1. Technically, someone who falls to the left in a political system, who believes in government programs (healthcare is a good example, as is welfare) and a larger scope of government, also favors monitoring of business and protection of constitutional rights. Someone who believes that the federal government should have more importance than state government,

2. Somehow, it has turned into an insult, like the word conservative. Usually used as such by people who have never taken a political science class and don't know what the word means. Often used to describe "liberal media" despite the fact that most media outlets are owned by conservative corporations like ClearChannel, and the prevalence of conservative talk shows.
1. "He has a liberal attitude towards life"
2. "That gay homo is a liberal comunnisst pinnko! Limbaugh toled me so, and O'reailly agreez! Fox News Rulz, they so impartial in their support of everything Bush! Goddamn liberal media!
by .thieved April 21, 2003
A person who knows better than everyone else. Can often be found enlightening others on how they should live their life.
Gwen:"you really should go to the farmers market, it's the best."

Ralph:"fuck off Gwen. Liberal."
by Judly August 19, 2013
A group of bandits that decided to roam the country side of Wales in 1654.
by Room 505 August 02, 2012
A communist with a college education who chooses to think like a nigger.
"Why won't Shirley come to our weekend barbecues any more?"

"Ever since she read that book about animal abuse she's been on this vegan kick. Not for the supposed benefits, but to feel superior to everyone else. Every time she hears about anything she looks for something to be offended about on the behalf of others."

"Oh... never knew Shirley was such a liberal."
by Naaaaate November 07, 2012
God's personal inside joke
Then God made liberals, unfortunately his attempt at making mostly hairless apes that were able to wear clothing and speak failed.
by TPaine#StupidLiberals November 04, 2011
a steaming pile a shit. someone who thinks they know all about the problems in life. someone who gets embarassed of his/her country for being the best and would rather switch to socialism and tax the fuck out of everyone to limit success. someone who comes back after a semester of college and spits out the same dog shit that their liberal professors fed them and try to pass it off as their own. someone who hates rush limbaugh for being right all the time and for repearedly quashing their feable arguments. just all around illinformed, misinformed, uninformed steaming piles of shit!
Billy thinks we should vote Obama. He says that Obama is change we can believe in. I said that all Obama's changes would be for the worse. He didn't care, he's a liberal.
by john doe 3000 July 11, 2008
The word 'liberal' is derived from the Latin word 'libertas,' meaning 'liberty.' Liberalism started in 17th Century Europe as a logical and historical development from Protestantism with its focus on an individual having a direct personal relationship with God. Liberalism is also rooted in the English tradition of individual rights and privileges. John Locke's *Second Treatise on Civil Government* articulated the basic principles of liberalism--limited government, private property, equality before the law, the rule of law (meaning an impartial application and enforcement of the broad-based laws that allow for a wide scope of private discretion), and some democratic influence to restrict those in power. Locke, himself a Protestant Christian, believed people to be naturally sinful and selfish, but rational and social enough so that they could peacefully interact with one another. Laws are needed to maintain order, but largely the State should be restricted only to protecting private property (broadly defined as a person's private sphere), and to enforce contracts. The Founders of the United States were all followers of Locke. Jefferson's *Declaration of Independence* is an American adaptation of Locke's basic political philosophy. Puritan John Milton's defense of free speech in his *Areopagitica* provided the intellectual justification of the First Amendment from a Christian metaphysic.
With John Stuart Mill we find a bridge to another conception of liberty and equality that moves more toward socialism. Mill was highly influenced by his wife, Harriet Taylor, who was more of an egalitarian than a liberal. Here we find Mill arguing against classical notions of liberalism. Mill argued, contrary to Locke, that a just law is an encroachment on a person's liberty. He also contended that informal, non-coercive public opinion was a violation the rights of the individual as are traditional prohibitions, say on sexual morality or gender roles. In these moves to conceive of liberty in a broader way that simply overt coercion, Mill started to blur the line between private and public. Mill was also concerned about the distribution of wealth and income in ways that the Founders of the U.S. were not. Mill,at times, argued for a greater role for the State to actually achieve equality of result and actual liberty from others as opposed to a purely formal equality and liberty that the classical liberals sought.
These differences point to a fundamental divergence between classical and modern left liberals. Another such difference is the basic character of human nature. Locke and the U.S. Founders believed that humans were naturally selfish and dangerous in their exercise of power. For this reason, the U.S. Founders placed explicit restrictions on the State including a Bill of Rights, federalism, separation of powers, and checks and balances. Jefferson's admonition that the power that the State has to do something for you also has the power to do something to you follows from the doctrine of human depravity found in Christianity.
Left liberals tend to view humans as naturally good or malleable. No one is born evil. So, with the proper education and proper social and economic environment, people can naturally cooperate and care for each other. Brutal punishment is inhumane and simply aggravates past injustices making those convicted of a crime even more alienated and victimized by the unequal social order. What is needed to avert criminal behavior is greater inclusion and benevolence. The mechanism that facilitates these moral advances can be the State. Concerns over abuse of power, at least in social welfare legislation and macroeconomic policy, are not only misplaced but can be unnecessary obstacles for social progress.
Classical liberals view of legitimate State action is quite different. Physical punishment is seen as necessary to control those who freely choose to violate the rights of others. The State is needed to contain human evil and establish justice by retribution fairly imposed. Preparation and engaging in war can be necessary to protect a country from the attacks of an international aggressor. In both domestic and international crime, the person(s) who initiate violence forfeit their rights and violence can be justly used against them.
Some classical liberals such as Jefferson, Tocqueville, and Benjamin Constant believed that liberty was supported in the indigenous cultures of free countries. All of the Founders of the U.S. believed that a necessary condition for liberty was moral self-control. Religion provided the average person with the moral training and habit to prepare them to live responsibly with their fellows. Leftist liberals in contrast tend to be indifferent or hostile to traditional cultures and traditional religion and morality. Following Mill, they tend to see tradition and religion as restrictions on liberty and hindrances to greater social and political equality.
These leftist liberal theorists would not only include Mill, but T.H. Green, John Dewey, and John Rawls. These writers combine some elements of classical liberalism with socialism.
Contemporary classical liberals would include F.A. Hayek, Robert Nozick, and Milton Friedman. They are considered conservative because they are trying to conserve or preserve the original liberal tradition that can be traced back to Locke and the U.S. Founders. They clearly reject an active role for the State in achieving actual equality because such extensive and intrusive actions by the State violate individual liberty and place social planners over average people in power relationships.
"I am a liberal, they are socialists." Milton Friedman distinguishing himself from leftist liberals.
by Tex in Tex January 16, 2008

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