On the term Liberal
In Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society (New York: Oxford UP, 1983 (1976)), Raymond Williams explains:
"In the established party-political sense, Liberal is now clear enough. But liberal as a term of political discourse is complex. It has been under regular and heavy attack from conservative positions, where the senses of lack of restraint and lack of discipline have been brought to bear, and also the sense of a (weak and sentimental) generosity. The sense of a lack of rigour has also been drawn on in intellectual disputes. Against this kind of attack, liberal has often been a group term for PROGRESSIVE or RADICAL (qq.v.) opinions, and is still clear in this sense, notably in the USA. But liberal as a pejorative term has also been widely used by socialists and especially Marxists. This use shares the conservative sense of lack of rigour and of weak and sentimental beliefs. Thus far it is interpreted by liberals as a familiar complaint, and there is a special edge in their reply to socialists, that they are concerned with political freedom and socialists are not. But this masks the most serious sense of the socialist use, which is the historically accurate observation that liberalism is a doctrine based on INDIVIDUALIST (q.v.) theories of man (sic) and society and is thus in fundamental conflict not only with SOCIALIST (q.v.) but with most strictly SOCIAL (q.v.) theories. The further observation, that liberalism is the highest form of thought developed within BOURGEOIS (q.v.) society and in terms of CAPITALISM (q.v.), is also relevant, for when liberal is not being used as a loose swear-word, it is to this mixture of liberating and limiting ideas that it is intended to refer. Liberalism is then a doctrine of certain necessary kinds of freedom but also, and essentially a doctrine of possessive individualism." (181)
I employ the term here not in the "loose swear-word" sense or necessarily in any pejorative sense, but absolutely in relation to the intellectual roots indicated here by Williams.
Critiques of Liberal perspectives
Gramsci, Antonio. Selections from the Prison Notebooks. Quintin Hoare
and Geoffrey Nowell Smith ed and trans. New York: International Publishers,
Marcuse, Herbert. One Dimensional Man. Boston: Beacon Press, 1964.
Benhabib, Seyla. "In the Shadow of Aristotle an dHegel: Communicative Ethics and Current Controversies in Practical Philosophy." Situating the Self. New York: Routledge, 1992. 23-67.