Monday, December 01, 2008

The L&C Words

Freddie, who blogs at L'Hôte, wrote just before the holiday, "I really, really don't like using the word 'progressive' instead of the word 'liberal'." He points out that the American Progressive movement of the early 20th century had plenty of its own bad connotations, but more importantly, he argues:
What's more, not standing up for the term that you self-identify with is precisely the kind of retreat and weakness that we have been tarred with for years. Do you think even now, at a moment of great defeat for their movement, conservatives are going to give up the term "conservative"? Of course not. Conservatives fight for their self-identification.
As someone who wouldn't be crazy about being called liberal or conservative, across the board, I've still never understood liberal whining about how the term is used as a pejorative by the opposition. Guess what? So is "conservative." It's part of the game. If Democrats don't exactly stand up at their conventions and use the C word as gleefully and derisively as Republicans use the L word, maybe they should. But I know that when I read the Times or Harper's or The New Yorker or any number of other periodicals, I can't count how often the word conservative is used where the context makes it clear: this is a bad word.



Blogger Freddie said...

I don't particularly care if conservatives use it as an insult. Bring it on, so to speak. But too may liberals allow the fact that it is so used to dissuade them from self-identifying that way. That's capitulation, and, well, fuck that.

2:04 PM  
Blogger JMW said...

I completely agree, Freddie. I was in a rush when I posted this, but my point was that liberals use "conservative" as an insult every day, but you don't hear conservatives talking about a change in name.

6:40 PM  

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