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Liberal

I really don't care what your political views are, this is not about politics, this is about the english language. I am tired of seeing a perfectly good and honest word twisted into derogatory term of hatred.

lib·er·al Pronunciation Key (lbr-l, lbrl)
adj.
  1. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
  2. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
There are other definitions, but one of the least is being a member of a political party founded on or associated with principles of social and political liberalism. Not that a party based on progressive reform has to be bad either.

Stop using this word that stands for tollerance and good as a slur against people. Stop using it as a blanket word for anyone who isn't right wing. Start using it correctly.

I say to you all: Claim this word back.

Use it correctly, post this in your journal (if you have one), correct people who use it without thinking. Make a damn stand. This is your language as well. Language is about progress, it evolves, don't let that evolution be one of hate.

[posted from Twilight Universe]

Comments

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
moriarty6
15th Mar, 2005 14:40 (UTC)
Word.
machiko3377
15th Mar, 2005 15:09 (UTC)
here here! my mother refers to me as her "liberal child" as if it is some insult! bah!
galateadia
15th Mar, 2005 18:06 (UTC)
my mom does that too.
she tends to use all kinds of perfectly positive words against me like they were some kind of slur. it's kind of funny to watch her when i just respond by saying, "yeah, and how is that a bad thing? just look up the definition of the word instead of listening to Rush."
grahamux
15th Mar, 2005 17:34 (UTC)
That's what the facists do. They make normal words like that and use them over time to cast a bad face on the things they dislike.
darkcryst
15th Mar, 2005 18:45 (UTC)
Doesn't have to be facists, any extremist group tends to do it.

You don't have to be right wing to be a tool.
elsh
15th Mar, 2005 18:07 (UTC)
I am a Libertarian, but I really don't ever talk about anything to do with being liberal. However, I am always sure to use words correctly. I hate misuse of language as well.
banshea
15th Mar, 2005 18:11 (UTC)
I've seen quite a few bumper stickers that say something to the effect of, "I'm libertarian, I'm liberal about everything!"
banshea
15th Mar, 2005 18:09 (UTC)
You make it sound like it's just the people on the other side of the fence doing it. People with no sense of the meaning of the word, only its politics, identify themselves as "liberal". I live in one of the most left-wing communities I've ever been in. I've heard that you can find more left-wing places but only in the back country of Oregon. I've talked to hundreds of people who self-identify as "liberal" and yet who are bigoted and narrow-minded, they're just narrow-mindedly in favor of communism or what have you. I can't even bring up anything that's even vaguely political in my anthropology classes because if I don't have the correct left-wing viewpoint I obviously need to be crucified.

I'm quite pessimistic about any attempts to save the word from its politics. The linguistic shift is led by the people who are least likely to think and least likely to give a damn. They've got the battle lines drawn, they've got names for the different sides, I don't think you're going to get a chance to tell them that they've got it all wrong at this stage of the game. They'll only pick on some other word, anyway.
darkcryst
15th Mar, 2005 18:57 (UTC)
I don't think I made it sound like that... but the incorrect use of it has been pushed, publicised and generally hated on by the right (if, as I would imagine, that is who you meant as the "other side")

I said to stop mis-using it as a term for anyone who isn't right wing. I think that applies to everyone, whatever their politcal affiliation.

Liberal isn't anything to do with politics, not specifically anyhow. That is more my point, and I think your comment illustrates my point: that a decent word is being mis-applied and is also being mis-associated.

Eventually the US (and by extension most of the English speaking internet) will be brainwashed into thinking that there is only one meaning. That would be sad. So show your support and stand up for the word ;)
miriammiriam
15th Mar, 2005 19:29 (UTC)
i'm just tired of people switching "loose" with "lose"
like "i hope i don't loose this!" or whatever...people are morons.
razorboi
16th Mar, 2005 19:58 (UTC)
Stop using this word that stands for tollerance and good as a slur against people.

I didn't realize "liberal" is synonymous with good. Unless you equate elevating reason above traditon and inherited social customs as good, I don't see how it could stand for that. For instance, in the definition you supplied, it says a liberal is one who is "open to new ideas for progress", but progress towards what, exactly? What approximate goal does a liberal favor progressing towards? Social attitudes that don't recognize normative behavior or lifestyles ("tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others")? Political policies designed to create an egalitarian, pie-in-the-sky utopia where sexual, racial, national (and all inherited traits that were not created by reason) distinctions are done away with? I've found that these beliefs, the ones detailed in the definition you provided, inform a certain way of looking at the world that is at odds with reality.
darkcryst
16th Mar, 2005 20:19 (UTC)
Progress is usually defined as "steady improvement." So thats your defination of that. Also the point is less what and more that a liberal is open to progress of any sort. The examples you give aren't really progress. They would be regress, as they woudl be returning to older, usually more dismissed, forms.

I don't know about synonymous with good. I didn't mean to imply they had the same meaning, and I don't think I did. Just that the meanings of Liberal are (generally) good.

Progress is good. Tollerance is good. Not being a bigot is good.

You're effectively straw-man arguing with the last bit. Setting up something that I haven't said, or implied, and then knocking it down. So there's not much point me dealing with that. I'd say your reading of the definition though is the one that is at odds with reality, as much or what you said just isn't said there. That is your pre-concieved notions colouring the way you interpret it.

Which was partially my original point to begin with.
razorboi
16th Mar, 2005 20:43 (UTC)
Straw-men can't be questions. Questions aren't arguments; declarative statements are. If you noticed, I wasn't asserting that liberals desire those things, I was asking you, someone who putatively embraces the beliefs detailed in the definition you gave, whether those polices/customs could be construed as progress.

