Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Who rebranded "liberal"?

Of all the syndicated columnists the Journal-World runs on a regualr basis, only two (George Will and Cal Thomas) are conservatives. To make matters worse, the liberal columnists tend to be dishonest. For example, the Journal-World continued to run Robert Scheer's columns for years after he lied about U.S. aid to the Taliban. Also, I have documented several lies that Garrison Keillor has written.

Leonard Pitts also has a habit of stretching the truth, as he did in his October 23 column:

"Consider the [GOP]’s masterpiece. Of all the terms it has arrogated unto itself (values, tradition, patriotism) and all those it has used to jab the competition (secular, culture wars, moral relativism), its best work is embodied in one word: liberal.

"Truth is, we’re all pretty liberal — at least if you’re using the word as historically defined. It’s hard to imagine even Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter coming out in favor of racial segregation, child labor or male-only workplaces. To the degree the word no longer evokes the fight against those things and connotes moral squishiness and effete elitism instead, Republicans have been astoundingly successful in deconstructing it, rebranding it, making it unusable."

It wasn't Republicans who deconstructed the word "liberal," rebranded it, and made it unusable. This is a lie that those on the left have been telling themselves for decades.

In The Road to Serfdom (1944), Friedrich Hayek tells us exactly how "liberal" became rebranded:

"I use throughout the term 'liberal' in the original, ninetheenth-century sense in which it is still current in Britain. In current American usage it often means very nearly the opposite of this. It has been part of the camouflage of leftist movements in this country, helped by the muddleheadedness of many who really believe in liberty, that 'liberal' has come to mean the advocacy of almost every kind of government control."


"Unquestionably, the promise of more freedom was responsible for luring more and more liberals along the socialist road, for blinding them to the conflict which exists between the basic principles of socialism and liberalism, and for often enabling socialists to usurp the very name of the old party of freedom. Socialism was embraced by the greater part of the intelligentsia as the apparent heir of the liberal tradition: therefore it is not surprising that to them the idea of socialism's leading to the opposite of liberty should appear inconceivable."

Socialists rebranded the word "liberal" when they usurped it. It was they, and not the GOP, who turned "liberal" into a dirty word.

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