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Liberals? Conservatives? What about socialists and 'progressives'?

Reader comment on item: Why Do You American Conservatives Keep Losing?

Submitted by Daniel Bamford (United Kingdom), Oct 18, 2018 at 12:57

An interesting article, [though I disagree with] applying skewed contemporary American political categories to Europe from the 17th century (!) onwards.

This results in [a] confusion of political terms in the conclusion:

"Conservatives are unlikely to replicate the Hungarian success in countries lacking a living memory of Soviet-like experience. The lessons of liberalism's failures must painfully be learned anew by each generation."

So, does that make the Soviet Union a failed 'liberal' regime...?!

The whole political culture of the USA is basically liberal and the 17th century liberals referred to with such scorn in this article include people like John Locke, who wrote the constitution of Pennsylvania and therefore influenced the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.

The whole political culture of Europe is basically socialist and has been since at least the First World War (but earlier in Germany).

The definition of 'liberal' here is really a definition of 'progressive'.

Yes, it is possible for liberals to be 'progressive', but liberals can also be conservative. In fact, many liberals have realised that liberal politics relies on conservative social values.

Many notable liberals have been deeply religious: e.g. British PM William Gladstone and his historian friend Lord (John) Acton and if we're going back to the 17th century then what about Oliver Cromwell and John Milton?! Or in Hungary we should mention Count Istvan Szechenyi. Even liberal atheists have realise the importance of religious tradition e.g. Friedrich Hayek and Isaiah Berlin.

However, whereas liberals may be either 'progressive' or conservative, this choice is not available to socialists, who _must_ be 'progressive', because socialism is based on the humanist delusion of human progress.

The one book that really helped me straighten out the true meaning of different political terms was Roger Scruton's 'A Dictionary of Political Thought' (1982). Just for the record, Scruton has long identified himself as a _conservative_ philosopher.

Submitting....

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Reader comments (26) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
1Conservatives lose because they go too far right [847 words]PrashantJan 11, 2019 22:10247094
Demo [34 words]AlbertE.Jan 6, 2019 18:21247004
Then why are Tony Blair and (especially) Barack Obama sociopathic statist control freaks?! [39 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Dan SchwartzDec 31, 2018 19:56246917
Why Conservatives Lose [169 words]Jim AustinNov 26, 2018 03:37246251
The real fruit of the "Age of Enlightenment" [218 words]Michael SNov 30, 2018 14:09246251
Imperialism, Slavery and "Enlightenment" [494 words]Michael SNov 30, 2018 22:18246251
Why Conservatives Lose [365 words]Jim AustinDec 1, 2018 00:18246251
The hidden trap of "reason" [341 words]Michael SDec 3, 2018 17:27246251
What?????? Did you really say that? [327 words]The pragmatic conservatarianNov 18, 2018 15:30246090
At least four genders [104 words]SteinNov 15, 2018 12:50246007
"Queers", "Eunuchs", etc. [322 words]Michael SDec 5, 2018 10:14246007
Standardization versus Innovation [216 words]SteinNov 2, 2018 12:35245770
Republicans not Conservatives Control [96 words]Tom DundeeOct 25, 2018 14:11245696
So why deliver our children 'over to liberals to be inculcated' [26 words]ebOct 21, 2018 09:06245609
Conservatives will die [174 words]Sohel BahjatOct 21, 2018 01:39245608
Slavery, Racism, Sexism, Communism, Nationalism [779 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
RobertOct 18, 2018 23:25245563
No Comparison Between American True Conservatism and Hungary's Neo-conservatism [272 words]M ToveyOct 18, 2018 14:10245543
Liberals? Conservatives? What about socialists and 'progressives'? [311 words]Daniel BamfordOct 18, 2018 12:57245542
Conservatism of today was the liberalism of the past [100 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Amir SaniOct 18, 2018 10:13245539
Our dear Amir needs to read with care! [238 words]dhimmi no moreOct 19, 2018 06:11245539
Response to Dhimmi no more [192 words]Amir SaniOct 21, 2018 22:56245539
Our dear Amir needs to read with care! Part 2 [374 words]dhimmi no moreOct 22, 2018 14:56245539
Our dear Amir needs to read with care! Part 3 [117 words]dhimmi no moreOct 22, 2018 15:13245539
So depressing. [11 words]Mark AlexanderOct 18, 2018 02:07245529
Conservatism vs. Liberalism [30 words]Shafi RefaiOct 18, 2018 01:11245527
Our dear Shafi Refai needs to watch Jordan Peterson! [111 words]dhimmi no moreOct 19, 2018 06:27245527

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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