General Question

Pandora's avatar

What does it mean to be a liberal on the left or right side?

Asked by Pandora (28143points) June 2nd, 2010

My understanding is that if you are a liberal (or democrat) you want progression and fair play for all. So if you are on the left or the right, what would that mean?
If your against that than wouldn’t it just mean you are republican?
Seriously just curious. Not trying to offend anyones politcal view.
Just always heard left and right and always wondered what it meant as far as ones politcal view points.

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14 Answers

MissA's avatar

A liberal on the right side would generally mean that you are a republican with a leaning toward more liberal views. A liberal on the left would be redundant.

YARNLADY's avatar

Using words like liberal, conservative, left and right is just journalist shorthand to avoid having to spell it all out every ime you talk about a political stance. Most people are actually blends of it all.

MissA's avatar

@YARNLADY Yes…that’s why I said generally. You are correct.

JLeslie's avatar

Think letter L, Left more or less equals Liberal. R equals Right and Republican. It is not really exactly that clean, but more or less that is how the terms are used.

bolwerk's avatar

“Liberal” and “conservative” don’t really correspond to the terms “left” and “right.” If anything, liberalism is as much a right-wing framework as conservativism because both are about finding social order instead of emphasizing social equality. Liberalism simply asks the state to legislatively or constitutionally assign back to people some rights they should retain for themselves anyway.

And yes, if it’s used without precision, it’s probably propaganda. There’s no excuse for using the word “liberal” as shorthand for Demokrats or “conservative” as shorthand for Republikans. Neither is accurate, and the opposite would be closer to the truth, and it’s plain lazy. Journalists should say what they mean.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Pandora Wikipedia has an excellent article that describes what the terms mean.

tinyfaery's avatar

Liberalism is a product of Modernity. You know, all that social contract, democracy and individulism nonsense. Both major parties are liberal and even some of the lesser known ones.

Herein lies a fundamental problem. We have surpassed modern thought, we’ve even progressed from the postmodern, but the state of our political system is still mired down in ideas and policies that no longer apply to the world we live in.

Liberal has no meaning when applied to the American political system.

JLeslie's avatar

The problem is the terms are used incorrectly. People interchange Conservative and Republican and they are not exactly interchangeable. I saw recently that only 40% of Democrats describe themselves as liberals, but something like 80% of Republicans describe themselves as Conservative. Honestly, I don’t think the stat really means anything unless they define the terms to the test takers, but it is still interesting. I don’t have a souce to site, I wish I could remember who came up with those numbers so I could look up exactly how the questions were asked.

mammal's avatar

a liberal on the right side tends to be tolerant of just about anything, economically speaking and broad minded with regards to social diversity, sympathetic toward social problems. Believes in government rather than Government also Probably lacklustre toward military action.

mammal's avatar

America as a country, as a state entity is definitely not liberal, the confusion lies between liberal economic policies and liberal social policies, they are not the same. American states severely punish the inevitable criminal classes that sprout out of their liberal economic policies. And American foreign policy is chauvinistic and dictatorial.

Pandora's avatar

@tinyfaery I agree. I think that is the problem. We don’t live in a black and white world. Most people are a combo of the two and grey politics is still taboo.
@YARNLADY Thanks for the link. It was very informative. Now I see why it may be applied with either party.
@JLeslie Yeah, I took a test like that once but the problem was all the answer selections where absolutes yes or no and there where plenty that where not that clear of an issue. So I’m not sure how accurate of a gadge it was of my political views. Some of the questions posted could not be a clear cut yes or no because of the way it was posted.

mattbrowne's avatar

Stronger focus on solidarity and the rejection of radical individualism.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Here is a link to the terms “Left-” and “Right-Wing” and how they came about…

mammal's avatar

basically a right wing liberal, doesn’t care about sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender and so forth as long as the pay is good :)

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