The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Brazen Word

In an age of political malice, liberals and conservatives have confused their labels.

The line dividing the parties have been blurred and crossed, as seen in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s conversion from Democrat to Republican in 2001. His reason was to avoid a loaded Democratic primary; his choice won him an election.

But that is not the kind of name-change worthy of weighty discussion, for Bloomberg’s choice of name, probably a misnomer at that, seems almost arbitrary. A proposal is due to cross political boundaries, to overhaul the political spectrum, to switch ideological names.

Conservatives have grown liberal, liberals conservative, or better yet, ambiguous.

The titles themselves are part of a tragic language contortion, as to label one a liberal is to attribute a disconnect to authoritarian attitudes, freedom from bigotry, and most importantly, a tolerance of all forms of behavior and dogma. American liberals behave far differently than what their name suggests.

Too many political spectators and members of academia have assumed that liberalism equates to aesthetic elitism and progressiveness, a claim that has next to no connection to the realities of political ideology.

Democratic policies on issues like wealthy tax hikes and government handouts contribute to the sense of community that Karl Marx and spoke of. This, while diminishing the opportunity of the individual to thrive outside of the confinements of the state. Though many depend on its charity, the rights of individuals are compromised when the government becomes involved in their livelihood.

The direct affects on their lives, or more importantly, the lives of their supporters, overrides the equality of individuals, and thus squelches democracy at its roots. When Democrats deem abortion morally acceptable, ignoring ideals of the esteem value of life and the arbitrary nature of age inside or outside the womb, they fail in achieving the kind of intellectual discovery that their poets and theorists demonstrate in their gorgeous nonsense.

Like former President Ronald Reagan once said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

Under the guise of social programs and income taxes, the government has slowly been transformed into a glorified mafia, charging its clients for protection while becoming far too involved in their personal business.

The word liberal has come to suggest a diversion from the slums of capitalism into the communal equality of socialism, an unfortunate transformation in the evolution of modern language. The likes of Senators John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and Hillary Clinton have been labeled as liberals, a preposterous misnomer considering the original meaning of the term. For one to feel liberated, they certainly would not have to stand for abortion rights or higher taxes.

The list of true liberal American politicians is a short one. It includes the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a man that overhauled capitalism with his “New Deal,” and our current President, the notorious Mr. Bush.

No matter what anyone speculates about his intentions or the like, one cannot deny that President Bush has stood earnestly, many times alone, in the face of “liberal” opposition on the War in Iraq, social security, nominations, and the way he walks his dog (alright maybe not but it sure does seem like it lately).

Bush has not just withstood standard political discourse. He has consistently dealt with a political minority screaming for power at any costs, no matter what affects they may have on the goodwill of the country or of the presidency, and he takes it with that trademark sarcastic grin on his face every day.

Wall Street Journal columnist and former Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonan explained it best in her Sept. 22 column, “Whatever it Takes.” She writes, “The Democrats right now remind me of what the veteran political strategist David Garth told me about politicians- ‘Most of them started with philosophy. But they wound up with hunger.’ That’s how the Democrats seem to me these days: unorganized people who don’t know what they stand for but want to win, because winning’s pleasurable and profitable.”

This kind of ruthless approach to getting ahead is ironic, considering this characteristic is exactly what keeps the rich ahead and the poor in the slums, a quality of capitalism that liberals often point out when arguing against the right wing philosophy. Their cries for moderation are, in turn, cunning.

It is in this sense that liberals are only liberal in relation to conservatives, or rather, transform into progressive rebels when someone or something provides sound arguments against their platform. The last Democratic administration did not do nearly enough in extinguishing the threatening Middle East, perhaps even played it “conservatively”, while Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein spread and abetted tyranny and terrorism. The region slowly festered into a breeding ground for anti-American sentiment, diabolical plots, and ultimately death.

A conservative administration not only reformed the foreign policy of its predecessor, they attacked and destroyed them. When conservative politicians note the innate and infinite value of life in the abortion argument, place esteemed values ahead of personal accounts, and keep their hands out of the pockets and households of American citizens, they exhume true liberalism.

There is nothing liberating about debunking tradition. True progressives like Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot spoke of the need for poets, or masters of aesthetics, to admire history while fostering new ideas; avoiding a mere repetition of the past. Liberals have failed in creating sound ideas against social security reform and the current affairs in the War in Iraq. There is nothing progressive about complaints without solutions.

It is time for liberals to introduce reform like the deconstructionists and intellectuals they so admire, lest they concede their title. From here on, let conservatives be liberal, and liberals unscrupulous.

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