Karen Lehrman Bloch has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, Tablet, among other publications. She is currently working on a photography book about Israel.
She is also the author of The Lipstick Proviso: Women, Sex & Power in the Real World (Doubleday) and The Inspired Home: Interiors of Deep Beauty (HarperCollins).
One of the most misused words in the English language is “liberal.” Both the Left and the Right get it wrong. And the truth is, incorrectly defining liberalism is creating a lot of problems in the world. In fact, one could argue, it is at the root of why the Western Left has turned its back on Israel. So, as a life-long liberal, I’m here to clear up a few common misconceptions.
1. Liberalism is a political philosophy.
Leftism is a cult.
2. Liberalism espouses a core set of values and principles—freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press—that are applied to every situation in every country of the world.
Leftism espouses a fascist interpretation of said principles with a selective application that serves only to further the Leftist agenda.
3. Liberalism allows for different points of view. Liberals even respectfully listen to viewpoints that go against liberalism.
Leftists angrily silence all dissent.
4. Liberals celebrate individuality: each liberal is unique in both personal and political choices.
Leftism is built upon conformity. Leftists wear the same clothes, speak the same coded language, think the same thoughts. If they don’t, they are immediately outed and ousted.
5. Liberals do not fear being disliked for their beliefs: they would rather be right and out of fashion.
Leftists hate being disliked, and would rather die than have unfashionable beliefs.
6. Liberals have great compassion for the suffering in the world.
Leftists have selective compassion. If the compassion serves the Leftist agenda, they will express it. If it doesn’t, they will ignore it.
7. Liberals think before they talk.
Leftists listen (to hear what other Leftists are saying) before they talk.
8. Politics is important to liberals, but it doesn’t come before family and friends.
Leftists will sell out their parents and children if it meant scoring points with fellow Leftists.
9. Leftists argue by name-calling, bullying, and ending friendships.
Liberals argue by using arguments.
10. Leftists think they are the smartest people in the room because they have advanced degrees.
Liberals don’t see higher education as a sign of advanced intelligence, and also know that intelligence and morality are often mutually exclusive: some of the smartest people have conceived of the most evil ideas.
11. Leftists see the role of universities as the indoctrination of Leftism.
Liberals see the role of universities as the enhancement of critical thinking.
12. Leftists see the role of the media as the indoctrination of Leftism.
Liberals see a distinct difference between objective reporting and opinion.
13. Leftists believe in factual relativism—“truth” is a concept to bend when necessary.
Liberals believe in truth and universal truths.
14. Leftists believe in moral relativism; if a trendy “victimized” culture is acting immorally that immorality must be overlooked and/or denied.
Liberals believe in universal morality.
15. Liberalism allows for all religious and spiritual beliefs.
Leftism replaces religion; it even replaces race.
16. Liberals tend to be happy, confident people, secure in their ability to navigate the world.
Leftists tend to be fearful, angry people who use their Leftism both to assuage their fears and as a bulldozer to navigate each day.
So, which are you: a Liberal or a Leftist?