Nearly one year after the Chicago conventions, how do the liberals stand? The early summer of 1952 was a time of high hopes in both political parties. Now seems a logical time to take stock, to appraise both strengths and weaknesses, and to agree upon a course of action which will recapture the citadels of Congressional and Presidential power occupied by liberals during most of the Roosevelt and Truman twenty-year era.
To lay a ghost at the outset and to dismiss semantics, a liberal is here defined as one who believes in utilizing the full force of government for the advancement of social, political, and economic justice at the municipal, state, national, and international levels. This concept is an extension of Webster's dictionary definition of a liberal as "A member of a party claiming to advocate progress or reform; not conservative." A liberal believes government is a proper tool to use in the development of a society which attempts to carry Christian principles of conduct into practical effect. Needless to say, however, there are many devout Christians among the conservatives.
A liberal may be either a Republican or a Democrat, although he is usually the latter. It is abundantly clear, however, that there are many Democrats who are not liberals. Senator Ives is a liberal; Senator Byrd is not. Senators Douglas and Lehman are liberals; Senators McCarthy and McCarran are not. A liberal is not an intelligent Tory, one who gives little to save much. Neither Winston Churchill nor Senator Taft is a liberal. There is no necessity for more exact definition; nor need the word be abandoned merely because it gives reformers a psychological advantage in debate with their essentially status quo adversaries.