When Did "LIBERAL" Become a Dirty Word?

@anniepa (27280)
United States
October 15, 2007 8:28pm CST
I've noticed for quite a few years now that the "L" word is treated like it really is some kind of obscenity, although I can't understand why. I mean, exactly what is wrong with "Being progressive in thought and principle; open-handed, generous, broad-minded" ? However, it can't be denied that many politicians and pundits who clearly are liberal seem to be afraid to say that word! I'll say it loudly and proudly...I'm a LIBERAL and I'm not a horrible or immoral person!! OK, myLotters, bash me (respectfully, of course...lol) or support me but let's discuss it! Annie
5 people like this
11 responses
@theprogamer (10539)
• United States
16 Oct 07
When did Conservative = Evil? I'd like someone to answer that one. When did Independent = Evil, Rogue or Vagrant? Someone please answer that one. I associate with nothing, but people love to assign nice codewords to me. Not for me of course, but just to keep their little mental bubbles up. I want nothing to do with liberal, conservative or whatever. Both idealogies seem pretty worthless and are now run by cretins, self-interested lobbies, and lots of brain-drains that if they were in a different life they would have been crushed a long time ago. Okay back to questioning. Why is it anytime I try to ask real questions, draw up different conclusions, point out different views I'm [insert derogatory terms here]? I expect no one to answer my questions, just keep hitting the negative button since thats all most of my enemies on here seem capable of doing. That or talking about me behind my back. Whatever.
5 people like this
@anniepa (27280)
• United States
16 Oct 07
Gamer, are you "talking" to me here? I hope I'm not your enemy...lol! I'm not hitting the negative button on you either, it's the exact opposite actually. I also don't call you or anyone else by a "derogatory term", at least not until they do it to me first. Now, to answer your questions - I've never said conservative=evil, although there are those who call themselves conservative that I may consider to be evil. I've never said anything whatsoever against independents. While I willingly call myself a "liberal" I must say I don't fit neatly into any little container with a label on it. I happen to enjoy your thought-provoking posts, both those I agree with and those I don't. So, I promise not to assign any codeword to you. Thanks for your post, friend! Annie
3 people like this
@theprogamer (10539)
• United States
16 Oct 07
Nah I wasn't talking to you specifically. It was just a counter question that occurred to me! Sorry if it seemed like it. But you know me, sometimes these questions just pop up or I've already asked them searching for answers. I do like the discussion though.
3 people like this
@theprogamer (10539)
• United States
17 Oct 07
I did see your response to my response in your other thread though. I'm slightly annoyed. By the way, someone does take those posts too personally since I've been successfully negatived since then. I'm getting tired of this nonsense.
3 people like this
• United States
16 Oct 07
It is simple . When the republicans took control of congress in 1994, liberal became a dirty word. It was used for Anyone that wasn't Exactly like them. And since they weren't like them, they were the enemy.
5 people like this
@theprogamer (10539)
• United States
16 Oct 07
Works both ways dear. Just pay attention to who's out there flapping their heads off despite what side they are on. The best part is, that with all the empty words and all the posturing, nothing really gets done. "Yippie" -_-
5 people like this
• United States
16 Oct 07
I think you're right about the timing, sarahruthbeth. I don't remember the political dialog being quite so polarized before Rush, Gingrich et al, decided to go on the offensive after Clinton's election. They commandeered 'liberal' and loaded it with as much venom as they could muster. Particularly useful as sound bytes became more important than rational debate. I can just hear the sneer with which they say it - like its synonymous with the most degenerate, distasteful person imaginable. All part of the conservative attack machine that hopes to discredit the opposition rather than allow people to decide solely on the issues.
3 people like this
• United States
16 Oct 07
I agree with you 100%. It is Newt Gingrich's fault, and we can thank George Bush for destroying conservatism as well.
4 people like this
@cyntrow (8524)
• United States
16 Oct 07
I feel the political definitions of both liberal and conservative are equally oppressive. I consider myself a progressive human being and a political moderate. I do personally try to stand up for my fellow man. I personally try to take care of those less fortunate. I personally believe in helping all human beings where I can. I don't necessarily feel that the political Liberals do this. I feel they are attempting to play parent to adults. They tell me how to raise my kids. They try to tell me what movies I cannot go see or what I cannot watch on television because of what a child might see. Conservatives seem to want a theocracy in this country. They want to take away the rights of certain groups of people because their religion, that not all people in the country believe, tells them that their way is the right way and all disenters are evil and anti-God. Neither political group cares. They are both power hungry. And the closer the political group is to either end of the line, the less the caring becomes. I am in no way stating that you are uncaring or oppressive. I believe that your liberal viewpoints are humanity motivated, not politically motivated.
