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Classical vs Modern liberalism

triangle.128k
Posts: 3,646
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3/12/2016 2:51:04 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
Liberalism as defined by the dictionary means for freedom/liberty, equality, and forward-thinking and being open to new ideas. However, the dictionary's definition is quite outdated. Liberalism as defined by the dictionary was "Classical Liberalism." The first Liberals were in favor of free markets, small government, and more civil liberty. Modern liberals on the other hand are against the free market and they want to impose more statism and bigger government. They don't support as many civil liberties either, especially since laws against hate speech are becoming popular among liberals.

So to what I see, Liberalism has been distorted by people such as statists or socialists. They tried to pass off the transition to closed markets and socialism as "progress." Through this, the definition of "liberal" has been changed. The dictionary definition of liberal wouldn't quite accurately describe modern liberals, even though many modern liberals like to use the dictionary to show their ideology is better than conservatism or anything else.

This is at least what I am making sense by the definition of Liberalism changing. I would like to see what the rest of DDO thinks about this. And as a question to liberals, do you think the original liberals (some including Voltaire, John Locke, Adam Smith, and George Washington) would have supported modern day liberalism?
Raisor
Posts: 4,461
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3/12/2016 2:53:35 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
I mean conservatism has changed too...

Conservative economics tends toward liberal economics, conservative social policy is just policy aligned with certain Christian worldviews.

Meaning shifts with time and context
triangle.128k
Posts: 3,646
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3/12/2016 3:38:01 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 3/12/2016 2:53:35 AM, Raisor wrote:
I mean conservatism has changed too...

Conservative economics tends toward liberal economics, conservative social policy is just policy aligned with certain Christian worldviews.

Meaning shifts with time and context

True, I just felt the need to point out socialist/statist infiltration of liberalism.
TN05
Posts: 4,492
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3/12/2016 3:46:24 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 3/12/2016 2:53:35 AM, Raisor wrote:
I mean conservatism has changed too...

Conservative economics tends toward liberal economics, conservative social policy is just policy aligned with certain Christian worldviews.

Meaning shifts with time and context

Well, it depends on where you are. Here, conservatism is essentially classical liberalism with religious overtones. In other places, it means support for the status quo above all else.
PetersSmith
Posts: 5,844
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3/12/2016 4:16:40 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 3/12/2016 2:51:04 AM, triangle.128k wrote:
Liberalism as defined by the dictionary means for freedom/liberty, equality, and forward-thinking and being open to new ideas. However, the dictionary's definition is quite outdated. Liberalism as defined by the dictionary was "Classical Liberalism." The first Liberals were in favor of free markets, small government, and more civil liberty. Modern liberals on the other hand are against the free market and they want to impose more statism and bigger government. They don't support as many civil liberties either, especially since laws against hate speech are becoming popular among liberals.

So to what I see, Liberalism has been distorted by people such as statists or socialists. They tried to pass off the transition to closed markets and socialism as "progress." Through this, the definition of "liberal" has been changed. The dictionary definition of liberal wouldn't quite accurately describe modern liberals, even though many modern liberals like to use the dictionary to show their ideology is better than conservatism or anything else.

This is at least what I am making sense by the definition of Liberalism changing. I would like to see what the rest of DDO thinks about this. And as a question to liberals, do you think the original liberals (some including Voltaire, John Locke, Adam Smith, and George Washington) would have supported modern day liberalism?

Classical liberalism is the belief that the economy is based on individual liberty, private property, and a free market. Back during Smith's and the Founder's time, all political individuals were classical liberals. However, where they differed was on the level of government control. Back during the CL society, "conservative" did not mean what it means today. Conservatism was based on tradition and obligation (the obligation to preserve our traditions). Rather, we had economic view differences where one side, the "right" side, believed further in the free market and those further on the "left" side believed in a bit more government control over the economy.

The Founders, specifically Madison, wanted to establish a government capable of controlling the violence and damage caused by "factions", any group of people that exist to protect and promote their economic interests and political opinions. The Founders did not like the idea of political parties because it promotes factionalism. The representative government exists to guard against the rule of the mob. Madison believed that in a larger country and with more representatives, faction leaders will not get elected and betray the interests of the people. In some, the Founders made the constitution so that there was a strong federal government because they felt people were incompetent and mob-like. Thus the Federalists would support modern day liberalism, while the Anti-Federalists wouldn't be too fond of it. It should be noted further, to address your "civil liberties" argument, Madison actually did consider the possibility of destroying liberty to remove the factions, but figured it was impossible to completely destroy liberty as that was essential to life.
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