What Does It Mean To Be A Liberal?

Jon Sanders has a column at FrontPage Mag in which he responds to an essay about what it supposedly means to be a liberal. I say supposedly because Sanders points out what others like Tammy Bruce and Christopher Hitchens have, that the actions of today’s liberals do not match their rhetoric.

Just in time for the frenzied last month of an election season, the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday published an essay by University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone entitled “What it means to be a liberal.” In it, Stone, the author of Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime, posits 10 propositions that to him “define ‘liberal’ today.”

Stone’s essay would have been more convincing if it had been titled: “What it should mean to be a liberal.” For example, Stone’s first two propositions include such corkers as “Liberals are skeptical of censorship and celebrate free and open debate” and “Liberals believe individuals should be tolerant and respectful of difference.” One wonders if Stone has in mind the same “liberals” who championed academic speech codes, cheered the flouting of the First Amendment under the rubric of “campaign-finance reform,” and spent the last six years demonizing President Bush as a Nazi or worse.Sanders then addresses each of Stone’s 10 propositions.

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