3 people like this
@anniepa (27280)
• United States
16 Oct 07
Thank you very much, Cyntrow, my views aren't politically motivated but rather come from the desire to do right to my fellow human beings whenever possible. I do agree with your points concerning both the liberals and conservatives about telling us how to live our lives and what to watch on TV and what to believe and even what should or should not be done scientifically and medically. Annie
1 person likes this
@cyntrow (8524)
• United States
17 Oct 07
I was hoping that you would get my drift. I don't think that liberal is a dirty word. I don't think that conservative is a dirty word. I think that the powers that be make them such.
2 people like this
• United States
16 Oct 07
I agree. I'm proudly liberal. Why would anyone espousing freedom deem liberal as a bad thing? I believe social liberalism is the target of the conservatives. Economic liberalism is something different. Hence neo-liberalism is a term often used to refer to globalism and international capitalism, US foreign policy, and the like. I guess in this context it's no longer a dirty word for Conservatives. I find it sligtly odd that being liberal or to the right defines a mind set that determines attitudes on so many issues, from war in Iraq, global warming, domestic spending on social programs, gay rights, abortion. Of course, we liberals have come to a rational, open-minded position on all these issues, while the Conservatives have a ideological, knee-jerk reaction to all these issues. Just kidding. But I do think, in general, that liberals are more idealistic, less cynical, and more generous in spirit.
3 people like this
• United States
16 Oct 07
I'm not meaning to attack you. You have asked a question. I've answered it honestly. Liberal became a dirty word for me after I became very good at analysis of complex human behavior. I acquired this skill by studying the science of behavior, quite a large amount of practical applied mathematics, and the design of scientific experiments. When I use these skills to do an analysis of some complex human behavior, guess what kind person it usually is that will respond with condension, a sneer, or contempt? What kind of person do you suppose it is that is most likely to use derision as oppossed to reasoned analysis when disagreeing? What kind of person do you suppose it is that when a complex human behavior is explained to them they might laugh at you when they do not really even understand what has been told to them? That's right, a liberal. I've encountered numerous arguementative persons who do not know the difference between an independent and a dependent variable. These are people who do not know what is a standard deviation or why it is important. These same people have no idea what it means when you tell them to check the validity of an experiment or study they cite in support of one of their positions. Yet, such people try to tell me I have no idea what I'm talking about concerning various topics even when I've studied the science on both sides of an issue. What kind of person do you suppose I've encountered who is like this? That's right, a liberal. While many liberals claim to be progressive, it turns out be code words for "big government", "more government spending", "socialism" and " I know better than you what's good for you!". Far from being "progressive" these sorts of things are very "regressive". They are regressive to the failed policies of the 1960's war on poverty and LBJ's Great Society. Books have been written about this by incredibly intelligent people. Who do you think dismisses this intellectual thought simply out of hand while not bothering with reason, data, or analysis? That's right, a liberal. To sum this up, the reason so many politicians try to hide being a liberal is because in practical terms of how the word has been applied, it is the opposite of progressive, open-handed,generous and broad-minded. True, liberals perceive themselves as progressive, open-handed, generous, and broadminded. It just is not how others see them.
2 people like this
@anniepa (27280)
• United States
16 Oct 07
I'm not going to argue that there are no liberals that fit your descriptions here but I must beg to differ on some of your points. In my own person experience I've found more name-calling, more condescension and more discounting of scientific facts if they go against their beliefs among conservatives than among liberals. What says "I know better than you what's good for you" more than those who want to eavesdrop on our private phone calls and internet activity, tell us what to do with our own bodies and in our own bedrooms, tell us we must follow a particular religious faith or we're not Americans, or tell us we don't even have the right to choose to die with dignity? None of these are "liberal" views, that's for sure. The liberals have their faults too, I'm not saying they don't and although I AM a liberal that doesn't mean I agree with every single thing they stand for, but - sorry -conservatives are the most "mean spirited". Annie
3 people like this
• United States
16 Oct 07
"Conservatives are the most "mean spirited"." Yes, they are. We agree on this. Neither the liberals or the conservatives behave in a manner that would want me to claim to be either.
