Basic Definitions

In order to have a reasonable discussion about any subject, we all need to have some understanding of what the terms mean:

liberal |ˈlib(ə)rəl|
1 open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values : they have more liberal views toward marriage and divorce than some people.
• favorable to or respectful of individual rights and freedoms : liberal citizenship laws.
• (in a political context) favoring maximum individual liberty in political and social reform : a liberal democratic state.
• ( Liberal) of or characteristic of Liberals or a Liberal Party.
• ( Liberal) (in the UK) of or relating to the Liberal Democrat Party : the Liberal leader.
• Theology regarding many traditional beliefs as dispensable, invalidated by modern thought, or liable to change.
2 [ attrib. ] (of education) concerned mainly with broadening a person's general knowledge and experience, rather than with technical or professional training.
3 (esp. of an interpretation of a law) broadly construed or understood; not strictly literal or exact : they could have given the 1968 Act a more liberal interpretation.
4 given, used, or occurring in generous amounts : liberal amounts of wine had been consumed.
• (of a person) giving generously : Sam was too liberal with the wine.
a person of liberal views.
• ( Liberal) a supporter or member of a Liberal Party.
liberalism |-ˌlizəm| noun
liberalist |-rəlist| noun
liberalistic |ˌlib(ə)rəˈlistik| adjective
liberally adverb
liberalness noun
ORIGIN Middle English : via Old French from Latin liberalis, from liber ‘free (man).’ The original sense was [suitable for a free man,] hence [suitable for a gentleman] (one not tied to a trade), surviving in liberal arts. Another early sense [generous] ( compare with sense 4) gave rise to an obsolete meaning [free from restraint,] leading to sense 1 (late 18th cent.).

As opposed to:

conservative |kənˈsərvətiv; -vəˌtiv|
holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion.
• (of dress or taste) sober and conventional : a conservative suit.
• (of an estimate) purposely low for the sake of caution : the film was not cheap—$30,000 is a conservative estimate.
• (of surgery or medical treatment) intended to control rather than eliminate a condition, with existing tissue preserved as far as possible.
• ( Conservative) of or relating to the Conservative Party of Great Britain or a similar party in another country.
a person who is averse to change and holds to traditional values and attitudes, typically in relation to politics.
• ( Conservative) a supporter or member of the Conservative Party of Great Britain or a similar party in another country.
conservatism |kənˈsərvəˌtizəm| noun
conservatively adverb
conservativeness noun
ORIGIN late Middle English (in the sense [aiming to preserve] ): from late Latin conservativus, from conservat- ‘conserved,’ from the verb conservare (see conserve ). Current senses date from the mid 19th century onward.

Once we look at the basic meaning of the two ideologies, it's fairly easy for most of us that live and thrive in a constructive society to accept the label of "Unapologetic Liberal". To do otherwise leads to behaviors that are fearful, inward, and regressive.

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3 Responses May 25, 2012

I don't think that these words can any longer be considered ideologies. They just are not specific enough. The have been bastardized by the lowest common denominator of effect of popular language. And they have been confused by time. As circumstances change over time so do the connotations of of language. Classical liberalism had a very different, almost opposite, view of capitalism than does modern liberalism. This causes people to be easily confused.<br />
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By most measures I am a very liberal person. I believe in marriage for people who want to be married regardless of gender or number. I believe that we are called to provide a much better social safety net than we have. I also reuse lip lock bags and am skeptical of large government. <br />
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Because we become so married to these terms it becomes easy to talk around each other. Personally, I view most tea party people as idiots but I am also disappointed in my "liberal friends" who refuse to recognize that large government provides incentives to Monsanto and Dow and Exxon. It bothers me that critical thinking gets so thoroughly suspended to defend their party. The party that oversaw the repeal of Glass-Steagall, that refuses to address campaign finance reform because the too get corrupt corporate dollars from Monsanto, Dow and Exxon.<br />
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Like you I am proud to be a liberal. But I am also conservative, which has the same root as conservation.

Completely off topic but not really: my settings on EP have been changed so that I no longer am exposed to much adult judgement, just a matter of trying to focus on what I like about this place, anywho, no adult profiles so.I haven't been exposed to one Conservative, except in the question section, in a really really long will never cease to fascintate me, the conservative's are mostly freaky deaky in the libido department.

Huh ! I was thinking of BBC in my wife's ***** and me eating the remains, and you give me a lecture on liberalism, or it's didn't do much to my erection :-)