Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Knowing your liberty

Part 1- The Definition of Liberty

Words are interesting things, and truly language at large is one of the greatest developments of this age. It seems that there is a word for every feeling, every nuance and yet the same word can have two completely separate meanings depending on the context. Anyone who has ever studied a foreign language can attest to how difficult it is to learn the dialect or the subtle differences when the tense or focus of the statement changes.
Our own language has been mastered by very few but has been distorted and twisted by legions more along with various symbols and religious traditions. The practice of propaganda and manufactured re-associations is thousands of years old.
Let me give you an example from the last century, though. We all understand what the term "liberal" means in political circles today. Now, let me give you the formal definition from Websters New World Dictionary, circa 1972:

lib-er-al. -noun

A person who is in favor of reform and progress.[Notice any bias? Keep the time period in mind.]

Now, lets define the root or basis for the word [liber, Latin: to be free] from the same source.

lib-er-ty. -noun

1. the condition of being free from control by others.
2. the power or right of a person to believe and act as he thinks right .

So what exactly does being a liberal have to do with the word from which it was derived? Apparently, absolutely nothing. Liberalism, in its truest form, had more to do with the ideology of modern Libertarianism which has had to create a new name for itself to prevent the confusion which was occurring when progressives hijacked the term "liberal". One more definition for good measure.

lib⋅er⋅tar⋅i⋅an. -noun

1. a person who advocates liberty, esp. with regard to thought or conduct.
2. a person who maintains the doctrine of free will .

So root word 'liber', 'liberty' and 'libertarian' all have reference to freedom, but liberal, which one would reasonably conclude means 'one who advocates freedom' does not. I might add that my dictionary from 1972 did not even have this term [libertarian] in it. It does have "progressive" in it with the exact same definition as "liberal". Also, the current thesaurus at lists "progressive" as the #1 synonym for "liberal". Curious, no?

People can say that they hate liberals, and in today's definition, it is understood to mean those of progressive leaning. But the idea that liberals are fighters for individual freedom is untrue and dangerously assuaging in its usage. Sure they may want the "liberty" for themselves to eat only organic foods, not be around cigarette smoke, or wear shoes made from recycled bedpans, but they have no interest in the liberty of anyone who does not. They will legislate anyone's liberty away the second it differs from their agenda and call you uneducated for disagreeing [More on that in Part 2.]. If liberty were so important to those who take up the name of 'liberal' would there not be as much outrage and violent protest now to the governments take over of many of our key industries as there was to the intrusive nature of the Patriot Act?

Think about it. What is the goal, really?

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