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posted: 2/10/2010 12:01 AM

Conservative, liberal labels have evolved

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Regarding DuPage Editor Jim Davis' Feb. 5 comments, is it "bragging" to complain that someone was "ideologically labeled" a conservative? If this is a complaint, it seems the "label" is being interpreted as pejorative.

I'm certainly a "liberal," especially as that label, intended pejoratively, seems nowadays to be applied to any person who asks for facts rather than emotions, or tries to apply reason to understanding the world. I actually practice a variety of Christianity that counts reason along with scripture and tradition as a support of faith.

What used to be meant by "liberal": generous; broad- rather than narrow-minded; and politically favoring democratic or republican forms of government as distinguished from monarchies and aristocracies, seems mostly to have been replaced in public discourse by the simple intention to identify a hated and despised straw man configured in terms set by the labeler.

Many of us who are concerned about stewardship of both our built and natural environment continue to regret the identification of the word "conservative" with policies of waste and destruction, which go along with the strange evolution of greed into a morally desirable quality.

Bragging as an aspect of the Deadly Sin of Pride seems to have shared in this curious American shift away from tradition. I was glad to be introduced by a reader whose letter the Herald published to Republicans for environmental protection. I hope it's true that at least some "conservatives" think that "conservation is conservative."

Edna E. Heatherington

Glen Ellyn