The Political Spectrum – How The Word “Liberal” Has Been Redefined
Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1932, redefined the word liberalism. Prior to 1932, liberalism meant “a belief in individual liberty.” He gave the word a new meaning: “a belief in paternalistic government and trading individual liberty for state-sponsored security” by redefining what he called “the forgotten man.”
In 1932, FDR talked about helping someone he called “the forgotten man.” This phrase came from a book that had been written decades earlier by William Graham Sumner. However, Roosevelt redefined Sumner’s definition of “the forgotten man.” Sumner defines “the forgotten man” in this way: Jim and Frank want to help Sally, so they team up and pass a law that coerces John to co-fund their favorite project to help Sally. In this scenario, Sumner defines the forgotten man as John, who is coerced to co-fund someone else’s project. He is the man who works, prays, and pays his own bills and is never considered by the likes of Jim and Frank. FDR defined Sally as “the forgotten man,” redefining the original concept. In FDR’s scenario, Jim and Frank were Roosevelt himself, and other like-minded people. The vast majority of American citizens became those who were coerced into co-funding Roosevelt’s pet projects.
One problem with American politics today comes from a redefinition of the political spectrum. Take, for example, the word “liberal.” Liberal, in the classical sense, means a “hands off”, or laissez-faire, policy. The United States is an example of a “liberal democracy.” America was founded on the idea that government was to play a minimal role in the affairs of society and the economy, that the job of the government was not to provide direction for society or the economy, but simply to maintain a “free environment” were the public could conduct themselves as they so chose, as long as they didn’t “infringe” on the “rights” of others. This is the classical concept of “liberalism,” the idea of a laissez-faire approach to both economic and social policy. But …
One of the tactics most used by liberals, who do not have an argument to support their failed policies, is to redefine the meanings of words. Liberals (or, as they now like to be called, progressives) have introduced an era of political correctness so as to offend no one, a rewriting of language and history to ensure that words and phrases that offend certain special interests are redefined or excluded from the vocabulary of those progressives and liberals. You will notice this redefining of the language whenever you read liberal publications or watch liberal broadcasts of the evening news.
Prolific readers may recognize the term “Newspeak,” from he George Orwell novel 1984 about an oppressive socialist world. Socialists, Marxists, and liberals want to, need to redefine words. They may be morally bankrupt, but they are smart enough to realize that most people will not accept their distorted worldview. So they must redefine their bad ideas into good ones, and redefine good and practical terms into bad ones.
The pattern has been for liberals to redefine all political debate to the point that anything which does not conform to their agenda is instantly characterized as “rancor,” “extremism,” or “hate.” While liberals have engaged in such tactics for many years, the degree to which it is currently done has grown in recent years. The Tea Party’s devotion to fiscal sanity is “draconian” or “mean spirited.” Concern for the moral preservation and restoration of the nation and its foundational institutions including traditionally defined marriage, is “homophobic” or “hateful.” Protection of the unborn is “sexist” or “anti-woman.” Recognition of the cultural and spiritual roots of the nation, and their critical importance to its future are “religious intolerance” or “xenophobia.” Yet Congresswoman Maxine Waters is called “mainstream” by the MSM.
Redefinition of Words
With the redefinition of words in mind, let’s examine some words that liberals (progressives) have redefined. I am sure that you can add a few more.
- discrimination: a word that has lost meaning in the progressive era from over use by the MSM and this administration. To liberals discrimination means not giving equal stuff to members of minorities, who should have whatever they want, and everyone else must pay for those wants.
- diversity: a blend of several unique items coexisting, such as a diversified stock portfolio. Liberals, however, define this word to describe racial, religious, cultural, and other “diversity” promoted within a single society that they define.
- equality: an idea which states that each member of a given group has equal value or equal authority. To liberals it means forced equal outcomes regardless of skill, experience, or effort, as in racial quotas.
- progressive: A “progressive” focuses on using government power to make institutions play by a set of rules. But liberals want to define “the rules.” Are you beginning to see how subtle liberals can be? Does the EPA come to mind?
- prejudice: “Prejudice” means literally to pre-judge. But liberals cannot stop there – they add racial or class or sex or … so as to fit their agenda and change the meaning of the word.
- racist: The MSM and current administration have used this word so much that the word has lost relevance in any honest debate. To liberals it means any person or organization that disagrees with the policies of the current administration.
- rainbow: a “rainbow” is literally a circular color spectrum appearing in the sky due to the result of refraction and multiple reflections of sunlight in droplets of water. Liberals have redefined the word as a symbol of homosexuality. It has also been redefined and used by left-wing political pressure groups to refer to their agenda of multiculturalism. The word has also been mis-used by liberals as a symbol of “diversity.”
- tyranny: tyranny literally means oppressive power exerted by government. This word is not present in the progressive liberal vocabulary.
- union dues: to liberals, union dues means voluntary contributions from individuals who are happy to belong to a union and agree with all actions the union takes. In actuality, it is money coerced from union members as a condition of employment.
This Is What It Has Come To
Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said that fear of being labeled “prejudiced” may have prevented whistleblowers from notifying authorities about the violent evolution of Army Maj. Nidal Hasan before he launched his deadly terrorist attack on Fort Hood in 2009, in which 13 people were killed and 30 wounded. “At one point, for instance, he [Hasan] stated in front of a group of them that he thought a Muslim-American soldier would be justified in killing his comrades in defense of Islam,” said Senator Lieberman. “And I think some of the rest of it came from a fear of making waves, and particularly making waves that would cause the people who were making them and reporting Hasan [might] put them in jeopardy of being labeled as prejudiced,” continued Lieberman. [emphasis mine]
But that’s just my opinion.