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Equality of opportunity[edit]

I agree that equality of opportunity is not a core part of liberalism. But equality before the law is wrong too - liberals support equality period, but disagree over what that means. TFD (talk) 05:39, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

No, you could say liberals support freedom/liberty(not equality) period, but disagree over what that means.
Liberalism is not centred around equality(see social democracy/socialism, so you could say social democrats/liberal socialists/democratic socialists support equality period, but disagree over what that means).
Liberalism simply refers to a belief in freedom(liberty), and of course there are differences in views about what freedom means and how that freedom is achieved or maintained, classical liberalism, conservative liberalism, social liberalism etc.
It's also worth noting that liberalism in the US more commonly refers to just social liberals or the democratic party, but this article is not about liberalism in US, social liberalism, or classical liberalism, this is about liberalism in general, and the only overarching theme/idea that unites liberals is a belief in freedom, not equality, so therefore references to liberalism supporting equality are not really appropriate to this article --Ranníocóir (talk) 14:28, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
Then why did both the U.S. and French revolutions abolish hereditary aristocracy and inherited class privileges? TFD (talk) 15:43, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
I don't see how saying liberalism is about freedom would imply support for aristocracy.
Belief in meritocracy(not aristocracy) and natural inequality caused by a free market is the main thing that distinguishes liberal conservatives, from (now mostly extinct) aristocratic conservatives, although other forms of traditional conservatism are still alive today, but obviously that's unconnected to liberalism. --Ranníocóir (talk) 19:32, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
Reliable sources say that the two major principles of liberalism are freedom and equality. As I pointed out to you, two major liberal revolutions abolished formal inequality. Their respective literatures said, "All men are created equal" and "liberty, fraternity, equality." You and socialist critics may be right that the equality was hollow, but it is central to its ideology. If they do not talk about it any more, it could be because the equality they defend is no longer challenged. TFD (talk) 20:49, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
Ha, not a socialist here, personally I find the accusation just a bit insulting (;
So let's just keep it civil, no more accusations (:
The point I'm trying to make is that the article is supposed to represent all of liberalism(of which the only overarching theme that unites all liberals is, well, liberty), yet sections of the article about social liberalism, like you said most of the sources/citation are mostly social liberal/US liberal literature, in addition to that it gives the impression that we all changed from classical liberalism to social liberalism, perhaps in countries with electoral systems that favoured two party systems that did happen like the democratic party in the US, the liberal party in canada etc, and so therefore the word liberalism in the US and Canada just refers to social liberalism, this is systemic bias and goes against wikipedia policy by not reflecting a global perspective [1]
Ah yes, you're right, Liberté, égalité, fraternité, a balance of these values is an iconic social liberal/centrist tenet (and to some extent most liberals have some form of social liberalism, we don't live in black in white after all so I'm not saying that a more classical liberal party will never support state intervention in all circumstances), but again this article is not about égalité, fraternité, or social liberalism, this article is just about liberaté i.e. freedom. --Ranníocóir (talk) 23:45, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
Also I think it's worth pointing out that social liberalism is not mutually exclusive with social conservatism, a party can espouse socially liberal economic policies while maintaining more socially conservative traditionalist views, best examples of this are Finland's Centre Party and Ireland's Fianna Fáil party(Both are also ALDE members).
Take same sex marriage in Finland for example, on 12/09/2014[2] the Finnish parliament voted 101-90 in favour of lifting ban on same sex marriage, 29 centre party MPs voted against, 6 centre MPs voted for same sex marriage, wheras the more right-wing conservative liberal party National Coalition Party and an EPP member, 15 MPs voted against ssm, 26 MPs voted for ssm.
Similarly with same sex marriage in Ireland, a constitutional amendment was required, therefore a constitutional referendum was required as that's the only the Irish constitution can be amended, a poll from 18/05/2015[3] about a week before the referendum showed that amoung Fianna Fáil voters 47% would vote yes, 39% would vote no, 12% don't know/hadn't decided, 2% say they won't vote, but amoung voters of the more right-wing conservative liberal party Fine Gael (and EPP member) 60% would vote yes, 25% would vote no, 12% don't know/hadn't decided and 3% say they won't vote. Though unlike the Finland's Centre party, Fianna Fáil's party congress did vote in favour and so the party leadership did publically campaign for a yes vote, however one of their own senators quit over how lacklustre to non-existent their campaign was.[4]
So according to you or this article who then are the real liberals, Fine Gael and the National Coalition Party or Fianna Fáil and the Centre Party (and based on what criteria)? Both? Neither? --Ranníocóir (talk) 23:45, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
No original research requires us to go with what the sources say not re-invent the wheel. I would agree that opposing same sex marriage because the Pope has forbidden it is not a liberal argument. Certainly liberals from Locke to Ludwig van Mises never used Catholic dogma to justify their positions. But despite progressives framing the argument in terms of equality, socially conservative liberals do not base their positions on support of inequality. TFD (talk) 01:11, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
I know it's not a "liberal" mantra, but doesn't the phrase "liberty and justice for all" indicate freedom for everyone regardless of anything else? That sounds like equality to me. The idea that everyone is equally entitled to the same freedoms is the very concept of equality.Kerdooskis (talk) 17:35, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
Equality can have different meanings. You can for example treat two people in an equal manner. The mention of justice implies equity or fairness so not necessarily equal treatment but a fair or equal outcome. --JamesPoulson (talk) 01:14, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

