Its such an interesting word because its literal meaning and its use are totally different - and yet totally the same.
Think about it - the word's base is the same as the following:
- "I feel so liberated without those tight jeans on!"
- "Be liberal with the peanut butter - I love it."
- "With Liberty and Justice for all."
So how does this word that literally translates into freedom somehow be viewed dy conservatives as being the exact opposite?
This question has had me thinking a lot about the word and I started differentiating between Social Liberalism and Political Liberalism.
They ARE very different - Social Liberalism cares about the freedoms of the individual. Free to dress the way I want, Free to sleep with whoever I want, Free to sleep with however many peopole I want, Free to have an abortion if I want. It screams I am free to be me without ANY boundaries whatsoever.
As a Christian, I believe in freedom of self - but to an extent. To me, my limits on my freedom are supplied by my faith. And that is a choice I am free to make. I strongly question just how liberal we all should be, which defines the debate between social liberals and conservatives.
On the other hand, you have Political Liberalism. It is the exact opposite of Social Liberalism which makes me so surprised that the two so frequently go hand in hand. Political Liberalism believes in the Freedom of Government. It is free to be as big, as powerful, and oppressive as it wants. The more freedom you give the government, the more freedom you give them to do whatever they want to we the people.
I heard this old Ronald Reagan speech last night on Socialized Health Care from 1961. He opened up the speech with a quote from the leading Socialist Party Candidate for President, Farrell Dobbs. Essentially, he said that as long as the Socialist Party was called the Socialist Party, its support would be minimal. But if it were to be called the Liberal Party, it would gain the support to take power.
And how true he was - because that word has been so associated with Freedom and the object of that Freedom is so obfuscated in that title. But Socialist is not. Socialism is Freedom of Government. Socialism is not freedom for the "We the People".