12

Evolution of the "Liberal"

Posted by salta 7 years ago to Politics
73 comments | Share | Best of... | Flag

Can anyone tell me when and how the term "Liberal" changed. The word root means freedom, and the original meaning (now called "Classical" Liberal) advocated freedom for citizens. Today it universally seems to advocate freedom for state in contrast with freedom for citizens.

In hindsight, it seems like a rhetorical trick, but I doubt it was. That seems a bit too clever.
Perhaps it was a gradual process where early liberals just let their philosophy slowly become corrupted, until the name lost its original meaning.

I'm interested here in the damaging evolution of language, and what other political words are being hijacked today, and how can we stop that process.


Add Comment

FORMATTING HELP

All Comments Hide marked as read Mark all as read

  • Posted by DavidKelley 7 years ago
    Salta,

    This is an excellent question—one that I wish every voter knew the answer to. The historical answer is that the transition from classical liberalism to welfare state liberalism started in England in the late 1800s, and took off in America at the turn of the 20th century, culminating in FDR's New Deal. The “new Liberals,” as they were called at the time, were socialists at heart but knew that socialism wouldn’t fly in Britain and especially not in America. So they manipulated the concepts of classical liberalism to infuse them with socialist meaning. Freedom from interference came to mean freedom from the want; coercion as the exercise of actual force came to mean any kind of social or economic pressure (like being subject to market wages); rights to life, liberty, and property expanded to include rights welfare benefits. It was conceptual warfare.

    The full story is told in Arthur Ekirch’s, The Decline of American Liberalism, 1955, which Ayn Rand recommended at the time ( on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Decline-American-L... ). There's also my book A Life of One's Own: Individual Rights in the Welfare State; Chap 3 is a shorter version of the history, focusing on the manipulative change in the concepts ( on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Life-Ones-Own-Indi... ).

    - - - - -

    ADMIN EDIT: Added links to books.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by mdk2608 7 years ago
      Thanks for the insight David. As usual your comments are helpful in giving us understanding. Mark Kelly Can you tell me how the origin of why some people spell Kelley with an "ey" vs the "y"?

      Thanks for all you do.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by DavidKelley 7 years ago
        And thank you for your comment!
        As for my name: my understanding is that it's Scotch-Irish, people from northern England, Scotland, and northern Ireland--as opposed to the Irish Kelly's.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by mdk2608 7 years ago
          Interesting. For years I thought it was a Catholic vs Protestant background issue on the name spelling.
          Enjoyed meeting you in Vegas. Hope to make the Atlas Summit if not this year next year. Take Care
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Posted by MinorLiberator 7 years ago
            Having read a lot of Irish history, from the geography David describes, 'tis a Catholic-Protestant thing...I'm sure 'twould be "Kelly" in the South (of Ireland)......
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
            • Posted by mdk2608 7 years ago
              Thank you for your comments. My ancestry came from County Rosecommon in the middle of Ireland and though spelled "y" they had a Catholic background that later changed. David did lend a perspective I had not considered. They again maybe one group of these people simply were better spellers or just too lazy to use the "ey" version. I have never found the answer to that question on spelling.
              Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
              • Posted by MinorLiberator 7 years ago
                I have no real definitive answer, just the observation on where the differences occur. It could also be just a historical/cultural thing. Currently an American living in Canada, my PC never let's me forget that "color" should be "colour", "favorite": "favourite"...and many others. That certainly comes from the Brits...maybe the "-ey" does, too...
                Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by $ WilliamShipley 7 years ago
    I wouldn't count on it, the progressives use rhetorical tricks as one of their primary tools. This is why Orwell had Newspeak as one of his key mechanisms of control of the population.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by ewv 7 years ago
      Marx, too, advocated taking over the language.

      Ayn Rand emphasized the importance of concepts and definitions. She identified several logical fallacies focused on invalid use of concepts, not just fallacies of 'propositions': the fallacies of the stolen concept, floating abstractions, frozen abstractions, etc.

      She wrote a whole book on the proper formation of concepts -- Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology -- as a defense of reason as our means to knowledge.

      Conceptual thought is more fundamental than communication. You can't make statements without concepts, and you can't think properly with missing concepts. As Ayn Rand put it in IOE: "Cognition precedes communication".

