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corey michael
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 1:54 am    Post subject: Define Liberal Reply with quote
What does liberal mean to you?

In your explanation, please clarify whether you consider yourself liberal or not.

I'm just wondering because I know throughout history and in different countries, the people's definitions of liberalism has changed.
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CryxicKiller
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I think we must be very careful here. While it is true that liberalism across the world today encompasses a wide spectrum of sociopolitical and philosophical thought, there are some basic, fundamental tenets of liberalism that are not questionable. That is, if you disavow these, you are not a liberal.

In Maurice Cranston's famous words, "a liberal is one who believes in liberty." This definition, at its core and spirit, has never changed and never will change. Liberty/freedom is the key concept that underlies the whole liberal structure. The very word liberal comes from the Latin liber, which means "free." Originally, this term could mean something to the effect of an irresponsible person or even a vagabond, but eventually it acquired a definition meaning something along the lines of tolerant. The Spanish were the first to use the term in a political context in 1812 when a faction during the Peninsular War against France called themselves "Liberales." Their Spanish of Constitution of 1812 was also very liberal in nature, and in my opinion it is a document in the liberal pantheon equivalent to the Declaration of Independence or the Declaration of the Rights of Man. So that's a quick background into the early history of liberalism. What are the tenets of liberalism?

Philosophically, liberalism is rooted in the Fundamental Principle of Liberalism (I'll call it FPL), which states that liberty is the normal human condition and so the burden to prove this false or take it away, either intellectually or in some other way, requires explanation. Basically, the onus is on those who want to eliminate liberty to show why. It is very important to understand that the FPL is in importance right up there with what the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus is to calculus. If you know the latter, then you know it's very important to calculus; as in, calculus would not mean anything without it. Liberalism is the same with FPL. The FPL has its roots with the arguments of John Locke (often called the 'Father of Liberalism'), who maintained that early human societies were gentle and untainted by the hustle-and-bustle lifestyle of civilizations.

Now that we're past the FPL, there are some basic tenets that you can "strangle" out of it. Among these are the fact that all humans are fundamentally good (you can't pick and choose), rational, and capable of change. Then we'd make some more elaborate but still basic assertions (or so I think; if you find them controversial I'd love to know why): liberalism implies equality, religious toleration, and constitutional government, among other things.

Personally, I am a liberal, and I consider liberalism to be something special, almost sacred. Over half of all nation-states in the world today are governed by liberal democracies (including the United States), and that's definitely something to be proud of if you are a liberal. It's also something to defend whenever it is threatened.
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JoeysAngyl
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I could post the definition as it states in the dictionary in an attempt to add to what Cryx stated, but I really don't think that I could put it any better. That being said I consider myself to be very liberal, and it is something that I will hide from no person.
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Lester
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Just one thing, I disagree with the term 'tolerate' it implies that we're putting up with something, when in fact it's more like a welcoming of it.
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jusdeadphunky
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 3:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
someone who believes in policy that helps the people of the united states rather than the top 1% and corporations.
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Docsmitter
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Joined: 08 Dec 2006
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Location: CA LE FOR NYE YAY

PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
jusdeadphunky wrote:
someone who believes in policy that helps the people of the united states rather than the top 1% and corporations.


That a rather narrow minded response.
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exton
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Joined: 13 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Lester wrote:
Just one thing, I disagree with the term 'tolerate' it implies that we're putting up with something, when in fact it's more like a welcoming of it.


Whenever you welcome something, you tolerate it as well. Tolerate still works.
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chevydriver1123
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Joined: 17 Dec 2006
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Location: New York

PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I consdier myself a moderate because I believe in controlled spending, small government, gun control to some extent i.e. background checks, training, etc, allowing people to live their lives as long as it doesnt infrienge on the rights of another.
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Spider Jerusalem
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I define liberal as someone who is being moraly bankrupt and a jerk.

And I define conservative as someone who's being a prude and arrogant.
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exton
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Spider Jerusalem wrote:
I define liberal as someone who is being moraly bankrupt and a jerk.
And I define conservative as someone who's being a prude and arrogant.


Wow, you've actually absorbed propaganda from both of them.

Lemme guess: you're a libertarian?
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Spider Jerusalem
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Others will tell you I am but I can't stand libertarians. A bunchof psychotic capitalist-liberals.
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exton
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 5:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Spider Jerusalem wrote:
A bunchof psychotic capitalist-liberals.


I prefer to think of them as irresponsible anarchist-wannabes.
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Spider Jerusalem
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
lol, true that.
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Oolon Colluphid
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
"The essence of the liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held but in how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at ant moment lead to their abandonment. This is the way opinions are held in science, as opposed to the way in which they are held in theology." ~Bertrand Russell

Isn't that a beautiful thing?
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PeaceLoveandRockNRoll
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Joined: 08 Dec 2006
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Location: Richmond, IN

PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Spider Jerusalem, I've been reading a lot of your posts tonight, and I'm sort of curious, what DO you consider yourself politically? I think one way to describe the moral divide between liberals and conservatives would go something like this:
Liberals (in US terms, not universal ones) believe that people come from a variety of backgrounds, and they need to be taken into consideration. This outlooks leads to moral relativism and socioeconomic intervention in an effort to protect the people seen as naturally disadvantaged.
Conservatices (again, in US terms) believe that morality is absolute and that people have full innate control over themselves and their lives, and should therefore be totally responsible for them. This leads to moral authoritarianism, lack of economic sanctions because people need to be responsible for themselves economically, and other conservative viewpoints (gun ownership is good because it allows for more personal independence and responsibility, homosexuality is a chosen lifestyle because no person is innately deviant from the others unless they choose to be, etc.)
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