It Is Time To Flip Our Terminology Around
July 15, 2011 5 Comments
I’ve often written about how those who, in our political spectrum, are called ‘liberals’ are anything but. In fact, on virtually all issues that do not involve bumping genitalia and/or narcotics, ‘liberals’ will be the ones voicing the authoritarian, statist, and just all-around illiberal position. A political inversion has taken place and this is the side I tend to focus on.
But there is another, albeit weaker, pattern which is that, on some things anyway, ‘conservatives’ – at least some sizable fraction of them – can be anything but, as well.
Take the issue of whether the United States should default on its debt. Without going too deeply into it, let’s just consider who might say ‘sure, let’s just do it and damn the consequences’. Someone saying this is more likely to be on the right. Meanwhile, those on the left will be wringing their hands terrified about all the awful armaggedonish consequences!
This was also true during The Financial Crisis™ of 2008. ‘Liberals’ lived in fear of this freezing up or that freezing up and society regressing to living in caves as a result if we didn’t engineer some massive intervention to prop up the system. ‘Conservatives’ (such as myself) were more likely to be the ones saying: let the weak links go bankrupt, clean out the dreck, and let the chips fall where they may. Shrug.
These and similar issues find mostly ‘liberals’ in desperation about how to preserve the status quo and willing to prop up existing power structures and institutions at all costs, and a sizable portion of ‘conservatives’ unafraid of change, even if major and painful, if some important principle and/or freedom is at stake. In short, these issues involve ‘liberals’ being conservative and ‘conservatives’ being…well, fairly liberal.
Perhaps it’s time to start using these terms correctly instead of the opposite of correctly.