Historically, "liberal" has been associated with: But – "the left" has dramatically reshaped the concept of liberal with its "politically correct" agenda.

"The left" is a term which refers (with no particular precision) to the segment of the political spectrum typically associated with any of several strains of socialism, social democracy, or liberalism.   Its values include: equality, social justice, labor rights and trade unionism, concern for the poor, working-class solidarity, and internationalism.   The left is against: hierarchy and authority, strict adherence to tradition, monoculturalism, privilege for the wealthy.   The terminology of left-right politics was originally based on the seating arrangement of parliamentary partisans during the French Revolution.   The more ardent proponents of radical revolutionary measures (including democracy and republicanism) were commonly referred to as leftists because they sat on the left side of legislative assemblies.   [Wikipedia]

"One of the curious things about political opinions is how often the same people line up on opposite sides of [remarkably] different issues."   [Thomas Sowell]



General values
Man is basically good. Man is basically self-absorbed.
Man is basically responsible, therefore motivation springs from within. Man is basically lazy, therefore motivation springs from want.
Capitalism is a mechanism for promoting greed. Capitalism is a mechanism for coping with greed.   [William F. Buckley]
Tolerance is the only virtue that should be exercised in the halls of goverment. You can't legislate morality, but you can't legislate without it.
Equality.   All men are equal. Freedom.   Free men are not equal.   Equal men are not free.
Happiness is an inalienable right.   It is the natural function of government to supply it. Happiness is the fruit of opportunity, effort, achievement.
Entitlements Once government displaces private initiative, then it induces an attitude of public entitlement.   Entitlement always degenerates into necessity and dependency.   Invention is the mother of necessity.   [Thorstein Veblen]
xxx The course of history shows that as government grows, liberty decreases.   [Thomas Jefferson]
xxx Human selfishness is a given. Moral and socially beneficial behavior can be evoked from man only by incentives.   [Adam Smith]
From each according to his ability.   To each according to his need. Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have.   [Thomas Jefferson]
Security Opportunity
All opinions are equal. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
Multi-culturalism — America is a tossed salad. Unity — America is a melting pot.
Moral relativism.   Situational ethics.   Feelings, opinions, and preferences.   "Certainty is the enemy of decency and humanity" Moral absolutes.   Transcendent principles.   Right and wrong.
Rights Responsibilities
Goal – the common will
Means – the government
Goal – the common good
Means – the individual
Man is the center of his own reality.   Purpose is derived from reason. Purpose is derived from allegiance to an ideal greater than oneself.
Liberty, equality, fraternity (brotherhood) [motto of the French Revolution] Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness [preamble of the Declaration of Independence]
Jean-Jacques Rousseau – the natural goodness of humanity John Locke – human nature allows men to be selfish and lustful
"The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself." [Daniel Patrick Moynihan] "The central conservative truth is that is is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society."
xxx xxx
Closed System versus Open System     Tom Demarco, Timothy Lister     Peopleware
1) Historians long ago formed an abstraction about different theories of value.   The Spanish Theory [a closed system, a "zero sum" system] held that only a fixed amount of value existed on earth, and therefore the path to wealth was to acquire it from other people. 2) Then there was the English Theory [an open system, the conservative mentality] that held that value could be created through ingenuity and technology.
4) ... While the Spanish spun their wheels trying to exploit the land and the Indians in the New World.   They moved huge quantities of gold across the ocean, and all they got for their effort was enormous inflation – too much gold chasing too few goods. 3) So ... the English had an Industrial Revolution.
We use the same words, but we don't understand the same meaning
A liberal thinks of liberty as something to be enlarged.

Liberty is freedom from restraint.

Liberty is about personal prosperity and freedom from restraint, and we always deserve more.

A conservative thinks of liberty as something to be preserved.

Liberty is opportunity to pursue.

Liberty is about opportunities, and we should not be constrained from exercising them.   [Clinton Rossiter]

A liberal sees a man drowning forty feet from shore.   She throws him forty feet of rope, and then drops her end saying she has to go off to do another good deed. A conservative sees a man drowning forty feet from shore.   She throws him twenty feet of rope, and tells him to start swimming.
Liberals want things to be fool-proof. Conservatives recognize that a fool-proof society tends to create fools.
Liberals dominate cities, therefore they must attract. Conservatives dominate rural areas, therefore they must repel.
Unconstrained versus Constrained     Thomas Sowell     A Conflict of Visions
Human nature is malleable and perfectible. Human nature is unchanging and selfish.
Unconstrained: human nature can be improved through education, programs, and spending. Constrained: human nature is inherently imperfect and hasn't essentially changed throughout history.
Man is capable of directly feeling other people's needs as more important than his own, and therefore of consistently acting impartially, even when his own interests or those of his family are involved.   This is only true of the underlying nature of human potential, not the way most people currently behave.   The intention to benefit others is the essence of virtue, and virtue is the road to human happiness. Any attempt to change human nature is vain and pointless.   Trade-offs, rather than solutions, are the most practical target to focus on.   Turning prejudices and vices to good account rather than trying to dispel or repress them. "Human selfishness is a given. Moral and socially beneficial behavior can be evoked from man only by incentives."   [Adam Smith]
This view assumes that there exists a morally superior "intellectual elite" class which has the ability (and therefore the responsibility) to make key and sweeping social decisions on the behalf of society at large.   A primary focus is to promote equality of results, and adherents deem it acceptable to espouse redistribution of land and wealth to the poor, affirmative action, judicial activism, and direct government involvement in social issues. Adherents reject the notion that mankind has the ability to create all-encompassing "solutions" to social problems.   They tend to favor practical trade-offs that benefit society at large, but which work within the constraints of existing laws and social processes.   Similarly, adherents of the constrained vision generally revere the wisdom inherent in religion, tradition, and timeless experience.   This vision naturally lends support for capital markets, limited government, strict Constitutional interpretation, and general social stability.
The Evolution of Man
Human history is an increasing monotonic function. Human history is cyclical
Government is the answer
The nation of Israel rejected God's model of a spiritual kingdom and its encumbent requisites of faith and responsibility.   They wanted to conform to the model of their neighbors, and install a king that could make them feel safe and secure. The God of Israel expected the people to look to Him alone, not to any earthly authority.   When an external enemy threatened, He would send a "judge" to serve as His instrument of deliverance.
1)   Then all the leaders of Israel went to Samuel and said to him, "Appoint a king to rule over us, so that we will have a king, as other countries have."   [I Samuel 8:4-5]

