A definition later to be distorted by Americans, who mainly associate "liberalism" with being left-wing on the political scale, disregarding the original and correct sense of the word.
Liberalism has nothing to do with economy. It is completely independent of capitalism or any other economic system. Liberalism is a strictly social philosophy.
It is the opposite of authoritarianism.
It is also NOT the opposite of conservatism.
Under liberalism, the government has little role in regulating social affairs. Under liberalism, the government exists to protect liberties, not take them away.
The Bill of Rights is a product of liberalism.
Liberalism literally means 'to be liberal' and liberal means 'to be loose'. THIS MEANS that liberals do not want laws. That is vaguely true, and maybe if you can find a conservative anarchist I'll be wrong. Liberalism is the establishment of liberals in politics. They usually vote for and represent democrats, John McCain = exception. Liberals advocate personal freedoms and peace, as well as recognize problems worldwide, and not the ones that only threaten us (Iraq, Afghanistan, but the first one was a hoax to help Halliburton the oil company).
Part II: Bashing
To the peopl who said Liberals are semi-retarded: type into Google 2004 election by IQ. You'll be surprised. It may not be believable at first, but the inability to find a site supporting you will lead to the stomach-turning conclusion.
To the person who said we kill babies 'for no reason': Umm, maybe you forgot that children, while a bundle of joy, cost about 225000 dollars for education, food, the works. this includes tax write-offs. And to the people who said we whine, next time listen to what we whine about. If it isnt about the 13-digit deficit our economy is suffering, which wasnt as bad as the clinton era, its about the Free trade agreement Bush signed which entitles landowners to rule their workers like serfs in the fifteenth century.
Conservatism = reflecting on America's problems and using past experiences our country has endured to create a future that can show repetitiveness and therefore we (or 'theye')can make it better this time.