The two political/ideological labels that one hears most frequently are liberal and conservative.
I think we should stop using them.
The Oxford Languages definition of liberal is “relating to or denoting a political and social philosophy that promotes individual rights, civil liberties, democracy, and free enterprise.” The definition of conservative is “(in a political context) favoring free enterprise, private ownership, and socially traditional ideas.”
It’s interesting to me that free enterprise appears in both definitions.
In the United States, the Democratic party is considered liberal and the Republican party is considered conservative but there are several ways in which the definitions above don’t apply. For example, the Republican party is very vocal on upholding certain individual rights, such as gun ownership, while opposing others, such as the right to make one’s own medical decisions.
In this last election cycle, the Republicans repeatedly accused Joe Biden and the Democrats of being “socialist,” thus frightening some people into voting for Republicans. For the record, the definition of socialism is “a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.” To be clear, President-elect Biden and the Democratic party as a whole are capitalists. No one needs to worry that the United States will not continue to be a capitalist country where businesses are owned by individuals, families, small groups of people, and/or stockholders, not buy the society as a whole or the government.
I admit that one of the things that confuses me about the Republican party is that they are inconsistent. They think that deficits and increases to the national debt are terrible when there is a Democratic president, but when there is a Republican one, they pass tax cuts that push the budget deficit and national debt higher.
These last four years have confused the identity of the Republican party further. A number of traditional conservatives have left the party altogether.
I have no idea what comes next for the Republicans as a party.
I don’t think that they do, either.
2 thoughts on “Political labels”
“The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.”
― Daniel Patrick Moynihan
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Thanks for the quote from Sen. Moynihan. I wish he was still with us to give salient commentary on the current circumstances.
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