Dan asked in Politics & GovernmentPolitics · 10 years ago

Can somebody define liberal and conservative BY YOURSELF WITHOUT LOOKING AT ANY TYPE OF DICTIONARY!?

this is kind of an experiment to see if people are educated or use these terms wrong


in what i have just learned in school liberal means being for change and conservatism means being for tradition, so i do have a generally basic idea. i was seeing how many answers i would get that slams one side and glorifies the other

Update 2:

so yes gws35, i do have a general idea, i never said i was an expert

13 Answers

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    someone asked almost an identical question so i'm just going to copy and paste my old answer. that guy was looking for the answer, not just whether or not i knew the answer, but i'll play along anyway. here goes:

    this is the worst place imaginable to get that information as most people on yahoo answers are completely biased. i'll give you an honest answer though. (this is for u.s. politics, btw, as these titles have different meanings in other countries.) here you go.

    a conservative by definition is someone who favors the policies of the past and feels that changes in the law are more often than not a bad thing. historical conservatism favored small government and limited spending by public agencies. conservatism today tends to favor "hot button" positions like being "pro-life", favoring heterosexual marriage, "tort reform" and others. some of the biggest spenders in u.s. history have been self-described conservatives, and so it is fair to say that the limited spending or "fiscal conservatism" is no longer a seriously relevent position for this group of people (outside of those who specifically refer to themselves as "fiscal conservatives". they tend to vote for republicans, think america is the greatest country in the world and love their kids.

    a liberal by definition is someone who believes that changes to the law are good things, and each new change is generally a gradual improvement in the legal code. historical conservatism favored education as it's centerpiece. in fact, when someone studies a range of topics and becomes a student of many subjects, they are said to have gotten a liberal education. liberals have always been divided on the issue of spending, though most would have agreed that spending government funds can help to achieve social goals. today, self-described liberals fall into two camps: "progressives" who focus on issues of moral significance like the anti-war movement and the equality movement, or the other camp which basically just exists to oppose the conservatives (pro-choice/pro-gay marriage, etc...) liberals tend to vote for democrats, think america could be better and they also love their kids.

    as a caveat, you must understand that labels themselves are limited in their descriptive abilities. even if someone calls themselves liberal or conservative, that doesn't really tell you what they care about. do get that information, you need to have a nice, long political conversation with them. i've known liberals and conservatives who actually agreed with each other more than they disagreed. but the labels always got in the way.

    and that ends the copy and paste session.

    Source(s): a top notch poli-sci education
  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    When I think of conservatives, I think of two things. Fiscal conservatives (ie, people who seek to spend money carefully) and Social Conservatives (ie, people who seek to preserve a traditional way of life that they view as ideal). People can fall into one category or the other, but historically, Republicans have mostly focused on fiscal conservatism, and have also played a role in conservation of land and air through votes on national parks and support for the EPA. Since the Reagan years, however, Social Conservatives have blurred the divide, and many Republicans have abandoned fiscal conservatism for "family values" issues like protecting marriage, overturning abortion laws, and injecting religion into our government. The Libertarian Party might be considered a pure fiscally-conservative movement.

    Liberals are on the opposite extreme. Fiscal liberals advocate for the creation of government programs to solve social problems like access to health care, the creation of a safety net for the elderly, disabled, unemployed, single mothers, etc. among us. They believe in spending money 'liberally' to create an acceptable living standard for every citizen. Social liberals advocate for the change of traditional ways of thinking and doing things to even the playing field socially. They support gay/lesbian rights, minority rights, abortion laws, and liberal immigration policies to help ensure that everyone has a similar experience and quality of life. Liberal-Progressives are the most extreme kind of liberals, encompassing both kinds of liberalism.

    Most of us in America, if pressed, are fiscally moderate. Unfortunately, we've been pushed to the political extremes by social issues (which carry more emotion), and tend to ignore the more important money related stuff.

  • 4 years ago

    A conservative liberal. I was for JFK but the Democrats went to left after Nam. Now I am a independent and wish someone would start a third party. Peace

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Liberal - rich bastards living off the system making the system work for them on their terms without question because they KNOW better, what ever that means, read 1984.

    Conservative - rich people who earned their money basted on successful hard work and want the government to leave them, their religion and their private property the **** alone.

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  • 10 years ago

    liberal- believes that the government should help people help themselves, help the ones who cannot, make sure the elderly at least have something to prevent them from starving, government should work for the people, help the poor, freedom, business should be regulated to keep from monopoly or ripping the uneducated off

    conservative- believes that people are responsible for themselves, business should be left alone, tax cuts to rich( trickle down to lower classes), they say smaller government, their definition of what is right and what is wrong is their belief of freedom, don't believe entitlement programs

    just my take on what i believe they are

    32 yr old white male mississippi liberal democrat

  • Spook
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    Which terminology do you wish? Webster, as a formal meaning, or what the terms have come to represent today? I can give you both, but it's not worth it for 2 points.

  • 10 years ago

    Liberal - Rich people got there by abusing poor people and raping the earth and deserve to have their money spread around to the rest of us.

    Conservative - Rich people deserve what they work for or inherit, and it's wrong to unfairly grab their money to distribute it to the lazy scum.

    Sheesh, excellent!

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    this is my standard answer without reference:


  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    How do I know if YOU know?

    You're just another self-proclaimed expert who thinks he can quiz us, then it turns out you don't have a clue yourself.

  • Liberal = Independent thinker

    Conservative = Sheeple

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