Niagara Gazette

Opinion

August 25, 2013

SINGER: Political terminology exhaustion

Niagara Gazette — Too many today seem to have drunk “progressive,” make-over kool-aid–the word “liberal” now needing deodorization by the more moralistic moniker, “progressive?” And not by the way, progressivism that T.R. or Upton Sinclair would have recognized, unless you think they’d automatically approve every social change now demanded–which is doubtful.

So we’ve got the poor, old term “liberal” transmogrified into the current version of “progressive.” And you think they’ve got it bad? The word “conservative” has been tainted even more, but no good substitute has been found, including the anodyne-sounding “traditional.” Even great thinkers of yore like Edmund Burke, Benjamin Disraeli et al. have been put in this fish-smelly basket.

And what of “classical liberalism,” nearer for certain to today’s conservatism or libertarianism? Sneer at that, rather than do a fairweather commandeering job (which can of course occur), and you sneer at Locke, Jefferson, and really, at much of the “founding philosophy.”

What today’s “progressivism” also tries to ignore in its remake of both classical and FDR-big-government liberalism is that for good or ill, Judeo-Christian values used to be part of the package, at least into the Truman and Kennedy eras. Now that value system is much diminished, and often considered antithetical to soup du jour societal transformations we apparently require–and wait till a new one comes down the pike next week!

In other words these labels on both sides of the spectrum have been sullied, contributing to the sorry divide that so plagues current American politics. On one flank a derided, patronized conservatism, and on the other, a too often elitist-sounding progressivism. And that word “sounding” does need to be taken literally.

For indeed, progressives you hear interviewed too often have this all- knowing, demi-Princetonian brogue, obviously meant to connote deep understanding of issues affecting this challenged world of ours. Meanwhile, so-called conservatives are too often appraised by folksy-sounding, southern, midwestern, or Plains accents — pure country, backwoods, ye olde, all that. Never mind that some may be every bit as smart, accomplished (or moreso) as progressives one hears. (And vice-versa.) Unfortunately we too often hear only the surfaces and affix labels, and that’s as far as we get, not least in channel-surfing for cable news channels.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: To every thing there is a season; this is OURS I'm not sure what The Byrds had in mind way back in 1965 when they popularized Pete Seeger's 1950s rendition of Ecclesiastes 3, but I am inclined to agree with novelist Thomas Wolfe who wrote: "[O]f all I have ever seen or learned, that book seems to me the noblest, the wisest, and the most powerful expression of man's life upon this earth."

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug CONFER: Property rights and the Clean Water Act The United States of America was founded on the premise of natural rights, succinctly dictated as the unalienable rights of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Higgs, Norma mug HIGGS: St. Peter's Episcopal Church, inside and out When I had a couple of questions I checked in with Whitney Mallam, a long-time church member who introduced me to Solon Myron Napoleon Whitney (commonly known as "The Major"), one of his relatives from the early days of this church's history. I was intrigued by some of Whit's comments and hope to learn more about him in the future.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug GLYNN: Seneca Niagara Casino in billionaire category One of the Niagara area's biggest businesses is now part of the billionaire class.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SINGER: Bridging the ideological gap Being both liberal and conservative, as currently designated, makes one perhaps sound wishy-washy; but one can't go down the line on everything.

    April 20, 2014

  • NIA Smith, Doug and Polly LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Home alone on the Island Yeah, you know who I mean. Hard to start this project without you but deadline looms and you're still bein' Nana, the role you were born to play. I know, I know, if you'd known grandchildren were this much fun, you'd have had them first.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Hamilton, Ken mug HAMILTON: The Bills stadium and the proverbs We are what we are because of the way that we think, and we got the nothingness that have as a result of it.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • GUEST VIEW: A closer look at Spirit Airline's DOT numbers This last week, there were articles published highlighting that Spirit Airlines has the highest DOT customer complaint rate among US airlines.

    April 18, 2014

  • NIA DeLuca, Michele mug DELUCA: Say it ain't so, Joe I had just parked my car in front of the Gazette offices on Niagara Street last week Thursday when a man approached me and stood by my door.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug GLYNN: Tourism operators ready for new season Niagara area hospitality industry people will mark National Tourism Week, May 3 to May 11, with special events focusing on the assets that shape the Cataract City as a major destination.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page