and a pro-choice socialist progressive
This list has been a long time in the making. So many times when I debate someone from the left, I find their arguments boil down to little more than code words and accusations. "You must just be homophobic... How can you be against equality and choice?..." and so on. Yet the left's intended meanings of most of these code words are far removed from their common usage. I've even seen fellow conservatives fall into the word traps laid by those on the left; and when they do, they inevitably lose. So I present this list in the hopes that any conservatives reading this will take heart, and speak up the next time the left tries to frame the argument in their twisted words.
The first mis-used liberal code word is Liberal itself. The truth is, I am a liberal. The word "liberal" comes from the Greek eleutheros through the Latin liberalis, from which we also get words like liberty. Eleutheros means "free", while liberalis literally means "pertaining to a free man" and later took on the meaning "noble, generous". We could go with either one of those definitions. Ask yourself this: Which political philosophy is freer, the one that encourages individuals to be masters of their own actions and consequences, or the one that is willing to take away the individual's life and property for the good of "society"? Which is more generous, the philosophy that encourages the poor to become dependent on cradle-to-grave government care, or the one that ensures opportunity and class mobility for all, rich and poor alike? And which is more noble, the philosophy resting on coercion and "spreading the wealth around" or the one that emphasizes the rights and dignity of the individual? Moreover, even today Europeans use liberal the same way I'm using it here, the same way they always have, meaning support for individual freedoms. It seems only in Canada, the US and a few other select countries has liberal become twisted to mean the opposite of what it actually means. And if you need more evidence that it was truly twisted, consider this: By the end of the 19th century, usage of the word had so deviated from its original meaning that true liberals were forced to adopt a new, entirely nonpolitical word to describe themselves: libertarian. read more »