Blogs > Liberty and Power > I, Liberal

Feb 8, 2005 12:26 pm

I, Liberal

Pardon me, but I fear that the last time I mentioned this it got lost in the computer failure, the Ayn Rand centennary, and now the Hoppe controversy. At any rate, my defense of reclaiming the unadorned word"liberal," can be found here (pdf).

As you were.

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Kenneth R Gregg - 2/8/2005

There is no better term for the position that we hold, and there has been none to date. I would always prefer "liberal" to "libertarian" or even "classical liberal".

As more statists are using the term "progressive" here in the U.S., it encourages me in my own use of "liberal." As it is, it has become easier to make this point when I use the term "classical liberal," as this is a beginning point in making the case for liberalism.

I cannot imagine the LP changing into the "Liberal Party" but it certainly would take common usage of "liberal" into a national dialogue, both within libertarian circles and in common English language again.

Just a thought.
Just Ken

Sheldon Richman - 2/8/2005

Heck, let's do it quickly. :) Thanks!

Jason Pappas - 2/8/2005

I was hoping someone would argue this position. Very nicely done! There is really no other word with the meaning – both denotation and connotation – of the grand appellation: liberal. Since I’m not a writer, using the word usually means I must make a detour on the meaning and history of the term. However, I sometimes just use the word in a way that hints of the traditional meaning.

When I say “liberal democracy” people may not understand that I want a constitution to limit the rule of the majority and protect individual rights – but they sense some kind of limits. When I say “liberal economy” people may not understand the kind of economic liberty that I’m talking about but they suspect that I’m not talking about the welfare state. As they see the context of my usage it becomes clear that I'm talking about the classical liberal concept. This often leads into the discussion of the history of liberalism in general.

I really recommend that we slowly take back “our” word.