      The abuse of language today, muddying and destroying proper concepts, has the effect of making it literally impossible to properly think and therefore to argue for individualism, science, etc.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by kevinw 7 years ago
    Hello Salta,
    This post is very interesting because I keep running into the same thing.

    I can't say for sure when the term "liberal" was hijacked but SaltyDog touched on the culprits. If i'm remembering correctly the progressive movement in the late 1800s began to use the term to lend credibility to their ideas. They are just now returning to the use of "progressive" because the negative connotation is all but gone. (Except for Salty. Lol)

    I have mentioned the destruction of language in a few other conversations and, to me, it is a very important topic. I don't know if there is any way to stop it but it is important to understand it, recognize it and call it out whenever we see it happening.

    From the Ayn Rand Lexicon; "The “stolen concept” fallacy, first identified by Ayn Rand, is the fallacy of using a concept while denying the validity of its genetic roots, i.e., of an earlier concept(s) on which it logically depends"

    The most well known word (to Objectivists anyway) is selfish which is regularly utilized to lump the Bernie Madoffs and the Bill Gates' into one basket.
    The most contested seems to be altruism which is equated with charity (to say otherwise gets people fired up) and is used to impose a duty upon people. (It takes a village)
    I'm sure most of us on here have had the "two wolves and a sheep deciding what's for dinner" discussion whenever someone blurts out "we live in a democracy, after all".

    Don't forget that we don't know what the meaning "of the word is is."
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by 7 years ago
      Thanks for the Lexicon reference, I just looked it up.
      I agree about "selfish" and "altruism" being misunderstood, I think often intentionally just to avoid facing the logic of Rand's ideas. There would be a feeling of safety, I guess, when going along with the consensus that selfishness is bad instead of understanding it can be a virtue.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by SaltyDog 7 years ago
    It seem that these last few years that the left is even moving away from the term liberal and using progressive instead. The connotation, I'm sure, is to suggest that their ideas represent progress and anyone who disagrees is nothing more than a hairy knuckled Neanderthal.

    I prefer to think of it as the opposite of pro is con, so the opposite of progress is congress.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by 7 years ago
      "Progressive" has always seemed to me a weak term. "Progress" is neutral (non-directional) and can be used for "movements towards" literally anything. I never use the word progressive, but I try to use the word "progress" in sentences with opposite meaning... making progress towards freedom of choice... progress towards debt reduction... etc. Probably a losing battle, but it might just weaken the brand a little.

      Nice pun with pro/con :)
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by freedomforall 7 years ago
    Actually the term "liberal" outside the US often still means classical liberal and financial conservative.
    The term has been stolen only in the US political propaganda.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by davidmcnab 7 years ago
      Correct, freedomforall. In Australia, the name of the dominant financially-conservative classically-liberal political party is the Liberal Party, which tends to hold power in the Australian Parliament two-thirds of the time. For incoming American immigrants, it sits high on their "WTF list" along with the kangaroos, the climate and driving on the left side of the road.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by 7 years ago
      A geographic difference, had not thought of that.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by $ allosaur 7 years ago
        During the collapse of the Soviet Union, news reports in the USA called the unbending communists "conservatives" and those who wanted to try the capitalist approach "liberals."
        I was amused by a coworker who complained about such labellings of Russians with great irritation.
        To him, a liberal was always a communist or at least a pinko.
        He just could not wrap his mind around any international term applications.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by Maritimus 7 years ago
    Hello salta,

    It seems to me that there is a lack of focus in at least some of the comments that you received. Let me try to explain why I think that.

    There is an axiom which I believe to be self evident: "To be able to write well, you have to be able to think well." Writing is a communication means among humans. So is speaking. We seem to be more readily able to recognize a confused mind from confused speech than from confused writing. I do not know why is that, but I suspect that it might be because the speech is so much older than writing, so that our discerning skills had much longer time to develop. As we know, words are labels for the concepts in our consciousness. That is why a confusion in language is a confusion in concepts. It can be involuntary or deliberate(!).