3 people like this
@theprogamer (10539)
• United States
17 Oct 07
"Conservatives are the most "mean spirited" Both sides are. You refuse to see it, since supposedly one side can do no wrong -_-
4 people like this
@worldwise1 (14887)
• United States
16 Oct 07
I used to consider myself a Liberal, anniepa, but as I've grown older I am so tired of everyone having to be labeled. Now I don't classify myself as one extreme or the other, I just speak out for what I think is right. The issue of labeling people from whatever party they happen to belong to is dividing our nation. I don't want to be a part of that. I think everyone should just stand up for what they believe in.(:
@anniepa (27280)
• United States
16 Oct 07
I agree with you, I don't think we should have to be labeled and I don't classify myself as an extremist either. I guess that's what makes is bad for everyone of either political or ideological persuasion, there are extremists on both sides that are just so outrageous they make everyone else look bad. I started this discussion because I had been watching, or rather listening to the TV while online and Hardball was on and someone was talking about how one of the GOP Presidential candidates was really a liberal and how that's why it would never do for him to be nominated because he's now pretending not to be a liberal...ya-da-ya-da...but it was in the guy's tone that made liberal sound like such a dirty word. You're so right about our nation being divided and I don't want to be a part of that either. When I say I'm liberal I really mean that, in general, my views are more in line with them than with the right but that doesn't mean I don't take issues one at a time and stand up for what I believe in. Too bad few, if any, of our political leaders on either side do that. Thanks for making some excellent points here. Annie
1 person likes this
@academic2 (7009)
• Uganda
16 Oct 07
When you are considered socially liberal or too liberal for that matter, it portrays you give no second look to issues, you are driven by unreasoned instincts in you social connections, and if you are so liberal that there are no constraints to the way you do things in life, then you are one person that lives without taboos and you fear nothing. You can do anything, and anything can realy be anything anniepa if you see what i mean.
2 people like this
@pismeof (855)
• United States
16 Oct 07
O.K. Annie,I'll give you a good reason why the word "liberal" is a dirty one.It's because progressive thinkers as you refer really smacks of socialism.Liberals are always looking to change laws and government systems to pay for programs that should be resolved within the private sector not government handouts.
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
19 Oct 07
Hello Anniepa, "Liberal" is just a word. It has no intrinsic power. As a word, an inanimate grouping of letters, it is incapable of causing a reaction or emotional response. It is the insideous deceptive ideologist having chosen the term, and now propping up the the term that oozes with contempt. And, I'm not talking about Democrats! I'll bet'cha thought I was, didn't ya'? Have you ever wondered why the word "liberal" (or now a days - progressive) were chosen as irregular, inconsistent, substitutions for the word "Democrat"? I was in attendance at the 1976 NYC Democrat Primary, where Jimmy Carter emerged as the primary victor. Back then, no Democrat used the term "Liberal" or "Progressive" to describe themselves. They were all "Democrats", and damned proud of it. The term liberal has become synonymous with obscenities, among both Tradional (JFK) Democrats, and Republicans because it is is the term chosen by Socialists to describe their wing of the Democrat Party. They have usurped a party with a long history of core values, and weaseled their way into, and overtaken that party, thereby substituting the Socialist Agenda onto the Democratic Party Platform. Doubt my words? Then please accept my challenge to research the tenets of the Democratic Party Platform of 2007, as compared to the Democrat Party Platform of 1960. Then, compare the 2007 Dem Party Platform with the Socialist Party Platform of 1972. I promise you're not gonna' like what you see. Under the LBJ administration, there developed a tiny, yet persistent ideological rift (funded by sources outside of US) within the Democrat Party. This metamorphosis has been slow and deliberate. As well as surprisingly stealth. Both traditional Democrats (or JFK Democrats) and Republicans have considered the insideous encroachment of the Socialists onto the unwitting American People, and most especially the Democrat Party, as a very gross betrayal of the the American People, The Founding Fathers, the principles of self-resonsibility, etc... If I asked you today Anniepa: Do you want the USA to model itself after the USSR or Cuba? I'm pretty darned confident that you would say "Of course not". Yet, that is where the Socialists are trying to lead us. I've said this to you before, and I believe it's worthy of mention again: Never in the history of mankind is there a single example of a successful pure socialist society. Nor will there ever be one, unless and until man experiences a paradigm shift in consciousness which includes the end of: greed, lust for power, and hedonism. Most Americans know that they don't want to live in a USA modeled after the Soviet Union. Socialists know this as well. So, instead of running honorably and fairly in elections, as the Socialist Party, they instead usurped the Democrat Party. When their actions have been exposed, they rely on denial, then come up with a different, yet equally innocuous word to describe their wing of the Democrat Party. Hence the emergence of "liberal" and "progressive" used by some Dem's to describe themselves and their vision for the country. At least in France, Germany, and the UK, Socialists aren't cowards. In those countries they run under their own party name. Here, they cower, lie, manipulate, and usurp -- all because they know that if they ever admitted who and what they really are, that the American People would shut them down.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Oct 07
Hi LadyLuna, Are you confusing socialism with communism? Socialism doesn't have to be totalitarian (though I'm not sure communism does either). There can also be a degree of socialism mixed with capitalism. There are many working governments with socialist policies. Possibly the Dems are attempting to take this country too far to the left, though (defined by how much socialism the majority wants). I don't know. I suspect that any socialism is too much for some, but in my opinion, the conservatives are willing to let too much be decided by market forces/capitalism/neo-liberalism. Btw, what I've heard from communist friends is that communism has not had long enough to prove whether it can be a successfully adopted as a form of government. Capitalism has been around much longer to work out the fine details, whereas communism relatively new.
