Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
  1
Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 1 Shares     
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Article Stats
5 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

Liberal the word defined, the term accepted

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags  (less...) Add to My Group(s)

Well Said 1   Supported 1   Valuable 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

Headlined to H3 8/2/09

opednews.com

For many the word liberal holds different meanings, for instance if one is a "liberal" it means they may be more socially "conscious" or possibly environmentally conscious; for others being a "liberal" could mean that they are those "damn" hippy, tree-hugging, flower-freaks! As someone steeped in a tradition of "conservatism" and having over time realized that many of my views were based in bigotry and hatred of being called a "liberal", the label elicits multiple instantaneous reactions.

My first reaction is anger; I want to beat the person doing the calling over the head until they slide down bleeding into the street. My next reaction is stupefaction; I wonder how in the heck someone who spends almost every waking minute discussing and researching the Constitution could possibly be a "liberal." My last reaction is to go about figuring out what a "liberal" really is, and is it really a bad thing.

When in doubt check the etymology and English language definition, this is my mantra and it honestly serves quite well. Merriam Webster states that Liberal can be defined as the following, "of or befitting a man of free birth; marked by generosity; lacking moral restraint; not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms" (Liberal, 2009). I know that while my moral compass may be different from many others it is not lacking in restraint, so that portion does not apply. I was born free in the United States of America so that definition does apply. I am not bound by orthodoxy (religion) nor do authoritarianism and traditional forms bind me so this portion also applies. Am I generous, yes and no, as a staunch objectivist I tend to be generous only with those that are deserving, i.e. directly related or with whom I know will not necessarily squander my generosity. This means that in some cases I am generous, so this definition does apply. According to the dictionary than, I am a "liberal."

So far, according to the dictionary definitions I am quite happy to be called a "liberal." In fact, I should thank the people who have used this term derisively against me. We found that a dictionary defined liberal is born free and does good things. My problem is that the people who use the word "liberal" derisively do so out of ignorance and through a sense of superiority because they are following the morally superior path (in their own minds.)

So let us look to the history of this word, otherwise known as its etymology. For one to look to the history of a word it is important to know where its foundations lie, with most of the English language it is Latin in base, however, as with most of the American/ English language we find that other languages seep in. After all, we Americans are not very original really, that however, remains to be discussed.

Liberal is an adjective, it is a descriptive and a modifier not a noun. With this alone it is improper to use it how many do today, as a noun or worse a pronoun. Liberal describes what a person is not who that person is. On to the history: The Old French "Liberal circa 1375," reads as follows, "befitting free men, noble, generous." I like this, after all, I tend to think of myself as a free man, and I would like to be seen as noble. It was also taken from the Latin liberalis meaning "noble, generous" literally "pertaining to a free man," Even the Greek and others show this as the definition. When applied politically the history dates from 1801, utilizing the French "liberal," meaning, "tending in favor of freedom and democracy," Interesting yes.

So now, we see that the word that is slung at people with such viciousness at times should be worn proudly. Of course, on the opposite side we must also see that those who wear it so proudly are not always so very "noble" or worse seekers of true democracy. How can one pursue socialism and call themselves "liberal?" Our founding fathers were very proudly "liberal" yes; many of them embraced the word to its fullest. In addition, to this day while I have at times bristled at the use pertaining myself I am proud to be "liberal."

Our founding fathers tended to be largely liberal in their viewpoints and political stances. We would never have begun and or had a revolution if it were not for their "liberal" views on revolting against the current government and rules. "This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe." Thomas Paine - Common Sense 1776. It's amazing really that this founding father would say that "civil and religious liberty" would be the reason for this nation, or is it?

BORN FREE = Liberal

TENDING IN FAVOR OF DEMOCRACY = Liberal

These are the definitions and etymological results of this word!

Why then are so many people abusing it so badly today? "Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties." John Milton - Areopagitica - 1644. According to conscience, what if my conscience differs in its opinions from yours? Is that wrong, or is that FREEDOM? Many people out there do want anything more than to live their lives without constant pressure from others to conform. They want liberty, they want to be free. What person does not want this.

I end with this final quotation. " I regret that I am now to die in the belief, that the useless sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 1776, to acquire self-government and happiness to their country, is to be thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my only consolation is to be, that I live not to weep over it." Thomas Jefferson - Letter to John Holmes, Monticello, April 22 1820

Thomas Jefferson being the founder of the Democratic - Republican Party, the same one that became two parties later on, he saw what was coming and what now is.

Why fight over terminology, why fight at all when both sides want a common goal, FREEDOM!

Viva la libertad!

Next Page  1  |  2

 

http://www.examiner.com/x-32256-Tucson-Atheism-Examiner

Jesse Mathewson is currently a writer, stay at home father, full time student, and political campaign volunteer coordinator. His hobbies include writing, shooting, teaching, and history (religious and United States history.)His resume includes (more...)
 
Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Follow Me on Twitter

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Dun and Bradstreet: can the credit ratings industry make or break a person or business

The current war on drugs, a brief: with brief history, test results, and facts included

A hypothetical Juvenile case: Rehabilitative Justice at work

Secession: is it right?

A new Police Force for the United States, or is it?

Liberal the word defined, the term accepted

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
4 people are discussing this page, with 5 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Show me someone who hates liberals and I'll show y... by Perry Logan on Sunday, Aug 2, 2009 at 1:20:57 PM
Or the person who hates liberals may simply be ign... by Jesse Mathewson on Sunday, Aug 2, 2009 at 2:09:23 PM
The confusion about the usage of the word "liberal... by arthur adze on Monday, Aug 3, 2009 at 7:15:54 AM
Interesting article. I had not spent much time wor... by Walter Barton on Monday, Aug 3, 2009 at 9:59:47 AM
I am working on a series that will be submitted he... by Jesse Mathewson on Monday, Aug 3, 2009 at 10:16:05 AM