liberal”, which believes in limited government and the freedom of the individual. American liberalism believes in a strong central big government and the freedom of the collective.

American liberals believe in “progress”. They want to move us forward. They love socialism. Not exactly sure where the progress is in those goals, but, like I said, they love to describe themselves in hypocritical terms.

The most glaring example of their hypocritical view of themselves, they are blue on the map of political ideology. Anyone with common sense want to explain why they aren’t red besides the obvious, someone decided it would be a tad bit too overt a calling out of their political views.

I think if you asked a typical liberal to define themselves, they would have a hard time doing so. I know some people rail against labels, but they are usually people who get bad labels put on them. Never heard someone commonly called a philanthropist or a humanitarian bitching about being labeled.

I think we need to redefine the word liberal in America, because the current definition is severely lacking. I say we just make it short and sweet. How about socialist?

11 Comments leave one →
  1. November 24, 2010 7:47 pm

    I’ve started going with “collectivist.” “Socialist” has too much baggage (and too restrictive a definition), “progressive” doesn’t mean anything, “liberal” used to mean something but now means the opposite of what it used to mean, and “communist” has the same problems as “socialist,” although it is always fun to call someone a “commie” even if they aren’t.

    “Collectivist” strikes me as usefully and benignly descriptive.

    But if you want short and sweet, I could be talked into going with “Bob.”

    • November 24, 2010 8:38 pm

      I like pinko myself. Always nice to drop a term most college kids have no idea what it means plus it has the added benefit of a double entendre. Bob works, but “Jack” would be nice as well – leaves a lot to the imagination.

  2. November 24, 2010 8:43 pm

    Today’s liberals are not liberals at all–they are intolerant of those that disagree with them and they continue to pass legislation that takes away person liberties and freedoms. They do this for the collective good at the expense of the individual so I think the term that sums them up the best is socialists. That is what they are, they are just too timid to admit it.

    • November 24, 2010 9:26 pm

      Yeah, might as well stop hiding, its not like we will ever go back to the House Un-American Activities days again.

  3. November 24, 2010 9:13 pm

    I call them progressieves, because their ideas won’t hold water.

    • November 24, 2010 9:28 pm

      That’s for sure. =)

  4. November 26, 2010 12:33 pm

    In Jr. High, my social studies teacher defined “liberal” as generous, and “conservative” as stingy.

    Ever since I learned that liberal used to mean what is now best defined as “small-L” libertarianism, I quit using “liberal” to describe the left. They don’t deserve to continue high-jacking a word that should apply to us.

    I refer to them as “the left,” leftists, lefties, collectivists, and statists (as in followers of The State.) It would be most accurate to call many of them Marxist, but I won’t feel comfortable doing that until I finally get around to reading a little Karl Marx myself.

    • November 26, 2010 2:15 pm

      Good luck. The worst decision I ever made was choosing to do a book review in my 10th grade World History class on “Das Kapital”. Don’t ask me why. lol. Karl Marx makes “professorial” look like a complement.

      Conservatives are stingy. Liberals are generous. You know, your teacher was on to something, if you look at it from other people’s money.

  5. November 26, 2010 2:07 pm

    no one: “In Jr. High, my social studies teacher defined “liberal” as generous”. And classically speaking, he or she was right. To “give liberally” always used to mean giving generously of one’s OWN money. Now, giving liberally means to give generously of other people’s money.

    • November 26, 2010 2:16 pm

      Damn, should have read your comment before responding to NoOne’s above, I basically said the same thing. The good news for me, it looks like you copied me. Well, until I just let the cat out of the bag. Damn, foiled again!


  1. Sunday hunt for links – Rattlesnake Edition | Political Realities

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: