We Need a New Name for Liberals — Jon Gabriel

 

Earlier this week, liberals forced out the CEO of tech company Mozilla for privately holding common but unfashionable political views. Liberals continue to hound the owners of Hobby Lobby for defending their religious liberty, and also harass the libertarian Koch Brothers for supporting liberty-friendly causes.

Every week it becomes more obvious that liberals are not liberal in any way shape or form.

The word “liberal” comes from liberalis, the Latin word for “freedom.” Politically speaking, the Oxford English Dictionary defines “liberal” as “favoring maximum individual liberty in political and social reform.”

Understandably, the Founding Fathers were called liberals since they reformed the status quo to vastly increase personal liberty politically, economically, and religiously. Today’s “liberals” are the fiercest defenders of the status quo, desperately clinging to outdated economic theories, educational policy and governing models.

This gives lie to their attempted rebranding as “progressives.” The original progressives were passionate reformers, pushing novel, idealistic solutions to society’s most vexing problems. Progress was the aim of TR, Wilson and FDR, if rarely the result. But today’s so-called progs are mostly reactionaries who insist no one alter the flawed models introduced generations ago.

Obviously neither “liberal” nor “progressive” properly defines the modern left, but what should they be called? We don’t need another insulting epithet, but something that accurately describes their political outlook. Best of all would be descriptive term they themselves would embrace.

I’ve employed “illiberals,” but it’s a bit clunky. “Socialists” and “collectivists” are accurate, but carry some nasty Cold War baggage. “Statists?” “Leftists?” “Jacobins?”

Help me out here, Ricochetti — what should we call American liberals?

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There are 70 comments.

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  1. Kozak Member

    How about The Borg, since they seem to demand a universal hive mind in their attempt to assimilate all….

    • #1
    • April 5, 2014, at 4:03 PM PDT
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  2. MJL Inactive
    MJL

    I know it’s a cop out, but why not let the word burn? It’s not like conservatives are getting the classical version back. If “liberal” is increasingly associated with the toxic tendencies of leftism… well, great – what a time saver.

    • #2
    • April 5, 2014, at 4:04 PM PDT
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  3. Nick Stuart Inactive

    MJL:I know it’s a cop out, but why not let the word burn? It’s not like conservatives are getting the classical version back. If “liberal” is increasingly associated with the toxic tendencies of leftism… well, great – what a time saver.

     That works.

    I typically use “Leftist” because it carries a connotation of totalitarianism.

    • #3
    • April 5, 2014, at 4:13 PM PDT
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  4. MJL Inactive
    MJL

    Nick Stuart

    I typically use “Leftist” because it carries a connotation of totalitarianism.

    I get it, but I’d rather that the public perceived liberal as leftist than leftist as liberal.

    • #4
    • April 5, 2014, at 4:30 PM PDT
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  5. The Mononymous J.I.M. Member

    I like “leftist” as well. It’s hard to come up with something more definitive, since the movement is pretty incoherent.

    also,

    I’m inclined to confuse people and describe myself as a classical liberal.

    • #5
    • April 5, 2014, at 5:00 PM PDT
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  6. Pilli Inactive

    I like “Haters”. Because if it is good, decent, freeing, empowering of the individual, they hate it.

    Another might be “Wardens”. Because they want to be in charge and make everyone else prisoner to their ideas.

    • #6
    • April 5, 2014, at 5:04 PM PDT
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  7. Tony Ryan Inactive

    Presumably we can’t use the “c” word?

    • #7
    • April 5, 2014, at 5:45 PM PDT
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  8. Mark Wilson Member

    The Most Intolerant People in the World

    (credit to Joe Soucheray for that one)

    • #8
    • April 5, 2014, at 5:47 PM PDT
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  9. rico Inactive

    “Progressives” works for me. Let their own label damn them.

    The statist nature of progressive policies (e.g. Obamacare) highlights progressives’ concept of progress. That helps put their entire agenda into focus.

    Pilli:…Another might be “Wardens”. Because they want to be in charge and make everyone else prisoner to their ideas.

