Liberal and its opposite

I just realized that there was something missing from the tagline at the top of my blog, so I added it. Liberal.
Now “liberal” is an odd word in the US. Back home in England it has (at least) three meanings: “a member of the Liberal Democrat party”, “large or generous” (as in “a liberal helping of roast beef”), and “free and progressive in outlook”, as in “liberal democracy” or “liberal arts”. In the US, the first of these is irrelevant, the second is rarely used, and the third has been twisted into a pejorative term by those on the political right – so much so that true liberals are nervous about describing themselves as such.
So to all of those that perversely and ahistorically seek to use the term “liberal” as an insult, I offer this challenge: if you despise the term “liberal”, then presumably you must embrace its opposite – “illiberal”, meaning narrow, mean-spirited, and ungenerous. Can I expect all of you to claim this odious term for yourselves and your political leadership? I hope so. It surely fits….

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