Defining Hypocrisy
Copyright © by Dan Schneider, 10/5/02

  This is the 1st of a series of essays I am writing for submission to the website for my union AFSCME Local 2822: http://home.attbi.com/~afscme2822/ . In them I will discuss things of political interest to, especially, the working class. Whether or not the union decides to post them on their website, or in their newsletter, I will post them here on Cosmoetica.
  I consider myself a middle-of-the road Libertarian, politically, yet I resent how modern ‘Libertarians’ have co-opted & corrupted the term. Instead of meaning someone staunchly pro-individual, & avidly anti-corporate, the term has now become synonymous with ex-Republicans who are conservative Big Business types turned off by the Radical Right Christianizing of the GOP. Yet, this bastardization of language is nothing new to politics. The axiom is: who controls the language controls the debate. Let me now give some political definitions (courtesy the online dictionary of Merriam-Webster)), a brief history of how the terms have mutated, some other good stuff (my opinions & eructations), & then comment on all of this.
  Let me go right to the Libertarians:

Main Entry: lib·er·tar·i·an
Pronunciation: "li-b&r-'ter-E-&n  Function: noun  Date: 1789
1 : an advocate of the doctrine of free will
2 a : a person who upholds the principles of absolute and unrestricted liberty especially of thought and action b capitalized : a member of a political party advocating libertarian principles

  As I said, this is what it should be. De facto, this is old-time 19th Century grass-roots Liberalism at its center. Is that a shock, considering both terms have the same root? It used to be that Libertarians stood up with Teddy Roosevelt (perhaps the last ‘true’ Republican) when he decided to wage war against the mercenary fat cats who dominated the American political & business scene 100 years ago, because they correctly saw that corporatization was anathema to individual liberty. Nowadays, Libertarians still give lip service to freedom of the individual, but they’ve traded in their indignity over corporations for unbridled support, somehow conflating individual liberty with liberty for the mythical entities that corporations are. Laissez-faire corporatism is about as diametrically oppositional to individual liberty as 1 can get. Yet, there stand the faux Libertarians of today- railing against big government, even though government’s very function (to provide that, & for that, the individual cannot) is at the nexus of sustaining individual liberty. In short, no true Libertarian would support an unregulated economy because they would know that the 1st things shunted aside would be the people’s (i.e- worker’s) liberties.
  But, these imposters of today are mild in comparison to their 2, more extreme, cousins. Let’s look at Liberals:

Main Entry: 1lib·er·al   Pronunciation: 'li-b(&-)r&l  Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin liberalis suitable for a freeman, generous, from liber free; perhaps akin to Old English lEodan to grow, Greek eleutheros free  Date: 14th century
1 a : of, relating to, or based on the liberal arts <liberal education> b archaic : of or befitting a man of free birth
2 a : marked by generosity : OPENHANDED <a liberal giver> b : given or provided in a generous and openhanded way <a liberal meal> c : AMPLE, FULL
3 obsolete : lacking moral restraint : LICENTIOUS
4 : not literal or strict : LOOSE <a liberal translation>
5 : BROAD-MINDED; especially : not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms
6 a : of, favoring, or based upon the principles of liberalism b capitalized : of or constituting a political party advocating or associated with the principles of political liberalism; especially : of or constituting a political party in the United Kingdom associated with ideals of individual especially economic freedom, greater individual participation in government, and constitutional, political, and administrative reforms designed to secure these objectives

Main Entry: lib·er·al·ism   Pronunciation: 'li-b(&-)r&-"li-z&m  Function: noun  Date: 1819
1 : the quality or state of being liberal
2 a often capitalized : a movement in modern Protestantism emphasizing intellectual liberty and the spiritual and ethical content of Christianity b : a theory in economics emphasizing individual freedom from restraint and usually based on free competition, the self-regulating market, and the gold standard c : a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties d capitalized : the principles and policies of a Liberal party

