Whenever I hear someone use liberal to describe someone or something that is left leaning I just get the sense that their politics are too US-based and kind of roll my eyes because that’s not really what liberal means. Is this an appropriate reaction or should I get off my high horse?

“I should go somewhere else”


A bigger issue is the ‘left-right’ spectrum. It’s nonsensical, obsolete, undefined, arbitrary destructive garbage that does nothing but encourage false conclusions. And guess what, liberals were by definition originally part of the left wing. Basically all the people who didn’t want a monarchy were. Since then, the left-right axis was never given any real meaningful definitions: we would have just used those words instead of irrelevant directions!

Introductory reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left–right_political_spectrum

A useful video and discussion of alternatives: Why The Political Compass is Wrong: Establishing An Accurate Model of Political Ideology

Any one who is claiming that the left is only socialists isn’t even wrong. The whole concept of ‘left’ makes no sense.

Regardless, someone saying that liberal is left probably hasn’t been exposed to the socialist left. A possible opportunity, or simply a red flag to avoid. Use your judgement.


i think that a word… can have different meanings? 🤷‍♀️

liberal = non-orthodox is not specific to the us, in fact, non-orthodox is one of the official definitions of the word liberal, which is befitting of many leftist policies

it just so happens that liberal is part of neoliberalism, which creates a perception of a contradiction in meaning, but in reality isn’t that 🤷‍♀️

but important to note, all of this is in the realm of prescriptive linguistics

Is this an appropriate reaction or should I get off my high horse?

It’s normal, but I would encourage you to try to tactfully explain the difference between the two to people like this.

“idiot–do not engage, waste of time”

Soviet Snake

I think you are doing good, liberalism can be a lot of things but never a left leaning ideology under current historical and material conditions, if they say so they are either Usonians or brainwashed by Usonian politics. Progressive is kind of a better term which at least can be understood better.



I always ask them what liberal actually means. Neither conservatives or self identifying liberals have been able to answer


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This is a normal person who doesn’t spend so much time discussing political theory that they know the difference between left-leaning and liberal

So yea, get off your high horse, be more welcoming, and don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

I would say it depends. In the case of OP being from/in the US I might see your point. But only then.

Yeah, I live in the US. I should have mentioned that I don’t actually roll my eyes unless they’re going on and on about how liberals (read leftists) are bad.

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