Thursday, March 08, 2012

Why not call them what they really are?

This post is about semantics.  In particular, why is it that the names we use to describe political opponents and their ideologies are important? 

For years, we tended to call Democrats like Bill Clinton liberals.  To us, the word liberal was a negative term.  But actually, a liberal is someone who believes in liberty.  The word liberal can also be used to describe one who is generous.  But when we talk about Bill Clinton or Barack Obama as being liberal, this is hardly what we mean.  In fact, they are quite the opposite.  So I don’t think that we should use this term.

In recent years, the word progressive has perhaps become a more popular term for the type of political bent we are trying to describe.  There is even an auto insurance company which has taken on this name (and they are, in fact, very progressive in that sense).  But progressive really just means someone who is in favor of progress.  This is not necessarily bad.  Despite what Michele Bachmann says, the United States did start as a Republic in which slavery was legal (in most states, at least).  In other words, after winning the Revolutionary War, not everyone was instantly free.  Although other approaches to gain racial equality were actually detrimental to the cause of freedom, nonetheless there were beneficial progressive measures like the 13th and 15th Amendments.  In fact, the American Revolution itself and the adoption of the original Constitution and Bill Rights were, at the time, very progressive as well.  In a larger sense, positive progress can take place in areas other than political, such as science.  The word progress (in regards to science) even appears in the Constitution.  But “progress” is not good when it comes to mean legalizing murder and forcing people to support and condone degrading behavior such as homosexuality.  “Progress” which denies parental rights and accepts the neglecting of the parental responsibilities is also not beneficial.

Everybody has probably seen the bumper sticker “Socialism Doesn’t Work”.  If you are thinking that word Socialist is better to use for the type of people we are talking about, you are getting a lot warmer.  But here is why that word is still not quite right.  A socialist tends to want to take away all private property by means of government legislation.  In contrast, a fascist (or corporatist) is someone who wants all property to be confiscated by means of a corporate takeover of everything.  Same result, different means.  But modern leftists in America seem to be employing both tactics simultaneously.  So the distinction between “left” and “right” is now nothing but a mere illusion.  An umbrella term for this desire to put all property into a central ownership is called collectivism which is a form of totalitarianism or statism.  Another reason why Socialist isn’t quite right is because there is such a thing as voluntary socialism (i.e. utopian socialist societies).  But we are really talking about people who want to force this way of living onto everyone.  And thirdly, the words socialism, collectivism, totalitarianism or statism do not necessarily encompass things like abortion, homosexuality, and other social issues as the words liberal and progressive did (although sometimes erroneously). 

So what is the best word to use?  How about extortionist, murderer, kidnapper, thief, or pervert?  If you want to sum all these up into one word, that one word could be God-hater, criminal or lawbreaker.  Why not call them what they really are?

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