Nordlinger remembers when liberals were liberal

John Hood is proud to call himself liberal, which is why he would empathize with the thrust of a Jay Nordlinger article in the latest print version of National Review. Nordlinger probes the change in the way Americans have approached the “liberal” label.

“Liberal” has been a contentions word in America since the early 1930s. The New Dealers called themselves liberals, causing others to say, “Hey, wait a minute: Aren’t you too keen on government expansion to be liberals?” In Europe, an older sense prevailed. The Nobel peace committee gave its prize to Cordell Hull, recently secretary of state, in 1945. The committee chairman, an economist of Norway’s Liberal party, praised Hull as “representative of all that is best in liberalism.” What he meant was that Hull was a lifelong foe of protectionism and friend of “free competition.”

Nordlinger goes on to note that he eschews the labels “conservative” and “liberal” for his own views in favor of another label: Reaganite. “Neat, accurate, and, so far, understandable.”

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

Reader Comments