How old were you when you learned that Liberalism is “bad“? Was it someone in your family that taught you? Was it someone you watched on television or listened to on the radio or maybe even someone on the internet? And where did they learn that Liberalism is bad? Isn’t “the culture” ultimately where we all learned what Liberalism means and how we are supposed to think about it? If we learned it from “the culture” (and, yes, let’s be honest, we did), who controls “the culture“, the right or the left? Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why the left, who have controlled “the culture” since before World War 2, want you to believe what you do about Liberalism?
This is the first paragraph of the Encyclopedia Britannica’s entry on Liberalism:
“Liberalism, political doctrine that takes protecting and enhancing the freedom of the individual to be the central problem of politics. Liberals typically believe that government is necessary to protect individuals from being harmed by others, but they also recognize that government itself can pose a threat to liberty. As the revolutionary American pamphleteer Thomas Paine expressed it in Common Sense (1776), government is at best “a necessary evil.” Laws, judges, and police are needed to secure the individual’s life and liberty, but their coercive power may also be turned against him. The problem, then, is to devise a system that gives government the power necessary to protect individual liberty but also prevents those who govern from abusing that power.“
Does this sound like what you’ve been told Liberalism is? Are you surprised? You should be, however, some of you doubtlessly are saying, “Yeah, but that’s what it used to mean! It’s changed in the last 200 years!” Really? I mean, sure, the definition of any word can change, but that doesn’t mean that the definition of a word should change or that the changing definition wasn’t maliciously intentional. Regardless, the Britannica entry addresses this “change” by going on to say:
“In the United States liberalism is associated with the welfare-state policies of the New Deal program of the Democratic administration of Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt, whereas in Europe it is more commonly associated with a commitment to limited government and laissez-faire economic policies.“
In case some of you are having trouble parsing the clear English of the encyclopedia entry, practically everywhere else in the world, Liberalism still means the political philosophy of small government and maximum individual freedom. That’s not my assertion. That’s the encyclopedic definition. One of us is wrong about what Liberalism means, but, just a hint, it isn’t the encyclopedia.
So why is it, in the one nation on Earth founded on the principles of classical Liberalism, that Liberalism means exactly the opposite of what it means practically everywhere else in the world? Could it possibly be because the American left doesn’t want the American public to understand what Liberalism actually is or its connection to the American identity? Who gains more if the definition of Liberalism remains hopelessly ambiguous, the left or the right?
Either or, American conservatives continue to bash Liberalism, and the left simply continues to pretend their big government, nanny state ideas are “Liberalism“. Even when conservatives spout off their clever rote insults of Liberalism, doesn’t the left happily let them confuse Marxist Progressivism with Jefferson’s, Paine’s, and Locke’s Liberalism? And now some of you are saying, “Well, we’ve been doing this for so long, it’s too late to go back now!” Yes, obviously, playing into the left’s political trap has worked so well for decades. Let’s just keep doing the same thing, expecting a different result…
Or we could do what we should have done decades ago. #TakeBackOurWord.
Liberty is For The Win!
You had me convinced until the image at the bottom. “Radical” is a term utterly devoid of meaning. There can be radicals of any and all political ideologies so using the term by itself is completely pointless. Also the term Conservative is horribly misused as much as the word Liberal in the United States. The term “Conservative” as a substitute for Liberal in its proper sense is incorrect as Conservativism can be at direct odds with true Liberalism and in many ways true Conservatives can be just as hostile to Liberty as the most hardened of Socialists. A “radical leftist” is a socialist and should be properly identified. Just as a Radical Conservative is generally a theocrat or worse a National Socialist. Radical Liberals would be considered extreme Libertarians or even Anarchists. When admonishing people for misusing a term one must certainly get his/her own terminology clear first lest they make matters worse by further muddling the discourse.
I get where you may be coming from, however, I disagree on a few points.
1) I refer to the dictionary and the thesaurus definition of conservative: the antonym of the word “conservative” is “radical”. This is uncontroversial. Radical is the antonym of conservative. Liberal is not, except ONLY in the context of the United States and only if you concede on the meaning of the word.
2) You are guilty of an Appeal to Ambiguity. You want to use the 1st definition of radical, which is an general adjective, rather than the 2nd, which is the political sense of the word.
3) The term conservative, within the context of American politics, is well established. And while you may believe it’s against liberty, that’s not based on the literary history of conservatism.
“If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism… a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom…”
With respect, why do you think you’re going to have different results?
You seem to wonder why people hate liberalism? It’s because the people who espouse it tend to be obnoxious, aggressive, and pedantic zealots. This problem exists for both the classical, and the progressive liberal ideologies. The problem is far less the ideas, and far more the people who champion them, and their inability to relate, connect, or convince those they seek to engage.
Okay? I’m not sure why we should judge an ideology by its most uncivil adherents. You do not seem to be familiar with the tu quoque fallacy (https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/tu-quoque). Also, I don’t see where you’ve specifically dealt with the article’s argument, rather than just said “I don’t like how some people act”. Doesn’t everyone act poorly, “Eat It”?