What Does “Liberal” Mean, Anyway?

The word “liberal” has been through a lot. Since the ’80s, liberals have been ludicrously demonized by the right. At a certain point, I began using “progressive” instead as it seemed more contemporary and carried less baggage. These days, it seems that the concept of liberalism is often conflated with neoliberalism — which is pretty much its opposite. To the extent that some socially-liberal people are unconcerned with the excesses of capitalism and economic inequality, I would argue that means they are conservative, although that word has also become somewhat meaningless in an era of extremism.

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Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer Finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.



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