(HH Here: As things stand today the words Liberal and Leftist are often used as though they mean the same thing. That is about like saying that the terms Conservative and Jingoist are also interchangeable. Come to think of it that is how BOTH sets of words are used today. Jingoists are branding anyone Liberal with the label Leftist and Leftists demonize anyone who is at all Conservative as a Jingoistic Chauvinist.
So, before we discuss the ever to be feared Leftists and Jingoists let us first discuss what a Liberal and a Conservative truly are.
Dictionary.com says that to be Liberal is to be:
1. favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.
2. (often initial capital letter) noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform.
3. of, pertaining to, based on, or advocating liberalism.
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.
5. favoring or permitting freedom of action, esp. with respect to matters of personal belief or expression: a liberal policy toward dissident artists and writers.
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. (HH: Simple note to the vocabulary impaired; Prejudice and bigotry require a person to IGNORE factual data to come to their conclusions about others i.e. it is NOT bigotry to dislike people like Nazis and Supremacists and others who are demonstrably inimical.)
8. open-minded or tolerant, esp. free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc. (Another note for the Leftists, Not bound means you can CHOOSE to go beyond tradition and convention IF it seems desirable, the Liberal is not REQUIRED to abandon them whenever possible.)
9. characterized by generosity and willingness to give in large amounts: a liberal donor.
10. given freely or abundantly; generous: a liberal donation.
11. not strict or rigorous; free; not literal: a liberal interpretation of a rule.
(This last one is why so many “liberal” reforms have had their impetus from religious folk. Those who interpret their religion with Love see things that those who see God as a legalistic prig cannot. It was not the “Conservative” churches that supported the reform of Slavery or child labor or minority civil rights, it was always the Liberal Churches that spearheaded the way. The Conservative Churches fought tooth and nail until the “Liberal” ways became common wisdom because of the fear-mongering of their resident jingoists who magnified the threat to “Biblical Authority” in each case. Now each cause is embraced in toto by all but the most radical of Rightwing Churches.
Mr. Hill over at Fox and other unreconstructed Leftists should take note that this definition does NOT say a word about radicals or revolutions or Marxism.
O.K. that is pretty clear. So what then is a “Leftist” if they are NOT a “Liberal” you might ask? The short answer is that a Leftist is more or less a Marxist. But I do not think that the short answer will suffice in this forum so let us delve a little deeper.
Back we go to Dictionary.com or any other standard English dictionary:
1. a member of the political Left or a person sympathetic to its views.
O.k. then, what is the “political Left”?
Wikipedia.org has this to say: “In politics, left-wing, political left, leftist and the Left are terms used to describe a number of positions and ideologies. They are most commonly used to refer to support for changing traditional social orders or for creating a more egalitarian distribution of wealth and privilege. …
The phrase left-wing was coined during the French Revolution, referring to the seating arrangement in parliament; those who sat on the left supported the republic, the popular political movements and secularization. The concept of a distinct political Left originated with the June Days Uprising of 1848. (HH: The totalitarian excesses post revolution were exclusively the result of extreme interpretations of the “Leftist” movement.) The organizers of the First International saw themselves as the successors of the left wing of the French Revolution. The term was applied to a number of revolutionary movements in Europe, especially socialism, anarchism and communism. The term is also used to describe social democracy. In contemporary political discourse, the term the Left usually means either social liberal or socialist.“
Well there you go, Leftism is NOT Liberalism by any definition. Leftism is radical, revolutionary and ultimately has always expressed itself in totalitarian ways to the limits allowed by other elements in a given society. For the Leftist to attempt to cloak themselves by claiming responsibility for the Liberal progress of the past is simply an attempt to put the wolf in sheep’s clothing. To the great peril of the U.S. the Democratic party has won the White house at the very moment a true blue radical Leftist has come to prominence. ACORN and Van Jones et. al. will be seen as just the tip of the iceberg as the people of the U.S. come to grips with the difference between the Liberal and the Leftist.
