The Price of "Liberalism"
I will admit to a lifetime of being the Well Akshually Guy—the one who insists on technical accuracy, particularly in the use of words, beating the rest of you down on the history and etymology of terms that you normies bandy about with casual recklessness.
For most of that time, I have been that particularly annoying and futile version of the Well Akshually Guy known as the “classical liberal.” You know us, we’re the fellow in your college dorm who insisted that “liberal” actually means “pro-freedom,” that the 19th-Century “liberals” were pro-free-marketers, and that limited government is a far more coherent concept of liberalism than, say, a government’s willingness to spend $6 trillion dollars (that it doesn’t have).
These corrections have usually been dismissed as pedantic quibbling, as a quixotic attempt to reverse a universally accepted shift in the language, as a misguided fixation on semantics rather than substance.
But maybe this issue is still relevant after all, and the Well Akshually Guys will eventually have our day in the sun.
As evidence, I submit a recent article in the Spectator by the nationalist conservative Sohrab Ahmari in which he proclaims that “Tyranny Is the Inevitable Consequence of Liberalism.” How does he reach that bizarre conclusion? Through precisely the method we classical liberals have been complaining about all these years.
Read the rest at The Bulwark.