A convergence of myths plagues U.S. politics today, corrupting media conversations and deliberately misdirecting voters. Among them:

“Liberal is the opposite of conservative.”
“Conservative is right-wing, and liberal is left-wing.”
“Republicans are conservative. Democrats represent special interests.”

These myths serve a purpose: Protect corrupt incumbent special interests by dividing voter constituencies.

As the nation’s two incumbent political parties prepare this summer to crown the voters’ minimal choice of presidential candidates, let’s take a quick look at the abuse of our political language.


Actual Opposites

Left

Favor an egalitarian society of equal rights and equal access

Right

Favor a hierarchical society in which rights are defined by social, religious, or economic class.

Liberal

Favor individual liberty

Authoritarian

Favor restraint of the individual by church, business, or state.

Conservative

Favor a current or previous status quo.

Progressive

Favor change from what has been to something new.

Notice that it’s possible above to be both leftist and conservative (one who defends outdated social programs), or liberal and conservative (one who defends current individual freedoms from encroachment by authoritarians), or progressive and rightist (one who aggressively seeks to change society into a new system of privileged classes).

Now let’s glance at how these terms have been corrupted.


Misdefined Opposites

Left

Misdefined as socialist

Conservative

Misdefined as progressive capitalist and religious authoritarian

Liberal

Misdefined as libertine and lazy.

Right

Misdefined as pro-business and pro-tradition (having redefined tradition).

Authoritarian

Misdefined as pro-freedom depending upon whether the authority belongs to one’s own military, corporate, religious, or secular class.

Progressive

Misdefined as a synonym for “left.”

What impact does this corruption have upon political conversation — and upon voters at the polls?

Discuss :-)