Talk:Liberalism/Archive 14

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Archive 13 Archive 14

AnomieBOT's edit

AnomieBOT says the article is unbalanced. Any idea why, or how to address the problem? Rick Norwood (talk) 14:49, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

It was actually User:, the bot merely added the date. I will remove the tag because no reasons were provided. TFD (talk) 16:26, 30 October 2012 (UTC)


An editor has removed "equality" from the lead as "propaganda".[2] Since the term is clearly sourced, could the editor explain his actions before reverting again. TFD (talk) 16:27, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

I have reinstated the term "equality", but I noticed that the source linked was a theologian source. That is not acceptable for such a fundamental and defining statement on liberalism. We will need a source from the political theory or history department, not from the theology department. Shouldn't be too difficult to find I suspect, but it is important that the sources are impeccable for these kinds of basic statements about rather important political theories and historical terms. --Saddhiyama (talk) 00:21, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
I added a different source, although I do not see what is wrong with using a book about liberalism written by a theologian if it is published by the Oxford University Press. TFD (talk) 00:50, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
I don't doubt it counts as a reliable source in Wikipedia, but I also noticed that it is published in the series called "Oxford Studies in Theological Ethics". Not exactly a prime source regarding fundamental definitions about liberalism. Being a bit familiar with your edits I am also quite sure you know that this was not an optimal source for this kind of general definition. --Saddhiyama (talk) 00:58, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
I feel pretty strongly on this matter because right now my state of Australia is governed by a political party that calls itself liberal, but in fact has little interest at all in equality. Before entering the discussion I thought I'd ponder what we mean by equality. I note that, unfortunately, the word equality in the lead is a link to the disambiguation page for the word, which of course links to a myriad other things, including Equality before the law, Equality of outcome or equality of condition, Gender equality, Racial equality, and Social equality. So, what DO we mean? There's not much point debating whether the word should be there if we don't know what it means. HiLo48 (talk) 01:23, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
It means the everyone has the same political and legal rights, regardless of inherited feudal class. Presumably the liberal members of the legislature did not inherit their seats and if a bank wants to foreclose on a lord, he cannot demand a trial before his fellow lords. TFD (talk) 02:23, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

Liberalism is not an egalitarian movement in the classical sense. As ideals liberty and equality are obviously and demonstrably incompatible. Liberty is equality before the law. Actual equality could only come briefly from an illegitimate authoritarianism. Social democrats only took on the name "liberal" in the 19th century. There should be no controversy in this article because the simple truth of the matter is that the meaning of the word "liberal" has been altered. Social liberalism and classical liberalism both definitely have a place in this article. If we're concerned with truth the first sentence should read something along the lines of: "Liberalism is a political philosophy classically concerned with liberty, and progressively concerned with social equality." Then the article should go into the history of classical liberalism and it's evolution into social liberalism. Some of the editors clearly have a bias and would just as soon have the first line read "liberalism is a political philosophy concerned with equality" and leave liberty, natural law, and the whole of European history out of the picture completely. (I wonder how the page on egalitarianism would differ then?) All in all if we're concerned with validity this article needs extensive work without any of the political polemic, propaganda and censorship that's going on beneath the hood. The ownership style reverting that keeps taking place obviously doesn't warrant good faith. If we want to clear up the article a good source would be the Eminent historian Ralph Raico and his essays in "Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School". lets get this sorted chaps. It doesn't matter what our politics are. Wikipedia isn't about pushing meaning out of the language. Rothbardanswer (talk) 18:49, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

Your edit is original research. You have provided no sources and your edit goes against mainstream views. Liberalism and social democracy are two different things. The book you mention is not a reliable source and in fact Mises supported equality, he just opposed how some people interpreted it. TFD (talk) 20:38, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
So, how are WE interpreting it? Your response above is just that, YOUR response. It doesn't solve the problem that the hyperlink in the article takes us to the disambiguation page, which could lead readers anywhere. Your opinion is helpful, but what does the rest of our editorship think? HiLo48 (talk) 21:28, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
We should not link to a disambiguation page. I believe the best link is to egalitarianism. TFD (talk) 21:47, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

The lead

The lead was recently changed to begin, "Liberalism (from the Latin liberalis) is a political philosophy or worldview founded on the idea of liberty, tolerance and the progressive improvement in equality of living standards." (changed text in my italics.)[3] It is not backed up by the source. No sources group tolerance with the major principles of freedom and equality. And the statement that "the progressive improvement in equality of living standards" is a principle of liberalism, or even any specific form of liberalism, is absolutely wrong. TFD (talk) 22:47, 11 December 2012 (UTC)


Can it be said that only liberals supported civil rights for blacks in the 60s, or was it conservatives as well? Pass a Method talk 21:28, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

I grew up at that time, and it is not a question of which group supported what, but rather a question of how words were used. The word liberal was used to describe support for Civil Rights. The word conservative was used to describe support for racial segregation. Over time, as support of segregation grew less and less popular, people who wanted to promote the conservative cause, like William F. Buckley, Jr., issued public statements saying that they had changed their minds. People who were not alive then have trouble understanding how the meaning of words has shifted, a problem complicated by the fact that in the South, the conservative party was the Democratic Party. The South was solid Democrat until Democratic president Lyndon Johnson supported Civil Rights. Then, almost overnight, they became solid Republican, and remain so to this day. It is because of Lyndon Johnson that almost all Blacks vote for the Democrat in presidential elections. Rick Norwood (talk) 21:43, 15 December 2012 (UTC)
Both writers here are talking about the USA. There were parallel civil rights movements in other countries. I'm familiar with that in Australia. Because the more conservative major political party there calls itself the Liberal Party, the discussion above is moot for Australia. This article is global. It must be very careful with different language uses in different parts of the world. HiLo48 (talk) 22:45, 15 December 2012 (UTC)
The section refers to "modern" liberals, which presumably excludes right-wing elements in the two US parties and the Australian Liberal Party. The opponents of the CRA also used liberal arguments to defend their position. TFD (talk) 23:53, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

We really need to get rid of the American bias here. All around the world there are extant classical liberal thinkers, economists and political parties. Most are called libertarian, neo-liberal or just classical liberal (the term is applied in retrospect by people like Hayek who told the UK liberal democrats that there party didn’t warrant the word). The point is; classical liberalism is extant.

