Today's Use Of The Word "Liberal"


Being a conservative, I find it to be disingenuous for those on the far left politically, today, to refer to themselves as being "liberals". They are not. They are "progressives" - and there is a world of difference.

The media, both conservative and otherwise, use the word "Liberal" all too often. Not only are they mistaken, but they associate the actions of the far left with a political persuasion that is far from fact.

Let me explain.

When I use the word "Liberal" I mean the "classical" definition - small government, lower taxes, non-Keynesian economics, following the Constitution, individual responsibility, the non-attractiveness of a "welfare state", and believing that the laws of our land are equally applicable to all.

That sounds an awful lot like what conservatives today preach, doesn't it? And it, in fact, is. That is because, over time, the names associated with political ideologies change to fit the perceived need of the day.

As a note: The people in today's political parties, both Democrat and Republican, do not directly align with any specific political ideology - the closest, of course, are the people in the Democrat party. Where there are a pitiful few Democrats who I would consider either conservative or classic liberals, there are many Republicans who seem aligned with progressivism.

Progressives, in general, seem to believe in the exact opposite of both conservative and classical liberal approaches to government.

Progressivism seeks to divide us as a people. About 8 years ago I wrote an article pointing out this exact point in detail.

Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having differing political persuasions - it is healthy for us all. But, wouldn't it be better if such differences were discussed using facts and not pure emotion? Purely emotional discussions, more often than not, tend to shut down communication and the sharing of ideas. This is good for no one.

Let me offer an analogy to explain.

For this analogy let's pretend that YOU are a conservative and that I am a progressive.

You, as a conservative, make the statement that all illegal entry into our country - especially from our Southern border - should be curtailed/stopped immediately; and, that those here illegally should be prosecuted and, ultimately, deported.

I, as a progressive, state that your opinion makes you a "racist".

The majority of illegals entering our country are Hispanic - with an increasing number from the Middle East. Neither of these peoples define a "race". Thus, in the above analogy, you immediately perceive me as uninformed and vitriolic; thus, not worth the continuation of discussion. This divides us in an unhealthy way. Both of us may have ideas and facts to make our positions made not only more clear, but also "rational". But, now, all discussion is cut off.

Should one feel that my above analogy is far too simplistic, consider the progressives' reaction to Trump wanting to build a "wall" or his wanting to ban immigration from terror-prone Middle Eastern countries. Their reaction was all about "racism". Further, consider that, across America, colleges are "banning" conservative speakers merely because of views progressives feel are "racist", "Fascist", or the like. Further attempts to divide us as a people, this is.

OK. Who are/were examples of true, classical liberal presidents? John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln were "Liberals". Woodrow Wilson, Lyndon Johnson, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama were/are "Progressives". Two of these, Lincoln & Bush, were Republicans; the others were Democrats. There is a wide separation of the ideology of JFK from that of Obama.

It is fairly easy to discern a conservative from a progressive. A conservative believes in the smallest government possible; a progressive believes in the largest government possible. This latter view exhibits itself in the desire that all people exist as a "collective" - enhancing the redistribution of wealth, leanings/movement toward socialism, and heightened governmental control over our daily lives; "The Government Knows What Is best For Us All".

Unfortunately for this point of view, history has again and again shown us that any form of "collectivism" results in failure. Just look to the former USSR and today's Venezuela. Even China, which still maintains the mantra of Communism, has moved to be as Capitalistic as it can. Yes, small countries can and do survive quite nicely under socialism. But, socialism does NOT "scale up". As is incorrectly attributed to Margaret Thatcher, "At some point you run out of other people's money!"

As a conservative, I do find fault with politicians and the media with their continued, incorrect assumption that anyone disagreeing with conservatives is being a "liberal". In fact, most often they are being "progressive". Please let's stop giving true liberals a "bad rap".


Reference articles:

On "Classical Liberalism"

On "Social Liberalism"

On "Progressivism"

An example of confusing liberal with progressive: On Differences - Conservatives vs. Liberals

On "Classical Liberalism" vs. "Modern Conservatism"

On the differences between Abe Lincoln and "Modern Liberals"

A political alignment poll

George W. Bush - Progressive

Was JFK really a conservative?

Our Founding Fathers vs. Progressives

The "HuffPost's" view of JFK

Our Founding Fathers were classical Liberals

The Costs of Illegal Immigration