A long time ago, a “liberal” was an individual who opposed powerful and intrusive government. This is why big government enthusiasts such as Marx and Mussolini ranted about “liberalism,” since it was naturally opposed to their “progressive” ideologies. Over time, as people learned to despise “progressive” ideas and associate them with negative results, the progressives began to describe themselves as liberals. They gradually co-opted the term in an attempt to disguise their goals and market it under a brand more popular with the people.
This is why it is now necessary to distinguish between Classical Liberalism, which is dedicated to propositions such as human reason, human liberty, individual property rights, natural rights, limited government and free markets, and modern liberalism, which is opposed to all of the aforementioned despite occasionally granting lip service to reason, liberty and the perversion of natural rights that is usually described today as civil rights.
The process follows a recognizable pattern. The word thief describes himself as a “liberal,” announces that of course he supports a liberal idea such as the right to free association, but then notes with some sadness that placing too much attachment to the idea is simply too extreme given the obvious suffering it causes a specific portion of the population, preferably children, but if children don’t apply, then women or a racial, ethnic or behavioral minority will do. He declares that this reasonable modification of the liberal idea is, in fact, the true liberalism, and only an extremist idealogue would insist on clinging rigidly to what is, after all, only an idea.
This process is repeated, ad infinitum and usually with a fair amount of ad hominem, until the neo-liberal word thief can state, with a straight face and a clear conscience, that black is white, that red is blue and that any liberal who disagrees and insists on believing what he has believed all along is no true liberal. Thus, the liberal constitutional right to Free Association bows to the neo-liberal right to not be discriminated against, the liberal constitutional right to free speech is subsumed by the neo-liberal campaign finance reform and liberal property rights are supplanted by neo-liberal eminent domain.
The theft of liberalism took place long ago. But the word thief’s problem is that the observable reality of pro-government policies cannot be easily disguised. As a certain group of people formerly known as people of color, formerly known as African-Americans, formerly known as Afro-Americans, formerly known as blacks, formerly known as negroes, formerly known as colored people, know better than anyone, changing the name does not change the substance.
Liberal began to become a term of ridicule and contempt during the 1980s. But as conservatives began their rise to power, climaxing with the theoretical capture of the White House, Senate, House and Supreme Court, the term conservative began to become attractive to the word thieves. And with the appearance of the neo-conservatives, who were not very conservative at all except in their opposition to the Soviet Union – an opposition that one must note was shared by a diverse group including German National Socialists, Italian Fascists, Chinese Communists and American conservatives – fans of powerful and intrusive government began to describe themselves as “conservative.”
Now, it is true that some individuals are very liberal in their youth and become more conservative as they get older. But if one examines the “conservative” media, one notices a surprising number of individuals who were liberals and claim to be conservatives now, but still continue to advocate the same powerful and intrusive central government that they advocated in their liberal youth. And like young cuckoos and cowbirds, these parasites attempt to push the genuine intellectual heirs out of the nest, hence National Review founder William F. Buckley’s attacks on Murray Rothbard and Joe Sobran, FrontPage’s Ben Johnson’s call for “modern conservatives” to repudiate Paul Craig Roberts, National Review’s David Frum’s call for “a conservatism of the future” to turn its back on Patrick Buchanan, Robert Novak, Llewellyn Rockwell, Samuel Francis, Thomas Fleming, Scott McConnell, Justin Raimondo, Joe Sobran, Charley Reese, Jude Wanniski, Eric Margolis and Taki Theodoracopulos.
And just last week, National Review’s Kathryn Lopez demanded “Ron Paul, Go Home” in bold-face type, which is a very strange thing for a supposed conservative to say about the man who is indisputably the only genuinely conservative Republican candidate for president.
This is not conservative behavior; it is the language and the controlling tactics of the left. These supposedly “conservative” individuals are not advocating anything that is even remotely recognizable as historical conservatism, but, nevertheless, claim that advocating big government policies, strong government actions, heroic government measures and imperialist government interventions are a new, shiny and better conservatism for the future. If this all sounds very familiar, it should, because it is nothing less than Clinton conservatism.
It is not the real conservatives, but the word thieves who need to go home; go home to the statist, authoritarian, big-government left where they rightly and truly belong. The English language has already lost the word “liberal.” It now appears to be rapidly losing “conservative” as well. If future historians ever look back to learn how conservatives lost control of their movement and how the Republican Party declined into disarray and division, they need look no further than the faux conservative commentariat and the false conservatives they championed.