PDA

View Full Version : What exactly does the word "Liberal" mean to you ?


ShadyCroft
12-10-09, 15:25
Here's an interesting question (I hope). :o

My sister was adding info to her facebook profile, and I've noticed her religious views were (Catholic, Christian) and political views (Liberal). Political views aside, I told her she's not really that liberal in general, and she replied she is for sure.
I wanted to ask her then do you approve of abortion ? do you approve of homosexuality ? but then I realized "Is that all ?"
Is there more to being liberal than that ? could we have different definitions as to what being liberal means ?

When I hear the world "Liberal", the issues above and similar issues are what come to my mind instantly, but I'd love to hear other opinions.

Mad Tony
12-10-09, 15:38
There's socially liberal and economically liberal. Perhaps your sister approves of high spending and high taxes? That would make her economically liberal.

I don't really think the issue of abortion is a left right scale, as there are people on both sides of the political spectrum who are both for and against it.

Dennis's Mom
12-10-09, 16:39
I am socially liberal but fiscally conservative. I believe in less government, particularly at the federal level.

Dark Lugia 2
12-10-09, 17:37
When people say they're liberal in religious terms, I read it as them being leniant

Mona Sax
12-10-09, 17:40
I am socially liberal but fiscally conservative. I believe in less government, particularly at the federal level.
There's socially liberal and economically liberal. Perhaps your sister approves of high spending and high taxes? That would make her economically liberal.
Quite the opposite. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_liberalism)

interstellardave
12-10-09, 17:45
Quite the opposite. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_liberalism)

True... but that is not at all how modern liberals view it (or most conservatives either, to be honest). Labels are thrown around so much, and mis-applied so often, that they are essentially meaningless...
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_liberalism#cite_note-1)

Mona Sax
12-10-09, 17:51
True... but that is not at all how modern liberals view it (or most conservatives either, to be honest). Labels are thrown around so much, and mis-applied so often, that they are essentially meaningless...
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_liberalism#cite_note-1)
Which is exactly what I'm trying to fight here. So many people use labels like 'conservative' and 'liberal' - usually in a negative, pejorative manner! - without knowing zip about their meaning.

The differentiation of social and economic liberalism is a very good point - but it's pointless when people don't understand the actual theories.

[/rant]

interstellardave
12-10-09, 18:10
Which is exactly what I'm trying to fight here. So many people use labels like 'conservative' and 'liberal' - usually in a negative, pejorative manner! - without knowing zip about their meaning.

The differentiation of social and economic liberalism is a very good point - but it's pointless when people don't understand the actual theories.

[/rant]

I agree it can be confusing--and maddening. The problem is that we have politicians clearly labeled (by themselves and the media) as either liberal or conservative... so whatever policies such groups have in common become liberal or conservative policies by default. It may not be correct, but it's reality as we now know it! Only by abiding to that reality can anyone understand what anyone else is talking about... or, better yet, we could ignore labels and just talk policies. But that requires thought and effort that many cannot provide! :p

Cochrane
12-10-09, 18:11
There's two meanings of "liberal" for me. One is the one used in german politics, where liberal (in particular the FDP, free democratic party) means:

- Smaller government, little interventionism
- More support for business and economies
- Fewer social security and subsidies
- A certain focus on human and civil rights (although that is an area that the Greens are now more active in)

Then there is the "internet forum" definition of "liberal", i.e. the one mainly used here and more often than not as an insult, to me means:

- More social security
- More government oversight (e.g. over businesses)
- Large support for civil rights

This is really more what in germany would be considered social democratic, but there is some overlap and social-democratic/liberal coalitions have worked here in the past.

Mona Sax
12-10-09, 18:17
I agree it can be confusing--and maddening. The problem is that we have politicians clearly labeled (by themselves and the media) as either liberal or conservative... so whatever policies such groups have in common become liberal or conservative policies by default. It may not be correct, but it's reality as we now know it! Only by abiding to that reality can anyone understand what anyone else is talking about... or, better yet, we could ignore labels and just talk policies. But that requires thought and effort that many cannot provide! :p
Well, you're going to have to make a choice - either labels mean something, or they don't. ;) Good argument, though. :tmb: ...and one of the reasons why I prefer MGC to talk about politics. :whi:

Ward Dragon
12-10-09, 20:07
I tend to think of it as "conservative" wants to keep things as they are and "liberal" wants to change things, so depending upon how things currently are, a liberal in one country might not support the same policies as a liberal in another country.

From my USA perspective, liberal policies seem to be defined as increasing government size and the entitlement programs the government provides to citizens (usually funding it through tax increases), decreasing military spending and military involvement with other countries, and increasing what people are allowed to do (including drugs, abortion, gay marriage, etc.).

Of course other people's definitions will vary, especially if we look at different countries or different time periods. Yesterday's liberal is today's conservative because once he got the changes he wanted, now he wants to keep them :p But anyway, these policies I mentioned seem to be consistently identified as "liberal" by politicians and media spokespeople on both sides of the spectrum so I think that's what most people mean in the US when they say "liberal."

Cochrane
12-10-09, 21:24
"Liberal" comes from "Liberty", and a liberal hence stands for freedom. The question, of course, is freedom for what. For some this is freedom of the free market from government influence, for others it is freedom of citizens from most extreme material need, although for almost all, it is freedom of citizens from government intervention (resulting for example in the support of homosexual relationships, abortion and so on).

SamReeves
12-10-09, 21:28
It means turn off the TV!

Thorir
12-10-09, 21:32
It's very different from country to country. But from a Scandinavian view, liberal is:
-Feminists
-Pro immigrants
-Pro LGBT rights
-Higher tax to rich people, lower to the poor.

Solice
12-10-09, 23:28
At one time is was about personal freedom to express yourself, acceptance of people's differences, and openness to new ideas.

Now its about conforming to political correctness, keeping the poor ignorant and enslaved with government subsidies, and shutting out anyone with a different idea that goes against ‘Church’ doctrine.

It has become the Church of Liberalism; with its own form of priests, hard and fast rules and narrow-minded conformity. Much like the religious institutions they once fought.

It's really sad.

irjudd
12-10-09, 23:33
"Liberal" means applying the sunscreen to your woman generously.

Nerd For Life
12-10-09, 23:36
"Liberal" means applying the sunscreen to your woman generously.

Demonstration or it didn't happen.

Tommy123
13-10-09, 00:55
It means turn off the TV!

haha true