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A question has piqued me for a long time. It may be purely unimportant, but here it is:

LIBERAL: a person who is liberal: as a : one who is open-minded or not strict in the observance of orthodox, traditional, or established forms or ways.

LIBERALISM: 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

CONSERVATISM: 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

Now, based on these definitions, should a traditional, black adherent of the traditional civil rights movement be called a "liberal?" Do, or should, these terms mean different things in a black context, at least re: civil rights? In considering this, keep in mind that in the Soviet Union, the hard-core leftists were conservatives, and the free market, "glasnost" types were called liberals.
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First, what are you getting at?
Second, I thought along those lines too, in terms of 'terms' adhering to their basic meanings.

I think you might get some traction off off 'liberal' but that would be to a degree nothing but semantics. You would also find examples across the globe were "leftist-liberals" are in fact those who believe in "radical change". So inserting the Russian phenomenon is not particularly instructive.

In the "BLACK CONTEXT" (first thank you... I thought I was the only one who thought that was important... brosmile)... I dunno? You definitely have an argument but I think that just reflects on what is the "established" leadership.

By the very nature of something being "established" or "traditional" then it is not "LIBERAL" in terms of not adhering to "orthodoxy" but the [other] components of LIBERALISM are no less descritive despite Black Civil Rights Leadership [TBCRL] being "traditional".

Excellent point... but I think *TBCRL* is still "liberal" because of the nature of its views eventhough it may be "set in its ways".

A good question would be:
How does one keep a socio-political ideology that has "been in power" fresh with new ideas with an acute ability to adapt to the times?

Also (stepping a little out-of-context) we have to consider not only the forces for change that are internal but those that are constant from with-OUT. What logical or natural reaction would you expect but a "conservative" line, trying to keep intact what a particular organ felt it has "established"?

(Keep in mind, my philosophical/ideological 'slant' is the 'HARD-Revolutionary-Nationalist-Left' which is also critical of TBCRL and always has been. But there is OVERLAP in those principles (Liberal/Conservative) because all ideas have some form or element of tradition it at least seeks to adhere to.)

I do not want to detract from your premise. But I perceive a couple of early problems.

Every person who enters a discussion involving "liberal" and "conservative" must define his/her definition of both terms. There is no consencus on the defintions. You can only define the parameters around which a given discussion will revolve.

Regarding your quote: "should a traditional, black adherent of the traditional civil rights movement be called a "liberal?"

Such a person is "hugging a dinosaur." The Civil Rights Movement is long dead,dead,dead. There is no way to incorporate the principles of the "Civil Rights Movement" into today's "liberalism"/"conservatism" protocols.


Jim Chester

You are who you say you are. Your children are who you say you are.
I have come to the point of staying away from labels because I think if we take the good out of every political and social philosophy and apply them, it will be a profound advancement in human and social development. Labels tend to nullify the good that can be found and embraced to move forward.

The political or social star that puts it all together will be a famous and appreciated historic figure of human history!

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.
Interesting points all. I have to confess, I wasn't really "getting at" anything. It was something that crossed my mind a long time ago, but resurfaced last year, when a young local candidate for mayor ran against a 4-time incumbent who was older and much more entrenched in the more traditional "liberal" urban city politics. The newbie, Cory Booker, was often linked with more conservative ideas, and I thought it sounded weird to have a black guy going up against the establishment being called a conservative. The establishment guy, Sharpe James, may be much more "liberal" in the usual context, but in an all-black town, where the players, the citizens, and the issues are dominated by African America (as my man Jim Chester says). In our context, I could imagine a black Sean Hannity saying, "That Cory Booker is a frothy-mouthed liberal whacko, and we as a people cannot let this kind of person control city hall!" Not that Cory is exactly to the right, but he's probably the Bill Clinton to Sharpe James' Howard Dean. By Newark standards, he's a conservative.

I don't know if there's a point. But topics like this usually elicit some thoughtful comments, and you three guys definitely did not disappoint. Peace.

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