By the nature of politicians, the terms used in politics have no meaning. Politicians are constantly in a mode of action and reaction as the parties swap position on issues to gain political advantage.
The fact that politicians favoring big government and reduced individual freedom call themselves "liberal" shows that political words have no meaning.
The left, which is intoxicated with foolish notions of change, is generally worse with definitions than the right. I do applaud William Buckley's conservative movement for trying to preserve meanings.
Despite the fact that many conservatives value the preservation of meaning, the term "conservative" has taken on so many contradictory meanings through the years to become as problematic as "liberal."
At heart a "conservative" is someone reluctant to make changes to the existing political order. One can place the label on a tory, an US Conservative or any old guard communist of the former soviet union.
In the United States, Conservatives were desparately trying to preserve the institutions of liberty against the onslaught of modern progressive idiocy.
With the back to back progressives (the "compassionate conservative" Bush and "change agent" Obama) our nation is mired in a deep rut, and it is very unlikely that the old style political left/right political divide being a paradoxical-liberalism and paradoxical-conservatism will save us.
As such, I am dismayed when I see our new leaders popping up with slogan like "Vote me, I am the 'true conservative'."
It is the whole political system built around a "left/right" split which caused our slide into socialism. What we need is thinking that transcends the false dichotomy.
Don't you see? Declaring oneself the "true conservative" implies an allegiance to the false dichotomy.
What we need are leaders who can show us that the system of American liberty can lead to prosperity and progress.
One interesting way to restore liberty would be for the Republicans to make a concerted effort to steal the term "liberal" from the Democrats. With the election of Obama and the Pelosi/Reid Congress, Democrats have tossed aside even a token pretense to "liberalism" in favor of European style socialism (progressivism).
Instead of spitting at "liberals" while claiming Conservatives are the true champions of freedom, I wish Conservatives would take a serious stab at capturing the term.
Getting our nation back on track will take more than an allegiance to a partisan split, it will take a much more fundamental approach to the ideas surrounding liberty.
Unfortunately, we cannot do this with the current political lexicon. The defenders of liberty must proactively engage in political discourse in ways that restore the language so that we can effectively defend liberty.