Sunday, May 19, 2013

On Liberals, Progressives, and using a name until you've defiled it

Here's something from one of George Will's latest rants:
Liberalism’s agenda has been constant since long before liberals, having given their name a bad name, stopped calling themselves liberals and resumed calling themselves progressives, which they will call themselves until they finish giving that name a bad name.
 I think of myself as a "Classical Liberal".  Hit this link for the reason why.  Here's a partial definition:
Classical liberalism is a political philosophy and ideology that emerged as a response to the Industrial Revolution and urbanization in the 19th century in Europe and the United States.  It shares a number of beliefs with other belief systems belonging to liberalism, advocating civil liberties and political freedom, limited government, rule of law, and belief in free marke.  Classical liberalism is built on ideas that had already arisen by the end of the 18th century, such as selected ideas of Adam Smith, John Locke, Jean-Baptiste Say, Thomas Malthus, and David Ricardo, stressing the belief in free market and natural law, utilitarianism, and progress. Classical liberals were more suspicious than conservatives of all but the most minimal government....
When David Nolan started my political party in 1973, he had to call it "Libertarian", because the group already calling themselves "Liberals" had squatters' rights on the name.  Unfortunately, these phony Liberals advocated higher taxes, bigger government, prohibition, protectionism, quotas, tariffs, and a host of other plagues. 

Prior to that, this (mostly Democrat) group had called itself "Progressive".  Hit this link.  The history of the Progressives (eugenics, prohibition, creating the Federal Reserve, etc.) is too depressing to copy and paste.  Anyway, the Progressives had started calling themselves Liberals sometime in the 1930's when FDR started screwing up the world. 

I'm betting that the Statists will stop calling themselves "Progressives" sometime in the next ten years.  By that time the stench of failure should've left the word "Liberal", and libertarians will be able to refer to themselves by that term.  Heck, look at the Latin words "Liber," "Libera," and "Liberum" from the root meaning, "to pour." From these we get the word "Liberty", from the freedom we feel when we get drunk.  (Seriously.  Hit the link.  Liberty comes from the latin root for getting plastered.)  We also get "Liberation".  "Libertarian."  "Liberate."  And of course, "Liberal". 

Liberals need to either change their name, or change their ways.  The good guys want the word back. 

Go here to read more about the Classical Liberal tradition. 

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