Sunday, July 24, 2011

How Did This Happpen?

For some time now I have wondered how the term "liberal" has come to have a negative  connotation with so many Americans. "Progressive" being another word that has suffered the same.  Growing up the word liberal was always associated with something good (unless it was a liberal pile of shit being dumped on my head or something similar). I believe that the pile of shit is exactly what people like Carl Rove have dumped on us to get so many people to buy into this reaction to "Liberal". I have been called a liberal by a few of you and there is little doubt that you expect me to take that as an insult. I don't. I would think that being called a Conservative (as in stuck with the status quo) would be a fighting word.

On the other hand I always believed that "conservative" had a negative connotation (see above) unless I was being served canned green peas (which I despise) or something similar. I decided to look up some definitions. They follow:

   [lib-er-uh, lib-ruh] IPA
favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.
( often initial capital letter noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform.
of, pertaining to, based on, or advocating liberalism.
favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, especially as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.
favoring or permitting freedom of action, especially with respect to matters of personal belief or expression: a liberal policy toward dissident artists and writers.
of or pertaining to representational forms of government rather than aristocracies and monarchies.
free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant: a liberal attitude toward foreigners.
open-minded or tolerant, especially free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc.
characterized by generosity and willingness to give in large amounts: a liberal donor.
given freely or abundantly; generous: a liberal donation.
not strict or rigorous; free; not literal: a liberal interpretation of a rule.
of, pertaining to, or based on the liberal arts.
of, pertaining to, or befitting a freeman.
   [pruh-gres-iv] IPA
favoring or advocating progress,  change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are, especially in political matters: a progressive mayor.
making progress  toward better conditions; employing or advocating more enlightened or liberal ideas, new or experimental methods, etc.: a progressive community.
characterized by such progress,  or by continuous improvement.
( initial capital letter of or pertaining to any of the Progressive parties in politics.
going forward or onward; passing successively from one member of a series to the next; proceeding step by step.
noting or pertaining to a form of taxation in which the rate increases with certain increases in taxable income.
of or pertaining to progressive education: progressive schools.
Grammar . noting a verb aspect or other verb category that indicates action or state going on at a temporal point of reference.
   [kuh] IPA
disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.
cautiously moderate or purposefully low: a conservative estimate.
traditional in style or manner; avoiding novelty or showiness: conservative suit.
( often initial capital letter of or pertaining to the Conservative party.
( initial capital letter of, pertaining to, or characteristic of Conservative Jews or Conservative judaism.
having the power or tendency to conserve;  preservative.
Mathematics . (of a vector or vector function) having curl equal to zero; irrotational; lamellar.

I'm not going to rant further on this subject. Other than to say that "Conservatives" seem to be a lot better at framing the debate that do liberals. As they have obviously succeeded in the word game we are now getting very close to those conservatives putting the entire globe into a world of hurt.

How about a conversation about this? We've been pretty good about that of late.

Later yall.


  1. great post. i'm so glad that i have liberal and conservative friends. they have helped me see the positives and negatives of their stances. put me firmly in the moderate category!

    i believe that some of your liberal views are due to how passionate a person you are. that plus your ongoing desire to never stop learning. though, i do think progress is made by both liberal and conservative policies and viewpoints.

    i wish we could bottle and sell your energy!

  2. I'm Libertarian,,legalize Mary Jane,,even though i only take a hit at an Allman Bro's show, or the Kentucky Derby,,,Im 54 years old and I'm not a fan..I'm an Allman Brothers addict,,,I've been to the big house, and Rose Hill,,been to the Beacon, Red rocks, Atl, cincy. indy, Louisville.And my personal fave Boyne Mt Michigan,,bring your chair in and sit down and make me feel those feelings I only feel at a A- Bro's show,, Love u all..

  3. Hi Butch--

    I generally shy away from the 'liberal' term- I think it's overused and nearly meaningless now. Both sides try to win the 'label' battle, whether it's calling people 'liberal' or calling a tax increase an 'investment', etc,.

