Tag Archives: liberal

The Abuse and Misuse of Common Words in Politics

Etymology: an explanation of where a word came from : the history of a word

As we all know, words have meanings. Some words are pretty universally understood, but others start as meaning one thing, then become something entirely different in the common vernacular. This is often due to someone who knows the etymology behind the word, sharing it with those who don’t, then those people who don’t sharing it in ways it was not intended for because they didn’t really understand it.17141936-abstract-word-cloud-for-etymology-with-related-tags-and-terms-stock-photo1

So let’s look at a few.

Liberal:  of freedom, pertaining to or befitting a free man

At the root of liberal is liber (also at the root of libertarian, liberty, etc.), a latin word meaning free (man); unimpeded; void of; independent| outspoken/frank; licentious; idle.

These days, this word is often used to be a generic term to describe people who often vote Democrat. Yet Democrat policies often around increased government spending on social programs and wealth redistribution—policies quite contradictory to the “free man” aspect of liberal.

In other countries, “liberal” is often synonymous with libertarian. This is why you hear many liberty-minded people abroad refer to themselves as classic liberals.liberalism-definition-then-and-now1

It is fairly well understood that although Republicans were the party responsible for the civil rights of the black community, both in ending slavery and in the 50s and 60s during the civil rights movement, Republicans have had a shoddy reputation with the gay community, marijuana users, the sex-work industry, and other individuals who seemed to exhibit what Republicans refer to as “deviant” behavior.

Democrats, to their credit, have been quicker to show tolerance towards such people, and in those instances, accurately describe themselves as liberals—or at least more liberal than Republicans. From there, the name just stuck.

America has a pretty anti-socialist history, so when Democrats champion socialistic policies, calling themselves socialists would not typically help their cause, although Bernie Sanders may have disproven that theory. So picking “liberal” over “socialist,” if intentionally used to mislead, would have been pretty smart anyway.

Awareness: having or showing realization, perception, or knowledge

Often when people are championing a cause, they universally just say they want to raise awareness, when they really should be saying money for research or help.bigstock-awareness-level-conceptual-met-518681621

For instance, breast cancer, thanks to efforts by organizations like the Susan B. Komen foundation, is one of the most popular charitable enterprises dedicated to helping millions of women who are, or will be, affected by the disease.

As such, almost everyone is aware of breast cancer—what is needed is money for research.

The term AWAREness started being used correctly as a way to make people more AWARE of causes they may not know about. For instance, the current Zika virus issue, emanating from a foreign country, and just recently migrating to the United States, was largely an unknown in America until the media started raising awareness.

Once people are aware however, you have a better chance of raising money if needed, or if it’s more of a cause to change people’s behavior, such as a new improved health discovery that may be discovered, which is free to do, you just need to make people aware they should do it.

Establishment: a group of social, economic, and political leaders who form a ruling class (as of a nation)

President Barack Obama delivers a health care address to a joint session of Congress at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., Sept. 9, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
President Barack Obama delivers a health care address to a joint session of Congress at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., Sept. 9, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

This word is almost entirely derogatory in nature, even though it shouldn’t be. It’s very rare you have a politician willfully claim to be “The Establishment,” due to the negative perception the term has. I’d argue they should claim it proudly, however.

Be proud that you were elected, and proud of the work you’ve done. Let people know that if they’re displeased with “The Establishment,” that maybe it’s not because of them, but instead, the people who didn’t vote with them.

Politicians who are currently elected and serving are the establishment, whether they like that term or not. Those who are not currently sitting, are not. It’s really that simple.

Theory: a coherent group of propositions formulated to explain a group of factsor phenomena in the natural world and repeatedly confirmed through experiment or observation

There are multiple versions of the word theory, and it’s important to distinguish them, and not intermix them wrongly.
Some equate the word theory to a simple guess—you have a question, conjure up an answer, and BAM!…theory.
However, a theory isn’t a guess. A theory, in science, is something that has been thoroughly tested, and through such testing, consistently confirmed.
Simply put, a theory has scientific work behind it, and has no conflicting evidence. A guess has zero work behind it, and could just as easily be false as it is true.
Mandate:  the power to act that voters give to their elected leaders
Once elected, when political talking heads start discussing the incoming president or congress, they often ask, “Do you think the incoming president has a mandate?
It’s asked as if mandate is clearly defined in some way, when it simply isn’t. If the elected person won, they have a vote (if in congress), or a veto pen if they’re an executive. If they got the most votes, that means the majority chose them to use those powers in a way that’s commensurate with the ideals. they proclaimed during the election.
There’s no situation, by definition, where one elected official has a mandate while another does not—it’s an entirely subjective term. So when asking the question, it shouldn’t be, “Does this elected official have a mandate?” Instead, it should be, “Do you feel the elected official has a mandate?”
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Liberalism Ain’t What It Used To Be. Don’t Let Democrats Hide Behind This Word.