The history of both classical and social liberalism goes into the present.

During the American civil rights movement there were classical liberals like Barry Goldwater. His position was constitutionalist. He believed in freedom of association and freedom of disasosiation. So he rejected the state enforced segregation but also rejected state enforced association (even though he personally rejected racism).

In contrast an economic and political analysis of South Africa shows that Apartheid began as a labour movement and it was the classical liberals that fought it. See: The Economics of the Colour Bar: A Study of the Economic Origins and Consequences of Racial Segregation in South Africa by William Harold Hutt. This deserves weight in the article. Rothbardanswer (talk) 11:26, 16 December 2012 (UTC)

HiLo48: I agree. This article must not become too focused on the US. When Pass a Method asked about Civil Rights, by first thought was about my own experience.

Rothbardanswer: The problem with using Think Tanks as sources is that they always arrive at the conclusion they want to arrive at, no matter what the question is.

Rick Norwood (talk) 12:42, 16 December 2012 (UTC)

Rick Norwood: The Economics of the Colour Bar was originally printed in London by Merritt & Hatcher Ltd. The Mises institute isn't a think tank. It receives all it's funding independently of political institutions. Many of it's works are reprints and you could probably find multiple publishers, but you'd be hard pressed to find a publisher more objective and useful than the Mises institute. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rothbardanswer (talkcontribs) 13:42, 16 December 2012 (UTC)

The book says it was "published for the Institute of Economic Affairs" (p. 4). Merritt & Hatcher were merely the printers (p. 5). As the preface says, it is "a new contribution to the debate that has been overlooked both by supporters and opponents" (p. 7). It was published in 1964 and therefore probably not a good source in any case. The author makes the point that color disrimination was introduced to appease mining unions (p. 62), not that it began as a labor movement. And he does not deny that racism in S. Africa had its origins in slavery and colonialism. I suppose the point is that the free market liberal mine owners would have been happy to hire black workers at lower wages, rather than discriminate against them by taking on higher paid white workers. TFD (talk) 18:03, 16 December 2012 (UTC)

Regarding the issue of the continued existence of classical liberalism: Yes, classical liberals certainly exist, but, in the vast majority of cases, they are members of the same political parties and organizations as the social liberals. The Liberal International, for example, is very happy to include both laissez-faire parties and pro-welfare-state parties. The point I am trying to make is that the distinction between classical liberalism and social liberalism is not nearly as sharp or clear-cut as you make it out to be, Rothbardanswer. With the exception of the most extreme supporters of each side, the majority of classical and social liberals see each other as part of a single continuum, not as two entirely distinct traditions. Many classical liberals support some small degree of welfare provision (Hayek himself occasionally made comments in this direction), and most social liberals, although they support state intervention in the economy, support less of it than their non-liberal rivals in the same country. Thus, classical and social liberals often find common ground in advocating a smaller state than the non-liberals would like (though they may disagree on precisely how small it should get, in an ideal liberal world). User1961914 (talk) 14:37, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

I agree. The debate within liberalism today is about levels of social welfare spending and tax rates rather than whether to return to 19th century economics. And "progressives" have accepted many of the neoliberal reforms of the 1980s and in fact pioneered them in the 1970s. TFD (talk) 19:34, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

A few edits

I made a few edits to the lede, which I consider to be rather small, but I want to explain them here because this is an article that tends to attract controversy.

The last time I looked at this article was last summer. I noticed some changes had been made to the lede since then - one of them sourced (the one mentioning the decline of classical liberalism in favor of social democracy and social liberalism), and others unsourced. The unsourced changes turned the story about ideologies in the 20th century into a story about countries (or "regimes") in the 20th century. Thus, the rivalry between liberalism, communism and fascism was presented as a rivalry between countries, whereas previously it had been presented as a rivalry between ideologies. Since this is an article about the ideology of liberalism, it is appropriate to talk about ideological conflicts, not about the governments of the world at the time of the Cold War. An ideological conflict is not (or not only) a conflict between countries. Liberalism is present in many countries where the government is not liberal, and non-liberal ideologies are present in liberal democracies. So I have made the necessary edits to return the lede to talking about ideologies, not countries. -- User1961914 (talk) 14:16, 19 December 2012 (UTC)


I do not believe that the individual editor who removed my reference ( juanuary 16-17), 2013):

has read my book. So before the beginning of any discussion on the contents of liberalism, he would prove (immediate proof) that he had read my book. C.G. January 17, 2013.

The references section is meant to list books that are referenced in the article instead of repeating them in Liberalism#Notes. However your book is not used as a source for the article. TFD (talk) 17:59, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

So would it be to inaugurate a bibliography section open to all contributions, including foreigners. Otherwise whoever is not part of some "inner circle" is condemned to stay out ... Excellent example of scientificity! C.G. January 17 , 2013. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:01, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Even if there were a bibliography section, it would include only the most well-known works. Certainly there is no discrimination against "foreigners", but the best known works (Pareto, Gramsci, De Ruggiero, Bobbio) tend to be translated into English. Has your book been reviewed? TFD (talk) 21:26, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

You did not answer my question. You must not change the subject: the point is not established between me and Bobbio who is best known: It is obvious that Bobbio is most famous. However, a scholar is not a pop singer ... The scientific method requires (especially when you want to do the editor of an encyclopedia) to read my book, and judging on the basis of what is written there. So shut me out or not, only after, not before ... A scientific work is not a hit musical ... And, unfortunately, like every social scientist knows, ignorance of the scientific method brings with it - always - the discrimination... C.G. 18 January 2013 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:46, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

There are policies that we must follow, such as WP:WEIGHT. Obviously that restricts what can be added to articles. TFD (talk) 14:53, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Caption to the picture on child labor

In the "Aftermath of the French Revolution" section, there's a picture that apparently depicts child labor with a caption that reads: "The relatively laissez-faire liberal economy of the Industrial Revolution and rise of living standards allowed an increasingly larger number of parents to avoid sending their children to work.[41][42]"

Source 41 is an article from the 19th century, which seems questionable to include since doing so may involve original research, the citation lacks explanation on how to interpret it, and since the source was written in an era when child labor was legal. Source 42 mentions that the claim that the laissez-faire liberal economy of the Industrial Revolution allowed parents to avoid sending their children to work is in fact controversial among historians. So this source does not really support the caption. It does emphasize that the Industrial Revolution was accompanied by an increase in child labor, which would seem to undermine the thrust of the caption (i.e., the liberal economy of the Industrial Revolution at best fixed a problem with rising living standards that it may have helped create with social upheaval).

