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How do you define the word liberal? What's the popular definition? How has that definition changed historically?

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yoda's walking stick
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Aug 27 2011 21:47
How do you define the word liberal? What's the popular definition? How has that definition changed historically?

I would very much appreciate your personal answers to these questions, as well as books, which could be read offline, that deal with the topic. Thank you so much in advance for your time in crafting your response. Even though I don't agree with everything you say, this forum has contributed to my political understand. You folks are the best.

Peace and love,
Yoda

yoda's walking stick
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Aug 27 2011 23:58

Would this topic be less intimidating if I curtailed it to encompassing only the first question? How do you define a liberal? Is it someone who supports the private control of the means of production with a certain degree of government regulation and welfare measures?

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Noa Rodman
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Aug 28 2011 13:15

yoda, here is a free program that reads texts to you out loud, so select with your mouse e.g. a basic overview of your topic/interest like
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism and the program will read it. This saves 90 percent of people's effort in answering such questions in libcom wink

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Toms
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Aug 28 2011 13:52

The definition in the sense of what is most popular didn't just change historically, it also changes geographically.

Those that in USA are considered liberals aren't called that in Europe, though it does sometimes seem to be catching on here as well.

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Tojiah
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Aug 28 2011 15:05

I think Phil Ochs said it best:

wojtek
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Aug 28 2011 16:20

Replace race with class and you're on the money

Quote:
Malcolm X in his NOI days said:
The white conservatives aren’t friends of the Negro either, but they at least don’t try to hide it. They are like wolves; they show their teeth in a snarl that keeps the Negro always aware of where he stands with them. But the white liberals are foxes, who also show their teeth to the Negro but pretend that they are smiling. The white liberals are more dangerous than the conservatives; they lure the Negro, and as the Negro runs from the growling wolf, he flees into the open jaws of the “smiling” fox.

Do so here and you have the champagne socialist

Quote:
These Uncle Tom leaders do not speak for the Negro majority; they don't speak for the black masses. They speak for the "black bourgeoisie," the brainwashed, white-minded, middle-class minority who are ashamed of black, and don't want to be identified with the black masses, and are therefore seeking to lose their "black identity" by mixing, mingling, intermarrying, and integrating with the white man.

http://www.blackcommentator.com/42/42_malcolm.html

RedHughs
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Aug 28 2011 18:17
Quote:
I would very much appreciate your personal answers to these questions

You know, your fucking survey questions are starting to be a real pain in the butt.

I recall you saying you worked for a cheap throw-away weekly.

Well, you are now starting to sound like a journalist from a cheap throw-away weekly fishing for stories. And that sounds like shit.

Capitalist society just looooves those really personal answers, those foggy, ill-thought out answers which can then be used to package personalized propaganda. "Let's see 'Liberal', 'radical', 'progressive'..., hey Yodo, go out and research what demographic these will pull in, that's a good journalist..."

I don't think communists or anarchists particularly need an overall definition of liberal. I mean, its not our job to figure out who's middle of the road, who's liberal, who's radical but still in the left-of-capital. I mean, understanding capitalism is fine hobby but even that is not really assisted by debates over who fits which label.

Managing capitalism is the job of the capitalists, assisted incompetently by think-tank idiots, survey companies and journalists. We shouldn't help them. Or should I say, we shouldn't help you.

RedHughs
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Aug 28 2011 18:17

<Dupe, sorry>

yoda's walking stick
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Aug 28 2011 21:15
RedHughs wrote:
Quote:
I would very much appreciate your personal answers to these questions

You know, your fucking survey questions are starting to be a real pain in the butt.

I recall you saying you worked for a cheap throw-away weekly.

Well, you are now starting to sound like a journalist from a cheap throw-away weekly fishing for stories. And that sounds like shit.

Capitalist society just looooves those really personal answers, those foggy, ill-thought out answers which can then be used to package personalized propaganda. "Let's see 'Liberal', 'radical', 'progressive'..., hey Yodo, go out and research what demographic these will pull in, that's a good journalist..."

I don't think communists or anarchists particularly need an overall definition of liberal. I mean, its not our job to figure out who's middle of the road, who's liberal, who's radical but still in the left-of-capital. I mean, understanding capitalism is fine hobby but even that is not really assisted by debates over who fits which label.

Managing capitalism is the job of the capitalists, assisted incompetently by think-tank idiots, survey companies and journalists. We shouldn't help them. Or should I say, we shouldn't help you.

Chill Grandpa. Nobody stuck a gun to your head and said you had to come into this topic and answer my question.

Edit: But if you honestly think I'm somehow researching on this forum for work, you're delirious and self-aggrandizing. If only it were so. The stuff I write about is trees falling down on Main St., and other small town boring stuff. Half the time I'm editing press releases because it's cheaper for the company to regurgitate them than to send me out to actually cover events. It's so boring I recently put in my 30 days notice.