     “Wardens” would be interesting to try out, just to hear them try to denounce it. Could make for a very enlightening argument.

    • #9
    • April 5, 2014, at 6:07 PM PDT
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  10. 4CuriousJohn Thatcher

    The “Buzz”

    • #10
    • April 5, 2014, at 6:14 PM PDT
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  11. Umbra Fractus Inactive

    I’ve been pondering the word “Autonomophobes,” IE “those who fear and/or hate autonomy.”

    But, then, I’m a language nerd who likes stitching Greek roots together.

    • #11
    • April 5, 2014, at 6:50 PM PDT
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  12. Mike Rapkoch Member

    CuriousJohn:The “Buzz”

     The Hive?

    • #12
    • April 5, 2014, at 6:52 PM PDT
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  13. Pilli Inactive

    Mark Wilson:The Most Intolerant People in the World(credit to Joe Soucheray for that one)

     We could shorten it to “MIPs”.

    • #13
    • April 5, 2014, at 7:20 PM PDT
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  14. James Gawron Thatcher

    Jon,

    At the risk of ruffling a few feathers around here, I’m going to quote someone I know very well.

    “In the 20th century the debate was between the atheists and the agnostics. The atheists were mistaken for liberals and the agnostics were mistaken for conservatives. Of course, there is nothing liberal about an atheist and there is nothing conservative about an agnostic.”

    The guy who said this is James Gawron.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #14
    • April 5, 2014, at 7:47 PM PDT
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  15. LC Member
    LC

    Conformists since they are so hostile to freedom of thought.

    • #15
    • April 5, 2014, at 7:50 PM PDT
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  16. James Gawron Thatcher

    Lidens Cheng:Conformists since they are so hostile to freedom of thought.

     Lidens,

    I predate you by a good 40 years. Long long ago these counter culture obsessives were already hatched out of their alien eggs. Back then I call them:

    Conformist Non-conformists. Same dirty teashirts, same faded jeans, same hack left wing ideas.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #16
    • April 5, 2014, at 8:11 PM PDT
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  17. Roberto, Crusty Old Timer Member

    It is well past time we called a spade a spade, contemporary Democrats are merely Communists with some window dressing. Far too cowardly to take on the label merely because they fear losing momentary political advantage. 

    Does anyone recall how our illustrious President was for public financing of campaigns before he was against it? How he was opposed to gay marriage before he was in favor of it? How he made earnest promises regarding health insurance that were all lies?

    Apologies for being exceptionally blunt but exactly how stupid are those who propose such questions of “names”? Integrity, duplicitousness are mere affections the proletariat indulges in, for the ruling class they mean nothing. 

    New name? We know who they are.

    • #17
    • April 5, 2014, at 8:17 PM PDT
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  18. Ontos Inactive

    Lidens Cheng:Conformists since they are so hostile to freedom of thought.

     I think she has the winner!

    • #18
    • April 5, 2014, at 8:54 PM PDT
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  19. Morituri Te Inactive

    I like to call them the “authoritarian left”. This provides an opening to the leftists of a more tolerant stripe — if there still are any — to distinguish themselves from their conformitarian brethren. And yes, “conformitarian” is a charming word as well, but fails to sufficently identify the culprits.

    • #19
    • April 5, 2014, at 8:55 PM PDT
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  20. Albert Arthur Coolidge

    Let’s call them spades, then.

    • #20
    • April 5, 2014, at 9:00 PM PDT
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  21. Profile Photo Member

    I’m a fan of using the word ‘Regresive’ since every single policy these people want to enact will only make people less free.

    • #21
    • April 5, 2014, at 9:05 PM PDT
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  22. Dudley Inactive

    Slaver: because it is the goal of the left to make us all slaves. Subject to the natural tendency to tyranny implicit in all left wing thought.

    • #22
    • April 6, 2014, at 1:29 AM PDT
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  23. Blame The Innocent Inactive

    Jonah Goldberg’s expression “feckless crapweasel” works.

    For a group so enamored with diversity most are shameless conformists.