The relationship between liberalism and child labor in the 19th century is complicated. I don't mean to suggest that liberal economic policies were primarily responsible for the increase in child labor in Britain in the 19th century, but the caption misleadingly suggests that the sources it presents suggest the opposite, which they do not. It should be changed by someone currently working on the article. (talk) 07:37, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

The image is from Conservative MP Lord Ashley's Mines Commission of 1842,[4] which led to the Mines and Collieries Act 1842 banning children under ten from working in coal mines. The caption was changed and is wholly misleading. I will restore the original caption. TFD (talk) 12:33, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

The editor who credits "classical liberalism" with the reduction in child labour in England has put that view back, but it is not supported by his sources, which credit other factors, notably scientific advances. Rick Norwood (talk) 13:25, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

I re-restored it. TFD (talk) 03:16, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

Recent edit: Statue of George III

This edit restores unsourced information to the article and I will remove it. It also includes an obscure painting of US revolutionary soldiers removing a statue of George III made decades after the event. TFD (talk) 02:51, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

I can see both sides of this discussion. Maybe, instead of a blanket revert war, we could discuss the points one at a time. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:40, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. I cant devote much time to the discussion right now, but don't let that stop us. Let the points begin. For one, I'd like to point out that the painting referenced depicts a well-documented historic event, which has been portrayed in a number of depictions that could just as easily illustrate it. The assertion that the particular image is "obscure", which I by no means concede btw, seems irrelevant to its value in this context. Beyond its seemingly obvious value in depicting an historic event, wouldn't it be and added bonus to expose the reader to new an interesting material?Shoreranger (talk) 02:47, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

I don't see anything wrong with the picture. The only reason I can see for removing it would be evidence that it or the caption is historically inaccurate.Rick Norwood (talk) 14:36, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

The caption says, "Revolutionaries tear down a statue of George III of Great Britain in New York City shortly after General George Washington of the Continental Army had the United States Declaration of Independence publicly read to his troops nearby on June 9, 1776. The gilt lead statue was mostly melted down for musket balls to fight the coming battles with the British army."

The file description says, "A romanticized depiction of the Sons of Liberty destroying the statue after the Declaration was read by George Washington to citizens and his troops in New York City on July 9, 1776. Working decades after the event, the artist paints an imagined image of the scene. Despite the presence of Native Americans, women and children, eyewitness accounts place only soldiers, sailors and more of the rougher sorts of civilians at the event. Additionally, historical records indicate the statue depicted King George III of England in ancient Roman garb based on the Renaissance sculpture of a Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, and not the contemporary 18th clothing depicted in this painting."[5]

The artist, Johannes Adam Simon Oertel was a former confederate officer and professor of Christian Art at the University of the South, best known for his painting "Rock of Ages."

An 1840 history of New York says (p. cci), "In 1776 it was thrown down and tradition says converted into bullets...."[6]

So it is an obscure painting that misrepresents an obscure event. The destruction of statues is fairly common as a symbolic act in revolutions. But that was not the case here - the comparable event would be the Boston Tea Party. Statues of reigning monarchs were fairly rare in the colonies and did not have the symbolic significance of say statues of Stalin.

The date of the painting (1859), the reference to the Sons of Liberty and the politics of the artist make it likely that it was a pro-slavery, Copperhead message. The federal government was like George III because they would deprive people of the right to own slaves. (Notice no colored folk in the painting.)

TFD (talk) 17:42, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

The most obscure thing about this as far as I can tell is the politics of the artist. What bearing does that have on the image? The basic facts of the event are accurate: a crowd of revolutionaries tore down a statue of a monarch in an act of civil disobendience based on their beliefs around liberty. How would the reader even become aware or associated the politics of the artist with this image or article, and what difference would it make? In addition, what evidence is there that there was - as implied - limited "symbolic significance" of the statue in focus? If there was such limited significance, why did the revolutionaries target it? That seems like a biased opinion. There are a number of other images depicting this event, two of which I think nicely capturing it may be found here: Even if the event were "obscure", which the number of histories and images recounting it seem to indicate it is *not*, it still illustrates the point well. Instead of removing the entire reference, why doesn't anyone who objects to the suggested image replace it with another one easily found on Google or elsewhere, and download it to Wikipedia? I would not suggest censoring any other images based on the politics of their author, however. Shoreranger (talk) 16:51, 18 June 2013 (UTC)
The basic facts are false. The Sons of Liberty did not tear down the statute and there was no gathering of patriots to witness the event, left alone a native Indian. While the politics of the artist is irrelevant, the political message of the painting is not. If it is a pro-slavery message it is not a good representation of liberalism. If you think it is a good image, then show me a book about liberalism that mentions it.
Why don't you pick an alternative image of the event? You seem to have a problem with the caption most of all - change it then. The statue was torn down after a public reading of the Declaration while the harbor was full of invading British ships and the city filled with the entire Continental army. That happend. Its a fact. Many images in this article are romanticised versions of events. That doesn't devalue their effectiveness in conveying an idea. Caption it so that it conveys the facts well. Or pick another image of the event, as I've provided. The American Revolution was about liberalism, in good part - any event of this sort from the Revolution that is captured in an image supports that. Unless, of course, any book about the American Revolution is a "book about liberalism." Is every image in this article in "a book about liberalism"? That seems like an arbitrary and capricious requirement, and open to great amounts of interpretation. And, if the image is not popular - which by no means makes it obscure - then I suggest we are doing a service to readers by expanding their knowledge by including it, instead of censoring it based on obscure criteria that are not defensible by Wikipedia standards. Shoreranger (talk) 17:28, 18 June 2013 (UTC)
Idealized versions of historical events that are included in articles usually have historical significance themselves, such as contemporaneous versions of the Boston Massacre. While idealized, they presented the events as people perceived them or would perceive them once the images were circulated. But what reason is there to include a depiction painted 80 years after the event that falsely has the Sons of Liberty tearing down the statute, misrepresents the statue's clothing and includes civilians and a native Indian who were not there? And why is this forgotten event important anyway? TFD (talk) 18:45, 18 June 2013 (UTC)
Again - select among the collection of images that depict this event, then. Your issue seems to be with your interpretation of this particular image, which there is no indication the casual reader would share, not so much the reasonably apparant value to the reader and scholar of the event's significance - which has been recorded in a number of recent histories, and goes back at least as far as the 1840 work you referenced, and likely much further. It is a dramatic event that vividly depicts civil disobedience in defense of libertarian ideals that includes the readily apparent destruciton of an obvious symbol of monarchic authority. It would seem obvious to the reader, for whom we are supposed to be writing, and its a little silly to have to explain it to experienced editors here. Shoreranger (talk) 19:03, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────It was not a "dramatic event" except in Oertel's mind, which is why no one else has drawn it. A group of soldiers removed a statue so that it could melted down for the war effort. There was a shortage of lead, and soldiers seized lead window sash weights, downspouts, roofing tiles and statues. Ironically the statue had been erected by colonists. I wonder if they ever received compensation? TFD (talk) 19:32, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

