This is a growing list of words (and phrases) that appear often in this site. You might want to familiarize yourself with their meanings, as it’s not always what you think.
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization. The central tenets of conservatism include tradition, hierarchy (through class, race, gender, or the intersection of all three), and authority, as established in respective cultures, as well as property rights.
Conservatism and Liberalism both more-or-less believe in free, laissez-faire markets. Unlike liberalism, conservatism also believes in class, race, gender, or other hierarchies. Conservatism does not support equality before the law. Unlike conservatism, liberalism believes in the separation of church and state.
Oxford dictionary defines intersectionality as “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.”
The term was coined by black feminist scholar Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw in 1989, as a response to first and second wave feminism, both of which largely focused on the experiences of middle-class white women. Intersectionality included the different experiences of women of color, women who are poor, immigrant women, and other group, acknowledging women’s different experiences and identities. The lived experiences — and experiences of discrimination — of a black woman will be different from those of a white woman, or a black man, for example. The oppression of a Black woman will be different than the oppression of a white woman because in addition to discrimination because of gender, a Black woman is also oppressed for being Black. She may, in fact, be discriminated against for being Black by a white feminist.
Conservatives like Ben Shapiro and Andrew Sullivan hate intersectionality because while they agree with it, they believe it creates a hierarchy of victimhood with the least victimized – cisgendered white men – at the bottom, and they hate being at the bottom.1
Liberalism is a political and moral philosophy based on liberty, consent of the governed and equality before the law. Liberals espouse support free markets, free trade, limited government, individual rights (including civil rights and human rights), capitalism, democracy, secularism, gender equality, racial equality, internationalism, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion. Liberalism grew out of the Age of Enlightenment.
Philosopher John Locke is often credited with founding liberalism, arguing that each man has a natural right to life, liberty and property and governments must not violate these rights.
Neoliberalism is the late 20th-century resurgence of ideas associated with economic liberalism and free-market capitalism. It is generally associated with policies of economic liberalization, including deregulation, globalization, free trade, austerity, reductions in government, and privatization.
Neoliberalism’s premise is that free markets can regulate themselves. It is a reaction to Keynesian economics that became the foundation of the New Deal. The Great Depression was largely seen as the failure of classical liberalism, and placed controls on markets. Neoliberalism was an attempt to eliminate market controls. It is most associated with Chilean dictator Augustus Pinochet, the trickle-down economics of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, and Bill Clinton’s deregulation and tough-on-crime mass incarceration policies. 2
Neoliberalism, says Darrick Hamilton 3, is the belief that “markets become the inevitable, the efficient, the self-regulating, the colorblind arbiter, the decisive mechanism to make decisions regarding production and distribution, whether economic or otherwise, to solve humanity’s problems, putting all faith in a free market system to make decisions as it relates to our well being.” 4
Neoliberalism has been criticized for income inequality, mass incarceration of the poor, imperialism, corporatization, and a lowering of global health through privatization, the erosion of infrastructure, and environmental catastrophe. 5
White supremacy has two distinct definitions. The first is the belief that white people are superior to people of other races and thus should dominate them. In this definition, white supremacy is a belief.
This belief gives rise to a political ideology that imposes and maintains social, political, historical, or institutional domination by white people.
To many academics and scholars, white supremacy also refers to a social system in which white people enjoy structural advantages (aka white privilege) over other races and ethnic groups despite formal legal equality. This second definition of white supremacy, a social system that is the outcome of systemic racism, is the definition used most often on this site.
A white person thus experiences the benefits of white supremacy whether or not he or she or they subscribe to the belief of white superiority. (In other words, you do not need to be a white supremacist to indulge in white supremacy).