What is a "leftist"? This term has been used more and more frequently over the last few years. The Arizona assassin was labeled, early, a leftist by those who took offense to the idea that he may have been lead to his crime by eliminationist rhetoric from the right. As the weeks and months pass it appears that everyone that did any labeling, whether calling his actions a result of the rhetoric of the right (which I was very much guilty of) or simply calling him a leftist because of what some of his supposed former "friends" posted on Twitter, were wrong. The question that remains, however is, "What is a leftist"?
If you are reading this particular blog to see my answer as to what is a leftist you might as well stop reading at this point. I have not got a clue as to what a leftist is or what qualities make a person a leftist. The term itself is so vague that when I did a search for who first coined the term "leftist" the only answer I could find was "Someone in 1924". It leaves a lot to the imagination.
That's the funny thing about anyone on the left side of the political spectrum. If you ask someone from the right side what a liberal is or what is the definition of a liberal, you are not going to get many answers (well any answers that actually are factual). Mostly you will get slanderous answers, or opinions, or what that person has been told to believe a liberal is or what it is meant to be liberal.
I used to think that a "leftist" was anyone that was on the true liberal side of the spectrum. Lately, though, I am left (no pun intended) to believe that a "leftist" is anyone left of the far right end of the spectrum. This of course includes those who are fiscally but not socially conservative, socially but not fiscally conservative, moderates, and then the entire left side of the spectrum.
The truth is, in this country, you will find a very low minority of Americans that are either liberally fiscal and socially or conservative fiscal and socially. Combined they are a very low number, but for some reason they get the most play in the news cycles. Why? They are the loudest. It really is that simple.
I can not speak for conservatives, they do a fine enough job on here, but it is hard for me to take some (note I said some not all, not half, not most, but some) conservatives serious when they call for civil debates and then proceed to call anyone they see as a liberal every name in the book. They have in the past said that liberals had made Obama into a deity, though they were the only ones actually saying it. I can not speak for any other liberals but I can speak for myself. Obama is not a deity. He is human, and like all humans the world round he has his faults. This particular group also loves to throw around the idea that liberalism is a disease. Like I said, however, if pressed to define liberalism, they often can not. So the question is, how can they decide that something is a disease when they can not even describe or define it?
I know that I will be asked (or demanded) to define conservatism. Truth is, there are so many different facets of conservatism it is hard to lock down a simple definition.
However, I did do a search, and the closest I could find that would fit a simple definition is that conservatism is a political ideology that adheres to traditions and promotes keeping traditional roles (whether it be family, state, church, etc) as they have been.
Ronald Reagan famously said that he believed "the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism" which of course leads to the question, "What is Libertarianism".
I have been often accused to not knowing or interchanging the terms Republican with Conservative. I admit I have done this in past. It is not something that I do purposefully, but growing up, watching the news, paying attention to politics I came to understand that if you were talking about a conservative you were also talking about a Republican and vice versa. That has been completely thrown out over the last ten years or so. There are Republicans that are so "liberal" now that they are called RINOs. The same can be said about "conservative" Democrats being called DINOs.
It does make me wonder, though, if the 1980s Ronald Reagan were still alive today and were running for President would he even be considered a conservative or a RINO. My money is with RINO. He may have been socially conservative but as a president he was very much fiscally liberal.
Back to leftist though, I do not have the answer as to what a leftist actually is. I just know that it is one of hundreds of nicknames given to people by people who believe them to be liberals.
Allow me to say this in closing. The Founding Fathers do not belong to any one group. They do not belong to the TEA Party, they do not belong to the Republicans, or the Democrats. They do not belong to the conservatives or liberals or "leftists". They belong to all of us. Our history is a shared history and one that we can all belong to.
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
John Adams, in Defense of the British Soldiers on trial for the Boston Massacre, December 4, 1770