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What is the meaning of liberal?

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August 06, 2013 4:39AM

Unfortunately, in politics, "liberal" has become a loaded word, used in a generally positive way by one party (Democrats) and often used as an insult or associated with negative connotations by the opposing party (Republicans). The dictionary definition of "liberal" says it refers to "one who is open to new ideas and willing to discard the traditional view." But many Republican politicians have tried to tie "liberal" with a variety of negative words like "communist" or "socialist," even though historically, this is not an accurate description. Liberals come in all types. Some are in fact more to the left-- pacifists who oppose all war, for example. But most of today's liberals are focused on social justice-- ending poverty and assuring equal rights for all citizens.

Liberals generally believe the government can and should play a role in helping those who are less fortunate. This puts them in opposition to conservatives and Republicans who believe that "big government" is bad and that there she be less government intervention, rather than more. So, what you believe a liberal is depends on whether you are a Republican (who generally associate the word with negative meanings) or a Democrat (who would generally think being a liberal isn't such a terrible thing).