Are you a liberal?

It depends where you live.

On my recent visit to Spain, it soon became clear that a liberal was someone who believed in the free market and that the state can do damage. In other words, a liberal believes in what are considered right-wing economics.

But in the USA, a liberal is quite the opposite. A liberal believes in big government. I am not sure but it might also mean being in favour of social laws allowing such things as gay marriage and abortion.

In Britain the word is confused by the existence of the Liberal Democrats whose policies, of course, change over time. But as rough generalisation, the party is probably somewhere in the middle on the big government versus private enterprise argument.

I suspect the Spanish idea is closest to the original meaning of the phrase. But it does not really matter. If talking to people of varied nationalities, the word ‘liberal’ is now practically useless.


  1. Jeremy Paxman, David Bell – liberal fascists
  2. The Tories need to argue that low taxes matter
  3. This election is not trivial
  4. Why people are voting today for higher taxes
  5. Conservatives far behind, well ahead and likely to lose
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One Response to Are you a liberal?

  1. TomSwift says:

    I’m from the US.

    In general Liberal = big government programs, gay marriage, abortions, civil liberties, immigration.
    Conservative = free markets, pro-guns, national security, small government, against internationalism (UN, EU, NATO, etc), tough of crime (death penalty)

    However the major political parties don’t always follow those issues, and there is a gap between the elite and the regular voters on some issues. Immigration for example.

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