    All communications addressed broadly at the public have the purpose of imparting knowledge, thus attempting to change the minds of the recipients. Increasing knowledge is a change of mind. So is the deliberately misleading distortion of recipients' concepts. You can call it mind control.

    From Wikipedia:
    "Mind control (also known as brainwashing, reeducation, coercive persuasion, thought control, or thought reform) is a theoretical indoctrination process which results in "an impairment of autonomy, an inability to think independently, and a disruption of beliefs and affiliations. In this context, brainwashing refers to the involuntary reeducation of basic beliefs and values".

    Throughout history, the mind control thrived. From oracles, to religion ("God's word"), to witchcraft ("Devil's word"), to political campaigning, to advertising etc. On this last one. Just listen to how frequently TV advertisement teach kids broken logic.

    The labels "progressive", "socialist", "liberal" and now back to "progressive" have been used by people who wish, by use of the government's monopoly on use of force, to enforce on all people their version of Utopia. It is a fundamentally dishonest approach. They resort to dishonesty because they cannot defend their approach on straight logic and reality. The roots are in Kantian and subsequent evil philosophies. Evil, because they deny reason, knowledge and even existence. In practice, when people begin to see through the falsity of the label of the period, they change to a knew label, in the hope that people will not notice that the only difference is in the label. You may wish to read the item entitled "Liberals" in Rand's Lexicon.

    One last thing. DanShu, above, voices trouble in deciding which label applies to him. To me, the answer is obvious. The only label for him is DanShu. That does not prevent him from being a member of a political party, activist group or anything else. We each have an obligation to acquire and "install" in ourselves our own philosophies. Yes, they will be unique, just as each one of us is a unique, unrepeatable rational animal. I subscribe to an Objectivist philosophy. I don't even know if my philosophy in every detail coincides with the views of Ayn Rand. The knowledge that our principles coincide is enough for me.

    Please forgive me the verbosity. I am obsessed by a strong desire to never be misunderstood. Alas, I do not know how write (and think!) as well as Ayn Rand did.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by Skycaptain 7 years ago
    In the 60's after Kennedy died there was a sea change in the Democratic party and it became interested in controlling citizens through Taxation and regulation. I
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by MinorLiberator 7 years ago
      Yes, Kennedy was one of the last of the Democratic "liberals" who was, although still to the left of center, not nearly New Left, and was definitely, as other Democrats up until that time "strong on defense"...then indeed came the "sea change"...
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by walkabout 7 years ago
    When you control language you control thinking. It is critical that we be clear in our lanquage (even taking the time to define exactly what we mean -- I got in trouble a couple weeks ago here when I used the term "one percenters" w/o defining what I meant).. For example, so-called "progressives" actually want to REGRESS society to the point where masters rule over peasants/slaves again. Politicians love to use terms without clear/specified meanings. Senator Dick____ Durbin loves to talk about so-and-so's "fair share." He never defines it. I suspect for Dickyboy there is no upper limit to what is "fair" for someone else to pay in taxes. The abortion lobby uses the terms "women's reproductive health" and "pro-choice" I think it was in either "animal farm" or "1984" that political terms meant virtually the opposite of what they mean in any dictionary sense. If you look at the names of bills before congress then you read the bill to see what it will do you will see we are at that point. The "affordable care act" is a prime example. Common Core -- as in a list of core things students should know might be a pretty good idea. What is in the law has little to nothing to do with "core" knowledge or principles. Governmental agencies (Energy, Education, HUD for example) one would think would be there to promote what their name says; instead they generally hinder the functioning of the relevant industry.
    Take time to call a spade a spade. A REGRESSIVE a Regressive. An Illiberal and illiberal. A censor a censor. A fascist a fascist.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by MinorLiberator 7 years ago
      Exactly, and you give great examples. Common Core itself is a great example of a misleading term: it has nothing to do with core knowledge required for thinking of yourself and making a living, like the old "3 R's", and everything to do with a list of facts (usually distorted) that some bureaucrat has determined is important to know. The most frequent criticism of teachers I've heard of Common Core is that they have to "teach to the test", rather than actually teach. And I clearly remember that when I first heard the term "Common Core" when it first appeared, without a real definition, I did think "hey, that sounds pretty good"...
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by 7 years ago
        Not from the US, so I don't know enough about Common Core, but "list of facts" is a very worrying description. Sounds like re-writing history! I have to admit, from its name, I assumed it was core skills like the 3 Rs.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by MinorLiberator 7 years ago
          You should be worried. From what I heard talking to kids about what they're learning in history, especially US history, it has very little to do with anything positive the US has ever done, and focuses heavily on "facts" about what, primarily due to those "old dead white men" (I think here we call them The Founders) other white males did to the Indians (er, Native Americans), blacks, women, workers...etc. etc. etc...
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by $ WilliamShipley 7 years ago
      One of the most egregious examples of this is the definition of racism to include the requirement that you be part of the 'power group'. This means, of course, than only whites can be racist. Blacks who evidence hatred of other racial groups aren't racist under this definition.

