Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Liberal vs. Conservative

Since I am on the cutting edge, I was all over this several months ago. Here is another perspective from Democractic Underground. A small sample:

"Liberalism" Then and Now

Consider, for example, what the word-meisters of The Right have done to the word "liberal."Webster's Dictionary gives us this traditional definition of "liberal:"

"From the latin, liberalis - of or pertaining to a freeman. Favoring reform
or progress, as in religion, education, etc.; specifically, favoring political
reforms tending toward democracy and personal freedom for the individual.

However, the right-wing screech merchants of AM radio and cable TV have turned the word "liberal" into an epithet, like a piece of rotten fruit to be hurled at the candidate or political commentator willing to be called a "liberal."

Remember the 2004 GOP ads? "Brie-eating, chardonnay-drinking, latte-sipping, French-speaking, Volvo-driving, New York Times reading, elite liberals." The word connotes "tax and spend," "welfare cheats," bureaucratic interference in "free enterprise," and a weak military. To Ann Coulter, it means nothing less than "treason."

Thus it is no surprise that when pollsters ask the ordinary citizens to describe their political orientation, "conservative" comes out ahead, followed by "moderate," with "liberal" a poor third.And yet, when the same citizens are asked their opinions on Social Security, Medicare, environmental protection, public education, economic justice, racial tolerance, and the separation of church and state, by substantial majorities they endorse the traditional liberal agenda. In short, the American public remains liberal, even though it has been persuaded to despise and reject the word "liberal." And that should be regarded as good news by The Left, for it is the ideology and the program that matter. "Liberal" is merely a word...."

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