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Ammon explains how to tell liberals from the conservatives

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December 23, 2013 | 02:32 PM
I read an article once that referred to our president as a “radical liberal.”

The juxtaposition of those two labels is antithetical, at least according to any political spectrum I am familiar with. This usage would be tantamount to describing Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as “conservative revolutionaries.”

In the interest of helping the electorate reach a clearer understanding of what “liberal” and “conservative” mean, perhaps it would be useful to provide a historical context for the development of these terms.

Henry Ford was America’s first billionaire and also one of its most virulent anti-Semites. Henry’s vast material wealth was equaled only by his incredible intellectual poverty. The Anti-Defamation League never accused Mr. Ford of being a liberal. In addition, it was not until his grandson, Henry II, took control of the Ford Motor Company after World War I, that the gang of armed thugs the senior Ford had kept on the payroll to carry out his personal vendetta against organized labor was dismissed.

In the 40 or more years that these hooligans bashed and killed workers who dared organize, not one of their viscous attacks was ever attributed to either the populists, the reform movement or those who espoused liberal ideas.

The managers of the Shirtwaist Triangle Factory in New York City bolted the doors of the company’s workplaces from the outside, so that the seamstresses employed there would not cost the company lost time by using the lavatory.

When the factory was consumed by flames in March of 1911, 146 young women were either incinerated or leapt to their deaths from the ninth-story windows of their sweatshop. The supervisors, however, escaped without suffering even the slightest injury. When the daily papers reported this story to the public, none of those who owned the Shirtwaist garment business were ever referred to as liberals.

In 1954, when the Warren Court set aside Plessy vs. Ferguson and ordered an equal education for all children, regardless of race, those who favored white supremacy, Jim Crow laws and lynchings not only called the chief justice an “activist” but a “communist” as well. However, none of those wearing the pointy hats or setting crosses ablaze was ever accused of having liberal tendencies.

During the 1950s, when Joe McCarthy destroyed the reputations of countless Americans by employing tactics that included innuendo, hearsay, guilt-by-association, outright fabrication and bald-faced lies, those who championed his cause never once described Joe’s activities as liberal.

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