Monday, October 1, 2007

Liberal or Progressive?

I've noticed that some liberals have taken to calling themselves "progressives" rather than liberals.

I'm sure there are many reasons for this, but one is the incessant conservative demonization of this word, particularly on talk radio and in books. They constantly use the word "liberal" as an epithet; as a shorthand buzzword for everything that is wrong with this country. They've largely succeeded in obscuring the true meaning of the word liberal and turned it into a dirty word among many mainstream Americans.

It's Josef Goebbels' "Big Lie" propaganda technique in action -- repeat a lie often enough and loudly enough and, eventually, people will begin to believe it.

Some liberals have thrown up their hands in defeat and having started calling themselves "progressives", rather than liberal.

Not me. I'm not going to let conservatives define the terms of political discourse for me. I'm a liberal and I'm damn proud of it. I wear the label, "liberal", without apology or excuse.

Just what does "liberal" mean, anyway? Let's go to the dictionary:

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.
10. given freely or abundantly; generous: a liberal donation.
11. not strict or rigorous; free; not literal: a liberal interpretation of a rule.
12. of, pertaining to, or based on the liberal arts.
13. of, pertaining to, or befitting a free man.
14. a person of liberal principles or views, esp. in politics or religion.
15. (often initial capital letter) a member of a liberal party in politics, esp. of the Liberal party in Great Britain.

There's nothing in that definition that should prompt anyone to believe they need to hide such beliefs under a euphemism.

I'll start using "progressive", instead of liberal, when conservatives start calling themselves "regressives".



Cyn said...



HeartlandHeretic said...

"Regressive" or just plain Fascist? I think the later.