- Mar 6, 2019
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
“Conservative” Is Not the Opposite of “Liberal” (Arthur Holtz, Medium).It drives me nuts how people in the United States use the words “liberal” and “conservative” to describe the political spectrum as if the two are complete opposites. I don’t think they are necessarily so. The proper opposite of liberal is illiberal, whereas the proper opposite of the word conservative is something along the lines of reformist.
"Conservative comes from the Latin conservare, which can be translated as “to keep intact” or “to preserve or maintain.” There’s nothing about the word conservative that implies support for markets or religion. Conservative simply means you want to conserve the way things are. Makes sense, right?
Moving on to the other piece of the puzzle, liberal refers to an adherent of liberalism, the ideology born of the Enlightenment. I won’t bore you with a long-winded history or philosophy lesson (for which I am unqualified to lecture on anyway) but here is what you need to know: Liberalism, as formulated by its originators in the 17th and 18th centuries, emphasizes the liberty of individuals.
By these definitions, liberal and conservative are not mutually exclusive. If you currently live in a liberal society — that is, one that upholds the ideals of liberalism — and you want to keep things that way, one could reasonably describe you as simultaneously liberal and conservative without any contradiction."
I completely agree with the author in this analysis. Perhaps by using these standards, we can come to a realization that there is a good deal of common ground.
"the proper opposite of a liberal is someone who rejects the tenets of liberalism. There are numerous -isms opposed to liberalism, and you’ve probably heard of most of them. To name just a few, there is monarchism, totalitarianism, fascism, socialism, communism, and so on. We can describe these philosophies or their adherents as illiberal". This is the sense in which Hungary's Orban uses the term "illiberal", as he most certainly is.