“Now, I’m liberal, but to a degree
I want ev’rybody to be free
But if you think that I’ll let Barry Goldwater
Move in next door and marry my daughter
You must think I’m crazy!
I wouldn’t let him do it for all the farms in Cuba
Well, I set my monkey on the log
And ordered him to do the Dog
He wagged his tail and shook his head
And he went and did the Cat instead
He’s a weird monkey, very funky”
–Bob Dylan, I Shall be Free #10
So when did liberal become a pejorative? Not sure, but I think that some on the left felt liberals weren’t left enough, and some on the right felt they weren’t right enough. So, liberals got squeezed.
There was a time when famous people embraced the term. Think FDR, Truman, LBJ, and even Hubert Horatio Humphrey who has been called the conscience of the nation. He got squeezed out as well, by his own prez LBJ and even Richard Nixon, “the One”.
The roots of liberalism can be traced to John Locke, a 17th Century philosopher, and many others. It was an era of enlightenment that influenced many leaders, including those who were the founding fathers of the United States. Rooted in the concept of freedom, generosity, and secularism, you can see the tracks of liberalism all over our founding documents. So when you hear someone say to adhere to the Constitution, what they are really saying is to adhere to the ideals of liberalism inherent in it. So much for the “originalists”.
News of the day: Moderate “liberal” justice Breyer will retire. President Biden has pledged to replace him with an African American woman. Will she be liberal? Time will tell, assuming she can get through the Senate confirmation process. Will she wag her tail and shake her head and go and do the cat instead? Very funky.