RedHughs
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Aug 28 2011 22:38
Quote:
Nobody stuck a gun to your head and said you had to come into this topic and answer my question.

Just lovin' your free speech argument...

I suppose I just have a weird idea that things here should have some relation to communism.

Random pseudo-issue questions I suppose have their bourgeois right appear on Yahoo Answers or where-ever.

Here, on this board, I think the implicit question is "what does this have to do with communism?". After the tenth question where the answer is "nearly nothing" I just find myself compelled to call bullshit. I've got my free speech right to do that too.

yoda's walking stick
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Aug 29 2011 01:22
RedHughs wrote:
Quote:
Nobody stuck a gun to your head and said you had to come into this topic and answer my question.

Just lovin' your free speech argument...

I suppose I just have a weird idea that things here should have some relation to communism.

Random pseudo-issue questions I suppose have their bourgeois right appear on Yahoo Answers or where-ever.

Here, on this board, I think the implicit question is "what does this have to do with communism?". After the tenth question where the answer is "nearly nothing" I just find myself compelled to call bullshit. I've got my free speech right to do that too.

Actually it's more of an "I don't understand why you bother" argument. Clearly you've got some personal issues to resolve if you feel the need to pick fights on the internet. I wish you the best of luck, sincerely.

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Arbeiten
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Aug 29 2011 09:01

laugh out loud

Yoda, in what context are you framing the question? I think liberal has a very different meaning in the US and in the UK. In the US it seems to mean social democrat.

snipfool
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Aug 29 2011 12:13

That can be true in the UK too, I'd say. For a lot of people, the political spectrum is left liberal to right conservative. Conservative means tough, nasty, business orientated and liberal means soft, nice, people orientated. A lot of people would label some of the ideas, criticisms or analyses of libertarian communists as liberal, because they might sound social democratic, which sounds like what you might read in the Guardian, which is a liberal paper. I was once called a neoliberal by a friend when I was shifting into radical politics because he was ignorant of political terminology and he was trying to frame my politics in the limited spectrum I gave earlier. He saw me as some sort of extreme liberal; the very opposite of a conservative. Many people don't have a comprehensive understanding of liberalism's findamental origins and so don't realise the limits and contradictions in equating it with ultra left radical ideas.

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Auld-bod
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Aug 29 2011 12:53

During a discussion, a friend once described a ‘liberal’ as a person, who realising society’s economic ‘clock’ is set incorrectly, wishes to periodically, re-set the clock’s hands. They refuse to believe it is the economic ‘mechanism’ that is in need of radical realignment.

A conservative on the other hand, believes the ‘clock’ is near perfect and people should stop tampering with it!

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Ethos
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Aug 29 2011 17:07
Noa Rodman wrote:
yoda, here is a free program that reads texts to you out loud, so select with your mouse e.g. a basic overview of your topic/interest like
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism and the program will read it. This saves 90 percent of people's effort in answering such questions in libcom ;)

Hope you recognize a pro-tip when you see one, yoda.

RedHughs,

Hear, hear.

yoda's walking stick
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Aug 29 2011 20:21
Arbeiten wrote:

laugh out loud

Yoda, in what context are you framing the question? I think liberal has a very different meaning in the US and in the UK. In the US it seems to mean social democrat.

I guess I was thinking about the US, since that's where I live. But I also would like to know what you folks from Britain mean when you say liberal, as it's often tossed around here as a term of abuse. Sometimes it feels like you folks hate them more then the right wing, which seems backwards to me.

radicalgraffiti
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Aug 29 2011 21:55

we don't need to tell people that we disagree with right wingers, but people often think that liberals are some how on the same side as us or less bad that right wingers, so people are more likely to feel the urge to distance themselves

yoda's walking stick
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Aug 29 2011 22:15
radicalgraffiti wrote:
we don't need to tell people that we disagree with right wingers, but people often think that liberals are some how on the same side as us or less bad that right wingers, so people are more likely to feel the urge to distance themselves

Well, I don't want to start an argument, but I certainly disagree. I think liberals are definitely better than right wingers that don't believe in global warming and evolution, etc. The latter are just a national embarrassment. RG's opinion strikes me as the sort of ultraleftism Trotsky rails against in "Fascism: What it is and how to stop it." Again, I don't intend on debating the point, I just was interested to know whether most users agree with RG's opinion.

radicalgraffiti
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Aug 29 2011 22:49
yoda's walking stick wrote:
radicalgraffiti wrote:
we don't need to tell people that we disagree with right wingers, but people often think that liberals are some how on the same side as us or less bad that right wingers, so people are more likely to feel the urge to distance themselves

Well, I don't want to start an argument, but I certainly disagree. I think liberals are definitely better than right wingers that don't believe in global warming and evolution, etc. The latter are just a national embarrassment. RG's opinion strikes me as the sort of ultraleftism Trotsky rails against in "Fascism: What it is and how to stop it." Again, I don't intend on debating the point, I just was interested to know whether most users agree with RG's opinion.

the liberals just want a nicer (on the surface) capitalism, they are much more dangers than conservatives in many ways because of this.
If you are embarrassed on behalf of your nation then your not really getting anarchism.

