Monday, September 24, 2012
A stylistic change I've made recently is to eschew the terms "liberal" and "progressive" when writing about leftists and instead call them, well, leftists.
A brief explanation follows.
F. A. Hayek used the term "liberal" quite liberally in "The Road To Serfdom". He was referring to classical liberals - those who advocate individual freedom and believe that an individual derives his rights, if not from God, then from nature, and certainly not from government. Further, a true liberal believes that no individual can trespass upon another individual's natural rights. Health care, for example, is not a right since it requires the appropriation of the rights of other individuals.
Today's leftists favor the illiberalism of collectivism over individual freedom. They are not liberals.
Social progress describes the general historical trend toward a more just and moral society. This trend has advanced, in large part, due to the liberation of individuals from centralized control - monarchies, caliphates, empires, communist and fascist dictatorships, independent payment advisory boards and the like. The leftist desire for top down power is thus regressive, not progressive.
Leftists have successfully hijacked much of the language, contorting the true meaning of words*. I will not help advance their agenda by calling them what they're not.
* Jonah Goldberg gives the subject his usual rollicking, in-depth treatment with his latest book "The Tyranny of Cliches".