      Of course, implying that only whites can be part of the power group IS racist.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by 7 years ago
        Yes, an example is when we see "tribal conflict" in Africa. This is pure focused racism, but that word is never actually used, that would not be PC. If you have a strong stomach watch the movie Hotel Rwanda (not for light entertainment)
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by MinorLiberator 7 years ago
          I agree, and Hotel Rwanda is a good example of accurate historical fiction at its best. (I use the qualifier "accurate" because so much "historical fiction" is just trashy writing, or inaccurate propaganda.)

          Another part of history that is conveniently ignored was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when there was actual racism within the black community itself: the lighter your skin (see the term "high yellow"), the higher your status within the black community. Si I strongly agree with William and other posters that "only whites can be racist" is ridiculous.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by CTYankee 7 years ago
    The Progressives hijacked the term 'Liberal'. Hijack: (v) to take surreptitiously.

    Progressives accomplish this by constantly changing the meaning *THEY* assign to common words. Then berating the rest of us for not using their shifted meaning.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
  • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 7 years ago
    Amen to that. One old definition was liberals wanted fast change and conservatives wanted change but in a slower manner. One finds leftists want immediate change until they get it then are very conservative.

    Most everything I write follows your interest and it took some years to uncover the root meanings.

    The one phrase we hear most today besides the living constitution crap is a quote from Lenin. Anything done or said that promotes the party is the truth. Even if it's different tomorrow.

    The Constitution was a living document in that it provided a way of making change. Ignoring it was not one of the procedures. By any definition.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by Herb7734 7 years ago
    "Liberal" in the 19th century sense meant free, easy, abundant,not bound by lots of restrictions. Today it means the exact opposite. When conservatives finally caught on to the changed meaning, the lefties changed to "progressive(s)."
    Progressive used to mean forward-thinking, making positive progress. It has come to mean what liberal now means. The meanings evolved, but not naturally. It's sort of a forced evolution as performed by Dr. Frankenstein.

    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by MinorLiberator 7 years ago
      Correct. In the early debates about socialism in the late 19th century, after Marx had gained influence, in economic disputes the issue was always phrased as "liberals" vs. "socialists" or "Marxists". Liberal up until that point had always meant "free-traders", even when arguing about non-socialist issues such as protectionism. It was only after co-opting the term that later free-market economists had to add the modifier "classical" to liberal.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by MinorLiberator 7 years ago
    I can't say exactly, but my guess would be the early 20th Century, almost certainly by FDR's time, but I'm open to correction.

    And it certainly was a quite successful (and IMO intentional) "re-branding", as corporate Newspeak would call it. I know it relates to Marx and his followers, when the word "liberty" was transformed from "liberty to do..." to "liberty "from"...exploitation, hunger, the need to work...etc...

    (I damned if I can find it now, or even an online reference, but I'm certain I read in a legitimate source that the "New School for Social Research" in New York City was originally named after Karl Marx...but that was shortly "re-branded".)
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by davidmcnab 7 years ago
    There are different dimensions of liberty versus repression. For example, one can be a libertarian in regard to freedom of doing business, but staunchly against gay relationships and abortions. Ayn Rand confused many by being both a business libertarian and a staunch defender of rights for gays and abortion rights.

