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The power and misuse of labels
Published on November 28, 2004 By Genghis Hank In Politics
liberal adj
1: showing or characterized by broad-mindedness
2: having political or social views favoring reform and progress
3: tolerant of change; not bound by authoritarianism,orthodoxy, or tradition [ant:conservative]

conservative adj
1: resistant to change [ant: liberal]
2: opposed to liberal reforms
3: avoiding excess; "a conservative estimate" [syn: cautious]

Haven’t we let these two words loose their meaning? It seems to me that we have somewhere along the line allowed liberal to mean whatever the DNC says, and conservative equal the RNC viewpoint. Social engineering, banishing the Christian religion from public view or discourse, and politically correct speech seem to have little to do with showing broad-mindedness. Growing the government to an ever greater size is not avoiding excess, and wars of liberation and nation building sure sound like change to me.

Symbols and labels are powerful tools. It is much easier to say “I’m a conservative” than to explain what your political stand is on a half a dozen issues. But we are becoming lazy in using them. Let’s try to get back to saying what we mean.

Comments
on Nov 28, 2004
Amen! Point taken! If only more people would take it into consideration as well!

Sincerely,
DNCdude
on Nov 28, 2004
It seems to me that we have somewhere along the line allowed liberal to mean whatever the DNC says, and conservative equal the RNC viewpoint.


Also, the RNC tries to define liberalism and the DNC tries to define conservatism, in order to vanquish their opponents.
on Nov 28, 2004
Reply By: DNCdude Posted: Sunday, November 28, 2004
Amen! Point taken! If only more people would take it into consideration as well!


Thanks DNCdude. Actually, I'm as guilty as everyone else. Gotta work on it!


Reply By: latour999 Posted: Sunday, November 28, 2004
Also, the RNC tries to define liberalism and the DNC tries to define conservatism, in order to vanquish their opponents.


Excellent point. I think this happens for a lot of words when we aren't paying attention.
on Nov 28, 2004
Conservative and liberal have not just become synonyms for the major political parties, but what the real political fuss is over these days. More importantly, it's become small-town and rural America vs. big city America, in my opinion, more so than it has ever been previously. I think that's what this past election was about, and I think it's what they'll continue to be about for a long time yet. It most likely will not change until someone comes up with an issue that either unites or further divides large numbers of these groups. That's why there's so much of a push for single-issue voting: each candidate is looking to champion the winning side of an issue that enough people consider *so* important, that they will make all their choices around it For example, many people are so invested in their side of the abortion issue (a frequent con-lib divider) that they will choose a candidate around that candidate's abortion stance alone, because it's easy to make them afraid of what will happen if the "other side" holds sway. And honestly, I myself have been vulnerable to similar fears, and villifiying what I percieve to be "the other side" at times. It can be a scary thing to think that your own way of life is going to be forcibly changed by others, and that can motivate a whole lot more than voting. Well, long enough comment--I'm out. --LL
on Feb 15, 2012

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