After many years of thinking that I had a pretty good grasp of the English language and definitions, and observing that we have come to never really knowing what people mean when they describe themselves as liberal, conservative, libertarian, republican, democrat, socialist, marxist, etc etc, this morning I became sidetracked with definitions. So here goes!:
Google search return for “define:liberal”
Definitions of liberal on the Web:
broad: showing or characterized by broad-mindedness; “a broad political stance”; “generous and broad sympathies”; “a liberal newspaper”; “tolerant …
- having political or social views favoring reform and progress
- tolerant of change; not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or tradition
- a person who favors a political philosophy of progress and reform and the protection of civil liberties
- big: given or giving freely; “was a big tipper”; “the bounteous goodness of God”; “bountiful compliments”; “a freehanded host”; “a handsome allowance”; “Saturday’s child is loving and giving”; “a liberal backer of the arts”; “a munificent gift”; “her fond and openhanded grandfather”
- a person who favors an economic theory of laissez-faire and self-regulating markets
- free: not literal; “a loose interpretation of what she had been told”; “a free translation of the poem”
- Liberalism is a broad class of political philosophies that considers individual liberty and equality to be the most important political goals.
- The Liberal magazine is a quarterly literary and political publication “devoted to promoting liberalism around the world”. …
- The Liberal Party was one of the two major British political parties from the mid 19th century until the rise of the Labour Party in the 1920s …
- One with liberal views, supporting individual liberty (see Wikipedia on Liberalism for a description of the various and diverging trends of …
- Of or relating to the Liberal party, its membership, or its platform, policy, or viewpoint; Liberal Party; A member or supporter of a Liberal Party; A member or supporter of the Liberal Pary of Canada, or its predecessors, or provincial equivalents, or their predecessors; A Liberal Democrat …
- liberally – freely in a nonliteral manner; “he embellished his stories liberally”
- liberally – in a generous manner; “he gave liberally to several charities”
- liberalness – liberality: an inclination to favor progress and individual freedom
Okay, my take on this is that there is no longer any concensus on the definition of “liberal”. In particular the definitions from Princeton, supposedly an ‘intellectual elite”, which gives us a clear view of at least one which is responsible for doublespeak:
“favoring reform and progress… not bound by authoritarianism… favors laissez-faire and self-regulating markets…”
Reading Princeton’s definitions is a virtual oxymoron, isn’t it? Today’s “liberals” are largely seen as the Democrats, who are increasingly seeking their versions of progress and reform in totally totalitarian fashion, increasing regulations which serve to impede laissez-faire and free markets, attempting to redefine liberty as “civil liberties”,
Of course I could go on and on, but people, if you consider Princeton as intellectual elite, you join Princeton in being dumber than an overused and worn-out cardboard box. There is nothing elite about corrupting definitions into doublespeak.
Anyway, we still don’t know what Liberal really means, do we?