At the root of the word “Liberal” is the Latin “Liber” which means, “Free Man.”  It’s no coincidence that this is also at the root of the word liberty and libertarian.

Many libertarians call themselves classic liberals, because liberal and libertarian are, or at least should be and used to be, essentially synonymous.liberalism-definition-then-and-now[1]

However, modern-day Democrats have hijacked this word to describe themselves, and I suspect that there are a number of reasons why. Let’s analyze a few.

Evolution

Since liberal started out as someone described as a free man, it stands to reason that free men would have been about advancing mankind in general through the benefits of free thought. While it is true that Democrats of the modern era have been quicker to embrace things like allowing gay marriage, marijuana legalization, and other social liberties. Since they are often liberal on social issues, unlike many of their Christian-conservative counterparts, it is understandable why they think they’re liberal. So the word just evolved to be synonymous with Democrats despite the fact it’s meaning is often incongruent with their beliefs.

But liberal should mean that you are accepting of all beliefs, even of those contradictory to your own. Ask a Democrat how they feel about libertarians, Fox News, or anyone right of center, and they are often condescending and apoplectic.tumblr_m4t6dxnd5a1r47rkpo1_500[1]

To some extent, you are what you believe yourself to be, and I hate when people insultingly call a person who identifies as a Republican a RINO, or refer to me as a “so-called” libertarian because I believe in some amount of government. But nonetheless, for people who identify as liberals, they’re rarely actually liberal.

Deceit

I would like to believe people are honest for the most part, but many people who in certain circles admit to being statist, socialist, or communist (I’ll use the word statist to describe all three for the sake of simplicity going forward), publicly call themselves a liberal.

Maybe they simply don’t know any better, but statism of any kind is certainly the polar opposite of liberal. But the cold war solidified the idea in America that statism is a very bad thing. So when someone who is a statist admits to it, it’s a sure-fire way to ensure you don’t get votes.

So instead, they use the much friendlier sounding “liberal” so as not to scare independent voters away who might not be too keen on casting their vote for a statist.Statism-c-c[1]

While it’s a shady tactic, if you care about winning more than your integrity, it’s not much of a stretch to do this. However, if your ideas are so great, shouldn’t you be proud of them and stand behind them 100%?

I’m proud to be a libertarian, and never claim to be anything different. It’s a shame these statists masquerading as liberals don’t have the same honest conviction.

Ignorance

To be a statist, you essentially have to believe that government knows better than you, in regards to important matters. Intelligent people generally just want to be left alone to sink or swim however they see fit, but ignorant people think that they can’t survive without a government safety net wherever they go. Since Democrats, who are largely statist in their views call themselves liberals, it stands to reason someone not intelligent enough to manage their own affairs, isn’t intelligent enough to understand the difference between a statist and a liberal.

So having little understanding of the etymology of “liberal,” they call themselves one simply by association.

If I go back to the deceit aspect for a moment, whether it be honest deceit through ignorance, or willful deceit by a dishonest statist politician trying to win a vote, it shouldn’t matter. To those of use libertarians and Republicans who form the opposition, we shouldn’t assist them in this charade.

If you are someone who loves liberty as I do, I implore you not to allow these people to call themselves liberals without calling them on it. If they are championing a non-rights-defending role of government, tell them that’s not a liberal position, that’s a statist one.No_Socialism[1]

If you are using social media, and referring to a statist-minded person, don’t ever call them liberal, call them the statist that they are. If they complain, rightly point out that they just championed a state-run position, therefore they are being statist, not liberal, and that you’re just being honest. Remember, it’s not an insult, and you’re not being rude or condescending doing so, you are truly being accurate.

If they don’t like being called statists, they shouldn’t behave like statists. If they firmly believe in their statist views, then tell them to embrace what they are and be honest about it. But for the love of liberty, stop helping them perpetuate the lie.

Tolerance: It isn’t always the moral high ground

I must confess, I hate buzzwords. Take “awareness” for example. Every October, we have “Breast Cancer Awareness” month. Is there really anyone in the developed world who isn’t aware of breast cancer? We don’t need awareness, we need money to fund research for a cure.

