I added: "'Libtard' is an offensive word, unnecessarily dragging in disrespect for the mentally challenged." I have always heard the word as a combination of "liberal" and "retard." But in the comments, MadisonMan asked: "Does the 'tard' come from retard, or bastard?" I think it's obvious: 1. "Retard" is often shortened to just "'tard" and no one ever says "'tard" to mean "bastard," and 2. The contempt expressed in the use of the word seems to be about stupidity and not orneriness.
Urban Dictionary confirms my understanding, in the top-voted definition and in all the competing definitions.
But here's an op-ed in the NYT (from 2014), "Testing the Ideas of India." See? It's India again.
The [the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party's] dominance during this election campaign has had unexpected benefits, including reviving the belief that secularism is a value — even if it’s a value that needs reviving, and redefining. In rambunctious Twitter arguments, “sickular” is often used as a pejorative term, along with “libtard,” a composite for “liberal bastard.” This language, however extreme, is a sign that between the small but noisy groups of Hindu supremacists and the small but equally vociferous groups of committed left-liberals lies a vast middle ground.I don't know if that columnist got it right, and who knows how the word "libtard" came into being in India? It didn't come from Rush Limbaugh, but did it come from other Americans? If so, was the "tard" misunderstood as connected to "bastard" or was the NYT op-ed writer — Nilanjana S. Roy — just innocent of the American word "tard" and making her own assumption? Roy is a novelist born, educated, and living in India. She's not a good source of the origin of the American epithet "libtard," which seems to have a life of its own in India.
I searched the Hindustan Times for the word "libtard" and came up with 3 examples, including one from last month titled "Have you been trolled? Challenging the defence of India’s 'bhakts'" — which challenges me to understand another word, bhakts:
Social media trolls with right wing Hindu leanings – characterised by their vehement attacks on anyone opposing the Narendra Modi-led government – have undoubtedly hogged the limelight this week. While their attacks on people, who do not agree with them, have grown unprecedentedly brazen, 'bhakts' also enjoy a new-found attention of newspaper columnists, online commentators and prominent intellectuals....
[Film director Vivek] Agnihotri wrote, "You call them Internet Hindus, they call you Adarsh Liberals. You call them Bhakts, they call you Libtards. You call them Sanghis, they call you AAPtards. This new, emerging, virtual India is not taking it lying down like their ancestors did."Aha!
What the director misses is that while calling opponents Adarsh Liberals or AAPtards (quite derogatory in itself, taking off from 'retard'), the trolls also heap slanderous abuses on them....
Here's some more on the meaning of "bhakt.
A Bhakt is essentially a good mannered person, but sometimes he chooses to abuse when opponents attack PM Modi with derogatory remarks, sometimes even personal. For instance, AAPtard were at the receiving end of abuse when Kejriwal labeled PM Modi as psychopath and coward. Similarly Congress has many leaders whose whole time duty is to abuse Modi only. Therefore sickulars get similar treatment from Bhakts on social media. Just imagine that a remark on Prophet Muhammad generated wide spread violence in Malda and Purnia. So by the same logic, when Bhakts’ God is under attack, one should be ready for backlash. Don’t blame Bhakts for this...Oh, no. That's enough about India for now... or is it? Modi is portrayed as a psychopath and coward? Time for another application of my mental illness meme tag.