Friday, November 30, 2012

Why are liberals afraid to call themselves liberal?

A Liberal Moment 

By TIMOTHY EGAN, NYT

Still hard to believe, I told a friend the other day while trying to fathom the election results, that pot is legal in my state, gays are free to marry, and a black man who vowed to raise taxes on the rich won a majority of the popular vote for president, back to back - the first time anyone has done that since Franklin Roosevelt's second election in 1936.

And yet only one in four voters identified themselves as "liberal" in national exit polls. Conservatives were 35 percent, and moderates the plurality, at 41 percent. The number of voters who agreed to the "l" tag was up by three percentage points, for what it's worth, from 22 percent in 2008.

What's going on here, demography and democracy seem to be saying at the same time, is the advance of progressive political ideas by a majority that spurns an obvious label. Liberals have long been a distinct minority; liberalism, in its better forms, has been triumphant at key times since the founding of the Republic.

Abraham Lincoln's push for the 13th Amendment, erasing the original sin of slavery from the land, was a liberal moment, as dramatized in Steven Spielberg's new film. Teddy Roosevelt's embrace of the income tax, eventually written into the Constitution after he left office, was a liberal moment. "No single device has done so much to secure the future of capitalism as this tax," said John Kenneth Galbraith.

(More here.)

1 Comments:

Blogger Tom Koch said...

Only a liberal can explain why being called a liberal is negative. I suppose if one really considers the mess created by liberal policies (think crime ridden major cities, inner city public schools, bankrupt social programs, the lives that are ruined by getting folks hooked on the narcotic of welfare…) then one can begin to understand why the Eagon resorts to putting down others as the only way to elevate his own failed ideology.

9:37 AM  

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