Awareness is a word that would be appropriate for things like the current Ebola scare where money isn’t necessarily what’s needed; people also need to be aware of how it is contracted, aware of how at risk they are, aware of what it actually is, etc.

Ebola Virus
Ebola Virus

As with many buzz words, “awareness” started off being used appropriately, then turned into a bastardized version of itself as people started applying it to every cause of the week. It’s not unlike the word “liberal,” which has a meaning quite the opposite of the ideology that drives most people today who describe themselves as such.

The buzzword I want to discuss however, which seems to be common in the current lexicon, is “tolerance.” The concept being that to each their own, live and let live, etc. This ideology is the core of libertarianism.

Democrats may claim to be the ones who are most tolerant of gays wanting to marry for example, but even our president was against it at the time of his election; libertarians were for it all along.  The Libertarian Party is the true party of tolerance, and always has been. It is refreshing to see that sentiment is permeating through to the other two parties though, liberty is a principle that is near and dear to us all, thankfully. Some just take longer than others to champion it for those who are different from them.Don't Tread On Me

I’ve outlined many times that issues are generally broken up into two categories: subjective and factual. The problem with “tolerance” is that much like “awareness” people often want to apply it in places where it doesn’t belong.

Would you tolerate someone who argues that two plus two is five or that the sun revolves around the Earth? We all have a right to our opinions, but no one has a right to their own “facts.” Facts stand on their own, despite whatever opinion someone may have; this is important to understand when dealing with the idea of being tolerant.

Whether it be gay rights, music preferences, or taste in cuisine, it is not uncommon to see people who are wrongfully intolerant of those choices by insulting them or demeaning them for such choices. Disrespecting someone or infringing on their rights because they disagree with you on such matters is always going to be an immoral practice.

The problem arises when people expect you to be tolerant on matters of fact. Since I’m quite opinionated, it’s not uncommon for me to lash out at people who I deem to be misrepresenting the truth. The difference between myself and someone who is intolerant, is I do so with people who make claims which aren’t supported by the evidence. Especially when they feel the need to disrespect me for not agreeing with them.

When I rightfully tell these people they are wrong, such as my last post about people who promote alternative medicine, I was not being intolerant, I’m protecting others from their lies (or non-facts if I give them credit for just being ignorant versus malicious). But I’m also making it clear I am not one to accept false information as fact. This distinction has a very fine line though.539838_10150934532972695_942140407_n-560x700[1]

Veganism and vegetarianism are perfect examples. There are two reasons to choose this dietary lifestyle. Some do so because they don’t want to be part of a group who exploits animals. This is a matter of opinion, and no one should rightfully disrespect them for taking that position. It’s a perfect example of when you should be tolerant.

But, if a vegan/vegetarian makes a claim that they have done so for health reasons, that is a claim of biological fact and should be scrutinized. Many studies have been done on the health effects of veganism, and it consistently has the opposite effect, depending on which aspect of health you’re focusing on. ScienceBasedMedicine.org has done a good job of gathering much of this information here. So choosing this lifestyle for that reason is not a call for tolerance, but for skepticism instead.

I’m not promoting the idea of taking that lifestyle away from a vegan/vegetarian, they have the right to choose so for whatever reason they’ve decided. But I won’t tolerate them encouraging others to choose that lifestyle for health reasons with no evidence to support that claim. They are essentially giving medical advice without a medical degree or any scientific evidence supporting them. Since the facts often don’t support their argument, it would be immoral for me to let such falsehoods go unchallenged.

The purpose of promoting tolerance is about the morality of judging someone based on their beliefs, not tolerating them spreading potentially harmful lies and/or misinformation. As P.C. Hodgell wrote in Seeker’s Mask, “That which can be destroyed by the truth, should be.”

This brings me to my “friends” on the left, because this principle applies to politics just the same. I strive to be tolerant of someone who prefers socialism, acknowledging that it’s OK for them to want a system where we collectively work towards a common good and pool our resources accordingly; all being managed by a benevolent governing body.Statism-c-c[1]

But they rarely give us liberty-minded folks the same deference. They argue socialism works, blatantly disregarding the historical evidence of socialism. But more importantly, they vote in people who force socialism onto me.

If I force liberty onto them, they would have the freedom to enter into their own oppressive sanctuary if they chose to. But if they force socialism onto me, I don’t have the option to be free. Clearly, I am not the intolerant one.

 

 

Michelle Obama A Libertarian?

