Recently, this has become a term thrown around as an insult. I’ve been called a Lefty Liberal (right before Britain First banned me from their page for bringing a few facts to the mayhem), and apparently I should have been insulted.
I was not.
I have studied Politics; I studied Conservatism, Socialism, Liberalism and Anarchism in great depth for one of my modules. And after all of that studying, all of those essays, exams and debates, I am still a “Leftie Liberal”.
Liberalism is a political ideology with an emphasis on the rights and freedom of the individual. As a Liberal I am proud to say this, I mean who wouldn’t be? Of course I care about the rights of others, and of course I will fight for them. That should go without saying. No human life is worth more than another; no human deserves more rights than another.
“Lefty” is also supposed to be an insult. In the UK we are blessed that most of our politicians fall in a reasonably central place on the political spectrum. The Conservatives are on the right. Labour are on the left. UKIP and Britain First fall to the extreme right of this scale, standing right next to Donald Trump. I’d class myself as reasonably central, but with leanings towards the Left.
I think the person who called me this thought that was it- the world’s worst insult. That I’d sit and think about my actions and decide I no longer cared about equality and human beings. That after that I’d turn around and declare I followed the ever growing far right movements around the world.
In reality, I think the term says more about them than it does me. And it also makes me more passionately liberal than I ever have been.
If you’re calling someone a “Lefty Liberal” this comes with the insinuation you are not a believer of liberalism. Now, I’m not saying that this is the only positive ideology out there, and I’m not saying it comes without its flaws. But the implication of this being used as an insult comes with the assumption that you don’t believe in any of its core values.
It comes with the assumption that to you the idea of equality is ridiculous. That the idea of individual’s freedoms and rights is to be mocked. It comes with the suggestion that certain human’s lives and rights should be placed above another’s.
I believe using this as an insult is frankly ridiculous. If you’re using it for those reasons, you’re basically like a real life Voldemort who doesn’t believe in loving other humans. Or if that isn’t the case, then you are debating politics when you have little or no understanding of its basic principles.
So what do we do when we are insulted so?
Be proud. Accept it. It can’t be used as an insult if we aren’t insulted by it.
Join Amazon’s Alexa in telling people proudly you’re a “Lefty”.
The reclamation of terms such as this is powerful. Just as reclamation of terms such as “bitch”, “slut” and “queer” have had an impact on the fight for equality. Claiming a word such as this as your own means it loses its power as an insult. It not longer becomes a slur in an argument, but something you can proudly say. A key example of this would be the term Suffragette, which was reclaimed by the group and is now something we use as a positive. More recently, women reclaimed the phrase “nasty woman” during the 2016 US Presidential Election. This was used as an insult initially, but then became something Clinton supporters were proud to write on their faces and print on t-shirts.
Reclaim the idea of being a “Lefty Liberal”. Shout it from the rooftops! Don’t be insulted, don’t ever be insulted by this term.