Table the Label
Lately I’ve been feeling like progressives have become so entrenched in their own conceptual frameworks that we’re splitting hairs and engaging in name-calling instead of constructively addressing the big picture. This is not to say we can’t disagree; but the abuse of the confusing term “neoliberal” is not helping, considering very few liberals actually subscribe to market fundamentalism. And it’s complicated: Austerity, for example, is a neoliberal economic approach that was (thankfully) not embraced by the Obama administration. It should go without saying that the term “neoliberal” has nothing to do with political “liberalism” – but sadly it does seem to need saying.
On a similar note, I use the term “socialist” in this cartoon because I see it thrown around a lot, but Scandinavian countries don’t actually have socialist economies; “social democracy” is a more accurate way to describe those governments.
This earlier blog post has more thoughts on how we’re prone to labeling ourselves in unhelpful ways.
Tags: language, liberalism, neoliberalism, progressives