Monday, August 13, 2012

Liberal vs Conservative

In having a discussion with Karin (from Belgium), there was a miscommunication concerning the words "liberal" and "conservative." In simply using these words to describe our political leanings, it seemed that we had disagreeing political views. When I explained the two words in terms of historical examples, we realized that the American meanings of these words were basically the opposite of their European/French meanings. Apparently for her, "liberal" means giving the individual the liberty to succeed according to his/her own acts without being disproportionally taxed - a right-wing/conservative tenant. But for us it means that the government tries to advance civil liberties while being relatively loose/free with tax increases for government spending (on welfare, etc). So we actually agreed on what we thought we disagreed on.

Yet another reason I try to avoid using labels to describe things that are really too complex to be pinned down in a single word.