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

Do not bring people in your life who weigh you down. And trust your instincts … good relationships feel good. They feel right. They don’t hurt. They’re not painful. That’s not just with somebody you want to marry, but it’s with the friends that you choose. It’s with the people you surround yourselves with. – Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama

This quote strikes me as odd. Michelle Obama is absolutely right. I echoed this sentiment in my column Bad Friends too. So I don’t want to belabor or revisit that point.

However, this is a sign that Michelle Obama’s ideals seem to be in conflict with one another. Because her and her husband continue to promote two virtues that are in direct contradiction to this thought.

The big-government mentality these days continues to paint the narrative that everyone is poor because they are not given a fair shot. I don’t know about you, but every time I hear this, I keep thinking to myself, “Mr President, may I buy you a mirror?”

Random Mirror
Random Mirror

We have the son of financially modest parents, who is of mixed race, as president of the United States. If this isn’t one of the greatest lands of opportunity for all people on this planet, how the H-E-double hockey sticks is this man even president? We may have a sketchy past with how we treated other races and women, but so do other countries. However, if you look at us now, we are clearly the country to be in if you want to make it big.

If you disagree with me, feel free to name one country more foreigners attempt to migrate to than the United States. When you’ve found one, let me know. They don’t come here because they like a challenge and it was just too easy in their own homeland. They come here because we have a wealth of pretty humble people who turned nothing into something big—really big. That opportunity is solely because of the freedom America provides that the left, and some Republicans of late, seem to be so dead set on taking away.

America and its Constitution guarantees you many rights, one specifically enumerated being liberty. Liberty encompasses so much that it’s hard to even fathom, but opportunity is a huge part of it. So while it’s fashionable to say that people who are poor and unsuccessful are victims, I know too many alcoholics, drug users, people too lazy to work, people too unmotivated, too unambitious, and people to mean-spirited to make friends and get ahead, that I cannot begin to entertain the idea that every person below the median income is a victim.

The United States Constitution
The United States Constitution

What I don’t know is someone who has impeccable business sense, pure genius, supremely motivated, and is a good decision maker, yet somehow success always eludes them. I know they’re out there, but if you want to convince me that there are more of them, than there are people of the “I like to shoot myself in the foot” variety, I’m going to say that you are “honesty-challenged.”

So with that being said, why do the Obama’s try to appeal to the people who have done the least at the expense of those who have done the most? I’m not a psychiatrist, and I say this with serious trepidation as I cannot know what’s in their heart, but I feel like they are consummate politicians who are more concerned with winning than with what is right and just. I try to see the best in people, including the Obama’s, but this last election cycle has shown me that honesty and character are qualities they too often lack.

My other point is that they love to play the class warfare game as if it’s part of their religion. They scoff endlessly at people with money who have worked hard and achieved success. How did these people become so successful? I have news for you Michelle, they got it by following your advice in the above quote. They purged bad influences from their life, cut their losses with people who weighed them down, sent leeches packing, and rid themselves of people who polluted their attitude with bad mojo. Yet instead of pointing to these people as an inspiration, you point to them as if they’re the sworn enemy of the working man.

Never mind that they create all the jobs, provide all the products we enjoy, pay almost all of the taxes, and serve as inspiration to every immigrant and entrepreneur that comes to this great land; they’re somehow the problem?

Ellis Island
Ellis Island

I pride myself in trying to be a person who uses logic and reasoning to make well thought out points, and not just throw out hyperbole, ad hominem attacks, and other logical fallacies. But as much as I try to divorce myself from passion, this disgusting tactic of attacking the people who are successful and insinuating they’re the ones keeping the masses down infuriates me.

So Michelle, if you believe what you say, then get big government out of our way. Let successfully minded people be successful, and let failures fail. Good people fail all of the time, and they often rebound from it better, stronger, and faster. Anyone who has ever gotten fired from one job, had their ego pummeled, then parlayed that termination into an even better career and never looked back, knows I’m right.

Conversely, let the ne’er-do-wells do whatever it is they’re going to do and live or die with the results. If they’re good people, I assure their family and friends will help them if they’re at least trying to help themselves. I know this from personal experience after my own failures.

I’m not going to make the argument that there are no victims out there who are doing bad through no fault of their own, nor am I making the argument that everyone with money is a wonderful human being. The fact is every social class, race, sex, religion, or any other discriminate group has its share of good and bad people. But I do know this: by and large people reap the rewards of their efforts, or feel the pain of their lack of effort more often than not. In a land of opportunity, it takes a lot of effort to succeed. If you don’t have that motivation, then that’s not Bill Gates’ fault. That’s on you.