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DeanRx

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It might be a more accurate term as "liberal" can mean so many different things. I would consider myself a "classical liberal," but by no means a "modern liberal" as the term changed meanings around the turn of the 20th Century.

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The Scout,

 

The term "conservative" can also mean so many different things. There are the social conservatives who could also be labeled statists. You have the fiscal conservatives who want fiscal responsibility and could care less what people do in the privacy of their own home. You have the libertarians who get confused as liberals by the social conservatives and on it goes. The term conservative just doesn't mean what it once meant as the "conservative" Republican party has many warring factions all claiming the conservative mantle.

 

Here is Mark Levin's definition of "statist" from his new book.

 

The Modern Liberal believes in the supremacy of the state.... For the Modern Liberal, the individual's imperfection and personal pursuits impede the objectives of a utopian state. In this, Modern Liberalism promotes what French Historian Alexis de Tocqueville called soft tyranny, which becomes increasingly more oppressive, partially leading to hard tyranny.... As the word "liberal" is, in its classical meaning, the opposite of authoritarian, it is more accurate, therefore, to characterize the Modern Liberal as a Statist. (p.4)

 

Personally, I don't buy his description as I know many, many "liberals" Democrats who are hard working, traditionalist, business owners who believe in self reliance over a nanny state.

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Agreed on the conservative thing. A Paleoconservative is very different from a Neoconservative.

 

I don't disagree much with Levin's statist definition?

 

You don't see any contradiction in calling a Modern "liberal" a "traditionalist?"

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Scout,

 

Here is the issue with labels. What folks like Levin call a modern liberal or statist is a really small microcosm that is used to paint a larger group he opposes. Kind of like saying conservatives are warmongering imperialists. That is true for a small group, but not in general. I don't live on the east coast or west coast where maybe a larger population of wingnuts live. Democrat/liberals in Oklahoma don't always fit into the extreme edge that folks like Hannity, Rush, Levin or Coulter like to hold out as the rule rather than the exception. While Oklahoma votes Republican nationally, we often vote Democrat within the state. My parents were life long Democrats. That being said, there was nothing "liberal" about them. My dad was a Marine in WWII. He was a Deacon and we were in our Baptist church every time the doors were open. We were expected to make decent grades and get a job to pull our weight when we were old enough. We knew what would happen to us if we tried using drugs, alcohol, tobacco or vulgar language. Dad believed in self reliance. When the family grew, he added a den, master bedroom and bathroom onto the house single handed. The ONLY thing he didn't do was pour the concrete for the foundation. You couldn't get much more traditional than my dad. My whole neighborhood was basically the same way. While times have changed, the current Democrats/liberals I know don't fit the evil profile that talk radio and pundits apply to them.

 

In my view, the descriptions applied to the labels are always the extreme edge for either the good or the bad depending on who is defining who. Labels are usually caricatures rather than accurate descriptors. That is why I disagree with Levin's definition. The man has an axe to grind and a book to sell.(This message has been edited by sr540beaver)

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I said labels are blunt. Thats the point. They make communication easier. We all know there are exceptions.

 

What is easier?

 

To say someone is a"

 

1. "socialist"

 

Or

 

2. To say they believes in a broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating public or state ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and a society characterized by equality for all individuals, with a fair or egalitarian method of compensation, that, in its modern form originated in the late 19th-century intellectual and working class political movement that criticized the effects of industrialization and private ownership on society.

 

The benefit of labels.

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I think I see, you want to live in a society where you get to have all the liberties you desire according to your definitions and to discuss ideas in a vocabulary you define.

 

Good luck with the free exchange of ideas thing(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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Scout,

 

The problem is that people are more nuanced than labels. I often refer to myself as an independent. Neither conservative or liberal really describes me. I'm conservative in that I am for the death penalty. Not because I believe it is a deterrant of any kind, but because I believe there are some crimes that deserve death. On the other hand, I could be called a liberal because I have mixed feelings on abortion. I don't see it as the black and white murder issue that some folks make it. While I might be "against" it, I would be hard pressed not to consider it if I had a 14 year old daughter who got pregnant. I have a libertarian bent to me in that I think the government needs to stay out of people's business and not legislate morality. I have my personal and religious beliefs concerning homosexuality, drugs, etc. but I don't think the government should be telling people who they can or can't love or putting them in jail if they decide to ruin their bodies and life.

 

I could go on and on, but I think you get my point. I think the vast majority of Americans are pragmatic and live in the middle ground somewhere as opposed to the idelogical edges. The folks who enjoy politics as a hobby or the folks who are true ideological believers tend to be those who want to put people into categories and end up painting with a broad brush and demonizing those on the opposite side. The majority of Americans just care about getting from one day to the next as opposed to all the hand wringing and point scoring. They typically defy labels.

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I know all that. I keep saying labels are blunt.

 

However they are easier!

 

Pick any figure. Past or present. Describe them. Easiest way to do so is labels.

 

Hiter - Nazi, Facist

Stalin - Communist, Authoriatarian

FDR - Democrat, democrat, New Dealer, capitalist

Churchill - democrat, monarchist, imperialist, capitalist

 

Gets the point across quick, though not precise.

 

They do have a point!

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And there is the rub, you yourself said you were a "classical liberal," but by no means a "modern liberal". So a single label didnt work for you. You needed a modifier. So, while liberal, you are a classical liberal and not modern at all. How long before you feel the need to add a second adjective to your ideology? And then another Until you have a sentence? Where does a label stop and a phrase start? A sentence?

 

BTW, I take issue with your list, Stalin was not a Communist, In Communism everybody is equal, it was not so in Stalin's regieme. Calling Stalin a Communist reflects poorly on Communists everywhere.

 

FDR a Capitalist? Are you kidding? I beleive Socialist is a tad more correct, certainly not Capitalist. If he was a Capitalist he would not have started all those governmental work programs, he would have left the resolution of the Great depression to the private economy, instead it was WWII that ended it.

 

So on your list of 4 people with labels, I disagree with 50% of them, perhaps with complete sentences I may agree with you, labels suck

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Stalin was a member of the communist party . . .

 

Notice I qualified FDR's capitalism with "New Dealer"

 

So nobody has still answered the question. What is your solution for a world without labels? How will you quickly and easily describe people. Shouldn't there be a way?

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I am honestly very suprised by the absolute HATRED of labels on this forum.

 

I didn't know they were so bad!

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