Letter: Liberalism is not socialism

Let's get some things straight - right out of the dictionary.

Liberalism: a) belief in the value of social and political change in order to achieve progress. b) a theory in economics emphasizing individual freedom from restraint and usually based on free competition, the self-regulating market and the gold standard. c) a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties; specifically: such a philosophy that considers government as a crucial instrument for amelioration of social inequities (as those involving race, gender or class). Reference: Merriam-Webster.com.

Socialism: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods. Reference: Merriam-Webster.com.

Repeated assertions by commentators, famous or unknown, or slanderous assertions by anyone just giving "their opinion" does not make it true. Words have meanings and their meanings shape people's beliefs, actions and politics.

I am proud to be a liberal both in politics and in religion. Within my political party of choice I further align myself with the progressive Democrats. Change is the key word. Secondly, concern for the poor. Concern for the horrendous inequities in the economy and politics.

Any attempt to make liberals into socialists either displays ignorance or is simply scurrilous.

Liberals abhor socialism and promote capitalism. However, as the popes have reminded us since Pope Leo Xlll, capitalism unfettered, unregulated, can lead to evil.

Do I believe that conservatives or Republicans are evil? Certainly not, but the differences do invite lively debate as long as the definitions are clear and the discussion remains respectful of each other's ideology.

Leonard Walker