That "not necessarily equal treatment but a fair or equal outcome" sounds a lot like "separate but equal", which in the US at least the Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:44, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

Equity is an approach where a court ignores statute or common law when they would lead to an injust conclusion. For example if you allow your tenant to pay their rent in arrears you cannot evict them for being in arrears, even though the lease agreement and tenancy legislation says you can. Equity is not the basis of law, just one part of it. But in a liberal state, in theory every person is treated the same whether they are a lord or commoner. TFD (talk) 13:10, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

To Rick Norwood, Ranníocóir

I agree with you - Liberalism and Libertarianism is not defined by equality.

To be clear - equality of outcome is communism. Equality of opportunity is more akin to Liberalism and Libertarianism although, some might argue its not exactly the same.

Equality is a vague term that can refer to either equality of opportunity or equality outcome, it is used by socialists and communists to justify their political goals. To have such a vague term in the header is misleading. It is not appropriate in a definition.

One of the founders of Liberty wrote : “Being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.” ― John Locke, Second Treatise of Government

This of course contradicts the equality of outcome meaning proscribed in the lead of the article.

Reference 3 is not relevant :

"With a nod to Robert Trivers' definition of altruistic behavior (Trivers 1971, p. 35), Satoshi Kanazawa defines liberalism (as opposed to conservatism) as "the genuine concern for the welfare of genetically unrelated others and the willingness to contribute larger proportions of private resources for the welfare of such others" (Kanazawa 2010, p. 38).

[3] Satoshi Kanazawa is very fringe and should not be in the lead. I question whether this WP:Frindge is even viable for the main article. Even his expertise is not in this area, see, see article linked below. WP: Weight for the lead.

Advocate deletion of reference. (talk) 14:55, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

You quote Locke, "Being all equal and independent...." That is a clear statement of equality and the basis for his demand for liberty (freedom from harm). Because men are equal, they should be free. The Declaration of Independence begins with the premise ("all men are created equal") and it was the main liberal argument for abolishing slavery. Equality of outcome btw is a liberal not Communist concept. The argument in the U.S. is not whether it is desirable, but whether government should play any role in achieving it. TFD (talk) 17:20, 23 February 2016 (UTC)


If you read his book you would know he was referring to the Law, and that "Being all equal and independent...." referred to everyone's status under that law, whether you were a general, a monarch or a pauper. Therefore this is not equality as you seem to state it to be.

I agree with your second point for abolishing slavery but draw your attention to the word 'created', people - as they make more choices they become less equal, they do not remain equal according to the Liberalists. You can't all be equal if you have the freedom to make your own choices.

'Equality of outcome' reduces everyone to equal poverty, which in practice is what communism does. I would be concerned if Liberals were arguing for this because it involves forcibly removing peoples processions from them. This the first step to dictatorship. As stated by Locke above, people have a right to there own possessions. Equality of outcome is the opposite to Liberty. (talk) 15:52, 27 February 2016 (UTC)

Reliable sources do not support your views, so there is really nothing to discuss. TFD (talk) 00:51, 28 February 2016 (UTC)


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Lead is Fringe[edit]

We have our equality friend here twice ! He seems to be getting in all the leads these days. These are fringe views on Liberalism. The introduction to the lead should stick to what is concrete and accepted not ideas that are pushing the boundaries or new. WP:Weight.

"worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality.[1][2][3] Whereas classical liberalism and European liberalism prioritise liberty, American liberalism and social liberalism stress equality.[4]"

They are quoted but WP:Fringe. And they include country information that has a separate page. WP:Rev

In addition can anyone find the text on [1,2,4]. WP:Verifiable.

See comments below on [3] WP:Fringe.

I propose starting the lead with "

Liberalism, political doctrine that takes protecting and enhancing the freedom of the individual to be the central problem of politics. Liberals typically believe that government is necessary to protect individuals from being harmed by others; but they also recognize that government itself can pose a threat to liberty."

