Liberal, Ultra Liberal, etc.

When did being called a liberal or, God forbid, an ultra liberal get to be a bad thing? Why is it such an insult and candidates run away from being called that? According to Webster's, liberal means "1. giving freely; generous. 2. more than enough or than might be expected. 3. open to new ideas; broad-minded; tolerant. 4. broad in range; not limited. 5. in favor of reform or progress in politics or religion. n. a person who is in favor of reform and progress.

Wouldn't you think being called a liberal would be a good thing? Why have we let the Republicans make it into something bad? Why have we let them define who we are?

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Comments

i'm with you there...

i'm sure it's been used as a perjorative even long before phil ochs wrote and recorded "love me, i'm a liberal" more than thirty years ago... but being called a "liberal" by an ignorant wingnut means about as much as being called a "punk" when i was a teenager. it means nothing.

however... the real power of the word "liberal" as a "bad word" lies in the way it's used by the wingnuts in their campaign advertising.

it's a little tricky to use "conservative" as a perjorative, but there are so many other good words and phrases to choose from - like "corrupt", "aloof", "out of touch"...

I recently heard a discussion about this

and it mentioned that in the 60s, liberal was what the hippies called the mainstream, in a derogatory way. They mentioned the same song as evidence.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

I like this definition

from The American Heritage Dictionary:

1.a. Open-minded; tolerant. See Syns at broad-minded.
b. Favoring civil and political liberties, democratic reforms, and protection from arbitrary authority.
2.a Tending to give freely; generous.
b. Abundant; ample.
3. Not strict or literal; approximate.
4. Of or based on the traditional arts and sciences of a college or university curriculum: a liberal education.
- n. A person with liberal ideas or opinions.

It covers all our bases: Open Minded, Favoring Civil Liberties, Generous, Educated.

We rule.

Bush Economy

The impact of liberalism

on the modern world is profound. The ideas of individual liberties, personal dignity, free expression, religious tolerance, private property, universal human rights, transparency of government, limitations on government power, popular sovereignty, national self-determination, privacy, enlightened and rational policy, the rule of law, fundamental equality, a free market economy, and free trade were all radical notions some 250 years ago. Liberal democracy, in its typical form of multiparty political pluralism, has spread to much of the world. Today all are accepted as the goals of policy in most nations, even if there is a wide gap between statements and reality.

(from wiki)

Personally, I don't think people like us have allowed the Republicans to turn "liberal" into a swear word, I believe that it was the Dems supposedly representing us who lost their backbone.