What is the definition of a liberal

what is the definition of a liberal


Definition of liberal. (Entry 1 of 2) 1 a: of, relating to, or based on the liberal arts liberal education. b archaic: of or befitting a man of free birth. 2 a: marked by generosity: openhanded a liberal giver. Sep 14,  · Politically, it means "“a person who believes that government should be active in supporting social and political change." Liberal can be traced back to the Latin word liber (meaning “free”), which is also the root of liberty ("the quality or state of .

Related to Politically liberal: Politically conservative. The state or quality of being liberal. A political theory founded on the natural goodness of humans and the autonomy of the individual and favoring civil and political liberties, government by law with the consent of the governed, and protection from arbitrary authority. An economic theory in favor of laissez-faire, the free market, and the gold standard.

Liberalism a. A 19th-century Protestant movement that favored free intellectual inquiry, stressed the ethical and humanitarian content of Christianity, and de-emphasized dogmatic theology. A 19th-century Roman Catholic movement that favored political democracy and ecclesiastical reform but was theologically orthodox.

All rights reserved. Protestantism a movement in modern Protestantism that rejects biblical authority. Copyright, by Random House, Inc. Copyright The Gale Group, Inc. Switch to new thesaurus. Based on WordNet 3. Quotations "By liberalism I don't mean the creed of any party or any century. I mean a generosity of spirit, a tolerance of others, an attempt to comprehend otherness, a commitment to the rule of law, a high ideal of the worth and dignity how to post a lot of ads on craigslist man, a repugnance for authoritarianism and a love of freedom" [Alan Paton Lecture at Yale University ].

Mentioned in? References in periodicals archive? It's politically liberalbut perhaps it should be more liberal; Fred's best buddy Lance nicely played by O'Shea Jackson Jr, son of Ice Cube is revealed -- much to Fred's shock -- as a devout Republican, implicitly urging liberals to be less partisan and engage with the other side more.

Religion, Politics, and Traditionalist Gender Ideology. Those who naturally have more dopamine are more likely to be politically liberal what college has a good veterinary program, and advocate progressive ideals for a better tomorrow; those who naturally have less dopamine are more likely to be politically conservative, and advocate for contentment with the status quo or more concerned about dangerous threats, such as crime or war.

The Molecule of More. They viewed scientists as either politically liberal or politically neutral as a group as opposed to conservative. These same subgroups also hold similar opinions about whether politically liberal students can openly express their views. More U. I am a White man who identifies as politically liberal on most issues, and I often disclose my political beliefs during class discussions of social and political issues. Politically conservative preservice teachers and the spiral of silence: implications for teacher education.

More Americans identify themselves as political conservatives as opposed to politically liberal or moderates, according to data crunched by a new nationwide Gallup poll.

Conservatives Outnumber Liberals In America. American Jews are not only politically liberalbut they are also sensitive to the dangers that vulnerable minority populations face both inside the United States and beyond.

Donald Trump's Jewish Family and Friends. Representing a politically what is kg in pounds district in north and central Eugene, Nathanson also has been a reliable vote for Democratic leaders. Nathanson to co-chair budget panel. Her conservative Jewish, politically liberalmiddle-class American upbringing fails to provide her with meaningful comfort or guidance.

Concentrating on government programs for food, housing, medical care, and cash assistance such as SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, Obamacare, and disability benefitsthe book demonstrates the many ways in which government assistance programs encourage dependency; unlike many analyses coming to the same conclusion, this book approaches the issue from a politically liberal perspective rather than a conservative perspective.

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lib•er•al•ism. n. 1. the quality or state of being liberal, as in behavior or attitude. 2. a political and social philosophy advocating individual freedom, representational forms of government, progress and reform, and protection of civil liberties. A liberal is someone on the left wing of politics — the opposite of a conservative. Also, a liberal attitude toward anything means more tolerance for change. There are many meanings for liberal, but they mostly have to do with freedom and openness to change. Liberal means favorable to reform or progress, such as in religion or politics. Generally, a person is considered to be liberal if they support changes or reforms to something, as in The pastor was .

Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberalism that advocates civil liberties under the rule of law with an emphasis on economic freedom.

Closely related to economic liberalism , it developed in the early 19th century, building on ideas from the previous century as a response to urbanization and to the Industrial Revolution in Europe and North America. It drew on classical economics , especially the economic ideas as espoused by Adam Smith in Book One of The Wealth of Nations and on a belief in natural law , [5] progress [6] and utilitarianism. As a term, classical liberalism was applied in retrospect to distinguish earlier 19th-century liberalism from social liberalism.

Core beliefs of classical liberals included new ideas—which departed from both the older conservative idea of society as a family and from the later sociological concept of society as a complex set of social networks. Classical liberals believed that individuals are "egoistic, coldly calculating, essentially inert and atomistic" [9] and that society is no more than the sum of its individual members. Classical liberals agreed with Thomas Hobbes that government had been created by individuals to protect themselves from each other and that the purpose of government should be to minimize conflict between individuals that would otherwise arise in a state of nature.

These beliefs were complemented by a belief that labourers could be best motivated by financial incentive. This belief led to the passage of the Poor Law Amendment Act , which limited the provision of social assistance, based on the idea that markets are the mechanism that most efficiently leads to wealth. Adopting Thomas Robert Malthus 's population theory, they saw poor urban conditions as inevitable, believed population growth would outstrip food production and thus regarded that consequence desirable because starvation would help limit population growth.

They opposed any income or wealth redistribution, believing it would be dissipated by the lowest orders. Drawing on ideas of Adam Smith , classical liberals believed that it is in the common interest that all individuals be able to secure their own economic self-interest. In a free market, both labour and capital would receive the greatest possible reward while production would be organized efficiently to meet consumer demand.

Classical liberals asserted that rights are of a negative nature and therefore stipulate that other individuals and governments are to refrain from interfering with the free market, opposing social liberals who assert that individuals have positive rights, such as the right to vote, [18] the right to an education, the right to health care, and the right to a living wage.

For society to guarantee positive rights, it requires taxation over and above the minimum needed to enforce negative rights. Core beliefs of classical liberals did not necessarily include democracy nor government by a majority vote by citizens because "there is nothing in the bare idea of majority rule to show that majorities will always respect the rights of property or maintain rule of law". In the late 19th century, classical liberalism developed into neo-classical liberalism, which argued for government to be as small as possible to allow the exercise of individual freedom.

In its most extreme form, neo-classical liberalism advocated social Darwinism. Friedrich Hayek identified two different traditions within classical liberalism, namely the British tradition and the French tradition.

Hayek saw the British philosophers Bernard Mandeville , David Hume , Adam Smith , Adam Ferguson , Josiah Tucker and William Paley as representative of a tradition that articulated beliefs in empiricism , the common law and in traditions and institutions which had spontaneously evolved but were imperfectly understood. This tradition believed in rationalism and sometimes showed hostility to tradition and religion. Hayek conceded that the national labels did not exactly correspond to those belonging to each tradition since he saw the Frenchmen Montesquieu , Benjamin Constant and Alexis de Tocqueville as belonging to the British tradition and the British Thomas Hobbes , Joseph Priestley , Richard Price and Thomas Paine as belonging to the French tradition.

Guido De Ruggiero also identified differences between "Montesquieu and Rousseau, the English and the democratic types of liberalism" [26] and argued that there was a "profound contrast between the two Liberal systems". This liberalism had "insensibly adapted ancient institutions to modern needs" and "instinctively recoiled from all abstract proclamations of principles and rights". Lieber asserted that "independence in the highest degree, compatible with safety and broad national guarantees of liberty, is the great aim of Anglican liberty, and self-reliance is the chief source from which it draws its strength".

