“Liberal” and “conservative” are both terms that have lost all meaning, or rather their meanings today derive purely from the mind of the beholder.I could riff on this theme all day. Is mass incarceration liberal or conservative? How about opposing it? When I was growing up, conservatives complained of Soviet gulags and Communism's higher incarceration rates were widely touted as evidence of totalitarianism. I grew up firmly believing that meme.
Is it “liberal” or “conservative” for government to mandate purchasing private insurance? In Washington, the suggestion got Barack Obama labeled a “socialist,” but when we do the same thing for auto insurance it’s considered “tuff on crime” conservatism.
Both Leo Berman and the building trades unions want immigration limits enforced, does that make it a liberal or conservative policy?
These ideological distinctions were coined to describe disputes 200+ years ago. IMO they have little relevance when analyzing debates today and next to no probative value at all in the context of the Texas Legislature.
In high school in the early '80s, I read and was significantly influenced by Solzhenitsyn's "Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" and "The Gulag Archipelago," and if - in those heady days of youth when in 1984 I was volunteering for Ronald Reagan's reelection campaign - you'd asked me to describe my antipathy for Communism, I would have regaled you about the moral decay demonstrated by mass incarceration and the casual violation of civil liberties by the state, beaming with jingoism to contrast our own, then-much smaller system, protections against state seizure of property, etc.. All the positions that today get me labeled a "liberal" in the early '80s were things American anti-communists boastfully championed in contrast with Soviet and Chinese totalitarianism, insisting such distinctions were fundamental to the American way of life.
Today, by contrast, the United States has 5% of the planet's population and 25% of its prison inmates. What does that say about the whole Free Markets = Freedom argument that from 1945 through the fall of the Berlin Wall was the animating distinction (on our side) between the "Free World" and the Communist hordes? The late, great progenitors of the conservative movement - folks like Ayn Rand, Bill Buckley, Barry Goldwater, Milton Friedman - all held views that today would have them either hounded out of the GOP by social conservatives, or at best tolerated and ignored as eccentric RINOs.
I've become incredibly cynical about the terms "liberal" and "conservative," which as I said to Burka have lost all connection to any historical meaning. They've simply become a kind of floating slang by which people delineate broad tribal connections within civil society, or else use as pejoratives to belittle views with which the speaker disagrees or doesn't understand. There was a time when I considered myself a "conservative," but not any more. That's because the working definition of the term changed; my own politics pretty much stayed the same.