    I try to use 'left' and 'right' if I feel the need to politically categorize things, though I do like the idea of 'classical liberalism'

    Also curious to know what you think of GOP candidate Gary Johnson. I doubt he has a snowball's chance in hell, but I like what I read. I like his mix of social realism and fiscal/limited gov't philosophy...


  4. I know you had a serious point to this post but that bit about a liberal pile of shit was hilarious. On the serious side, great message.

  5. Cant wait to see you guys on Wednesday. But in the meantime, my feeling is that the word "liberal" was developed into a negative stereotype in response to "right wing" being made to = a Nazi. i think both sides use the words to express a negative conotations. Remeber "right wing conspiracy"? pretty funny i thought. i consider my self almost an independant, fiscal conserv, social liberal. Nothing scares me more than religous fanantics, forcing their beliefs on others and i am not talking about Muslims, thats a whole other discussion.

  6. I think most people have a mixture of conservative and liberal ideas, the old moderate position, but nuance is very rarely acknowledged, much less accepted, nowadays.

    This basically boils down to a simplistic way of defining others in an "us and them, for us or against us," stereotype.

    I think where liberal became a dirty word was due to a highly successful political branding effort by conservatives to make it a negative thing, ie: "San Francisco liberal" that associates it with, frankly, being a homosexual, and that stereotype, that kind of identifier, and the unwillingness of liberals to call that kind of indirect bigotry for what it was. (and not noting that SF is one of the wealthier cities in the US, has great food and a great arts/music scene)
    "Liberal" became a term, essentially, to describe someone without resolve, unwilling to even take their own side in an argument.

    But it was a brilliant strategy, because generally as folks get older, like most of the country is becoming, they tend to get more conservative, and less, not more receptive to change.
    They yearn for yesterday, and the way it was, versus looking towards tomorrow, and the possibilities it holds.

    And fwiw, I don't think "conservative" should be held in a negative view anymore than "liberal" should be.
    After all, "conservation" comes from conservative, and I think thats a good thing when it comes to energy, resources, and preserving/conserving our historical landmarks as well as our country's natural landmarks.

  7. The issue for me is that these "conservatives" are not really conservatives at all but are actually reactionaries, and they never get called out on that. It's not just that they want everything to stay the same but they want to turn the clock back. When George W. Bush came into office the first thing he did was erase the surplus that built up under Clinton by dolling it all out in $300 checks, thus instantly erasing the greatest achievment of those eight years. Poof.. gone. Then 9/11 hits and all of a sudden there is no money for anything. It's crazy. Now they're trying to cause a debt default to occur so that they can turn the clock back even more and use the resulting crisis to justify getting rid of Social Security and Medicare. Some of these people, like that guy in Palm Beach you mentioned, even want to do away with Public Education. It all seems very regressive and backward to me.


  8. George Will gets it right:

    Obama's rhetorical floundering is the sound of a bewildered politician trying to be heard over the long, withdrawing roar of ebbing faith in a failing model of governance. From Greece to California, with manifestations in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Illinois and elsewhere, this model is collapsing. Entangled economic and demographic forces are refuting the practice of ever-bigger government financed by an ever-smaller tax base and by imposing huge costs on voiceless future generations.

    Richard Miniter, a Forbes columnist, is right: "Obama is not the new FDR, but the new Gorbachev." Beneath the tattered, fading banner of reactionary liberalism, Obama struggles to sustain a doomed system. Democrats' dependency agenda — swelling the ranks of government employees, multiplying government-subsidized industries, enveloping ever-more individuals in the entitlement culture — is buckling under an intractable contradiction: It is incompatible with economic growth sufficient to create enough wealth to feed the multiplying tax eaters.