    “Collectivist” seems to sum up their obsession with demanding conformity to left wing dogma, group identity, us versus them politics, and getting “the rich” to pay their fair share. The left really has a problem with individual rights and cannot stand to leave individuals and their money alone in the pursuit of happiness.

    • #23
    • April 6, 2014, at 5:07 AM PDT
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  24. Devereaux Inactive

    Albert Arthur:Let’s call them spades, then.

     ?And be labelled racists.

    • #24
    • April 6, 2014, at 7:10 AM PDT
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  25. Songwriter Member

    I think Roberto @ #17 gets it right: Today’s Liberals are Communists, or at the very least Socialists, who won’t fess up to the fact. However, there is no way they will ever allow themselves to labeled as such. Any attempt to do so would bring up the charges of McCarthyism by the lap dog media and the fight would be over. 

    “Leftists” fits pretty well. But maybe left-handed Conservatives bridle at that. :)

    “Statists” has a nice fascist ring to it, which suits them well, I think.

    • #25
    • April 6, 2014, at 7:13 AM PDT
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  26. Devereaux Inactive

    The problem with this exercise is that liberals have themselves made the word toxic. If Charles Schumer is trying to call himself a “progressive” instead of “liberal” you know there is way too much baggage to the liberal tag. So the question really is why should we change anything. Liberal is well known; even though they co-opted the label, it has now become somewhat toxic, and so we should continue to use it. No sense giving them an out; make their lives as miserable as they make others.

    • #26
    • April 6, 2014, at 7:28 AM PDT
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  27. Dr. Strangelove Thatcher

    The designations used for political discourse in this country are completely screwed up and it’s the Left’s fault. 

    The Framers were liberals.

    The Left highjacked this honorable designation, liberal, in pursuit of transforming the country from what the Framers bequeathed us into into something that the Framers would have repudiated. The MSM enabled them to get away with inverting the meaning of the word “Liberal” because for decades their monopoly on mass media enabled them to assign meanings they prefer to words and phrases and make it stick in the culture.

    Eventually the Left’s using “Liberal” as a stalking horse for statism has ruined the reputation of this once honorable word. Now that they’ve fouled that nest they switched to calling themselves “Progressives.”

    Now we have the perverse situation where we have to use club-footed phrases like “Classical Liberal” to specify the Framers’ liberalism while the statists enjoy simply being called “Liberals.”

    I dislike both the mendacity and the smugness of both the Left’s self-assigned labels, Liberals and Progressives; they are neither.

    “Leftist” has the advantage of being both pithy and accurate. We also should refuse to go along with their gag of pretending they’re either liberal or progressive.

    • #27
    • April 6, 2014, at 7:35 AM PDT
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  28. Trinity Waters Inactive

    All 27 comments I’ve read have some merit or humor. Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism sorts out the real definition of most of the candidate words. The modern Liberal is truly a Fascist, in the true sense of the word. Fecklesss Crapweasel Wilson was an avid fan of the ideology and began importing the virus from Europe.

    The word liberal has changed from a descriptor of any real value, vis-a-vis politics, to a moniker. It’s gone forever, but intelligent people know that when they read history, the word still had a definition. Let the Fascists keep it now.

    • #28
    • April 6, 2014, at 8:09 AM PDT
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  29. Brian Watt Member

    If it walks like a fascist, talks like a fascsist, demonizes like a fascist, intimidates like a fascist…then…

    • #29
    • April 6, 2014, at 8:13 AM PDT
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  30. Brian Watt Member

    James Gawron:Jon,At the risk of ruffling a few feathers around here, I’m going to quote someone I know very well.“In the 20th century the debate was between the atheists and the agnostics. The atheists were mistaken for liberals and the agnostics were mistaken for conservatives. Of course, there is nothing liberal about an atheist and there is nothing conservative about an agnostic.”The guy who said this is James Gawron.Regards,Jim

     Interesting. How would you classify Milton Friedman?

    • #30
    • April 6, 2014, at 8:16 AM PDT
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