Defining “Liberal”

I have a confession to make, and after 40 years of drawing breath on this planet, I think I’m ready to come clean.  I am a liberal.  There, I said it.  I’m prepared to face the repercussions. 

I decided that I am a liberal when I looked up the definition of the word and found this:

Liberal (adj):
1. favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.
2. (often initial capital letter) noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform.
3. of, pertaining to, based on, or advocating liberalism.
4. favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, esp. as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.
5. favoring or permitting freedom of action, esp. with respect to matters of personal belief or expression: a liberal policy toward dissident artists and writers. 
6. of or pertaining to representational forms of government rather than aristocracies and monarchies.
7. free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant: a liberal attitude toward foreigners. 
8. open-minded or tolerant, esp. free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc.
9. characterized by generosity and willingness to give in large amounts: a liberal donor. 
10. given freely or abundantly; generous: a liberal donation. 
11. not strict or rigorous; free; not literal: a liberal interpretation of a rule. 
12. of, pertaining to, or based on the liberal arts.
13. of, pertaining to, or befitting a freeman.

This is the established, traditional definition of “liberal” so you might even call it a conservative definition.  Or so I thought.  Turns out the Conservative definition of “Liberal” is as follows:

Liberal (Noun) (profanity):
1. valueless individual, Hell-bent on the destruction of our Republic.
2. of or pertaining to hating Freedom.
3. God-hating Hippie bastard.
4. hates Government or loves Government; whichever is the opposite of what is right.
5. treasonous, flag-burning, arugula-eating, know-it-all so-and-so.
6. lover of taxes, Europe and N.P.R.
7. can’t have enough abortions; would hand out two-for-one coupons if possible.
8. unpatriotic, non-supporter of troops.
9. trust-busting, monopoly-fearing and Free Market-destroying; anti-business.
10. tree hugging espouser of Climate Change; anti-business.
11. wants to kill old people with socialized health care; anti-business.
12. hates marriage; refuses to acknowledge the “Gay Agenda.”
13. believes in the need for Public Schools despite the copious number of poor people contained therein.

Synonyms:  “Leftist,” “Lefty,” “Lib,” “Socialist,” “Marxist,” “Bolshevik,” “‘Bout to Get His Ass Kicked by Toby Keith.”

I guess if you control the language, you control the debate.  I’m going with the first definition.  And let the healing begin.


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  1. dave theune wrote