    Respectfully, as always-


  9. Good comments by all, Butch, and I'm glad to see you address a variety of issues. Politics has become so polarized, by both sides, but I believe especially by the right (and who can blame some who long for the "good old days" when it connotes 27c gas, 4-hour ABB concerts, no Rush Limbaugh or Sarah Palin, etc. In that sense of the word, sign me up as a conservative). But the fringe is what bewilders me. They've taken over the Republican party and brand the reasonable conservatives like John McCain (who, along with Lindsay Graham and a few others, are willing to reach across the aisle and work with Democrats and actually admit that they DON"T eat their children and hate their country) as "not conservative enough" or even "not conservative at all," "closet liberals" or other such nonsense. How can anything be accomplished in such a poisonous atmosphere? Beats me.

    Well, keep up the good work, Butch. I'm delighted with your blog. And if I may change the subject before I go, I'd like to ask a musical question that I'm sure many are wondering (and perhaps have asked, but I've missed. If that's the case, please forgive me, I don't mean to nag.) The questions is, since it's been 8 years since Hittin' the Note, is there an ABB studio record in the foreseeable future? You know your legions of fans would love it. As for material, you have at least one new song (Bag End) to kick it off with. Maybe that could be the subject of a blog sometime.

    Again, great to hear from you, it's a terrific blog, keep speaking your mind. It may just improve those of others. Tut

  10. Hi Butch,

    Your blog and the comments are making me think about things more than usual. Some of those thoughts you have sparked include:
    Back in the day (60’s and 70’s) most of the people I went to school with supported the war, did not grow out their hair, and did not like the music. It seems that most people do not like the idea of change. Perhaps they fear that change will normally make things worse. I can’t really think of a time when people who were afraid of change were not in the majority, yet some change does somehow seem to occur. Seeing the photos of the festival made me sad for what was and what could have been.

    I lived in New Zealand for a couple of years and learned what it was like to be surrounded by people who are interested in fairness. Was the ref’s call fair, was the judge’s decision fair, and was the law fair? Here in the USA, it seems it is never about fairness. At least that is what the more conservative among us seem to delight in saying. Business people seem to delight in contracts that hurt the little guy and yet the little guy is so sure the business is looking out for their interest. We have much to learn from New Zealand about a civilized society.

    And in the last 10 years I have lived back in the USA, it seems that on the conservative (right) side it is critical to swallow the bait hook, line, and sinker. If you deviate just a tad (support for women’s right, gay marriage, etc.), then you are not really a conservative. Indeed any deviation from the path makes you less than full human being. In may be that this demand to be of one voice will break the conservatives into smaller groups. But more importantly, the willingness to accept that some people are more equal than others (is ‘movers and shakers’ the correct term?) or more right than others results in the ability to jail, harass, and kill others with very little remorse.

    On a final note, when I was first in Africa with the Peace Corps I lost touch with music. Training, leaning two languages, adjusting to life in a round mud-walled house with a grass root, and living in a haunted valley where I was alone at night kept me quite busy and senseless for about 6 months. And then one day, in my travel trunk I found my tape deck and some tapes. I put in some batteries and the ABB Fillmore tape and was transported. Of all the music I played in the 5 years I lived and worked there, the ABB was the favorite of the Africans I lived and worked with. I think it is something in the drumming. African drumming in Niger and Mauritania is quite complex and you guys on the drums put down a sound that was appreciated and enjoyed there. I hope my translations of the words were adequate, I’m sure I got the point of the songs across.

    Keep up the amazing blog,

    Steve in Fairbanks

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. George Will gets nothing right and never has... the Republican Party and their adjunct Tea Party intentionally and with malice aforethought tossed a monkey wrench into the gears of our nation the moment Obama was declared the winner of the 2008 election, sabotaged the economy and poisoned the wells of our discourse primarily to enable themselves to stand here now and say "see? He's a failure... told ya... "... fortunately, a great many of us see thru the charade and are willing to call it what it is... bullcrap...

  14. Mike, respectfully, if your opinion is going to be that someone else's opinion is right, you should just post a link to it.

    Personally, I think "cut and paste" opinions are a bit lazy, but to each his own.

    BTW, the blog entry wasn't on Obama, but the definition and public understanding/conotation of the words "liberal" and "conservative".

