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« Blogging, Movie Update | Main | Kubrick Rererereredux »

August 16, 2002

Policy Break -- "Liberal", phooey

Friedrich --

I've been waging a (pathetically trivial, admittedly) campaign for a couple of years, refusing to call Democrats and those to the left of them "liberals." They ain't liberals, they're controlling thought-police, being my experience and hence conviction. So I make a point of calling them "leftists" instead. (And the world quakes.) It turns out I'm not entirely alone.

Here's something from Mark Steyn, a brilliant columnist (who once wrote for the Modern Review, I believe) who's hard to find evidence of in U.S. publications:

You'll notice, incidentally, that I haven't used the word "liberal" to describe the left. "Conservative" has been carelessly appropriated by the media to mean no more than the side you're not meant to like. John Ashcroft is a hardline conservative, but so, according to the press, is the Taliban and half the Chinese politburo and the crankier Ayatollahs. So I think we conservatives ought to make an attempt to reclaim the word "liberal." We believe in liberty, and in liberating human potential. I don't know what you'd call a political culture that reduces voters to dependents, that tells religious institutions whom they can hire, that instructs printers on what printing jobs they're obliged to accept, that bans squeegee kids unless they're undercover policemen checking on whether you're wearing your seatbelt, etc., etc. But "liberal" no longer seems to cover it.

And something from Jay Nordlinger at National Review, whose work I don't generally know:

One of the reasons I turned from the Left when I was young was that these �liberals� seemed so colossally illiberal - closed-minded and intolerant, for one thing. And yet, I�ve never quite accepted the word �conservative,� perhaps because of the bias I was brought up with against that concept, and that word. In a speech I gave to students last spring I said, In time, I became what we call a �conservative� - though I still sort of choke on the term. . . . I like to consider myself a genuine liberal, believing in limited government, equality of opportunity, equality under the law, pluralism, toleration, constitutionalism, colorblindness, a robust, internationalist foreign policy, sound and equal education, a common culture, etc. Nowadays, that makes you a flaming right-winger. But it shouldn�t be so.

Comfort in numbers!

Best,

Michael

posted by Michael at August 16, 2002




Comments

Thank you http://www.acdouglas.com/ for showibg me the way here. I sometimes call myself conservativly liberal, or liberally conservative, or just plain idiot.


This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened, go back to the early 19th centry and the party we call Republican was known as the Democratic party and vice-versa.


I've only recently discovered blogs, used to have to depend on junkscience.com or fark.com for fun and BBC or canadian news sites for news. A medical site I like (because you can reply to the good doctor) is http://www.medrants.com/

Posted by: John Anderson on August 16, 2002 3:31 PM






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