Monday, June 8, 2015

A matter of definitions ----

It seems like every newspaper item, columnist's essay, and byline seems to hinge on the war between liberals, progressives vs conservatives, Tea Partiers. Despite a million arguments on both sides, I haven't seen anyone from one side of the ledger leap over to the other side.  (well, I'll give              a half point, because she seems to be slowly moving right as she matures. 

Anyway, I thought I would go to Merriam-Webster to get the formal definition of each group - to see if there is any common ground. Alas, not even a Google researched definition of these terms is constant -- there seem to be as many different definitions as there are dictionaries.... so, I ended up just taking the abbreviated Google definitions.  After all this blog isn't called Political Science 401!!!

  1. liberalism definition. In the twentieth century, a viewpoint or ideology associated with free political institutions and religious toleration, as well as support for a strong role of government in regulating capitalism and constructing the welfare state.
  1. Progressivism is a broad philosophy based on the Idea of Progress, which asserts that advancement in science, technology, economic development, and social organization are vital to improve the human condition.
conservatism definition. A general preference for the existing order of 

society, and an opposition to efforts to bring about sharp change. 

The Tea Party movement is an American political movement known for its conservative positions and its role in the Republican Party ("GOP"). It demands a reduction in the U.S. national debt and federal budget deficit by reducing government spending and taxes.

Now, having read these four definitions several times -- I see very little in common between any of the four groups - and certainly don't find them interchangable on the Left or the Right.  Liberals are not Progressives even if they hide under that banner, and Conservatives are not Tea Partiers of the far right. 

If I was playing that famous word play game where you have to shout out a word as soon as a word is given to you, I guess my results would look something like:

Liberal --------- Nanny State
Progressive--- Big Gob'mint
Conservative- Constitutionalist
Tea Partier---- Least gob'mint

If these don't fit your definitions, share your thoughts in the comments section below -- 

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