Classical liberalism in Britain traces its roots to the Whigs and radicals , and was heavily influenced by French physiocracy. Whiggery had become a dominant ideology following the Glorious Revolution of and was associated with supporting the British Parliament, upholding the rule of law, and defending landed property.

The origins of rights were seen as being in an ancient constitution , which had existed from time immemorial. These rights, which some Whigs considered to include freedom of the press and freedom of speech, were justified by custom rather than as natural rights.

These Whigs believed that the power of the executive had to be constrained. While they supported limited suffrage, they saw voting as a privilege rather than as a right. However, there was no consistency in Whig ideology and diverse writers including John Locke , David Hume , Adam Smith and Edmund Burke were all influential among Whigs, although none of them were universally accepted. From the s to the s, British radicals concentrated on parliamentary and electoral reform, emphasising natural rights and popular sovereignty.

Richard Price and Joseph Priestley adapted the language of Locke to the ideology of radicalism. Classical liberals were committed to individualism, liberty, and equal rights. They believed these goals required a free economy with minimal government interference.

Some elements of Whiggery were uncomfortable with the commercial nature of classical liberalism. These elements became associated with conservatism. Classical liberalism was the dominant political theory in Britain from the early 19th century until the First World War.

The Anti-Corn Law League brought together a coalition of liberal and radical groups in support of free trade under the leadership of Richard Cobden and John Bright , who opposed aristocratic privilege, militarism, and public expenditure and believed that the backbone of Great Britain was the yeoman farmer. Their policies of low public expenditure and low taxation were adopted by William Ewart Gladstone when he became Chancellor of the Exchequer and later Prime Minister.

Classical liberalism was often associated with religious dissent and nonconformism. Although classical liberals aspired to a minimum of state activity, they accepted the principle of government intervention in the economy from the early 19th century on, with passage of the Factory Acts. From around to , laissez-faire advocates of the Manchester School and writers in The Economist were confident that their early victories would lead to a period of expanding economic and personal liberty and world peace, but would face reversals as government intervention and activity continued to expand from the s.

Jeremy Bentham and James Mill , although advocates of laissez-faire , non-intervention in foreign affairs, and individual liberty, believed that social institutions could be rationally redesigned through the principles of utilitarianism. The Conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli rejected classical liberalism altogether and advocated Tory democracy. By the s, Herbert Spencer and other classical liberals concluded that historical development was turning against them.

The changing economic and social conditions of the 19th century led to a division between neo-classical and social or welfare liberals, who while agreeing on the importance of individual liberty differed on the role of the state. Neo-classical liberals, who called themselves "true liberals", saw Locke's Second Treatise as the best guide and emphasised "limited government" while social liberals supported government regulation and the welfare state.

Herbert Spencer in Britain and William Graham Sumner were the leading neo-classical liberal theorists of the 19th century. In the United States, liberalism took a strong root because it had little opposition to its ideals, whereas in Europe liberalism was opposed by many reactionary or feudal interests such as the nobility; the aristocracy, including army officers; the landed gentry; and the established church.

The economic ideas of the Jacksonian era were almost universally the ideas of classical liberalism. Donohue argues:. To the vast majority of American classical liberals, however, laissez-faire did not mean no government intervention at all. On the contrary, they were more than willing to see government provide tariffs, railroad subsidies, and internal improvements, all of which benefited producers.

What they condemned was intervention on behalf of consumers. Leading magazine The Nation espoused liberalism every week starting in under the influential editor Edwin Lawrence Godkin — In the words of William Jennings Bryan , " You shall not crucify the American farmer on a cross of gold ".

Classical liberalism remained the orthodox belief among American businessmen until the Great Depression. Franklin D. Roosevelt 's New Deal represented the dominance of modern liberalism in politics for decades. In the words of Arthur Schlesinger Jr. When the growing complexity of industrial conditions required increasing government intervention in order to assure more equal opportunities, the liberal tradition, faithful to the goal rather than to the dogma, altered its view of the state.