    The Political Compass site does away with the over-simplistic "left versus right" thing and instead maps people's alignments on a two dimensional graph. If you've got a couple of minutes to answer a few questions, it's an interesting study:
    http://www.politicalcompass.org/
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by johnpe1 7 years ago
    "Liberal Arts" colleges seemed to mean that the
    widespread attention of the students to "arts" or
    specialties of all kinds would produce a well-rounded
    individual. . according to my mom, whose degree
    was in something like social studies from Agnes
    Scott in atlanta. . I asked about engineering, and
    she said that science was included. . but engineering
    is the application of science to the betterment of
    humankind, I said. . we went circular from there.

    liberals probably adopted the name from something
    like this, I would think -- the well-rounded learning
    of everything progressive for humankind -- progress
    toward the envisioned utopia. . maybe? -- j

    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by Maritimus 7 years ago
      Hello j,

      I would like to submit for your consideration two ideas.

      1. A definition of engineering: "the art of things that work."

      2. The art f engineering uses a lot of scientific knowledge, but ultimately it is a process of trial and error involving innovations and improvements, with unavoidable guesses and risk taking. All this is done for the benefit of a profitable manufacturing business and their customers.

      Just my opinions.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by johnpe1 7 years ago
        Yes! . if it doesn't work, it's not engineering, it is
        experimentation. . successful experiments lead to
        engineering something which people can count on
        to help with life. . and, oh are there trials and errors
        involved!!! -- j

        p.s. the fun word empirical (reality check results)
        jumps up in any good conversation like this.

        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by MinorLiberator 7 years ago
      I agree. Before the term was co-opted, a "liberal" education was very much pro-reason and the Enlightenment. One description of it I like is that "in those days" they taught you HOW to think, not WHAT to think...with I'm sure very rare exceptions, the "popular" Liberal Arts colleges are fully to the Left...based on what I've read, and a very small sample of nieces and nephews who have recently graduated from such "esteemed" institutions...
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by $ blarman 7 years ago
    The deception of the voting masses has always been of paramount importance to the body politic. Thus they change definitions, say one thing and do another, and generally lie - all for a love of power and the wealth that goes with it.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by JDCarpanzano1 7 years ago
    The "liberals" have been controlling the language for 100 years. They are no longer members if the Democrat party, it's the "Democratic" party. And they have all the great anagrams and names locked up too, ACORN, Move Forward, Students for a democratic society, America First and the best one Progressive. Who doesn't want progress?
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by walkabout 7 years ago
      Again, we are overlooking the need for definition. PROGRESS toward what. Demad to know what the individual "progressive's": goal is. Usually if they tell you some thing specific you can relate to history where the so-called progressive idea did not lead to that goal and, in fact, most often led to the opposite. For example, minimum wage laws don't lead to better living conditions for the beginning/underskilled worker, they tend to lead to unemployment; providing "benefits" to the unemployed tends to extend unemployment. If you are making progress toward tyranny and totalitarianism (or some one having any input in my life I haven't specifically requested) then no I don't want "progress."
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by JDCarpanzano1 7 years ago
        I believe you misunderstood my point and the article. The left has been controlling the language to create a facade of benevolence when in fact they harbor more discrimination and hatred than any other group on the planet and that includes the KKK.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by walkabout 7 years ago
          I agree; you are right. They are evil! (As I use and define the term : removing from someone else action and responsibility for those actions). My point is we have to unrelentingly force them to define what they mean. And, we need to be clear in what we mean when we use terms. Just as in political campaigns you lose if/when your opponent gets to define you; we lose when we let them use terms w/o defining what THEY mean in using them. Contact "news" people and chastise them when they let a "leader" use undefined words (recently a mayor used "essential city services" and (my favorite) politicians who talk about "fair share; Neil Boortz bristled as "give back". We have to demand not only the politicians define themselves and be held accountable, but also the conduits who bring us those political words. Yes, we have to take the language back.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by xthinker88 7 years ago
    50's and 60's. Post WW2 the progressives did not want to be associated with the horrors of the Holocaust even though they were basically, from a philosophical perspective, the American version of the fascist or nazi parties in Europe. And, in fact, had implemented eugenics policies here. They were trying to backpedal and distance themselves from their earlier activities.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by mdk2608 7 years ago
    Appreciate the dialog and insight! Understanding the origins of the "liberal" name is a valuable lesson along with understanding how the label has been hijacked over the years.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by ObjectiveAnalyst 7 years ago
    Hello salta,
    More like de-evolution in my mind. Those that have absconded and distorted the title are now more likely to call themselves "progressive." They keep pushing marxist nonsense from the past. It is always the same ... "We just didn't do it right..." or have enough government force/backing to make it work.. bla bla bla
    Baa Baa Baa blind sheep...
    Regards,
    O.A.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by RobertFl 7 years ago
    I read once that "liberal" actually referred to a "libertarian" - one who was Liberal with Liberties.
    Perhaps the libertarian party needs to reclaim it, it might help their voting numbers.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by RonC 7 years ago
    The art of politics is to to get people to vote for something they have no understanding of. The word "Progressive" has the root word of progess in it. Progressive used to be associated with something new, upbeat, the continuation of an idea or thing. Somehow the politicians change the definition to represent a political movement dating back to William Jennings Bryant describing the unfairness of capitalism. The irony in "progressive politics" is there is now progress. The speeches given today decrying poverty and accusing the rich of taking from the poor are the same argument made 110 years ago. Their point is still the same. The only way to make equal is to take from the rich and redistribute, through government, to those in need. akin to from those with abilities to those in need. That doesn't sound like progress to me.