" one else has drawn it" is patently false, and irrelevant. Nevertheless, a 2 minute search on Bing for 'george statue "bowling green"' turned up a dozen or so different images of this event from drawings to paintings to postcards. Can we keep the debate focused, please, and avoid unsupported opinion? I had already provided a link to a page with two alternative images of the same event. We are covering the same ground. Let's ask for mediation. Shoreranger (talk) 21:46, 18 June 2013 (UTC)
Why do you think the event, which is not even mentioned in the article, was important and why do you think this picture should be used? Piss Christ is a pretty well known image of Jesus, but I do not see anyone including it in articles about his life.[7] TFD (talk) 22:11, 18 June 2013 (UTC)
The painting is pretty romantic (especially with the Indians) but there was no no pictorial record of the actual statue. It was indeed a celebration of Independence -- it happened just after July 4, 1776, and before Sept 1776 when the British returned. The painting has no pro-slavery elements -- The painter Johannes Adam Simon Oertel was no Copperhead or Confederate--quite the contrary. He was a German liberal 48'er (they were strongly anti-slavery) He lived in the North, opposed slavery, supported Lincoln, and accompanied the Union army to make pro-Union war paintings during the civil war. The painting is OK for the Am revolution articles, in my opinion, but does fit very well here. liberalism is hostile to tyranny, yes, but not to monarchy. Rjensen (talk) 23:08, 18 June 2013 (UTC)
it doesn't have to be this particular image. I keep writing that another image of the event would be just as good, but no one seems to accept that. I'm at a loss as to why that might be. In the case of the American Revolution, the British monarchy, as represented clearly by the statue of George in the image,, was the personification of tyranny as painstakingly laid out in the Declaration of Independence. While monarchy and liberalism are not mutually exclusive, as was implied above, in this case it was in the minds of the liberal revolutionaries. This event captures that concisely. If there is another event with an image that concisely coneys that, lets hear of it. Shoreranger (talk) 02:18, 19 June 2013 (UTC)
"liberal" revolutionaries??? I don't think they were acting as liberals but as Republicanism in the United States. Republicans are against kings and liberals are not. Both are against tyranny. Rjensen (talk) 02:54, 19 June 2013 (UTC)
I've just read a fascinating article on the original statue that concludes it was in Roman garb like Emperor Marcus Aurelius in order to represent republicanism, to which the sculptor was connected by close association with republican radicals in London. The King's actions were a repudiation of republicanism and the US no longer wanted a king. so its destruction was a case or symbolic regicide based on republicanism & liberalism played no role. At the same time Patriots were tearing down many royal portraits and insignia, but this was by far the largest and most dramatic "killing" of the king. See "The Statue of King George III in New York and the Iconology of Regicide" by Arthur S. Marks American Art Journal (1981) online free at JSTOR Rjensen (talk) 19:11, 19 June 2013 (UTC),
The crowd was incited to action by a public reading of the United States Declaration of Independence in front of the army raised that was going to defend it, and which justified a seperation from the monarchy based on the liberal principles in the article expressed clearly in the Declaration as: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." That is a concise essay of liberalism in itself. It doesn't preclude republicanism playing some role, but the immediate catalyst for this act was the reading of the Declartion's liberal philosophy and list of tyrranical acts by the monarch that opposed it. This act was primarily motivated by liberal ideals and actions. Shoreranger (talk) 14:35, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
what motivated the crowd--overthrow of the king (that's republicanism) more than the specific reasons for overthrow (the reason = tyranny and that included both liberal and republican views), so I think liberalism is secondary. Liberals in Britain were comfortable with King George III but republicans were not. Rjensen (talk) 19:11, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
My understanding is that modern historians question the degree to which the Declaration of Independence and other actions by the colonists can be seen as liberal. That applies particularly to the action at Bowling Green which could be seen as the destructive actions of an unruly mob. TFD (talk) 11:54, 23 June 2013 (UTC)


"In Spain, the Liberales, the first group to use the liberal label in a political context, and that is the reason why it is currently used."

This sentence is ungrammatical, and the "reason" supplied is not a reason at all. GeneCallahan (talk) 15:45, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

The Liberales are already mentioned in the "Aftermath of the French Revolution." I do not think the reason why they are called liberals is important enough to include in the lead. TFD (talk) 20:18, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

Historical error

How could liberalism date back to the 17th century, if the first use of the term is to be found in the Cadiz Cortes in 1810? How could (for example) John Locke, a thinker from the 17th century, be identified as a liberal, if the concept of liberal didn't appear until the Spanish Constitution of 1812? This article is clearly ahistorical, since it wrongly analyzes the past using the categories of the present.

