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Could yo clarify what you mean by "ultra liberal on economic policy" in reference to the PO?  I'm getting very confused by the bandying about of the word liberal in various fora and I need a bit of help.  The US meaning of liberal is very different from the French meaning, for example, and the division seems to be between social and economic policies.  
["socially liberal" = progressive, left(ish), pro-diversity etc.  The kind of thing that the fundamentalist wing of the Republican party see as satanic - shortened to "liberal" in the US; "economically liberal"= also called the "Anglo saxon model", a basically right wing raft of economic policies - shortened to "liberal" in France.  Thus hearing an American refer to "ultra liberal on economic policy" I just need some help understanding what exactly this means]

[Coming from the UK, where "liberal" always meant fence-sitting centrists when I was groing up, it's doubly difficult to square everything, and the term "hard-line liberals" sounds like a complete oxymoron]

Musings on life in Romania and beyond

by adhoc on Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 04:07:38 AM EST
and the term "hard-line liberals" sounds like a complete oxymoron

lol

by PeWi on Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 05:20:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Having encountered liberalism in Hungary when both its social and economic wings existed and lived together, the US usage perplexed me for long, too. Having since read up on other regions' usage and having been taught by a helpful American on what happened there (I previously assumed that US social democrats adopted the nomer suring the McCarthy era...), here is how I would summarize it:

Liberalism originally developed in opposition to all kinds of traditional authoritarianism (royal, aristocratic, church) as a burgeois ideal of equality and freedom.

In South America, the overthrow of old landowner elites happened early on in the 19th century, but there was only a very narrow pool of city-dwelling citizens, so they quickly transformed into another pro-elite movement, one that supports and depends on super-rich businessmen, and hence is rather authoritarian.

In North America, tough many Founding Fathers had an agrarian utopia in mind, the Revolution was in fact a liberal victory. Thus liberals didn't have to focus on authoritarian traditional elites - instead, they had to notice how new elites form and opress people. US  liberalism noticed that equal rights by law aren't enough, because various factors (like inherited wealth, education, preconceptions on race and sex) prevent equal opportunities. US liberalism discovered the state as a vehicle to create equal opportunities, and thus became identified with Big Government. But, there were also the extreme liberals, the libertarians, who in opposition to the liberals' changeover focused on economic freedoms, and in the seventies they spawned neoliberalism (which uses the state to destroy the state's role in the economy).

In the more industrialised West Europe, liberals fought on and dismantled the old autocracy until WWI, then became victims of their own success and the rise of socialistic movements. But before, differing concepts of liberalism evolved: individual vs. collective freedoms, the latter explains how some liberals (for example the German FDP) are nationalistic. On the mainland, since conservatives were for economic control by the state too (but for authoritarian and nationalistic reasons, not for redistribution), until recently they could maintain a quite distict platform of their own, on the economy. In the UK, I think Thatcher's makeover of the Tories into neoliberal revolutionaries was what turned the local liberals into fence-sitter centrists, and neoliberal economic policy into 'conservative'.

In Eastern Europe, the development was more complex. First, due to feudal societies, it started with enlightened aristocrats dreaming about industrialisation and a burgeoise. In the ninteenth century they were halfway between South American and West European style liberalism. But then came fascism and communism, and liberals defined themselves in opposition to those. Regrettably, as lately neoliberalism became accepted to some extent in almost every political family, liberals in former communist countries and many Western European ones became its cheerleaders, abadoning much more broad concepts of freedom.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 06:59:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...oh, and since the question was ultraliberal economic policy, that's: taxes down and flat, away with regulations, away with workers' rights, privatise remaining state services, let the market regulate everything.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 07:02:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks DoDo, and I realised when I read more closely that I could have answered my own question.  Since, in the next party description, Mayek actually does characterise the PiS as being "hard right. Well to the right of the PO except on economic policy".  

So apologies for the question

(Although to get back to one of your points DoDo, In the UK, I think Thatcher's makeover of the Tories into neoliberal revolutionaries was what turned the local liberals into fence-sitter centrists, they were fence sitters before Thatcher came along.  It seems to me they've been fence sitters ever since the founding of the Labour Party.  In fact now is the only time in the last 80 or 90 years when they are not the centre party.

Musings on life in Romania and beyond

by adhoc on Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 07:27:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have to ask you for more explanation here :-)

To my knowledge, in the Thatcher years, Liberals formed an Alliance with the SDP, which I vaguely recall to have been to the left of Labour. Is that wrong? Were SDP centrists too?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 07:35:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The SDP were labour party rebels  who believed the labour party had gone too far to the left.  So, yes, definitely centrists.   They were led by David Owen, who you may remember as one of the diplomats who so terribly fouled up the Bosnian civil war.

Musings on life in Romania and beyond
by adhoc on Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 08:02:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, thank you!

(But by now, Bliar took Labour far to the right of the onetime SDP, I guess?...)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 08:10:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh yes.  Those rebels look like George Galloway next to Bliar.

Musings on life in Romania and beyond
by adhoc on Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 09:00:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Um, I'm not sure if Galloway is really the right metric. I really am not sure what to call someone who on the one hand sees the fall of communism as the saddest event of his life and thinks Stalin was just swell, and on the other has a crush on the religious right.  Whatever he is, he doesn't bear much in the way of a resemblance to the Social Dems.  
by MarekNYC on Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 02:11:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now, come on Marek.  You must know that I picked Galloway as the most left-wing person in UK politics I could think of off the top of my head just to make an exaggerated point about how far to the right the Labour party has slid under Blair.  It must have been obvious.  Surely?  From your response I can come to only two possible conclusions:
1. You didn't realise and insist on reading everything absolutely literally, the implication being that you probably think the universe and everything in it was created in 6 days.
or
2. You did know that but you decided to take the opprotunity to have a gartuitous pop at Galloway (because that demonsiation hasn't been done to death has it?).  Yawn.

Musings on life in Romania and beyond
by adhoc on Fri Sep 23rd, 2005 at 03:47:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
opportunity, gratuitous, demonisation.

I really must get used to hitting that spellcheck button.

Musings on life in Romania and beyond

by adhoc on Fri Sep 23rd, 2005 at 03:48:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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