1 person likes this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
19 Oct 07
Hello Bravenewworld, You do, of course, realize that what we know as Communism was simply one socialist fiat, right? Communism is merely one historical realization of socialism. I ask you: What does the anancronym U.S.S.R. stand for??? As for your Communist friends who misguidedly believe that Communism simply hasn't had enough time to emerge as a viable system of governance, perhaps you should suggest that the brush up on their Early American history. Do you remember William Bradford? Plymouth Plantation? The first colony, Plymouth Rock? The Plymouth Plantation was, in fact, a social experiment, which failed dismally. This social experiment resulted in the deaths of nearly half of the original settlers. The social experiment was socialism, or collectivism -- later termed Communism, sometimes now called Progressivism. The reason why Bradford's social experiment failed is the same reason that the USSR failed. As long as greed, the lust for power, hedonism, etc.. are inherent characteristics of the human animal, there can be no true equality. Furthermore, if contrived equality is forced upon the unwilling masses, then the drive to excel, to produce, to prosper, etc... is insideously extracted out of the will of man. When man's will no longer runs parallel to his human characteristics, then society fails. Specifically, to your Communist friends I say: Socialism i.e. collectivism, or communism, has a longer history in these United States of America than Capitalism does. It was abandoned early on because it is an unobtainable ideal, given man's current psychological composition. I'll reiterate that should the human animal undergo a dynamic paradigm shift, whereby the characteristics that lead to one man abusing another for personal gain, then I'm all for reissuance of the collectivist ideal. Until then, these contrived attempts to force man into a suit that cannot fit him are the cause of disastrous sociological failings in this country. And, quite frankly, the sad, sad reality that most Americans do not realize that communism and socialism are one in the same, speaks volumes about the deceptive behaviors to which I alluded earlier. If one really believes in their product, they're proud to present it honestly. Why then do American Socialists deceive the public about their product? I invite you to refresh your memory, or perhaps learn for the first time (depending on your age) what the real first American colony was all about. Below I've provided one of any number of links about William Bradford. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1650bradford.html
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Oct 07
I guess I'm trying to make a distinction between wholesale socialist/communism, in a totalitarian system, and selective policies, socialist in nature, within a largely democratic/capitalist system. I think there's quite a difference between the USSR and the type of socialism of say, FDR's New Deal. To say socialism is the same as communism, and therefore because the Dems propose some socialist type policies they'll turn the USA into another USSR, seems to be a leap of logic I can't quite follow. As you you mentioned, France, Germany etc have socialism, and there's quite a difference between them and the USSR. And I think many Americans can see the difference. As another poster has pointed out, the USA has two parties that are both right wing compared to most other countries, so there's some way to go before we have to worry about communism in this country.
1 person likes this
@urbandekay (18308)
17 Oct 07
From a European perspective it is weird that Americans that have two parties that are both right wing and that some people, that are more liberal, in the true meaning of the word, denigrate those of less liberal views as liberal. (That is if they are not reaching for their sidearm) Also both your parties advocate free trade, yet you as a nation practice extremely protectionist trade policies. They advocate freedom yet have a constitution that, unlike ours does not afford you the liberty to as you will unless there is a law against it. all the best urban
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Oct 07
I'm a proud liberal. If you ask me, the word "conservative" has dirt all over it. This administration has so much blood on their hands.