In the wake of the neocon opus, I’ve gotten more than a few emails from liberal readers complaining that the word “liberal” is as abused and misleading as the word “neconservative.” This echoes a refrain in lots of liberal chatrooms and the like: “liberal” has been demonized, it doesn’t mean what conservatives say etc etc etc.
Generally, I think this is nonsense. My point about the abuse of the neocon label is that it’s applied to people who aren’t neocons in any reasonable sense. Many paleos use the neocon label because they’re afraid or unwilling to admit that the conservative movement hasn’t been “hijacked.” Rather, the conservative movement has left many of them behind. But I have no problem with the label conservative at all.
This liberal complaint is entirely different, it seems to me. They reject the notion that any label can describe them. When they say “I don’t believe in labels” they usually do this as a way to dodge the fact that “liberal” has taken on a negative connotation. They pose as if they approach issues without ideology, without bias and have merely followed the facts to their conclusions. I mean we have to call liberals something right?