1. Derived from "Liberty", a liberal is literally someone who believes in freedom. This includes freedom of religion, freedom from tyranny, and free markets.
However, American liberals have rejected freedom of the market, and have economically mixed liberal ideals with socialist ideals to create the American liberal. This is someone who supports personal freedom in social issues, and mixed economic initiatives to create greater equality within capitalism.
Typical issues that liberals support are less restrictions on abortions, more restrictions on guns, the equality of genders, races, religions and sexual orientations, and the Separation of Church and State. The American liberal would add on such things as socialized healthcare, environmentalism and greater support for the poor through welfare and greater spending on public services.
Liberal is sometimes used as an insult by their enemies, conservatives. This occurs in the United States, elsewhere liberal is usually a complement. As a result, many liberals dub themselves progressives, which does not have the same negative connotations.
1. "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."
2. "I hate liberals. Stupid pinko liberals are ruining America."
"Yeah, damn liberals and their...their...liberty. Psht, this is America, we don't need liberty. God bless America."
3. Often thought of as the founder of Liberalism, John Locke said that no state has the right to take away a person's "life, health, liberty, or possessions."
1. An advocate of a political philosophy which revolves around not doing much. Conservatism essentially argues keeping things the way they are rather than supporting change.
Examples of Conservative actions:
-Doing nothing. :-)
Examples of not-Conservative actions:
-Trying to change the constitution.
-Spending lots of money.
-Taking away people's privacy rights.
-Turning allies against your nation by radically altering foreign policy.
2. A misused synonym for right wing.
What kind of conservative would try to ammend the constitution? Conservatives don't like change, that's the whole point.