The following is a comment by some apparently well-informed guy to the post “The United States of America LLC” It sheds some light on the total insanity of American political parties and how, more and more, they have absolutely nothing to do with the lives of normal (i.e. poor) Americans.
Discussion of the subject of the meanings of “liberal” and “conservative” is one that I’ve been having pretty regularly since I learned the original classical definitions which you correctly lay out in the beginning.
I use Class as important factor in these definitions because it is important to remember that the ‘liberal’ concept of ‘Democracy’ as it was brought forth in the last 400 years was strictly reserved for for the wealthy/owner class. This ‘Noble Class’ was concerned and motivated by the historic abuse of power by the King; simplistically, they sought “liberation” from the State for their wealth, realty, and influence of the people. Those loyal to the King (or the State beyond the individual wearing the crown) wished to “Conserve” the States power over everyone and everything as a divine right of Kings, as long as those maintaining that power enjoyed the spoils.
So an interesting thing happened in the US as wealth began to accumulate during the Industrial Revolution and create what is known as the Robber-Baron Class of the late 19th and 20th centuries. These liberals used their ill-begotten wealth to cement their place in history by taking control through ‘liberal education.’
At the beginning of the 20th century, this class began endowing universities and opening think-tanks and schools of economics and political science which taught these subjects in a way which would benefit them.
This was when the obfuscation of the classical political terms “Liberal” and “Conservative” occurred; the meanings were mixed up with economics and practically turned upside-down and then interchanged and turned inside-out and replaced.
So now we have a group of Neo-Liberal/conservative/Republican/Neo-Cons who espouse dogmatic ideologies of individual responsibility from the State and free market, whose wealth and power is enabled through total State supported protectionism, who want nothing more than total world domination by the privatization of all wages, services, and indeed–Human Rights. Their competition are a corresponding group of Neo-conservative/liberal/Democratic/Neo-Liberals who embrace imperious reveries of the responsibility of individuals to the State and the free market, whose wealth and power are derived through domination of the State regulated industries, who want nothing more than complete planetary preeminence by the privatization of labor, natural resources, and indeed–moral high ground.
The People, who are Subjects of these two competing groups from the same class, are left to debate what’s left of politics and economics with broken and incomplete terms–confined to subjects which bear no more than the illusion of salience when it comes to the reality of their lives (such as immigration, abortion, “health” care, etc).
Of course, I could illustrate my point further, but I’m limited on time at the moment. Thanks for the post!