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Don't Get Conned by Labels Like 'Progressive' and 'Conservative'

Glenn cautioned on radio today about tying yourself to labels. Why? Because we don't always control the definitions of those labels --- sneaky politicians usually do.

"It was FDR that said a 'conservative is somebody who wants to conserve all the old ways.' And because Woodrow Wilson destroyed the word progressive, [FDR] labeled the GOP conservative, and then he took the name liberal. Because back then, everybody wanted to be a liberal," Glenn said on radio Tuesday. "That's what we were from the founding of our country, classic liberals --- free, small government, rule yourself."

Labels mean nothing. Principles mean everything.

Enjoy the complimentary clip above or read the transcript below for details.

GLENN: See, this is the problem with labels. With Dave Rubin, you see, the labels are all breaking down. He didn't know what progressives did. And that's why I kept saying -- remember, you know, eight, nine years ago, we have to stop using the word "liberal." We have to start using the word "progressive" and teach America what a progressive really is. Because once you understand progressivism, you understand how we got here. And so many people just got swept up in the, oh, yeah, I'm a progressive, because it sounds like a good label. I'm for progress. Well, but that's not what it means. In this case, it means dragging you back to a system -- an authoritarian system that we know doesn't work.

STU: That's true. I mean, it's funny because, you know, the people -- before we started blabbing about Woodrow Wilson on the air every day, I think people most considered progressive just to be the insurance company.

GLENN: Yeah.

STU: But you think about the insurance company, what they're famous for is letting you compare prices among different companies, which is a completely capitalist idea. I mean, it's funny because they were founded -- you know, their history was founded by someone who was very progressive. And it's a great work. It feels like -- well, of course, I want progress. Everybody wants progress. But, I mean, progress to what? You know, not everyone agrees as to what the right thing to progress to is.

GLENN: And that's the problem with progressivism. That the idea is, we know what's best for progress. You don't.

PAT: More than progress, we know what's best for you. We know what's best for your children. We know what's best for the family unit. We know what's best in all things.

GLENN: And the collective is more important than the individual.

PAT: Right.

GLENN: And that's why -- you know, Dave doesn't have conservative policy points. He has -- he has classic liberal tendencies. And that's where I am. And that is just, live and let live.

STU: And to be clear, that's Libertarian, right? I know there's a distinction.

GLENN: It predates Libertarian.

STU: It does. It does.

GLENN: Because that's what the progressives took the classic liberal and got him out. It was FDR that said, "Conservative is somebody who wants to conserve all the old ways." And because Woodrow Wilson destroyed the word progressive. He took and labeled the G.O.P. conservative, and then he took the name liberal -- because back then, everybody wanted to be a liberal. Because that's what we were from the founding of our country. Classic liberals. Free. Small government. Rule yourself.

And he said, "That's who we are. We're liberals." But he just switched names on progressives

STU: Right. I mean, you've made the point many times that conservative -- the label in some ways has lost its impact and in some ways is negative.

GLENN: It doesn't mean anything.

STU: But if that's true, it's definitely true of classical liberal.

GLENN: Oh, yeah.

STU: Because now it means the exact opposite of what it used to mean, and I think it confuses people.

GLENN: It does. It does. But that's the point. Labels mean nothing. That's why it's so encouraging to see someone like Dave Rubin noticing that his label doesn't fit his value system and standing up for it and saying, "Wait a minute. I was conned here."

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