Excellent column: "What is a liberal?" Some key quotes:
The dictionary defines liberalism as "a political philosophy advocating personal freedom for the individual, democratic forms of government, gradual reform in political and social institutions." That doesn't sound too life-threatening. The political philosophy of liberalism has had a long and varied history. It arose in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries, to protest the prerogatives of kings, aristocrats and the church.
I might add, at its best liberalism still protests the prerogatives of kings and aristocrats and church-as-state, while its counterpart supports those prerogatives.
They believe that government is inherently good, that it can make the human condition better. .... The conservative thinks government always makes things worse.
Always? Look at this again...
The liberals brought electric lights and indoor plumbing to our farm homes. They also brought the Civil Rights Act and Social Security, women's right to vote, bank-deposit insurance, and the Peace Corps.
Of course, some conservatives contend that liberals have been wrong about every issue in the last century. Pretty much shows where they stand, huh? Finally, this choice quote from John F. Kennedy:
I believe in human dignity as the source of national purpose, in human liberty as the source of national action, in the human heart as the source of national compassion, and in the human mind as the source of our invention and our ideas ... . For liberalism is not so much a party creed or set of fixed platform promises as it is an attitude of mind and heart, a faith in man's ability through the experiences of his reason and judgment to increase for himself and his fellow men the amount of justice and freedom and brotherhood which all human life deserves. ... For the liberal society is a free society, and it is at the same time and for that reason a strong society.
(via Neptune World)