3)   The people paid no attention to Samuel, but said, "No! We want a king, so that we will be like other nations, with our king to rule over us and to lead us out to war and to fight our battles."   [I Samuel 8:19-20]

2)   "This is how your king will treat you," Samuel explained. "He will make soldiers of your sons ... Your sons will have to plow his fields, harvest his crops, and make his weapons. Your daughters will have to make perfumes for him and work as his cooks and his bakers. He will take your best fields, vineyards, and olive groves. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your grapes. He will take your servants and your best cattle and donkeys, and make them work for him ... And you yourselves will become his slaves."   [I Samuel 8:11-17]
The concept of evil
Use of the word "evil" in the halls of government is troubling to liberals.   Nations and individuals are not evil - they are decent at heart.   Conflicts can always be explained in terms of a lack of misunderstanding.   Liberals rarely blame people for the evil they do.   Instead, they blame economics, parents, capitalism, racism, and all manner of external forces that mold or condition. There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men.   [Edmund Burke, more than two centuries ago]

Civilized people cannot fathom, much less predict, the actions of evil people.   [MGySgt Ed Evans, 28 Jan 2003]

Unintended Consequences
Price controls make "things" (food, rent, electricity, health care, hurricane relief) available and affordable. Price controls do nothing but encourage demand, and discourage supply.   They unilaterally mangle the economic signals, without producing any meaningful benefit.
Take care of the poor! If you what more of something (poverty, illegitimacy, broken homes) – subsidize it.
Tax the rich! If you want less of something (jobs, prosperity, tax revenue) – tax it.
Make the minimum wage, a "livable" wage! Will dramatically reduce the number of entry-level jobs, will largely benefit teenagers that are working just to earn some spending money, and will drive a lot of employment "under ground".
Feelings versus Reason
Choices and policies that feel good Choices and policies that result in good
Theory versus Practice
In theory, there is little difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is little similarity between theory and practice.
Ideal versus Real versus Ideal
In the European left-wing Guardian, Martin Kettle reassures his readers that the Iraq war was "a reckless, provocative, dangerous, lawless piece of unilateral arrogance." "But," he concedes, "it has nevertheless brought forth a desirable outcome which would not have been achieved by the means that the critics advocated  –  right though they were in most respects."
Diplomacy versus War
Diplomacy is the realm of the intelligent, but war is for dummies who can't talk their way out of a crisis.

In 1938, Hitler used threats and political maneuvering to overthrow the government of nearby Austria.   He then set his sights on the Sudetenland – a region of Czechoslovakia that was part of an earlier German state.   Desperate to avoid war, Neville Chamberlain (Great Britain) and Edouard Daladier (France) achieved "peace in our time" by agreeing that Germany could have the Sudetenland.   In return, Hitler promised not to make any further territorial demands in Europe.   Six months later, Germany proceeded to occupy all of Czechoslovakia.   Great Britain and France responded diplomatically by creating alliances with Turkey, Greece, Romania, and Poland.   Another six months later, Germany invaded Poland; and World War II was the result.

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral conviction which thinks nothing worth fighting for, is worse.   [John Stuart Mill, prominant 19th century British liberal]

Negotiation is an often-used tool of despots in order to buy time or out-flank the opponent.   Bad guys understand that  –  diplomacy is the art of saying, "Nice doggy," while secretly gathering a sufficiently lethal bag of rocks.

At the end of World War II, Winston Churchill said that never was there a war that would have been easier to prevent.   The earlier that preventive action would have been taken against Hitler, the lower the cost would have been.   But history, he added, showed "how counsels of prudence and restraint may become the prime agents of mortal danger."

Using the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was immoral, and has permanently stained the moral credibility of America. War is an ugly thing, and the lesser of many evils was chosen.
Our invasions in Korea, Viet Nam, Grenada, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Iraq were immoral. Our intervention in Bosnia was correct. Our invasion of Afghanistan was dangerous, we were lucky to win, and now we have created the world's largest illegal drug supplier. Proactive, responsible
Nuance versus Conviction
The certainty that comes with patriotism is becoming a major problem because it tends to "divide Americans."   Therefore, "we need to fear and temper that kind of rigidity."   [New York Times editorial] Here is a sample sentence.
"Certainty is the enemy of decency and humanity in people who are sure they are right, like Osama bin Laden and John Ashcroft."   [Anthony Lewis, New York Times columnist] Here is a sample sentence.