--Fulgencio Jr (talk) 18:50, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Most scholars date the origins of liberalism to the 17th century, although a minority agree with your reasoning. TFD (talk) 19:02, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
By this logic, "science" was created in the 16th/17th centuries and did not exist prior since it was "natural philosophy" before that. And "gravity" did not exist either, since gravity only became a thing after Newton discovered it... Concepts exist before etymology. And of course with "liberalism" we see the prevalence of semantics over substance (multiple contradictory parties claiming the same name), so it makes sense why someone would argue so-and-so isn't a "liberal". But it's something quite cringe-worthy. DA1 (talk) 20:08, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
No, Fulgencio is quite right: liberalism is a 19th-century movement, and attempts to project it back in time are attempts by liberals to find "roots." It is quite cringe-worthy. GeneCallahan (talk) 15:52, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
the issue is not the word "liberal" -- it's the ideas and concepts and all historians date the origins much earlier, to about 1680-1700. see for example : An Intellectual History of Liberalism by Pierre Manent you can see his table of contents at Rjensen (talk) 17:07, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
Well, I think "liberal" is not only a word but a concept that can be --and has been-- used to interpret things. And for that to be possible, it is necessary at least that the word used to signify the concept exists and is used (how could a concept exist if there is no word for it?). Of course gravity --and its concept-- existed long before Newton; he didn't invent that, neither discovered it; he just took a new approach to explain it. I'm not trying to say that (for example) Locke wasn't a liberal; that would be as inadequate as saying he was a liberal. I'm trying to say that Locke wouldn't have known what a liberal is, because by its time that concept had no meaning, since it didn't even exist.
As I said, the word "liberal" didn't appear until the 19th century, so it is impossible that there were "liberal" thinkers before that. It's easy, from our point of view, to see "liberal" ideas in many authors prior to the 19th century, and to identify those authors as liberals, but that is only because we used today's notions to analyze notions from the past. And that is taking an ahistorical approach to the question. There is a historical way of studying thought, which tries to comprehend and author from the notions of his times, from the ground in which he moved. Concepts are not ahistorical; they appear and change their meanings throughout time. Take, for example in this particular case, the work "John Locke's liberalism" by Ruth Grant, which, eventhough it still somehow follows the classical interpretation, it recognises there are many wrong assumptions in the understanding of Locke and other so-called liberal thinkers due to the lack of an historical approach. Fulgencio Jr (talk) 01:08, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

The word used, before the "ism" was added to "liberal", was liberty, as in Locke's life, liberty, and property, Jefferson's life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness, an the French Revolution's liberté, égalité, fraternité. The philosophy did not suddenly spring into being when somebody coined the word. The word was used to describe an already existing philosophy, in an age where "isms" abounded. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rick Norwood (talkcontribs) 01:32, 31 August 2013

The definition of Liberalism

In the very first line of the article, I noticed that one user edited the definition of another user, basically changing "liberty and justice" to "liberty and equality". Now the choice of the word equality is controversial. What does "equality" mean? Certainly egalitarianism (the way its traditionally known) is not something that Classical Liberalism holds to define "Liberalism". In the classical liberal notion, inequality is the norm; some would call it 'natural inequality' or 'organic conception of society'. Basically, freemarket economics naturally makes a social hierarchy, therefore "equality" is not a tenet of Liberalism. Since this article is tending to both Social/Modern and Classical Liberalism, this definition favors one side over the other. I ask that an alternative definition be sought, i actually prefer the previous one "justice" over "liberty". (talk) 01:43, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

"Equality" is the term used by reliable sources. Although Marxists consider the equality under liberalism to be hollow, because social inequality remains, it is nonetheless a tenet. TFD (talk) 02:42, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
Yes, it is used by "reliable sources", but given that the word "liberal" has so many different meanings, one would assume each 'source' is referring to a separate respective "liberalism" (perhaps, Social Liberalism, rather than Classical). Personally, I'm a classical liberal oriented person myself, and i find the use of the term "equality" questionable. And the cited 'source' isn't very helpful either. (talk) 03:41, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
When terms have different meanings, we use DISAMBIG. TFD (talk) 04:24, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

So called classical liberals do support equality under the law. They would oppose (or most of them would) a law that allowed only rich people to vote. As for so-called equality of outcomes, that is largely a red herring, since no social liberals I know want that. I suppose there are still a few Marxists out there who do, but no matter what certain opponents of liberalism say, liberalism isn't Marxism. In any case, the major sources writing about liberalism say "liberty and equality" are characteristic of liberalism, and distinguish it from other political systems, such as monarchy and dictatorship. Justice, on the other hand, does not have the characteristic of distinguishing between various "isms". Even a king is in favor of justice. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:02, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

I'm not sure why so many different users are bringing up Marxism, or what it has to do with my query. I'm not a Marxist, if i were than i wouldn't have questioned the cited definition of Liberalism. My objection was to the "equality" part, as we classical liberals are not egalitarians, and therefore while some of us may prefer the romantic notion of 'equality' others very much prefer an 'organic hierarchy' or 'natural inequality'. As for the claim that, all men believe in "justice" even if it seems unjust by someone else (monarchy vs democracy); that very much describes what i believe the Classical Liberal notion of "justice" really is. It may seem just for some, but not by others (i.e. there is a wealth gap, and class division); what makes it just from our perspective is not where people stand or were born, but the differentiation between Positive right vs Negative right, or positive liberty vs negative liberty. In such context, to talk about "equality" (egalitarianism) would be an act of coercion, as Negative Rights/Liberty entails the 'individual' to strive for his own interest above others (i.e. inequality). The whole point of my argument is that, we should have a definition that conforms to both the Classical and Social liberalisms, rather than a disputable one. (talk) 19:27, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
Again you need a source that presents the view you believe should be shown. Arguments and personal opinions, no matter how valid are unacceptable because statements in articles must be sourced. Incidentally, the concept of "positive rights" is based on freedom, not equality. TFD (talk) 22:12, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
Seriously now the source says "^ Satoshi Kanazawa once defined 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." See Kanazawa 2010, p. 38.". Are you sure that this source refers to liber-alism in general (where is liberty in that definition?) or to a particular version of liberalism like social-iiberalism (a mixture of Socialism and liberalism). If we want to be sincere and not push agendas we should state what exactly means liberalism and later refer to its flavors --DagonAmigaOS (talk) 04:56, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
I agree with removing that source, because the writer is using to "contemporary American definition of liberalism". However I disagree with your change of "equality" to "equality of political and civil rights." It is the same error of using a contemporary definition of one form of liberalism. TFD (talk) 17:28, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

