The meaning of “liberal”

August 21, 2009

Writer Andreas Kluth, discussing the Michael Hirschorn article on The Economist that I quoted in an earlier post, says this about Hirschorn’s attempt to define The Economist‘s political slant:

This is the American part of any article about us, which is always amusing, since there is a one-word synonym for the convoluted phrase “free-market right-center, if you want to be technical about it; with a dose of left-center social progressivism”: That word is liberal. [emphasis in original]

I think he’s right, and I also think that when “liberal” defines the left edge of mainstream American politics (let’s disregard the asinine “socialist” name-calling by the clueless and the deliberately misleading), it’s no wonder that economic progressives in this country often feel completely marginalized. One of the things that an instructor said to me once that has stuck with me ever since is, “there is no such thing as left-wing politics in America.” Overstatement perhaps, but pretty close to being functionally true, and something which we have certainly been seeing played out this year.

Flying Whale



  1. Thanks for the link. FYI, I tried to get my mind around the word “liberal” here and here.

    Do you not have an “about” page?


  2. Hi Andreas. Thanks for the extra links, your thoughts are appreciated!

    For various professional and personal reasons we choose to remain anonymous, and although I suppose that shouldn’t necessarily preclude an “about” page, thus far it has.

  3. Got it. Flying Whale it shall be. ;)

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