Alan Wolfe summarizes the viewpoint that there is a continuous liberal understanding that includes both Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes :. The idea that liberalism comes in two forms assumes that the most fundamental question facing mankind is how much government intervenes into the economy. Both of them possessed an expansive sense of what we are put on this earth to accomplish. For Keynes, monopolies were.

It makes perfect sense for an eighteenth-century thinker to conclude that humanity would flourish under the market. For a twentieth century thinker committed to the same ideal, government was an essential tool to the same end. The view that modern liberalism is a continuation of classical liberalism is not universally shared.

Lerner , John Micklethwait , Adrian Wooldridge and several other political scholars have argued that classical liberalism still exists today, but in the form of American conservatism. Central to classical liberal ideology was their interpretation of John Locke 's Second Treatise of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration , which had been written as a defence of the Glorious Revolution of Although these writings were considered too radical at the time for Britain's new rulers, they later came to be cited by Whigs, radicals and supporters of the American Revolution.

For example, there is little mention of constitutionalism , the separation of powers and limited government. James L. Richardson identified five central themes in Locke's writing: individualism , consent, the concepts of the rule of law and government as trustee, the significance of property and religious toleration. Although Locke did not develop a theory of natural rights, he envisioned individuals in the state of nature as being free and equal.

The individual, rather than the community or institutions, was the point of reference. Locke believed that individuals had given consent to government and therefore authority derived from the people rather than from above. This belief would influence later revolutionary movements. As a trustee, government was expected to serve the interests of the people, not the rulers; and rulers were expected to follow the laws enacted by legislatures. Locke also held that the main purpose of men uniting into commonwealths and governments was for the preservation of their property.

Despite the ambiguity of Locke's definition of property, which limited property to "as much land as a man tills, plants, improves, cultivates, and can use the product of", this principle held great appeal to individuals possessed of great wealth. Locke held that the individual had the right to follow his own religious beliefs and that the state should not impose a religion against Dissenters , but there were limitations.

No tolerance should be shown for atheists , who were seen as amoral, or to Catholics , who were seen as owing allegiance to the Pope over their own national government. Adam Smith 's The Wealth of Nations , published in , was to provide most of the ideas of economics, at least until the publication of John Stuart Mill 's Principles of Political Economy in Smith wrote that as long as supply, demand, prices and competition were left free of government regulation, the pursuit of material self-interest, rather than altruism, would maximise the wealth of a society [15] through profit-driven production of goods and services.

An " invisible hand " directed individuals and firms to work toward the public good as an unintended consequence of efforts to maximise their own gain. This provided a moral justification for the accumulation of wealth, which had previously been viewed by some as sinful.

He assumed that workers could be paid wages as low as was necessary for their survival, which was later transformed by David Ricardo and Thomas Robert Malthus into the " iron law of wages ". Smith's economics was carried into practice in the nineteenth century with the lowering of tariffs in the s, the repeal of the Poor Relief Act that had restricted the mobility of labour in and the end of the rule of the East India Company over India in In addition to Smith's legacy, Say's law , Thomas Robert Malthus ' theories of population and David Ricardo 's iron law of wages became central doctrines of classical economics.

The pessimistic nature of these theories provided a basis for criticism of capitalism by its opponents and helped perpetuate the tradition of calling economics the " dismal science ".

Jean-Baptiste Say was a French economist who introduced Smith's economic theories into France and whose commentaries on Smith were read in both France and Britain. However, neither of those observations became accepted by British economists at the time. His most important contribution to economic thinking was Say's law, which was interpreted by classical economists that there could be no overproduction in a market and that there would always be a balance between supply and demand.

Following this law, since the economic cycle was seen as self-correcting, government did not intervene during periods of economic hardship because it was seen as futile. Malthus wrote two books, An Essay on the Principle of Population published in and Principles of Political Economy published in The second book which was a rebuttal of Say's law had little influence on contemporary economists.

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