Herb Phillipson: Why I don’t like political labelsPublished 10:14am Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I do not like labels. Least of all, I dislike the present characterization of persons as “conservative” and “liberal.”
The present meaning of these two words is very obscure.
To one using the terms as an epithet to throw at the opposition, conservative means narrow, anti anything.
Liberal, in the mouths of those who proudly claim to be conservatives, means socialist, communist or worse.
In reality, conservative means careful, cautious but not unwilling to make change.
Liberal means open-minded and willing to make change.
Neither should be an epithet: no one is completely one way or the other.
As we all know, the positions of the so-called “conservative” commentators – Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck and others – are really very radical with respect to existing facts.
So, too, are positions taken by Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow and a plethora of other commentators.
The latest word of general opprobrium is “racist.”
Glenn Beck has used it against Obama.
“Skip” Bates used it against officer Crowley.
In Bates’ case, using it sounded so antagonistic that the Harvard professor ended in handcuffs.
Recently, we have seen people at “town meetings” attack with a viciousness associated previously with anarchists.
In many respects some of them are against all instruments of government.
The Libertarian movement, with its sponsor Ron Paul, are a case in point.
His followers, and many show up at town meetings, are against any and all government and seem to fit the definition of anarchist.
I think they fail to distinguish regulation and other types of law enforcement from other types of autocracy and repressive regimes.
All of us hate to lose any of our rights to government.
Some must be lost to have an open and free society.
Free society requires that others be restrained with interfering with our individual rights – and that requires some type of government, taxes and restraints.
It also sometimes requires help from government: schools, welfare, and, yes, for some of our people, health care.
Mentally ill people have always received that help even though the help received resembles imprisonment.
We should ditch all of these clichés for labeling others.
Anyone who claims to be a conservative should speak conservatively, and with caution.
One who claims to be a liberal should be fair and decent to the opposition, listen to what they say and accept the view of another without condemning it out of hand.
A free society means freedom for you and me and freedom for others as well.
A free society should seek to improve the lot of all without destroying rights of others.
We need government to help both you and me and others.
We need good streets, clean water, sewage disposal and control of unruly dogs, insects and people.
We need other help as well.
Let us all do what we can to aid our nation.
God knows, the country needs it.