Is Liberalism Dead?

Scanning over the main page for Raw Story this morning I found this headline “Liberalism is dead, long live Progressivism”.  It raises an interesting question.  Has the term “Liberal” been so negatively defined by convervatives that we need a new frame to describe our beliefs as liberals?  I’m not saying that “Progressive” is a new frame, rather it is a frame that does not have the bagggage of liberalism has collected over the years.

From the post on Raw Story…

We’re genetically and sociologically oriented to think of things in duality. Two arms, two legs, a base-10 mathematical system that comes from multiplying 5×2. So there has to be a “right” and a “left,” and because the majority of people are right-handed, the “left hand” is considered strange and different. Did you know the word “sinister” originally meant “left”?

Is it any wonder, then that the modern liberal movement is so unable to really grasp the hearts and minds of the people? We’re the “left hand.” Strange, different, abnormal, not the normal part of the body politic, and our influence, while pervasive, is fractious and hard to coalesce into a single unified voice.

Progressive politicians in Washington frequently complain that the political mainstream’s abandonment of working-class issues opens the door for Republicans to seize the ignored middle-American electorate, mainly by scaring them with bugaboo images of marrying queers, godless commie academics, dirty bearded eco-terrorists, and so on.

To them, the essentially patrician structure of the political left is mostly a logistical political problem, one that can theoretically be solved, as Sanders solved it in his state, by shunning corporate campaign donors, listening to voters again, and re-emphasizing working-class issues.

But having rich college grads acting as the political representatives of the working class isn’t just bad politics. It’s also silly. And there’s probably no political movement in history that’s been sillier than the modern American left.

The issues of economic populism–the destruction of the manufacturing base of the country, the dismantling of the safety net that buttressed the middle class, and the economic terrorism of credit cards and the horrific bankruptcy laws–these are LIBERAL issues. These are issues of justice and fairness and the right of people to be able to make a living without worrying if one mishap will send them to the poorhouse…

These are issues of class and status that cut through political affiliations and parties. America has steadfastly refused to accept that we have a stratified class system, and now, with the erosion of the ability to own a home, keep a job, get health insurance, or avoid crushing debt from credit cards or student loans, we’re seeing that there are no Republicans or Democrats anymore….our ideologies are too complex and diverse for that. There are the haves, the have-nots, and whoever else is left.

You can read the entire post at Raw Story HERE.

So what do you think, is Liberalism dead?
Do we need a new frame?
Is Progressive that new frame?

  1 comment for “Is Liberalism Dead?

  1. Dan Chmielewski
    June 18, 2007 at 7:57 am

    The root word for Liberal is Liberty; no, we din’t need a new frame but adding progressive is very worthwhile.

    Instead, we can focus on new framing words for conservatives which should include: “big-spenders” “deficit spenders” “rights suspenders” “narrow-minded” “Ask not what you can do for your country, ask instead what you can do for the Republican party.”

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