As a classical liberal, or, in today’s parlance, a libertarian, I wasn’t in sync with Rush Limbaugh’s brand of conservatism but admired his intelligence, courage, wit, and good nature. I also didn’t see him a right-winger, unlike America’s conservative newspaper, the Wall Street Journal.
The WSJ labeled Limbaugh as a right-winger in the headline of a February 17 news bulletin that it emailed to this subscriber’s in-box, as follows:
Rush Limbaugh Is Dead at 70; Right-Wing Radio Host Shaped Politics
Does the WSJ believe that Limbaugh was a fascist who wore jackboots while doing the goose-step?
(In fairness, a story in the Feb. 18 print edition of the WSJ referred to Limbaugh as a conservative, not a right-winger.)
Such reckless use of “right-wing” is self-defeating because it plays into the hands of the left, where the pejorative is affixed to anyone to the right of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or to any publication to the right of the New Republic magazine, including the Wall Street Journal.
Even libertarians are branded as right-wing by the left, although they abhor excessive government power of all political stripes.
Due to conservative stupidity, the left has won the labeling game.
By the last count, the scary-sounding adjective “right-wing” is used about ten times more than “left-wing” by the media, the intelligentsia, and think tanks, including, suicidally, by conservatives and libertarians.
At the same time, the benign-sounding adjectives “liberal” and “progressive” are commonly used by both the left and the right to describe leftists.
“Right-wing” conjures up images of Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco, while “liberal” and “progressive” don’t conjure up images of such mass murderers as Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot. As a result, this longstanding double standard in labeling has tarnished the conservative, Republican, and libertarian brands, especially among miseducated younger Americans.
Speaking of whom, there is little doubt that miseducated and woke reporters and editors have infiltrated the WSJ’s newsroom, as they have infiltrated most newsrooms. That would explain why headlines like the foregoing come out of the news side of the WSJ and not the editorial side, where more wisdom and maturity reside.
There also is little doubt that such leading schools of journalism as Northwestern, Columbia, and the University of Missouri share a common world view and labeling convention, as do other schools of journalism. It’s a safe bet that “left-wing” is missing from news stories in campus newspapers, although there are plenty of left-wingers on campus.
Personally, I believe that “left-wing” and “right-wing” should be done away with, as they’re an anachronism that dates back to the seating arrangement in France’s National Assembly during the French Revolution. The left-right continuum should be replaced with a 10-point scale of government power, with “0” representing anarchy (no government) and “10” representing authoritarianism.
In my classical liberal thinking, a “3” would be the ideal national government, but today’s U.S. government, whether under Democrat or Republican control, is a “6” or higher.
That comment will get me labeled as a right-winger by those who reside at the sixth level.