A friend and reader, Mr. Dick Toomey, also has a blog sight called Fodder. I have previously posted some of Mr. Toomey’s posts with his permission. He has a unique way of looking at things.
He has graciously allowed me to post his most recent missive. I highly recommend that you read on. I consider myself (probably inappropriately) to be a wordsmith. The issue of the meaning of “liberal” versus “conservative,” purely as words, never crossed my mind in now well over 2000 posts. (By the by, most of the emphases below were added by me).
|It Needs A Name.
By, Dick Toomey
According to the revered Heritage Foundation, the modern American Conservative movement was born in 1953 with the publication of Russell Kirk’s masterwork — The Conservative Mind. Kirk deserves profound acclaim, as do many other legendary heroes of Conservatism — among them, Goldwater, Friedman, Buckley, Reagan, Gingrich — even media stalwarts like Limbaugh and Levin. Too bad all of that stunning brainpower doesn’t include the name of one mediocre marketer of average intellect. Too bad some competent people with common sense didn’t convene to create a compelling brand name that would coincide with compelling brand principles. But, typical of many “think-tank” scholars, Kirk and other stalwart authors ignored their audience. They planted the seeds of Conservatism all across fertile political fields; and in doing so, forever alienated the majority of voters under the age of 35 — those living and those yet to be conceived (in the Biblical sense). They failed to consider that millions of people would reject the word “conservative” — but not because they would reject Conservative beliefs. They reject the word — the word. They reject it simply because no self respecting millennial wants to be thought of as “conservative.” As that famous intellectual Gomer Pyle was so fond of saying, “Surprise, surprise!” Because who can blame them? Nobody should. “Conservative” is the wrong term for a political ideology that is potent, powerful and productive. If you think you’re a Conservative, take a simple test to prove it. List the known synonyms of “conservative” that you can find in any thesaurus or dictionary. Do it. Do it now. Ready? They are:
Bourgeois, Controlled, Conventional, Die-hard, Fearful, Firm, Fogeyish, Fuddy-duddy, Guarded, Hard Hat, Hidebound, Holding, Illiberal, In a Rut, Inflexible, Obstinate, Old Guard, Old Line, Orthodox, Prejudiced, Reactionary, Redneck, Right of Center, Right Winger, Sober, Stable, Traditional, Unchangeable, Uncreative, Un-Daring, Unimaginative, White Bread.
By contrast to these published definitions of “conservative,” you should also familiarize yourself with the “liberal” counterparts:
Advanced, Avante-Garde, Broad-minded, Enlightened, Flexible, Free, High-minded, Humanistic, Humanitarian, Intelligent, Interested, Left, Loose, Lenient, Libertarian, Magnanimous, Permissive, Rational, Reasonable, Receptive, Receiving, Reformist, Tolerant, Unbiased, Unbigoted, Unconventional, Understanding, Unorthodox, Unprejudiced.
These words are not perceptions. These words are published in the most respected anthologies. These words and definitions are taught, used and accepted in the best schools — grammar schools, high schools and colleges. Conservatives are “Right Wingers.” But Liberals are not “Left Wingers.” Liberals are “Understanding.” Conservatives are “Obstinate.” Conservatives are “reactionary.” Liberals are “rational.” With few exceptions, Conservative is synonymous with negativity, antagonism and deprecation. Liberal is synonymous with thoughtfulness, intelligence and enlightenment. These perceptions may be false but nothing can change them. Conservative gurus in academia and in media work tirelessly to reverse these wrong impressions in an effort to sway young voters — to believe that Conservatism is in their self interest and can indeed be “cool.” They will be successful — when Hell freezes over. At best, Conservatism is an anemic name for a muscular doctrine. Conservatism didn’t elect Trump. The true Conservative candidates lost. The self-avowed Conservative Inner Circle rejected Trump and still does, along with the GOP Beltway Boys. If the Democrat Party had placed in nomination an authentic American Centrist — someone other than their anointed serial criminal or whacko Socialist — Donald and Melania would be living happily together in Manhattan, doing what billionaires do. Trump didn’t create a new brand, but he did create a new coalition — a coalition that doesn’t walk lock-step with the GOP or any other established party. The Outsider defeated the Establishment. But demographics are not on the side of the new coalition without attracting millennials in much greater numbers. The case has to be made and marketed. The window is open — temporarily. It needs a name.