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Reblogged:Look Who's Smearing Classical Liberals Now...

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At Reason magazine, Stephanie Slade observes that a faction of the conservative movement has been smearing classical liberals while also calling for leftist policies.

The new smear? Right-liberal, which is intended to demonize classical liberals as leftists:
Liberal in this context means classically liberal, the political outlook that emphasizes individual rights, limited government, and the rule of law. But the writers who deploy this supposedly disparaging sobriquet hope that rank-and-file conservatives will hear liberal and assume a leftist orientation.

"America is an idea," scoffed Newsweek Opinion Editor Josh Hammer in a recent tweet. He attributed that sentiment to "every right-liberal and left-liberal platitude-regurgitator ever." Note the facile elision of any difference between the two groups: To be a "right-liberal," in Hammer's formulation, is no better than to be a Democrat.
Slade has hit the hammer on the head, and comes close again when she notes who the real leftists actually are:
[T]he invocation of "right-liberalism" is ironic as well as facile, because the post-liberals who disparage it are unapologetic proponents of actual left-wing policies, such as tariffs, industrial subsidies, and aggressive antitrust action, even against companies that don't meet the traditional definition of monopolies. It would be no exaggeration to designate this cohort right-progressives. And just about the only thing that makes them right is that they hope to use their power, once attained, to enforce aspects of traditional religious morality rather than left-wing identity politics.
Close, Gus? You might say.

Yes. Close: There is nothing ironic about a political faction that is becoming more and more like the left adopting the tactics (like smearing) as well as the policies of the left. This only looks ironic because the people doing it are calling themselves conservative, which many ordinary people wrongly think vaguely means capitalist.

(This, too, apes the left, which first ushered in the name liberal for itself for the sake of the unearned good will a similar mental association with the original meaning of that term could get.)

Furthermore, there is nothing ironic about altruist-collectivists recognizing individualist-capitalists as enemies and attempting to discredit them. Indeed, if there is any irony, it is that it hasn't happened much sooner, given that each group operates from the same moral premises.

I thank Slade for the observation, although I wish she had also given the name right-progressives most often apply to themselves: national conservative.

-- CAV

P.S. Given that today's political milieu much more resembles a turf war between socialists and theocrats, let me take this obvious opportunity to recommend (once again) an excellent discussion of the situation by Harry Binswanger and Gregory Salmieri.

Within, the latter analogizes the two major parties to gangs warring in a battle between two unworthy sides. Its title is, "Left and Right: Codependent Foes.," and it is embedded above.

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