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RE: Glenn Klotz's question

Reader comment on item: After Saddam? Remaking the Mideast

Submitted by Bob Samuals (United States), Feb 11, 2003 at 10:58

There is an equivocation being made here. "Liberal" is used to denote "socialist", but in other contexts denotes the opposite: "Free market capitalism" (as in "classical liberal"). The later usage predates the former and some authors avoid using the former -- David Horowitz uses "leftist" instead. I use the term "socialist" for the former and "capitalist" for the latter.

The term is also commonly used to contrast free democratic societies (of varying degrees) from dictatorships (of varying degrees). As in "liberal democracy" or "liberal reformers".

In Dr. Pipes' article, liberal meaning "socialist": "Writing in the liberal-leaning Foreign Affairs..."

In Dr. Pipes' article, liberal meaning "free democratic": "Efforts to inculcate democratic values will find few allies from within Arab societies, where "advocates for liberal values constitute at best a small minority."

"A famous American victory in Iraq and the successful
rehabilitation of that country will bring liberals out of
the woodwork and generally move the region toward democracy..."

There is a good book about the change of meaning of this term:
Decline of American Liberalism by A.A. Ekirch

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