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Recently, David Horowitz’s long-running Front Page magazine adopted the slogan, “Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out,” and it certainly seems spot-on. But do liberals call themselves liberals anymore? It’s likely no coincidence that as liberalism went off the rails in the wake of the election of GWB and 9/11, liberals went a century into the past and began to re-rebrand themselves as “Progressives,” having previously stolen the L-Word from classical laissez-faire liberals around the FDR era, after the P-Word had gotten such a bad reputation during WWI. Or to put it another way:
I’ve noticed that a lot of people today who would formerly have referred to themselves as liberal or left wing now prefer the term “progressive”, presumably because it sounds more… well, progressive. But there’s a difference between being liberal and being progressive. I like liberals, but I don’t like progressives. Even lefties are OK if they’re the right sort of lefty, but progressives give me the creeps. Progressive sounds like a positive word, doesn’t it, brimming with the promise of bright new tomorrows. In reality it means moving gradually, progressively, bit by bit, towards an ever more regulated, controlled, and less free society where group identity trumps all and every casual remark is a potential hate crime.
We’ll have more and more equality, and more and more fairness, and when we’ve had all the equality and fairness we can stomach, and then some, we’ll have some more, whether we like it or not. It’s the same agenda as revolutionary Marxism, only they want to do it gradually, progressively. You know, like a disease. A liberal is a person who will defend your right to free speech even when they disagree with you. A progressive is a person who will defend someone else’s right to shut you up because they find you offensive. A liberal sees the value in the free exchange of ideas and opinions.
— British video monologist Pat Condell; as quoted in this transcription. Watch. (and/or read) The. Whole. Thing.