A friend posted this graphic on Facebook, with this caption:
"Please know the meanings of words like: liberal, leftist, capitalism or fascism; if you're going to use them. These words have historical roots and important political implications.
Many people in the comments were noting that this comparison didn't seem particularly helpful, and perhaps is divisive due to some unfair assumptions it makes. Few people were pointing out the flaws in the comparison though, so I wrote down those that I can see.
I have lots of those critiques! In general I think this is not a great representation of what being a liberal means today. While the Original Posters's comments add that this is historical meaning, the graphic itself makes no claims that this is what the words mean historically or in countries outside the US.
It seems like you're saying: "This is what the word meant historically; you should expect it to still mean basically the same thing if you use it now." This is a weird argument. Words change meanings; modern leftists probably do not think as much about the struggles of boatbuilders as Marx did. It would be very wrong if I started telling people that the word queer started as a slur, and is therefore always a slur now and should not be used as a positive term of self-identification. Linguistic prescriptivism and "words never change"-ism is not my jam.
Second, I'm pretty confused about the assumption in the graphic that modern liberals are strongly patriotic or nationalistic. I don't know many liberals, for example, that decorate their houses in the kind of red, white & blue decor that my conservative family members use, or who believe that America is the best country in the world. They may hold high ideals - "America should be morally good because it's made of people like us with good morals, even though historically it has failed to live up to our best ideals" is a more common idea I've seen among self-described liberals. To the extent they believe in patriotism, they manifest it by attempting to hold the country accountable to expressed ideals. (A truth in the graphic!) Though on this point, the counterpoint is that somehow making America accountable to its ideals is only in service of Americans, not in service of humanity at large, which I'd disagree with.
It's perhaps more accurately a neoliberal belief, but "nations are a good thing" is not something I believe, and I can't remember a time when I heard a liberal I know express it, even indirectly.
I also don't see liberals saying that hate speech is free speech and should be protected. Libertarians say this, certainly, but no liberals I know or see online. Conflating libertarians and liberals is a pretty big error in categorization.
"Liberals" in Europe might be considered center-right (though I would want to see more analysis before claiming this as fact) but "liberals" in the US are decidedly not center-right. Those Democrats who consider themselves "moderate" may be center-right, but not people who self-describe as liberals. "Leftists are the only true people on the left end of the spectrum in modern American politics" seems like a perfect example of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy and a misrepresentation of reality.
"The minimum wage should be raised" and "money should not be required for survival" are not incompatible beliefs, in my view. One can easily believe both of them, but accept that in the near future, money will continue to be required for survival and therefore, it's better if the poor have more of it. In fact one of my biggest complaints about leftists is that they are unwilling to work for incremental gains even when they are so close at hand, because they fear those gains will compromise the feeling that the system must be destroyed completely. If that is true of the system in all possible configurations, then helping people materially in the near term should not stop them from wanting a revolution. My suspicion is that this isn't the case though, and leftists know it and therefore resist working towards the kinds of changes that will help people the most immediately and most assuredly. (Revolutions tend to result in lots and lots of death and hunger for a long time before things get better, especially for those on the bottom of the proverbial pyramid.)
Another non-contradiction: self-improvement can better the community and also largely happen through service to the community. I don't really see how those ideas are opposed. Though I'd add that neither of these things seem like key facets of either a liberal or leftist ideology anyways.