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Definition of Liberal

A definition of “Liberal” is needed because too many Americans believe that it is an insult used to deprecate those who oppose conservative views.

I set this poll, so I will define “Liberal” as one who is opposed to the idea that markets need lots of government regulation to overcome inherent weaknesses that can produce very bad results for consumers, and even for business.

By this definition, I suggest that most conservatives are in fact “liberals”.
I love that!

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I don’t think I buy that definition.

Classically, liberalism included a laissez faire attitude towards markets and capitalism, but liberalism always included a significant social component because of its emphasis on equal rights — equality can’t be established without government “meddling”.

In the 20th century, “social liberalism” became more widespread, especially after WW2. Social liberalism views the good of the community as being consonant with the individual freedom. So, social liberalism sees a legitimate role for government in areas like unemployment, health care, and strengthening civil rights.

Neither one of those really fits the modern conservative.

I’d take your “classical liberal” choice to mean the 18th century liberalism focused on equality and laissez faire captialism, and “damn liberal” to mean the 20th century “social liberalism”.

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