I started a thread to better understand the Conservative Perspective, and its even caused me to question some of my stances (but that's a different story). I want to start this thread for two reasons: 1. To facilitate the greater understanding of the liberal philosophy for conservatives, libertarians, etc. and, 2. To spark some debate (as though the USMB needs any more of that, but, c'mon, you all love to argue otherwise you probably wouldn't be here...) SO: There are too many different liberal perspectives to go into each here. The following is a broadened generalization and therefore there will necessarily be exceptions to each item. Liberalism is focused on the humane, on evidenced-based policy making, liberty to the extent that is doesn't infringe on others' rights, and environmental stewardship, among many other things. Liberals generally tend to perceive that society and government need change; change based on research, the scientific method, and rational, logical thinking. I would also say that liberals tend to be idealistic, if to varying degrees. I would say to liberals, no matter what the Constitution, The Declaration of Independence, or any laws might say, treating people fairly and humanely trumps all. Fiscal Liberalism 1. The Federal Government is ruled by we the people and therefore answerable to us. Although it isn't entirely trustworthy because of the people who have been elected in office previously, it is more trustworthy than private business whose bottom line is profit and not public interests. We have hope of reforming the Federal Government into a far better bastion of freedom, equality, and an institution of humane actions and policies. 2. The government is a tool of the people to enforce laws which keep people reasonably safe, to ensure humane treatment and equality, and to protect us from aggressive regimes. It is also the hub of state governments to maintain the union, and to provide a centralized institution of governance for the entire country. 3. Small business is extremely important and should be the focus of national support and economic encouragement. Large corporations put small business out of business. Large corporations are more likely to pollute, lobby for unfair regulation, and treat people inhumanely than small businesses. 4. Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Welfare, and a national health care are vitally important to maintaining a lowered crime rate, lower poverty, equality, and humane treatment of the unlucky, the disabled, the impoverished, uneducated, and elderly and are part of what makes a nation a beacon of humanity. 5. The private sector can not sufficiently take care of the needy on their own, which is why there are government programs. 6. The western European and Canadian models of centralized government and somewhat soclialized economies are great examples of the direction the US should go. 7. All people need help at some point in their lives, for some for all their lives. Social Liberalism Society needs reform to better reflect an intentional direction instead of the status quo. 1. Human rights are more important than anything else, including national security. 2. Everyone's rights and freedom should extend to the point until they infringe on others' rights and freedoms. This includes Roe v. Wade, homosexual marriages (because homosexuality is not a choice), and the social support for previously disenfranchised peoples like women and african-americans, etc. (i.e. affirmative action). 3. We believe in freedom of religion but also freedom FROM religion. The government should be secular so that peoples of all faith and creeds can coexist peacefully. That means laws which are based in evidence-based methods and not on faith-based morality. This also means religious symbols or messages have no place in public places or public schools. 4. The prison-industrial system is in need of sweeping and fundamental reforms. Punishment doesn't deter, and we should do more to rehabilitate and welcome offenders back into society, among other things to lower crime. 5. The police are a somewhat-corrupt organization which has the opportunity to abuse their powers and victimize average citizens. Reforms are necessary. 6. The judicial system is too flawed to maintain as it is. 7. Abolishment of the death penalty. 8. Education is the cornerstone of any healthy society. Other: 1. We need a strong defense system, but we should institute a department of peace to do our utmost to avoid war. We also spend too much in defense, much of which is inefficiently used or misappropriated. War is wrong except in defense of our civilization. 2. The right to bear arms is the leading cause of murder in this country. No matter how many weapons US citizens have, they are no match for the US military. Hunting isn't necessary. At least, automatic weapons should be banned, if not all firearms outside of the military. 3. Liberals would mostly agree: The way things are in American government are mostly bad, because of institutionalized racism, conservativism thwarting reform, tax evasion of the wealthy and of business, and the influence of special interest groups and faith-based organizations. 4. Liberals would mostly agree that: The way things are in American society are mostly good except for the threat to reason by faith-based institutions teaching, ineffective practices in public schools, corporate influence on the media, the dumbing down of television and society as a whole, faith-based morality, the threat to abortion, inequality for homosexuals, and widespread ignorance and lack of gun control. 5. Liberals believe that even with hard work the American dream is elusive for most middle class people and that more needs to be done to restrain the influence of the wealthy and of large corporations so that more middle class Americans can live a decent life. 6. Attaining wealth isn't as important as living a meaningful life. 7. Human beings are essentially capable of good but are often led astray by the hypocrocies of faith-based morality, greed, and ignorance. Regulations should exist to provide everyone with an equal playing field, to restrain the influence of religion in public life, to oppose greed, and to reduce ignorance. 8. The environment is more important than the economy. I'd rather be poor and live on a healthy planet than rich and live on a poisoned one. I'm sure there's more. Any liberals on here have anything to add or expound on? Okay, discuss!