So, that takes care of the Liberal=Left fantasy, let us now move on to the dreaded Conservative and the even more dreaded Jingoist.
Let us go forth to Dictionary.com again and look up the word Conservative:
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.
4. (often initial capital letter) of or pertaining to the Conservative party.
5. (initial capital letter) of, pertaining to, or characteristic of Conservative Jews or Conservative Judaism.
6. having the power or tendency to conserve; preservative.
Well now, that does not sound very bad does it? A Conservative is someone who appreciates the good in tradition and is both slow to accept radical change without good reason and avoids novelty and showiness for their own sake. Doesn’t it sound like the best thing to be might be a person who is Conservative at first but is aware that imperfections need to be dealt with in a Liberal fashion?
Is there anything in that definition that demands that a Conservative never change? Must the Conservative always judge their customs as superior and in need of no reform? There does not seem to be a word about any of that. It just says the Conservative is not reckless or careless or frivolous. Nothing to say you cannot be a somewhat Liberal Conservative nor to forbid a person from being a conservative Liberal.
Both ideologies seem to be about finding the best solutions (or non-solutions for non-problems) for all. The Conservative is more focused on not rushing to mess up what is good without good reason and the Liberal is a bit more focused on making what is wrong right but both have the love of civilization at their heart.
Can you imagine a harmonious, benign society that does not have a healthy presence of BOTH Conservative and Liberal elements keeping things out of the hands of the partisans? I can’t. So why do we follow the mindset of either Rush Limbaugh or Michael Moore? THAT I can’t answer.
But what about those Jingoist people? What are THEY into?
Good old Dictionary.com says this about them:
the spirit, policy, or practice of jingoes; bellicose chauvinism.
Bellicose means: inclined or eager to fight; aggressively hostile; belligerent; pugnacious.
And here is good old Chauvinism:
1. zealous and aggressive patriotism or blind enthusiasm for military glory.
2. biased devotion to any group, attitude, or cause.
Do we really need to break it down any further? To the Bellicose Mind, sure of its group’s purity and righteousness, a mind that wants to see things reformed for harmony is no better than one that seeks the destruction of all that is good and traditional.
To the mind that sees The Society That Is as an evil and unfixable obstacle to be eliminated in order to establish the perfect world to come ANY Conservative thought is a reactionary and evil frustration of the destined, and desired, revolution.
Neither group can ever be trusted to compromise or to co-operate in anything but the destruction of a mutual enemy. And Of course, like the Soviets and Nazis, go at each other again the moment that enemy is down for the count. Sometmes they do not even wait that long and defeat is snatched fromthe jaws of victory as a result.
It is never easy being Moderate. You need to be able to stand up to the Chauvinists attempting to control the Conservatives on one side and the Radicals influencing the Liberals on the other. Each are goo at mouthing the right words to their useful idiots to keep them pulling the wagon.
And each is pretending every Moderate is a proponent of the opposition, instead of a free soul seeking solutions rather than questing for victories.
As a Moderate you will be called the worst things that either set of totalitarians can think of and be accused of every crime each extreme has ever committed. But history shows that while most of the trial and trauma of humanity has come from the Jingoists and Leftists, when the dust settles it is usually the decency and stability of the Liberal Conservative middle that has prevailed. It is what has lead us from the Purdah and slavery of the Early Greeks in imitation of the rest of the “civilized World” to the heights of Western Civilization enjoyed and respected today by all who are not seeking unjust power over others. To those who have love for Mankind and God in their hearts the West is most certainly on the path to where we all want to be.
Indeed all of Western History can be seen as the slow triumph of Moderate thought over the partisans who would tear us all apart into warring tribes for all time.
So ignore the calls to hate the Conservative or the Liberal. See them for what they are, battle cries trying to rally the forces of destruction against those who would build instead.
Look to your home, your family, your culture and be a bit Conservative, then look to find the cracks to be found in the most perfect political creations and let your inner Liberal voice your concerns. Protect what is strong and strengthen what is weak. But above all, wish to do good to each other.