Stop calling them “liberals.”
My latest rant on taking back the language, over at PJMedia.

[Update a few minutes later]

An excerpt:

as Bill notes, the party was taken over by the hard left decades ago, and abandoned even any pretense of liberal values, even while continuing to call themselves fraudulently by that phrase, and slandering true liberals everywhere. And the reason that they get away with it is because people like Bill O’Reilly allow them to, using their purloined word to falsely describe them himself.

Long before Orwell or Carroll, the Chinese philosopher Confucius said that, when words had lost their meaning, it was time for a rectification of names, because “…if names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.”

At least since 2006, when the Democrats took over Congress, it’s fair to say that affairs have not been particularly carried on to success, at least for the American people. It is past time to rectify the names, to take back the language from these lexigraphical thieves. And I modestly propose that we start with the word “liberal.”

Related: The coddling of the American mind:

We have been studying this development for a while now, with rising alarm. (Greg Lukianoff is a constitutional lawyer and the president and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which defends free speech and academic freedom on campus, and has advocated for students and faculty involved in many of the incidents this article describes; Jonathan Haidt is a social psychologist who studies the American culture wars. The stories of how we each came to this subject can be read here.) The dangers that these trends pose to scholarship and to the quality of American universities are significant; we could write a whole essay detailing them. But in this essay we focus on a different question: What are the effects of this new protectiveness on the students themselves? Does it benefit the people it is supposed to help? What exactly are students learning when they spend four years or more in a community that polices unintentional slights, places warning labels on works of classic literature, and in many other ways conveys the sense that words can be forms of violence that require strict control by campus authorities, who are expected to act as both protectors and prosecutors?

They’re questions more people at universities need to be asking themselves.

Also related: “Speech nuts“:

Speech nuts, like gun nuts, have amassed plenty of arguments, but they—we—are driven, too, by a shared sensibility that can seem irrational by European standards. And, just as good-faith gun-rights advocates don’t pretend that every gun owner is a third-generation hunter, free-speech advocates need not pretend that every provocative utterance is a valuable contribution to a robust debate, or that it is impossible to make any distinctions between various kinds of speech. In the case of online harassment, that instinctive preference for “free speech” may already be shaping the kinds of discussions we have, possibly by discouraging the participation of women, racial and sexual minorities, and anyone else likely to be singled out for ad-hominem abuse. Some kinds of free speech really can be harmful, and people who want to defend it anyway should be willing to say so.

I’m certainly willing to say so. It’s the price we pay for liberty. But note, this author also falsely identifies these totalitarian speech police as “liberals.”

19 thoughts on “Leftists”

  1. This seems like a lost cause. The GOP and rightist media has spent the last 30+ years treating “liberal” as a dirty word. Simultaneously convincing the average right-of-center American today that 1) Democrats aren’t liberals and 2) Liberals are the good guys, is a very tall order. Not to mention convincing the 20+% of Americans who self-identify as liberals that they actually aren’t.

    1. Not to mention convincing the 20+% of Americans who self-identify as liberals that they actually aren’t.

      I’m not wasting my time on that, just exposing their delusions/lies to others.

      1. “The GOP and rightist media has spent the last 30+ years treating ‘liberal’ as a dirty word.” And how unfair of them! Just because the l-word connotes a political philosophy based on legalized looting and aggressive force, and the people who go by the l-word lie about almost everything, is no need to depict them as pariahs.

          1. “I think you’re making my point.”

            You mean with an accurate description of The “Liberal” Gang? The truth hurts.

    2. Rush Limbaugh was so successful at making liberal a dirty word that the leftist media was whining about it throughout the nineties.

      For many on the right, the current cause is not to continue making liberal a dirty word, but to expose the word, progressive. The more who equate this word with totalitarianism, the better. I think this is doable, as we have really begun to change the notion that Nazis were not right wingers but were socialists.

      1. “For many on the right, the current cause is not to continue making liberal a dirty word, but to expose the word, progressive.”

        Democrats chose that term for themselves with pride, it isn’t a derogatory insult from Republicans so it makes it harder for them to dodge history.

    3. No, Jim. It was the liars who purloined the word who made it a curse word. You would have us believe that a car that has been broken into and driven off is not stolen until the police declare it so, and that’s it’s their fault and not the thieves.

    4. On a visit to an Buddhist temple in Asia back in 2011, I was temporarily started to see a large swastika on the Buddha’s chest. The swastika is an ancient Buddhist symbol dating back over 2500 years, but the symbol was forever tainted by the Nazis dating back to the 1920s. The word liberal has also been tainted by the actions of self-proclaimed liberals (progressives/fascists) who turned just about everything good about classical liberalism upside down. Where classical liberalism was about maximizing individual liberty and freedom, modern liberalism is about consolidating government power over the individuals to the greatest extent possible. In that regard, modern liberals have made “liberal” a dirty word.

    5. “The GOP and rightist media has spent the last 30+ years treating “liberal” as a dirty word. ”

      Your own fault. Leftists co-opted the word.

      Leftist policies are unfair, racist, destructive.

      You leftists called yourselves “liberals” because you were too frightened to call yourselves what you are:


      You are forever re-labeling because you can’t speak the truth. So when you decided t call yourselves liberals, ok fair enough: “liberal” policies are rotten and so liberal becomes a dirty word.

      Ok so then you saw the huge error you made and then, recently, turned to “progressives” (or maybe back to “progressive” as that what you called yourselves before you co-opted liberal). Well “progressive” has become a dirty word because, like “liberal”, it became shorthand for your policies.

      And your policies are still repugnant, racist, unfair, destructive.

      The “dirty words” are your policies. Whatever you want to call yourselves as shorthand becomes the dirty word because your policies are filthy.

      You have no one to blame but yourselves.

    6. ” 1) Democrats aren’t liberals and 2) Liberals are the good guys, is a very tall order. ”

      Not really that hard of a point to make as Democrats have been embracing the micromanagement of everyone’s lives by incompetent, tyrannical, and corrupt leaders.

      Would a liberal go through your trash looking for food scraps and then report you to the authorities for punishment?

      It wouldn’t be the Republicans making the case that Democrats are not liberals, Democrats do that themselves.

  2. Or you could do as I do, and call them “tax-happy, coercion-addicted, power-tripping State fellators.” More wordy but, a think, a more complete and accurate description. (Especially considering the historical origins of “Right” and “Left” in the French parliament of the Ancien Regime. The Left was the anti-establishment faction, which certainly is unlike today’s Obama butt-boys and New Tories.

  3. There is no amount of harm anyone can do to the word “liberal” than to call oneself “liberal” and then write an article about the dangers of free speech.

  4. The oldest use of “liberal” as a label in American politics that I’m aware of is the Liberal Republican Party of the 1870s. Did any political groups identify themselves as “liberal” before that?

    1. Who cares?

      You guys grabbed the label and applied it to yourselves. It’s the policies that matter. The label is shorthand for the policies. Thanks to you:

      liberal = racism, destruction, misery

    2. Another history lesson for Baghdad Jim to misinterpret. The modern, statist, revised meaning of “liberal” came about in the twenties and thirties, when State-socialists such as John Dewey knew that the s-word would always be a tough sell so it would be better for their gang to remarket themselves under the name “liberal.” Thus the bastardization began..

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