Friday, August 26, 2011

Conservative or traditionalist?

Ed Tom Kowalsky wondered if "traditionalist" has made any headway as a synonym for "conservative". The frequencies of each, pluralized, among all books published in the US over the last century:

I'm surprised to find that the term, while far less common than "conservative", was being used a century ago. I was under the impression that it was pretty new, employed by guys like Bill O'Reilly who try to position themselves as patriotic populists without appearing to be overly political, but that's not the case, as it predates the no spin zone by more than a generation. "Traditionalist" experienced an uptick during the cultural upheaval of the sixties (as did "conservative"), but has maintained steady state since then.

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