Are You A Liberal ?

A Dictionary of Liberalism

A minor news report caught the eye the other day: Hillary Clinton was charging Rudy Giuliani with "ties to hate groups." The piece didn't say which particular groups were involved or why they were hateful in any way. Nor did it expand much on what the "ties" in question were. But the item at least spurred some contemplation in these quarters about the contemporary vocabulary of the political left, an increasingly bizarre sect for which words often have different meaning than they do for other people. Herewith represents my effort to clarify, some of the key terms and phrases:

HATE GROUP: Any group that holds views different from those of liberals. Examples include all evangelical Christians, the National Rifle Association and, of course, the Republican Party.

HATE SPEECH: The positions contrary to liberal orthodoxy that hate groups espouse. Includes lots of mumbo-jumbo about limited government, individual freedom and market economics. The most virulent manifestation comes, though, in the form of any expressed skepticism regarding racial preferences, radical feminism or gay rights. This is the speech that all good liberals are keen to see criminalized.

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS: The latest, approved set of liberal positions, otherwise known as the "party line." Liberals consult these regularly to figure out what they can and can't say in polite company and to avoid the expenditure of effort necessary in thinking for themselves. A code to be deviated from only at great risk, including the likelihood of eventual reclassification as a member of a hate group (see above).

RISKY SCHEME: Term that can be applied to any Republican proposal, but particularly to those suggesting that people should be allowed to keep more of their hard-earned money. A favorite mantra of Vice President Al Gore, who used it no less than a dozen times in one recent 20-minute speech. Possible rhetorical substitutes include "irresponsible" and "selfish."

REPUBLICANS: Exist to comfort the comfortable and to further enrich the already rich. Were relatively harmless when content to play golf and swizzle martinis at the country club. But then they had the temerity to take over Congress and thereby threaten all that is good and progressive in America. Thought to be increasingly dominated by the intolerant minions of the religious right. Tolerance: The deference and respect which should be naturally accorded the opinions of others. Except when those opinions differ in any way from those of liberals.

INTOLERENCE: The refusal to automatically embrace liberal positions. A stubborn tendency thought to be particularly pervasive among Republicans and other unenlightened hate groups.

RACIST: A term traditionally applied to a person who judged people on the basis of race. Now a term describing people who oppose judging people on the basis of race and who tend to blather on about something called a "colorblind society." Multiculturalism: Defined as hatred of Western culture for its sexism, racism and militarism, as well as the glorification of all other cultures, however vicious and illiberal they might be.

HOMOPHOBE: Any person who questions any aspect of the gay rights agenda. Such people, i.e. the overwhelming majority of the population, are believed to be suffering from a false consciousness instilled by a tradition of heterosexual hegemony and privilege.

CLINTON HATERS: Refers to all people who failed to vote for Bill Clinton for president. A malady thought to afflict weird people with quaint notions about personal character, the rule of law and respect for the truth.

THE CONSTITUTION: Outmoded document put together by some vaguely remembered dead white males. Still an object of irrational veneration by militia groups and other crazies. To be distorted where necessary, ignored altogether when possible.

OUR VALUES: A favorite phrase of President Clinton and other liberals seeking, for purposes of electoral viability, to disguise themselves as something other than liberals, i.e. "New Democrats." Seldom precisely defined, but usually thought to refer to attitudes supportive of the expansion of government and government regulation in our lives.

ABORTION: The most important of all rights. The fact that it goes unmentioned in that piece of parchment called the Constitution simply confirms that status and is all the more reason to defend it against the encroachment of people called "strict constructionists" (see below).

STRICT CONSTRUCTIONISTS: Those who give aid and comfort to hate groups by insisting that the Constitution be taken seriously and actually interpreted as written. If taken too far, such ideas would "turn the clock back" (see below) to an age of slavery and back-alley abortions.

TURNING THE CLOCK BACK: Any effort to challenge any liberal political victory from the New Deal on. Implicit in the use of this charge is the comforting assumption that all liberal achievements are irreversible and that public policy can move in only one ideological direction over time.

VAST RIGHT-WING CONSPIRACY: The coordinated efforts of hate groups to undermine the Clintons. Conspiracy is defined here somewhat broadly to imply various activities amounting to political opposition. When such activity includes writing magazine articles critical of the Clintons, voting for candidates other than the Clintons and contributing to political parties other than that to which the Clintons belong, then the conspiracy earns the majestic adjective of "vast."

OFFICE OF THE INDEPENDANT COUNSEL: A once useful liberal instrument for investigation of Republican officeholders. Enthusiasm for the institution mysteriously declined, however, when it was suddenly and unexpectedly used to impeach a liberal president.

SEXUAL HARRASSMENT: The mistreatment of women by sexist Republicans. Democrats who engage in similar behavior are to be excused because they have the right positions on "women's issues."

UNCLE TOM: Pejorative term for slaves who used to be obsequious toward their plantation masters. Now refers to any African-American intellectual who is insufficiently obsequious toward, or unwilling to be patronized by, guilty white liberals.



Tax cut  Tax increase
No tax increase Big tax increase
Tax increase  Tax increase will be first item on the agenda
Taxes are last resort  Tax increase
Read my lips  Spending increase
Spending cut  Tax increase
Deficit reduction   Tax increase
Balanced budget   Tax and spend increase
Tax the rich   Tax anyone with a job
Profit   Gross revenue
Greed   Profit motive
Monopol   Corporation with market cap over $500 million
Undeserving poor  People who work
Deserving poor    People who vote for liberals
Corporate welfare Gross revenue minus taxes
Corporate subsidy  See 'corporate welfare'
Welfare for the rich What people have left after taxes
Profiteering Not losing money
Managed competition Government takeover
Socially responsible investments Invest in money-losing ventures that liberals
  failed to get 
Taxpayer funding for Social responsibility Force someone else to pay for it
Compassion Generosity with other peoples' money
Open-minded  Agrees with liberal agenda
Closed-minded  Does not agree with liberal agenda
Right wing extremist  See 'closed-minded'
Diversity  Lock step conformity with liberal agenda
Overheated economy Prosperity
Compromise  Agree with liberal agenda
Gridlock  System of checks and balances deliberately designed into the Constitution
Exploit  Employ
Special interest groups  Non-liberal groups
Trust fund  Ponzi investment scam
Victim    Someone who doesn't work because of sloth
Fully fund Blank check


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