The intro to the article cites "free and fair elections" as one of the principles of "liberalism". There is a huge issue with this statement, because if the point of the line was to highlight the common ground between classical and social liberalisms, this does not. Many libertarians and classical liberals such as Gustave de Molinari and Frederic Bastiat are against the concept of government/state in general, so how can "free and fair elections" be counted among? The claim is highly subjective and/or partisan. (talk) 23:35, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Liberalism and democracy

I suggest a new section about the not always easy relationship between liberalism and democracy. D. Cordoba-Bahle (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 22:56, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

Oh? Second Quantization (talk) 18:44, 23 August 2014 (UTC)
democracy is what we just saw in Egypt under Mohamed Morsi. Democracy means the will of the people decides, but that will can indeed be hostile to liberalism. Rjensen (talk) 19:07, 23 August 2014 (UTC)
The will of the people can be hostile to anything. What makes liberalism special? HiLo48 (talk) 19:11, 23 August 2014 (UTC)

On "communist"

A terminological note, just so the editors have a better perspective. In the "Neo-liberalism" section:

"While communist states and liberal democracies competed against one another, an economic crisis in the 1970s inspired a move away from Keynesian economics, especially under Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Ronald Reagan in the US. [...] Meanwhile, nearing the end of the 20th century, communist states in Eastern Europe collapsed precipitously, leaving liberal democracies as the only major forms of government in the West."

Despite the widespread misconception, communism technically refers to a state-less, class-less, and money-less order, and the states in Eastern Europe in question had a state (obviously), class divisions, and a currency. The "communist state" article suggests, referencing The ABC of Communism (1920), that "communist state" is a contradictio in terminis. Prominent socialists including anarchists & communists have suggested that the USSR was not even socialist and can be more appropriately called state-capitalist:

"Nothing has contributed so much to the corruption of the original idea of socialism as the belief that Russia is a socialist country [...] I had seen little evidence that the USSR was progressing towards anything that one could truly call Socialism." (George Orwell, Animal Farm, 1945)
"Association of socialism with the Soviet Union and its clients serves as a powerful ideological weapon to enforce conformity and obedience to the state-capitalist institutions." (Noam Chomsky, Soviet Union Versus Socialism, 1986)
"Soviet Russia, it must now be obvious, is an absolute despotism politically and the crassest form of state capitalism economically." (Emma Goldman, There Is No Communism in Russia, 1935)
"The proletariat, instead of developing into a revolutionary class within the womb of capitalism, turns out to be an organ within the body of bourgeois society. [...] Lenin sensed this and described “socialism” as “nothing but state capitalist monopoly made to benefit the whole people.”" (Murray Bookchin, Scarcity Anarchism, 1971)

The USSR was state-capitalist in that their mode of production was analogous to that of capitalist corporations, where the few at the top make decisions for & collect the surpluses produced by the many below. Nikolai Bukharin, a major Bolshevik, at a 1926 government conference, acknowledged that their regime was not achieving genuine socialism as a necessary transitional stage toward communism, and explained why they had to pretend to be socialist/communist: "If we confess that the enterprises taken over by the State are state-capitalist enterprises, if we say this openly, how can we conduct a campaign for a greater output? In factories which are not purely socialistic, the workers will not increase the productivity of their labor." (Bolshevism or Communism, 1934). So, it must be noted that the conventional use of "communist", such as adopted by many Wikipedia editors, is based on a pretense/mistake.

Also, it seems misleading that the article begins by defining liberalism as "founded on ideas of liberty and equality" and then sets it against "fascism and communism", when the origin of communism is characterized by a libertarian and egalitarian language. The word "libertarian" as a political descriptor itself was coined by an anarcho-communist, Joseph Dejacque. Living Utopia documents how the anarcho-communist movement in the 1930s Spain stood against both capitalism and Stalinism and made dramatic improvements on people's civil liberty and economic equality. The "liberalism" article does not differentiate genuine communism from Stalinism when it introduces communism as an "opponent" of liberalism. --Mirandansa (talk) 13:48, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

These are good points, but I'm not sure how Wikipedia can deal with them, since we have to deal with the dictionary definition of words, rather than a definition based on philosophy, history, or academic expertise. In common parlance, "communist" means "like Stalin's USSR, Mao's China, and Castro's Cuba", and that meaning is not likely to change.Rick Norwood (talk) 18:01, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

We should capitalize "Communist" - capital "C" Communist refers to states run by Communist parties. Whether they were socialist or state capitalist or something else is something better discussed in other articles. TFD (talk) 21:11, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Good suggestion, TFD. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:08, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
I agree. In common and academic usage "Communism" is rarely used to suggest the early Christians or the Shakers who shared their possessions equally. Like it or not the Communist Party seized control of the term. Here's the Merriam Webster dictionary definition: 1 a: a theory advocating elimination of private property b: a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed 2 capitalized: a doctrine based on revolutionary Marxian socialism and Marxism-Leninism that was the official ideology of the U.S.S.R. b: a totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production c: a final stage of society in Marxist theory in which the state has withered away and economic goods are distributed equitably d: communist systems collectively. Rjensen (talk) 19:12, 23 August 2014 (UTC)

What is this sentence getting at?