Progress is usually defined as "steady improvement." So thats your defination of that.

I didn't ask for a definition of progess, I asked what goal/state of affairs liberals favor progressing towards. What constitutes "improvement" and what is the standard that liberals use to evaluate it?
darkcryst
16th Mar, 2005 23:23 (UTC)
You assume all liberal people have the same standards. They don't.

Of cource if you mean people who follow political liberalism, then thats well documented. I wouldn't know, I'm not one of them.

Could less bigotry and tolerance in the world be construded as progress in my view? Yes. I'd be surprised if you could find a rational case to support a counter argument.

The reason I called it a straw man argument is that you argued against the questions you posed. I also don't think those questions really apply.. because as I said, the first few words of the post, this isn't about politics.

I see people from "both sides" of the political spectrum (though saying its only a two sided argument is over simplifying, even if it is broadly true in the states) mis-using the term liberal. It is commonly used in political campaigning, but this post is not about politics. Usually they mean "left-wing", sometimes they don't actually seem to know what they mean. That is a political use of the word. More-over it is a mis-use of the word in a politcal sense.

It is not about politics, it is about semantics. Your questions seem to be aimed at a political base. I believe I answered your last question though in my last reply - its not the where, its the act of wanting progression, not regression. The term is not goal oriented.

The practical application in politics might be but, as I've said repeatedly, this is not about politics ;)
razorboi
17th Mar, 2005 23:03 (UTC)
Could less bigotry and tolerance in the world be construded as progress in my view? Yes. I'd be surprised if you could find a rational case to support a counter argument.

I assume you meant less bigotry and intolerance. At any rate, your use of "tolerance" is vague. What, specifically, do you tolerate? Are there any limits to what you tolerate? Would you tolerate the ideas and behavior of a Muslim population who came to power in the UK (through, say, democratic means) and wanted to institute the Shari'ah, which encompasses every facet of life, from dress code to personal hygene? Would you tolerate the ideas and behavior of the National Socialist Party if you were Jewish and lived in Third Reich Germany? Do you tolerate bigotry? Your response will be interesting.

I would be happy if you could supply a definition of bigotry for me.

My overarching point here is that if you accept these principles, it can influence the type of political and social views you hold, which would very likely differ from the political and social views of someone who believes traditional ways of life, religion and biology should be the sole authorities that guide how we think about things.
darkcryst
17th Mar, 2005 23:20 (UTC)
Yes I did mean intollerance, thanks for the pick-up.

Bigotry is the behavior of a bigot. A bigot is one who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.

Would I tolerate someones who's views weren't my own? Yes, I do it every day. Tolerance isn't the same as acceptance, or sub-servience however. I accept that people believe, do, and like different things. That is not the same as saying that they should be allowed to impose their will on others. Which is what is happening in the examples you give.

Obviously there is a line where tolerance meets resistance. Tolerance is leeway, not free reign to walk over someone.

"traditional" ways of life is a vague description. In your example you say religion and biology. Biology? We're all the same race, so unless you mean by very minor subtlties (male, female, white, asian, black.. etc) then I'm not sure what you mean.

As you said - your point is that if you accept the principles of being liberal, then you would be philsophically opposed to traditional ways of life. Hardly. It would depend on those ways of life. If you mean things like sexism, racism, and general intollerant behavior.. then sure. Thats almost the exact definition above - doesn't believe in intollerance.

I'm not sure what you are trying to say because it sounds like you are saying that tolerant people aren't intolerant, and don't like to see intolerance forced on other people. This I would say is true, and rather obvious.

razorboi
18th Mar, 2005 02:14 (UTC)
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Would I tolerate someones who's views weren't my own? Yes, I do it every day. Tolerance isn't the same as acceptance, or sub-servience however. I accept that people believe, do, and like different things. That is not the same as saying that they should be allowed to impose their will on others.

So if you're defining tolerance as just accepting that people believe, do, and like different things than you, then a person who wants to racially segregate himself because he believes other races are disgusting and stupid could theoretically be tolerant, as long as he accepts that people exist who believe, do, and like different things than he does; things, moreover, that he may not like, and whose origin or cause he may not understand, but things that he nevertheless accepts and has no desire to change. He just wants to peacefully disengage. Is he tolerant, darkcryst?

"traditional" ways of life is a vague description. In your example you say religion and biology. Biology? We're all the same race, so unless you mean by very minor subtlties (male, female, white, asian, black.. etc) then I'm not sure what you mean.

We are the same species, not the same race. There are subdivisions within our species that constitute the human races. The belief in racial differences could be one thing that directs a society's political policies. An example of that could be recognizing that the societies created by the various races are the way they are for (primarily, though not exclusively) biological reasons, and thus it is an exercise in futility to deliver a type of government that arose among a different race to another race, as if both groups are interchangeable. Biological differences between the sexes could be another.

Talk of biological differences should not be dismissed out of hand as "racism" or "sexism" either, because many state policies (like Affirmative Action and the one I just mentioned) are predicated on the belief that there are no significant biological differences between races or sexes, or at least, differences significant enough to affect how they behave or think. Biology would just be one reliable guidepost a society could look to in developing its government and social customs. Religion would be another. Traditional institutions (like marriage) and customs, and ways of life enjoyed by our ancestors. Each one of these things tempers the other two, so the society does not degenerate into totalitarianism.

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )