Someone in Hampton, VA might want to combat this Letter-to-the-Editor


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tyme
June 3, 2004, 11:47 AM
http://www.dailypress.com/news/opinion/dp-19316sy0jun03,0,1936104.story?coll=dp-opinion-editorials

(second letter)
I have noticed over some time, and especially recently in the feedback feature, an evolution of the word "liberal." Originally defined as a progressive philosophy of government, it is used by many Daily Press readers as an insult along with such words as "Yankee" and "terrorist." It is often accompanied by the phrase "bleeding heart" as Yankee is accompanied by "damn."

This apparently describes someone concerned about the less fortunate and the environment. This is perceived by patriotic Americans as a character flaw. Never mind that almost all progressive social legislation, such as Social Security, Medicare and desegregation, is the product of liberal government. They either do not know this or consider these things speed bumps on the road to freedom.

Their characteristics, as exemplified by their exalted president, include arrogance, suspicion of anyone slightly different in appearance or philosophy, hyper-religion, and an inordinate affection for assault weapons.

(No, Mr. Weinberg, they consider support of government-sponsored welfare, both social and environmental, to be a character flaw. Assault weapons have nothing to do with the issue, and from context you seem to have no idea what assault weapons are.)

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dischord
June 3, 2004, 12:00 PM
Originally defined as a progressive philosophy of government, No, liberal was originally defined as a supporter of liberty (and that's still how it is used in Europe). Look at the root word.

I'm 3 hours away in NoVa, but at least I'm in Virginia, so I sent:

While Sam Weinberg (letters, June 6) is correct that conservatives over use the word "liberal" as a pejorative, he is wrong that the word was "originally defined as a progressive philosophy of government." Rather, the word originally meant a supporter of liberty, and the American left’s “progressive philosophy of government” often is at odds with liberty, supporting it for some actions (like abortion) but opposing it for others (like gun ownership). Thus the word "libertarian" was coined in the 20th Century to describe what "liberal" once described in the 18th Century.



... or was I supposed to write about assault weapons? ;)

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