  While some of the base principles of the dread L-word remain, we see many have dissipated. & while 1 can blame the sickening Ronald Reagan for trashing the word, itself, Liberals have only themselves to blame for trashing its reputation. Let’s gander at definition 5 of ‘liberal’. Now, let’s reckon that with some of the Politically Correct nonsense that has gripped Academic America the last 2 decades. As an artist I know, personally, that a far greater censorship threat exists from the ‘Liberals’ than the ‘Conservatives’ in this country. Was it not Al Gore’s wife, not W.’s, that led the charge to censoring CDs a decade ago? & who bans more books from libraries these days? Huckleberry Finn is decried as ‘racist’ for using the word nigger, even though racism was the book’s target. Who decries it as racist? Not the Jesse Helmses of the world- no, the Feminists & so-called ‘Liberal’ nitwits. These people almost make me ashamed to call myself a Liberal. & just looking at entry 2b of ‘liberalism’ shows how far the modern bastardizers of the term have come- Damn, seems like Alan Greenspan might have penned it! In short, no true Liberal would be for gun control or censorship, for they would know that they are inherently conservative opinions.
  Speaking of which, let’s look at modern Conservatives- easily the most meschugenahed of the 3 major points of political thought. The bastardization of political language has always been around- but in America it really got Modern with the ascension of the Kennedys in the 1960s. Jack & Bobby were closet conservatives who were worshipped by the Left (right about the time true Liberalism & it split). Ronald Reagan, despite all written to the contrary, was a Right Wing Radical Reformer (the anti-FDR & anti-LBJ). This was no true Conservative. But the true zenith was plumbed by Bill Clinton- politically & otherwise. But, that’s another essay. Let’s return to that non-Conservative- Ronald Reagan- & see how he stacks up with the textbook definition of the term(s):

Main Entry: 1con·ser·va·tive   Pronunciation: k&n-'s&r-v&-tiv  Function: adjective
Date: 14th century
2 a : of or relating to a philosophy of conservatism b capitalized : of or constituting a political party professing the principles of conservatism : as (1) : of or constituting a party of the United Kingdom advocating support of established institutions (2) : PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE
3 a : tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions : TRADITIONAL b : marked by moderation or caution <a conservative estimate> c : marked by or relating to traditional norms of taste, elegance, style, or manners <a conservative suit>
4 : of or relating to Conservative Judaism

Main Entry: con·ser·va·tism   Pronunciation: k&n-'s&r-v&-"ti-z&m  Function: noun
Date: 1835
1 capitalized a : the principles and policies of a Conservative party b : the Conservative party
2 a : disposition in politics to preserve what is established b : a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change
3 : the tendency to prefer an existing or traditional situation to change

  Let’s hit definition 3b of ‘conservative’. What caution did Reagan show when he endangered public safety by firing striking air traffic controllers? What moderation did he show when he decimated the budgets for education & social subsistence programs? When the Supreme Court declared abortion legal, de facto declaring every person as sovereign over their own body, what did ‘Conservatives’ try to do? Stack the Court with Right Wing ideologues to ‘overturn’ established law. & what document do modern ‘conservatives’ consult 1st when discussing things? Not the Constitution- no. But the Bible- the Judaeo-Christian Bible, to be precise. Yet, true Conservatives would fervently support the separation of church & state. In fact, they did so throughout the country’s history- even through Barry Goldwater! No, ‘Conservatives’ these days are not true Conservatives- just religious fanatics- not unlike the dread Taliban. In truth, no true Conservative would be against abortion or anti-homosexual statutes because they would consider it ‘immoderate’ for the government to concern itself with such private matters.
  I could go on & dissect the bastardization of the more specific party terms like Democrat & Republican but I would merely be repeating most of what I’ve said. People scratch their heads as to why so few people turn out to vote these days. While there are a # of reasons, including blind 1-issue voting patterns, voting against the greater of 2 evils rather than voting for a good candidate, the absolute sway of big money, etc., 1 cannot discount the utter bastardization of political language at its most fundamental level. People who are true Libertarians, Liberals, & Conservatives have no real reason to vote when the folks upholding their titular ideals are not real libertarians, liberals, or conservatives. When the rare person who does stand up for their beliefs comes along- like a Ralph Nader- that person is so marginalized by the media & faux claimants to ideologies that the true believers see no real reason to participate in such a system. I do. I vote. But I vote only for those who are true Libertarians, or old time Liberals, like me. I will not veer from that principle. I shall stand firm. Or will that make me a Conservative?

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