    They are also good at redefining the other side of the argument. A "Conservative" originally meant a politician or person that wants to conserve the intent and meaning of the Constitution of the United States. How easy it has been for them to see a wealthy person purchase something inexpensive (cheap) and define him as conservative (cheap). If you tell a lie enough times, it begins to have the ring of truth.

    Add to that a laziness in the listener and there is magic. For example; I have met many people that claimed to want to become millionaires. A closer look revealed they really wanted to be in position to spend a million dollars, which is the inverse of becoming a millionaire.

    As to "liberal", I think libertarian has assumed the position of "Classic liberal" and the shopworn term liberal is whatever definition pop culture media chooses for it.

    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by ewv 7 years ago
      "The word 'Progressive' has the root word of progress in it."

      And that is the way they play on it, with a built-in evaluation emotionally substituting for saying what they mean. That is why you should always use the term term "progressive" in a political context by spelling it out in the form of "never-ending, progressively increasing controls" and refer to their "regression" to tyranny.

      "Conservative" did not originally mean conserving the intent and meaning of the Constitution, it means conserving tradition and the status quo in general. Political conservatives have in general advocated preserving tradition because it is tradition, and do not and cannot defend individualism.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by RonC 7 years ago
        That reveals the weakness of conservatism. If you have ever debated you will know the status quo is the hardest side to defend. The new guy can always point out the failings of the established idea, because nothing is perfect. This is a great advantage because it's more difficult to poke holes in a new idea. It has no track record and therefore no failings to point out.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by ewv 7 years ago
          Yes, but statism and collectivism are not new ideas.

          And worse, defense of a "tradition" _because_ it is tradition is no defense at all. The basic weakness of conservatism is not their rhetoric. They believe it.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by DrZarkov99 7 years ago
    In Australia, the Liberal party are the conservatives, with the Labor party having socialist goals, so I guess the classical meaning still applies there.

    The modern theft of the word "liberal" by progressives was started under President Wilson by George Creel, chairman of the Committee on Public Information, and promoted by Edward Bernays (author of the book "Propaganda" and one of Joseph Goebbels favorite political thinkers), also a CPI member.

    These same figures also established many elements of political correctness. Their work was admired and adopted by the Nazis and the Communist Party. It is unsettling to see how unashamedly Democrats have relished using these tools of tyrannical (and yes, I include Woodrow Wilson as the first American tyrant) regimes.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by blackswan 7 years ago
      The tyrants got their ideas from these "progressives," not the other way around. The Nazis didn't create propaganda, they got it from Bernays, and they didn't create eugenics, they got it from Margaret Sanger and others.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by $ jlc 7 years ago
    Interestingly, the current use of the term "progressive" seems to imply anti-technology. That is to say, it seems to mean incremental change in the direction of the user's philosophy that does not include an improvement in technology.

    Jan
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  

FORMATTING HELP

  • Comment hidden. Undo