This is clear, uncomplicated, to the point, and not controversial. It also provides a good lead into Locke.

Comments welcome or alternatives ? (talk) 17:08, 27 February 2016 (UTC)

That is a fringe view. It is not what standard textbooks say. If liberals do not believe in equality, why did they remove medieval aristocratic and ecclesiastical privileges? Why did the Liberals in the Parliament Act 1911 remove the power of the Lords to override Commons legislation? TFD (talk) 17:37, 27 February 2016 (UTC)


I was wondering if this article could be semi-protected so that only auto-confirmed users could edit. IP ranges tend to vandalize here. FixCop (talk) 17:58, 12 May 2016 (UTC)

It's pretty infrequent, no need to upgrade it from PC. –Compassionate727 (T·C) 11:46, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Liberalism/GA2. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Tim riley (talk · contribs) 22:00, 25 June 2016 (UTC)

Beginning first read-through. More soonest. Tim riley talk 22:00, 25 June 2016 (UTC)

Initial comments[edit]

Two points arise immediately before I embark on a close reading of the article. First, I see that the nominator is not a contributor to the article. The GA rules state:

While anyone may nominate an article to be reviewed for GA, it is preferable that nominators have contributed significantly and are familiar with the article's subject and its cited sources. Nominators who are not significant contributors to the article should consult regular editors of the article on the article talk page prior to a nomination. The reviewer will be making suggestions to improve the article to GA quality during the review process, therefore the review will require your involvement as nominator. Before nominating an article, ensure that you will be able to respond to these comments in a timely manner.

Has the nominator consulted regular contributors to the article, and is the nominator able to respond to any questions arising from a GA review?

Secondly, the article is written in a mishmash of English and American spellings. At present English spellings predominate but e.g. defence, favour, characterised, centre, organised labour etc are juxtaposed with emphasizes, favor, skepticism, laborers, programs, and so on. This will need to be remedied before the article can be considered for GA. (Later: I see from the article talk page that BrE is specifically adopted, and so the AmE spellings can be summarily Anglicised.)

I'll put the review on hold while the nominator considers these points. If the response is satisfactory I'll continue with the review. – Tim riley talk 07:23, 26 June 2016 (UTC)

The nominator does not appear to have ever edited the article or contacted any of the regular contributors, not that there are many left. So I do not think there is any reason to wait for them. It's not as if there is anyone else who wants to do it. Also, you should read through the discussion for the unsuccessful featured article nomination. TFD (talk) 16:31, 26 June 2016 (UTC)
Alright, thanks. The Four Deuces is correct, I have not made any major edits to the article, although I'm interested in and familiar with the subject that I believe I'm about as qualified as anyone still here to take care of things. I'll take care of the alternating English spellings, and then take a look at the FAR. —Compassionate727 (T·C) 17:20, 26 June 2016 (UTC)

I'm pleased to see that the spelling has been addressed, and at a first glance it is all now in BrE. (I'll fix any stragglers I may run across.) Turning to the substance of the article, there are far too many parts that lack citations, to the extent that it is a borderline quick fail. I can – though I'd rather not – add citation needed tags where appropriate: a temporary disfigurement of the page, but conceivably helpful in present circumstances. Let me know. Tim riley talk 13:43, 3 July 2016 (UTC)

Concluding review There has been no relevant activity on the article in the week since the last comment, above. I'll give it 24 hours more and then close the review if no progress has been made. Tim riley talk 11:17, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

Regrettably, the work needed to bring the article to GA standard has not been done, and I see no sign that it is likely to be in the near future. I'm failing the article this time round, and hope for better in future. Tim riley talk 13:51, 12 July 2016 (UTC)


This information about liberal personality was deleted, but should be included.

Research by various psychologists suggests a constellation of personality traits defining most liberals. Liberals may be less motivated by fearful or threatening stimuli, less prone to abide by rules, exhibit more tolerance for ambiguity, and exhibit more tolerance towards out-group interests. They also sought conditions with less stability, less order, less familiar circumstances, less conformity, and they exhibit less loyalty toward their ingroup. [1] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Benjaminikuta (talkcontribs) 22:07, 26 June 2016 (UTC)

It is too tangential to the article, the psychological difference between liberals in the U.S. who are called liberals and liberals in the U.S. who are called conservatives. TFD (talk) 22:17, 26 June 2016 (UTC)
In US "liberal" means a leftist, in Europe it means a conservative. US conservatism is classical liberalism. Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:19, 16 July 2016 (UTC)

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  1. ^ [1], Aggregation of work by, among others, psychologist Jonathan Haidt, author of "The Righteous Mind".