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What is the Difference between a ‘Liberal’ and a Leftist?

What is the difference between a liberal and a Leftist? 

That’s not the opening line of a joke. It’s a serious question. And it is at the core of what has happened to the Democratic Party since the 1960’s.

In the 5-minute video above, Dennis Prager holds forth on Liberalism vs Leftism. The Democrat-servile media never talk about that difference. They are silent about it because they have been a driving force in the transition of the party from liberalism to Leftism.

Classical liberalism is a political ideology that advocates civil liberties under the rule of law with an emphasis on economic freedom. Does that sound like today’s Leftist Democrats with their cancel culture, Big Tech censorship, and statue toppling?

John F. Kennedy was a classic liberal. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and the ‘Squad’ are Leftists.

In the 50+ years since JFK’s presidency, the Democratic Party made a  transition from liberal to Leftist, all the while keeping the name liberal. But there are virtually no (classic) liberals remaining among the Democratic Party leadership,

Ask yourself how often the Democrats speak of JFK today. He used to be the party hero — an icon. No longer. He promoted a strong defense, pushed through lower taxes, and advocated for favorable business conditions “lift all boats.” All three themes are anathema to today’s Democratic Party Leftists.

If you find a modern-day Democrat who will listen and debate, he/she is still showing vestiges of classic liberalism, which strongly advocated free speech and individual liberty for all. If a Democrat will not listen and debate, preferring instead to call you racisthomophobicIslamophobic, a white supremacist or some other oft-repeated, media-cultivated, canned pejorative, it’s virtually certain he/she has succumbed to Leftism.

When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. 

(Attributed to Socrates)

It is usually pointless to debate true Leftists. They refuse to hear you. It’s like administering medicine to the dead. Try it if you like for the entertainment value, but keep in mind that true Leftists cannot be dissuaded. They can only be defeated at the ballot box.

Sadly, most conservative media make this problem worse every day by referring to the liberal media, the liberal newspapers, and liberal politicians.

If I could have one wish granted, it would be for the conservative media to start the heavy lift of distinguishing between liberal and Leftist, as Dennis Prager does in his speaking and writing. That would help the remaining classic-liberal Democrats to reclaim the name liberal, pushing back on the Leftists who have hijacked that name as well as the Democratic party agenda itself.

For a deeper discussion of liberalism vs Leftism, as well as some closely related subjects, see the excellent Thought Leaders discussion (June 2020), featuring Dennis Prager, below.

By David Leeper

David Leeper is a retired engineer living in Scottsdale, AZ, with his (first) wife of 48 years. He is currently a volunteer science teacher at AzScienceLab.com and a volunteer reader for the visually impaired on a National Public Radio affiliate.

In David's fun-filled 40-year career, he held positions from lab technician to technical vice president at AT&T Bell Labs, Bellcore, Motorola, and Intel. He holds 16 US patents in telecom technology and a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

During his career, David wrote mainly for technical journals, including Scientific American. Since 2011, he has written over 1000 political commentaries, mostly for WesternFreePress.com and now for his own site DeplorableDavid.com.

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