The article contains this sentence: The Liberals in Australia support free markets and have both social conservative and social liberal factions. I am unwilling to change a sentence with four references (though most of the references are books that can't be easily verified) but the sentence seems to suggest that social conservatives and social liberals are opposites or somehow mutually exclusive, when they have almost nothing to do with each other. While the more socially liberal members of the party may be less likely to be socially conservative and the more classically liberal ones may be more likely to be socially conservative, this certainly isn't universal. I'm sure there are many members of the Liberal Party who are both social conservatives and social liberals, and especially, consistent libertarians who are neither. Colonial Overlord (talk) 06:33, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

It might be more accurate to say they have socially conservative and socially liberal factions. I know they appear to have two factions as evidenced by the struggle between Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott. But I think they disagree over a range of issues. TFD (talk) 04:35, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

Yellow flag? Is Wikipedia calling liberal thinkers yellow-bellied cowards? Sophomoric baiting has no place here.

Surely this is a joke from someone of a conservative mindset? Here, it seems an inappropriate and editorializing conflation of a color long associated throughout the English-speaking world with "cowardice" with the term "liberal." "Yellow" may occasionally have been chosen by various political groups for various reasons, but liberalism is a political philosophy––it does not have a flag!

The so-called "Color Revolutions," whether rose, blue, orange, green––or Kyrgistan's yellow––were all political movements with associated colors. But philosophies don't have flags or colors. Do Platonists? Augustinians? Machiavellians? Utilitarians? Keynesians? No. Not even the Marxism philosophy wiki is associated with a flag, although red has been the chosen color of many Marxist political movements. And the more recent association of American political parties as Blue Democrats and Red Republicans further confounds the issue, because those colors weren't chose by the parties themselves, which always favored red, white & blue bunting equally. The Blue/Red labeling began as mere map coloring conventions used by television on election night reportage. Again, they have nothing to do with political philosophy. There have been liberal Republicans, e.g. Abraham Lincoln. And conservative Democrats, e.g. Strom Thurmond.

None of the political philosophies mentioned above are associated with color flag illustrations. And neither, tellingly, does the existing wiki on "Conservatism." Gosh, why no flag there? Should liberals run up a fist squeezing blood from a turnip on the Conservatism wiki? Of course not. Wikis aren't the place to carry out silly little tit-for-tat gamesmanship. The purpose of Wikis is to inform.

If illustrations are required, then perhaps it would be best to combine portraits of a few famous liberal thinkers. Alternatively, Wiki editors might consider an illustration of the ancient Greek academy, as the word liberal as applied to philosophy, derives from learning the "liberal arts," which all free men of learning were expected to know. True, Greek democracy began as a slave state, but it was one of the earliest states known to have recognized the right-to-vote by at least some of its citizens as an essential ingredient of governance. Whereas, conservative philosophers down through the ages have long mistrusted the vox populi as a less reliable guide than the ruling elite.

In short, the yellow flag must go––to eliminate editorializing insinuations, to avoid confusion with specific political movements as opposed to philosophies, for the sake of consistency with Wikipedia's other political philosophy entries, and to inform correctly. If no one else makes this change, I will be checking back and making it myself.Un Mundo (talk) 23:46, 15 January 2015 (UTC)

I think various political ideologies have traditionally been quite uniformly associated with certain colours. Blue is the colour of conservatism, red is the colour of social democracy, yellow is the colour of liberalism and libertarianism, green is the colour of environmentalism, brown is the colour of fascism, black is the colour of anarchism, and so on. I don't know why there's no flag or colour at conservatism. Social democracy has a red colour scheme but not a flag; I agree there should be some consistency. Anyway, if you're serious about the "yellow=cowardice" thing I'm afraid that's rather ludicrous. One can find a negative association with any colour: "red is the colour of blood; social democrats are blood thirsty", "blue is the colour of sadness; conservatives want to make us all miserable". Colonial Overlord (talk) 00:57, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
The color yellow is traditionally associated with liberalism. See for example the logos of the Liberal International, Liberal Democrats, the Free Democratic Party (Germany), The US is unique in that both parties are liberal and neither uses colors. Conservatives did not see themselves as part of an international movement but mosly use blue. TFD (talk) 03:30, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

Rjensen's edit

Rjensen added the phrase "By its opponents" to the section on neoliberalism. I would like to see some evidence that neoliberals do not so self-identify. Also, in any case, please fix the capital B in "By".

+ "This classical liberal renewal, called neoliberalism By its opponents, ... "

Rick Norwood (talk) 18:54, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

While opponents are more likely to use the term than adherents, it seems like the standard term to use. What other term is there? TFD (talk) 20:25, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

"called libertarianism by its opponents"

Does this recent edit make any sense? Rick Norwood (talk) 12:21, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

No, it's incorrect. --NeilN talk to me 15:17, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
No. Libertarianism is a self-description and is different from neoliberalism. TFD (talk) 15:24, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

Same phrase. Pejoratively is redundant as that is implied by "opponents" and there's no need for scare quotes. --NeilN talk to me 13:50, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

The Glorious Revolution

In the lead, the Glorious Revolution is listed alongside the American Revolution and the French Revolution as a founding movement of liberalism. But the Glorious Revolution was primarily anti-Catholic, and therefore illiberal. The article Glorious Revolution does not use the words "liberal" or "liberalism". Should it appear here in the lead? User:Rick NorwoodRick Norwood (talk) 17:27, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

There will always be arguments about who was a liberal in the centuries before the term was coined. But many documents coming out of the Glorious Revolution such as the Bill of Rights and Locke's Treatises are considered core to liberalism. Locke argued that Catholics owed allegiance to the Pope which conflicted with loyalty to England, so even for liberals there were and are limits to tolerance.
The Revolution was more about whether there should be absolute monarchy or supremacy of parliament.
TFD (talk) 06:28, 18 April 2015 (UTC)

Thanks.Rick Norwood (talk) 11:25, 18 April 2015 (UTC)

This is a very Anglo centric point of view. The reforms of the Glorious Revolution were infact ideas and practices long used by the Dutch. The actual invaders that planned and executed the revolution. The Dutch had long been liberal politically and socially. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:07, 30 October 2015 (UTC)

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Lead is Fringe

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)

Equality of opportunity

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)



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

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

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)

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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)
So, basically, US are governed by two parties: liberals and classical liberals. Tgeorgescu (talk) 02:23, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
yeah--as Louis Hartz pointed out long ago The Liberal Tradition in America (1955). --US got rid of kings, dukes and established churches etc. Rjensen (talk) 02:42, 5 December 2016 (UTC)

And yet, there is a difference. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:43, 5 December 2016 (UTC)

Agree, the psychological difference even made it to Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman. If it is germane to this article, that's another matter. Tgeorgescu (talk) 12:56, 5 December 2016 (UTC)

" "liberal" ... in Europe it means a conservative". Depends on the context. In Greek history, it means anything associated with the Liberal Party (1910-1961). It was a Centrist party, that advocated for liberalism and the need for internal reforms, a nationalist/imperialist international policy and territorial expansion through war, republicanism and an end to the Greek monarchy, and Venizelism. Of course they were fanatically anti-communist and introduced the Idionymon, a law which persecuted any person and organization associated with communism, anarchism, and the trade union movement. Internal exiles for those arrested lasted from 1929 to 1974/1975. Several desert islands became prisons with sizeable populations.

