Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Actually, only a liberal can

Today's NYTimes asks "Can a liberal be a unifier?"

Let's start by checking in with our handy Dictionary.com.

Here are some of the things that come up under the Definition of Liberal: (emphasis mine)

1. favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.

4. favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, esp. as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.

6. of or pertaining to representational forms of government rather than aristocracies and monarchies.

7. free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant: a liberal attitude toward foreigners.

8. open-minded or tolerant, esp. free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc.

9. characterized by generosity and willingness to give in large amounts: a liberal donor.

Here are some of the things that come up under the Definition of Conservative: (emphasis mine)

1. disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.

2. cautiously moderate or purposefully low: a conservative estimate.

3. traditional in style or manner; avoiding novelty or showiness: conservative suit.

6. having the power or tendency to conserve; preservative.

9. a supporter of conservative political policies.

So, contemplating that for a bit, only a liberal can be a unifier.

Of course, if they mean ‘unifier’ in doublespeak…….

as in Dubi-ya’s promises of “I’m a uniter not a divider”(he is a “decider”);
Or someone who is a “reformer”; Or a “president of all the people not just those who voted for me”; Or someone who “restores integrity to the White House”; Or someone who believes “It’s the people’s money, not the government’s" etc etc etc......

for those doublespeak values, you need someone endowed with the certitude of bigotry, greed and lack of conscience. Someone disposed to preserving existing conditions, to limiting change....

then no, a liberal is not what you’re looking for.

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Fade said...

great post!

crowlie said...

That's quite funny. To an Aussie, the Liberals are the conservative monarchists, imbued with all the worst misogynist religious pretenses of Victorian class society and promoting all the worst global kleptocracy of corporate bastardry. We have to say "small 'l' liberal" if we mean progressive thinkers.

Anonymoustache said...

Did not know that Crowlie. That has got to be annoying.
At least here the right-wing wackos have just turned 'liberal' into a bad word, a character slur, and not used it as a name for a fundie Party! Hopefully we can repair the popular misconceptions about liberality here, over time, with some good progressive leaders who have some guts.