    It'd be great if you could stick to the subject at hand.

  15. Anonymous July 26, 9:00 am

    Lighten up, Francis.

    Just sharing an opposing point of view that I thought was well written and that some might find interesting. That's what blogs are for, last I checked.

    I've posted plenty otherwise, 90% of it running against the grain of what most believe here- some with links, most without, but always respectfully and with the goal of spreading a little counterpoint to most of the views here. I'm not trying to 'convert' or talk down to anyone - just adding a little spice to the mix. What's the point of this blog (or any blog that touches on controversial issues) if it's just Butch posting whatever's on his mind, and everyone else just replys, "Yeah man- right on... we love you!" I like Butch too, as a performer and from what little I know of him otherwise, but if he'll have it on his blog, I'll take a stand agianst some of what is said. If a I agree, then I'll add my praise, for whatever that's worth.


  16. I have finally figured out how to post a comment. While I still can't remove the anonymous prefix.
    I dare to get into the political ring with you Butch because I fear I am completely opposite although I will say that it would be nice to have a party that is neither Liberal or Conservative but some place that has room for both views on different issues even though i'd probably always lean right.
    So I will refrain from ever posting a political comment in response to yours because I respect all opinions, and especially yours being I'm such a fan for so long.
    If you remember the girl that bought you and your wife a drink at the restaurant in Foxwoods hotel last fall that was me.
    I am loving hearing your stories. Thanks for putting yourself out there for us. Very excited about the show tomorrow night. Thanks for all the Moogis hard work the last few years.. :)
    And if you are ever so inclined, I'd love to hear your thoughts on Dickey one of these days.
    Janine - Long Island NY

  17. Your correct Mike in saying to lighten up.

    It'd also be great if you considered staying within the topic of the particular blog entry, regardless of what you find interesting going on in your day. Its called common courtesy.

    I think its fascinating what's happening in Norway right now, but I'm not going to force that on others when Butch is trying to foster a discussion on the topic he wants to talk about.

    I understand what blogs are about, and appreciate differing viewpoints, and the fact that your pretty much in the minority politically, and look forward to what you have to say, or bring to the table regarding the topic of the day....according to Butch, not Mike.

    Best to you.

  18. I'm sure Butch appreciates your policing his blog. No doubt your back stage passes are in the mail.

    Also, in reference to your cut and paste being lazy comment -just thought I'd point out that Butch's orig post was mostly cut and paste from a friggin' dictionary.

    Finally, had I posted something that was somewhat offtopic, but that you agreed with, I don't think for a moment that we'd be having this little back and forth. So apologies to the rest of you for my share of the off topic aside, but you can take a hike.

    Not that anyone cares, but I'm going to try to resist posting on politics here -- I'm sooo out of sync with most of you that there just isn't any trace of a common bond that we can build from. It's wasted effort and not rewarding from my end, nor from yours apparently. A few others have expressed similar views to mine- right leaning fiscally, but socially open, and share a love of music - but most of those folks were wise enough not to wade in too deeply. Tip o' the hat to you folks- you have better judgement than I do!



  19. Sorry to hear that Mike, and that your bailing out of the kitchen just as things start heating up.

    As for the Butch "cut and paste" thats a dictionary. Its book that defines terms, it isn't opinion, although it could be argued that thats just Webster's opinions of what words mean.

    I've got not problem with fiscal conservatives, its the absolutism of the positions, and the lack of seeing others points as perhaps having value that irks me a bit. Even old George Will's opinion vacillates quite a bit if you go through some of his old columns.

    But anyway, its your decision on whether to participate in political discussion. I firmly support a person's right to free speech and to offer up their opinions, but freedom of speech doesn't mean you should be immune to criticism of that opinion, the thing you call policing the blog. But sure, if Butch is offering up free backstage passes, I'm sure we'd both take one.

    You have a good one, or two if you can get it.

