Calling some one  “liberal” or “conservative” these days is a bit like honking in traffic. Only the person doing the honking knows what the signal means.

Once upon a time “liberal” and “conservative” referred to actual political issues. One could assume that a member of the labor party would support workers over management, for example. But these days it is not hard to find strike breaking liberals or conservatives who actually conserve nothing but their own money.  Now the two terms are primarily understood relative to one another.  Usually they simply mean you belong or don’t belong to the group doing the labeling.

To say that being liberal or conservative is good in itself is like saying that “up” is always better than “down.” Unless we tether our political terms back to actual policies, our political discussions will have more in common with the barking of dogs than with meaningful dialogue between responsible citizens.