Nigel Ashford would have us believe he has literally asked individual registered voters what they understand by liberalism. He did append the modifier which–if applied to music–might have elicited The Beatles and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir as answers from kleptocracy voters asked to explain classical music. But don’t believe me. Check out the original literary fantasy.
Ashford’s whole-cloth analysis reveals only that he has not put the question to a single registered American Republican or Democrat. The word “liberal” underwent classical transubstantiation in the eyes of religious republicans in November of 1932. A month earlier the republican pronunciation of the term had denoted beer-swilling low-tariff perverts disrespectful of the Revealed Word.
That Revealed Word was transcribed as Settled Science into the Prohibition Amendment and the Comstock Laws prohibiting so much as mentioning birth control or French postcards in a letter to a friend or relative. The penalty was a decade on a chain gang and a fine worth enough gold to crush your toes were you to drop it on your foot. Republicans refer to this as “ordered liberty.”
To Democratic voters organized by Pauline Sabin and the Women’s Organization for the Repeal of Prohibition, “Liberal Party” meant the political organization assembled by educated men in 1930 to bleed off enough spoiler votes to defeat the Democratic Party unless it adopted the Liberal Party plank on alcohol prohibition. This the Liberal Party made clear:
they will make no effort toward the repeal of all this legislation until we can show them that their political extinction is going to be the penalty of their cowardice.
Throughout this showdown, communist, socialist, farmer-labor, socialist labor–indeed, ALL parasitical looter parties waffled like so many fleas and roundworms pondering which of two elderly dogs might make a less sickly host. Rebuffed, deported and jailed by Christian republicans at every turn, carriers of communist ideology had a lot invested in People’s Party Democrats since 1892. But looters can’t be choosers, so Altrurian idealists wavered, said not a word on the subject, then proceeded to infiltrate the Democratic Party as soon as FDR was elected.
This they accomplished this by calling themselves liberals.