How meaningful are these terms?
In the interview re Outfoxed
, producer Robert Greenwald made the obvious but easily forgotten point that to be a conservative in the US right now is not necessarily to be a supporter of Bush's every policy or an extremist. O'Reilly accused Greenwald of being an "ultra-liberal", whatever the fuck that is. Are these terms past their sell-by date? Have they become meaningless insults? What of the difference between an economic conservative and a social conservative? Do people self-identify as "conservative" or "liberal"*, or are we each aware that our own politics is too complex, and "our side" too diverse, to be summed up in a word? I only use the term "liberal" to describe myself jokingly as a "wishy-washy liberal", largely to distinguish myself from, say, Hothead Paisan
Let me give you an example - over at Sticker Giant
you can buy slogans from various political angles**, they're not fussy. One of the stickers says:
ANNOY A LIBERAL
Work hard and be happy
Hmm... "Welcome to America, now speak English". This is enormously amusing given the widespread mockery of American English. What does the alarming badge "Purity is not a crime" mean?! Wonderfully, plenty of slogans appear in both right- and left-wing categories ("Bill O'Rights for President").
I leave you with a nice one: "Resistance is not futile".
* Of course, in Australia the Liberal Party (in power) is largely more conservative than the Labor Party (the opposition) - you'll sometimes hear the phrase "small-l liberal" used to avoid confusion.
** They use "progressive" instead of "liberal", possibly as a catch-all for anything vaguely hippyish.