  20. Remember the Nazi's where socialist,so calling RIGHT winger a Nazi,,just show how ignorant you are...

  21. Cmon your music and we're all good.

  22. Hey Butch the only obvious thing about these terms and their definitions, is that they have all been bastardized by those in the political arena.

    Of the three, conservative is the only one that resembles it's dictionary definition in political usage. "Liberals" are anything but when it comes to accepting a contrary view to their own, and "Progressives" are only progressive in pursuit of their favored agenda.

    Libertarians are on the right track, but unfortunately they've been overrun by a fair number of nutjobs too.

    Always nice to see you thinking out loud, sorry I can't make it tonight uptown!

  23. What the hell... Right-wing ABB fans? Now I've seen everything. Un-freakin'-real.

    This quote cracked me up:

    "Liberals" are anything but when it comes to accepting a contrary view to their own, and "Progressives" are only progressive in pursuit of their favored agenda."

    And of course YOUR slagging of liberals/progressives is showing some real tolerance there, right? Given the bullshit games the GOP is playing with our nation's freedoms, security, and solvency I can understand those of us who are left of center being really pissed off.

    The Dubya years left the economy in a shambles and the country embroiled in a costly (both in dollars and lives) war that based on a pack of lies. So we get a president who seems to want to cut through the partisan rhetoric and get things back on track and what do we get?? The goddamned Tea Party. They carry on like a bunch of racist goons. Can you maybe, just possibly, see how progessives and liberal might be sick of this?

    In spite of all that, we're not the ones constantly beating our chests and doing our best to destroy the lower and middle-classes. It's only getting worse as states like mine (Wisconsin) see our schools being decimated and teacher losing their jobs. Meanwhile, the GOP looks out for no one but the wealthiest of the wealthy. It's sickening.

    Butch, I love your new blog. Keep it up, and keep speaking the truth! I'm sorry that so many of your "fans" have their heads up their backsides.

    I'm listening to the Hep C concert on Sirius/XM as I type this. Sounding great!


  24. Anonymous said:

    "Remember the Nazi's where socialist,so calling RIGHT winger a Nazi,,just show how ignorant you are..."

    Of course, not knowing the proper use of an apostrophe, or other basic grammar skills, is pretty ignorant too.

    We can expect more of that, of course, as funding for our schools gets slashed more and more with each passing day.

  25. Much of the reason that Republicans are more effective at framing the debate is because the Democratic party is ideologically much more broad than the Republicans. There are some major differences among Republicans, but for the most part, they're on the same page. This is not true of Democrats. They're all over the place - southern democrats, northern democrats, social democrats, fiscal democrats, anti-war democrats, blue dogs, etc. It's just tougher for them to agree on a unified message.

  26. Well you're really showing your stuff now Bigshit. Obuma must be a drummer too, idiot.

  27. "Remember the Nazi's where socialist,so calling RIGHT winger a Nazi,,just show how ignorant you are..."

    When people refer to 'right-wingers' as Nazis, they typically are referencing the authoritarianism found in Nazism also found in most forms of conservatism, and many of the debilitating impacts on civil liberties that always seem to be infringed upon during conservative rule (research Nixon era). Right-wing conservative policy and rule most certainly does have an commonality with the regimented controlled political and civil atmosphere associated with Nazism.

    Those on the right, typically disparage those on the left by labeling them Nazis also, this is typically earned due to the 'nanny state' type controls or so called 'political correctness' many liberals and or policy's they seem to foist on the general public, presumably against the public's will.

    So, there seems plenty of tit for tat, and both sides have some what relatively valid points in their referencing, but as someone stated above, they are just read so much into them either way is idiocy.

    Also, to the poster of the above quote, socialism is a form of fiscal (economic) distribution of wealth, and could be associated with any and all types of political systems, your referencing is as lame as those you called out.


  28. Future of Music Coalition is a national nonprofit organization that works to ensure a diverse musical culture where artists flourish, are compensated fairly for their work, and where fans can find the music they want.
    phlebotomy programs in illinois