Liberal, conservative not tied to parties

A recent letter writer - "Liberals/progressives fought social change," (Jan. 30) - directed an earlier writer to "review history" concerning the contributions of conservatives and liberals. Before offering that advice, he should have reviewed his dictionary.

The terms liberal, conservative, and reactionary are attitudes and ideologies and in the long run do not always belong to a particular party. The Oxford desk dictionary defines "liberal" as "Favoring social and political reform." In Lincoln's day the Republicans were the liberals because they abolished slavery. Conservative is defined as "Averse to rapid change." In Lincoln's day, the conservatives would be the Southern Democrats who were willing to secede from the United States to conserve slavery.

I can remember a time when there were liberals and conservatives in both major parties, often depending on the regions in which they lived, with the Southern Democrats, or Dixiecrats, being conservative, dedicated to keeping nonwhites "in their place."

It took President Lyndon Johnson's liberal voting rights act and conservative Richard Nixon's racist "southern strategy" to deliver the Southern Democrats to the Republican Party.

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