I am most certainly an ultra leftist, and am vary pleased to be insulted by trotsky. I would like to respond with The Fight Against Fascism Begins With the Fight Against Bolshevism
and Fascism/Anti-Fascism

RedHughs
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Aug 29 2011 23:17
yoda's walking stick wrote:

Well, I don't want to start an argument, but I certainly disagree. I think liberals are definitely better than right wingers that don't believe in global warming and evolution, etc. The latter are just a national embarrassment. RG's opinion strikes me as the sort of ultraleftism Trotsky rails against in "Fascism: What it is and how to stop it." Again, I don't intend on debating the point, I just was interested to know whether most users agree with RG's opinion.

Indeed, Yoda, you don't seem to want to discuss any of the substance communism but rather would prefer people answer your survey-style questions.

"I know you disagree with the very existence of television and mass-culture but this is my thread and I'm asking who people would prefer to win America's Top Model. If you don't like it, go to some other thread. I've staked this part of Libcom for consumer trash and market research. Free Speech dude, help, I'm being oppressed..."

yoda's walking stick
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Aug 29 2011 23:30
RedHughs wrote:
yoda's walking stick wrote:

Well, I don't want to start an argument, but I certainly disagree. I think liberals are definitely better than right wingers that don't believe in global warming and evolution, etc. The latter are just a national embarrassment. RG's opinion strikes me as the sort of ultraleftism Trotsky rails against in "Fascism: What it is and how to stop it." Again, I don't intend on debating the point, I just was interested to know whether most users agree with RG's opinion.

Indeed, Yoda, you don't seem to want to discuss any of the substance communism but rather would prefer people answer your survey-style questions.

"I know you disagree with the very existence of television and mass-culture but this is my thread and I'm asking who people would prefer to win America's Top Model. If you don't like it, go to some other thread. I've staked this part of Libcom for consumer trash and market research. Free Speech dude, help, I'm being oppressed..."

Grandpa, you really need to get a life. Don't you have something better to do than to stalk me around an obscure internet message board? It's like you're in love with me. Dial back the creepiness, please.

RedHughs
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Aug 29 2011 23:36

Fine,

I am annoyed and as I said, what's annoyed me is that Y's just putting out a whole series of threads that all presuppose that the various "campaigns to improve the world" offered by the modern capitalism should matter to us, that we should be putting some thought into them as communists.

X choice might appeal to me more than Y choice as someone navigating the modern world. Sure, I make the choice but I won't make it as a communist.

At the point that when humanity collectively refuses the present order, it won't do so by making these good and bad choices within the system but by a total refusal of all the present pseudo choices. Our aim, our task however daunting, is to anticipate, to imagine, that overall refusal without imagining that individuals or small parties will create that refusal.

I mean, the reason Trotsky babbled about "Fascism" was at that point completely opportunist, aiming to gain followers by playing capital's game. Fitting behavior for the butcher of Kronstadt.

Uh, and Fuck America, our aim to destroy all nations. If the right wing crazies here are a "national disgrace", however much other shit they do, their making America look bad is a fine thing.

RedHughs
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Aug 29 2011 23:38

Also Y,

You're the non-revolutionary who showed up at a communist web board.

What do you think would happen?

yoda's walking stick
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Aug 29 2011 23:44
RedHughs wrote:
Also Y,

You're the non-revolutionary who showed up at a communist web board.

What do you think would happen?

How many times have you clicked refresh to see if I've taken the bait? I feel sorry for you, seriously. You must be very unhappy.

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Aug 30 2011 05:15

Seriously though, YWS, RH kinda has a point. Obviously a board is what the participants make of it. RH tries to make of this board a tool for discussion amongst serious social revolutionaries for theoretical and practical debates which can inform action and propaganda relating to the promotion of social revolutionary approaches. You, on the other hand, ask some questions. I'm fine with your question asking. You seem genuinely happy to get answers to your utterly under-researched questions, and I smile to see that, but I can see how it pisses people off that the concept of a search function seems anathema to you. I totally prefer the personal touch when it comes to answers, so I can see why that would be, but you gotta understand that a lot of people will be annoyed that you use the message board rather than read the texts in the library. That's just how things go.