- emphasizes individual rights
- seeks a society characterized by:
- freedom of thought for individuals
- limitations on political power (especially of government and religion)
- the rule of law (as opposed to e.g. arbitrary commands of a king or despot)
- the free exchange of ideas
- a market economy supporting free private enterprise
- a transparent system of government that protects specific rights for all citizens equally
In the modern age, liberals tend to prefer a liberal democratic form of government while realizing that such is merely the best known expression of liberal ideals and far from perfect.
The exact nature of liberalism as a social and political force varies significantly from country to country:
As of early 2020, self-identified liberalism seems to be shifting into a form of regressive idealism, belief in a classless/egalitarian status quo that might have existed (or at least been in progress) a few decades ago but doesn't anymore. Politically, this results in stiff resistance to any substantial change, in favor of "incremental change" which tend to be undone over time by larger systemic problems.
- 2014-03-07 [L..T] Millennial generation is cause for liberal optimism A new study by the Pew Research Center provides reason for political optimism: Members of the so-called millennial generation, born after 1980, are more liberal than the preceding generations on a range of issues.