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Thu Feb 14, 2013, 11:08 AM

Liberal Label Gives Way To Progress(ive)

SAN DIEGO — George Lakoff is a professor of linguistics at UC Berkeley who has used his skills to help the Democratic frame issues to their advantage. I got him on the phone in my attempt to solve one of the day’s great linguistic conundrums.

"Now, you're a liberal, right?” I asked him.

“I'm a progressive," he corrected me.

Political labels are blunt instruments. But we all use them. And there’s been a lot of disagreement about what to call people who are left of center. Are they liberals or progressives?

People who work in journalism shy away from using the labels that politicians and advocates use to describe themselves. The problem is they typically choose words that lend them a righteous glow but are also partly or wholly inaccurate. “Progressive” seems to lend political views a too-positive spin. After all isn’t everyone, including Rush Limbaugh, in favor of progress?

http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/feb/14/liberal-label-gives-way-progressive/

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Arrow 9 replies Author Time Post
Reply Liberal Label Gives Way To Progress(ive) (Original post)
frylock Feb 2013 OP
Brickbat Feb 2013 #1
frylock Feb 2013 #3
FSogol Feb 2013 #8
Duer 157099 Feb 2013 #2
reformist2 Feb 2013 #4
Puzzledtraveller Feb 2013 #5
JaneyVee Feb 2013 #6
forestpath Feb 2013 #7
frylock Feb 2013 #9

Response to frylock (Original post)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 11:09 AM

1. I never use "progressive" to describe myself or my politics.

Liberal it is.

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Response to Brickbat (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 11:14 AM

3. i consider myself a progressive

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Response to Brickbat (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 11:30 AM

8. Same here. Being liberal is progressive.


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Response to frylock (Original post)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 11:14 AM

2. Let's compromise

Proliberate?

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Response to frylock (Original post)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 11:16 AM

4. I see nothing wrong with the word "liberal" - any stigma it used to have is pretty much gone.

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Response to frylock (Original post)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 11:20 AM

5. I prefer Liberal

I have been reading here and there about what "Liberal" used to mean and imply I don't think we should retreat from that but be proud of it. I admit I was brainwahsed into thinking it was bad but now I am changing my view.

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Response to frylock (Original post)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 11:22 AM

6. Socially Liberal, Fiscally Progressive.

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Response to frylock (Original post)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 11:29 AM

7. Not for me. I'll always call myself a liberal.

 

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Response to frylock (Original post)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 11:42 AM

9. please read the article before taking a defensive stance..

I'm not advising anyone to take one side or the other, but I found the history of the terminology to be quite interesting.

Sandy Lakoff is professor emeritus of political science at UC San Diego. He said the word progressive, viewed over a hundred-year history, refers to a reform movement embodied by Teddy Roosevelt and the women's suffrage movement.

Liberalism, meanwhile, was not left wing. Far from it. Historically, it's the notion that people should be free from government interference… more like modern libertarianism. But Lakoff said during the 20th century the term evolved to mean that liberals were fans, not of Teddy, but of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

"In this country it meant New-Deal liberalism, if I can put it that way, or the extension of progressivism to include a major role for the state,” said Sandy Lakoff.

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