And these were the centrists. The right-wingers were the People's Party (1920-1958). Fanatically conservative and opposed to reforms, monarchists, traditionalists, with lip service to classical liberalism. Also anti-communists. They derived from a political faction that wanted to stay neutral in World War I, but turned out to have their own war-hawks when taking over the rule of the country during the Greco-Turkish War.

Much of 20th-century Greek history was shaped by the conflicts between liberals and right-wingers, their coups and counter-coups, their political purges, their suppression of the press, their wars, and the politicization of every aspect of Greek life. The two parties were gone by the 1960s, but several major and minor parties have since claimed continuity with them. Dimadick (talk) 13:37, 8 December 2016 (UTC)

True, initially classical liberalism was a quite leftist ideology (red party). Only later an avalanche of parties which appeared to the left of classical liberalism pushed it to the right side of the political spectrum. Tgeorgescu (talk) 09:15, 28 December 2016 (UTC)


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

Western perpective

This article is written absolutely from a western perspective and there is almost no mention of the liberal movements in non-western countries. There is no mention of Rifa'a al-Tahtawi (who was contemporary of John Stuart Mill), Ahmed Lutfi el-Sayed, Muhammad Abduh, Ahmed Lutfi el-Sayed, Qasim Amin, Muhammad Husayn Haykal, Taha Hussein, Abbas el-'Akkad, Tawfiq el-Hakeem, and Salama Moussa or the Egyptian renaissance also known as Al-Nahda, nor any mention of Islamic Modernism. There is no mention of how liberalism affected the Ottoman empire and Turkey, or the Tanzimât which ended legal slavery and decriminalize homosexuality, the Young Ottomans like Namık Kemal and İbrahim Şinasi, or Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his reforms. Nor the liberals movements in the Arab spring, like in the Tunisian Revolution that made Tunisia a democratic country. There is no mention of Chinese liberals like Chu Anping, Zhang Dongsun, Qin Hui, Li Shenzhi, Hu Shih, Tao Xingzhi and Gu Zhun. Nor Latin American liberals like Juan Bautista Alberdi, who helped in the creation of the Argentine Constitution, Guillermo Prieto, Benito Juárez, Valentín Gómez Farías or José María Luis Mora. Etc. In conclution the representation of non-western liberalism in the article is almost non existance. The section "Other regions" is a joke. And I don't think that the non-western liberal history and philosophies should be segregated from the "History" and "Philosophy" sections. Also I think that there should be more emphasis in the struggle that liberalism and liberals faced and face in non liberal countries. Rupert Loup (talk) 18:22, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

By all means, improve the article by contributing your expertise. Rick Norwood (talk) 20:55, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
Maybe later I'll add something. But we are a community. It shouldn't depend only on me.. :) Rupert Loup (talk) 21:29, 6 May 2017 (UTC)


Rupert Loup's extensive edit is a welcome and much needed addition to this article. Unfortunately, many mistakes in grammar and spelling have been imported directly from other articles in Wikipedia. I'm trying to fix that here. Someone should follow up by fixing the articles quoted. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:20, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

Rick Norwood, thank you very much for your edits. My english is not the best, it's not my mother tongue. Rupert Loup (talk) 16:52, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

As I said, I appreciate your work. I hope you, or someone, will export my corrections to the articles you quoted. Rick Norwood (talk) 21:00, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

Merger proposal – History of liberalism

The article History of liberalism seem to be a WP:CFORK of this article. Almost all its content is the same of here. It should be merged in one article or the content with the same subject in this article should be moved there and leave here a summary according to WP: SUMMARY. Rupert Loup (talk) 21:29, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

Recommend keeping the History article separate and cull duplicate info out of this article. Otherwise this article becomes much too long. – S. Rich (talk) 04:03, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
S. Rich, we can't have the content duplicated two times, see the policies that I remarked. The other solution is WP: SUMMARY. However, I support the complete merge, I don't think it will make the article WP:TOOLONG. Rupert Loup (talk) 15:08, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
Also, I think that the section "History" requires a clean up, it's too long to be a summary Rupert Loup (talk) 02:00, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

Rupert Loup's edit

Recent edits are written too rapidly for me to continue to do a line edit. I hope someone will. I just note in passing the following:

"The book advocated activist economic policy by government to stimulate demand in times of high unemployment, for example by spending on public works. "Let us be up and doing, using our idle resources to increase our wealth," he wrote in 1928. "With men and plants unemployed, it is ridiculous to say that we cannot afford these new developments. It is precisely with these plants and these men that we shall afford them."[87] Where the market failed to properly allocate resources, the government was required to stimulate the economy until private funds could start flowing again—a "prime the pump" kind of strategy designed to boost industrial production.[90]

The book advocated activist economic policy by government to stimulate demand in times of high unemployment, for example by spending on public works. "Let us be up and doing, using our idle resources to increase our wealth," he wrote in 1928. "With men and plants unemployed, it is ridiculous to say that we cannot afford these new developments. It is precisely with these plants and these men that we shall afford them."[87] Where the market failed to properly allocate resources, the government was required to stimulate the economy until private funds could start flowing again – a "prime the pump" strategy designed to boost industrial production.[91] By the early years of the 21st century, most countries in the world have mixed economies, which combine capitalism with economic liberalism."

Rick Norwood (talk) 11:47, 12 May 2017 (UTC)