Debate:Why is the UK more Liberal than the US?

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Inspired by this bit of tomfoolery by Andy and our comments, I wonder if anybody has any suggestions about the real reasons between the differences between the two countries.--BobSpring is sprung! 15:30, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

Thinking about it, there are differences over religion (obviously), belief in creationism and evolution, the death penalty, the role of government, gun ownership and so on. Obviously not everybody shares there differences in the two countries but there are marked general differences. What are the historical reasons for them? --BobSpring is sprung! 15:36, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
I think you really need to define exactly what you mean by 'liberal' before we can debate, Bob. It means different things to different people. DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 15:40, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
Liberal in the sense that Andy is using it I guess.--BobSpring is sprung! 15:46, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
So why is England more evil than the US then? AMassiveGay (talk) 16:00, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
England is more evil because all the evil people from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have moved there thus making England relatively more evil than the rest of the UK.--BobSpring is sprung! 18:10, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
(EC)Off the top of my head: The UK is older, and thus has more experience in these matters. 2nd, many of the more radical religions groups were used by the Southern aristocracy to keep the slaves/sharecroppers in line. Next, by playing the isolationism game, the US lost valuable foreign policy experience. I have heard arguments that because of being state-sponsored, Anglicanism did not have to rely on evangelism as much, ergo they could afford to be "laid-back" Тyeh? 15:41, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
Reason for why the UK is "more liberal" than the US? One possibility, pulled directly out of my ass: having experienced at closer hand the horrors of two world wars in the space of thirty years, plus the more real threat of class-based revolution, the UK, like most of the rest of Europe, realised the value of a stronger social safety net that would make people feel more secure/less vulnerable and more invested in the state. The US barely participated in the First World War, and had limited military casualties/no civilian causalities to speak off/no damage to its commercial infrastructure in the Second World War, and didn't see communist revolutions, some successful, in its own backyard, and therefore didn't have the same sense that things were really fragile and needed the same kind of social safety net. P-FosterThe Grateful Dead were neither grateful nor dead. Discuss.Moderator 15:47, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
Did WWII have any kind of transformative effect on US culture and society as it did in the UK? AMassiveGay (talk) 16:03, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
Sure, but it was a transformation based on a sense of prosperity (not of rebuilding a country that had had the shit bombed out of it, and whose grip on Empire was quickly fading) and the desire to see the emergence of a large, property-owning middle-class. P-FosterThe Grateful Dead were neither grateful nor dead. Discuss.Moderator 16:17, 17 July 2011 (UTC)


The UK has had a state Church for centuries and with the connivance of the monarch and the government has imposed its values on the country as a whole. During the 17th and 18th centuries those who didn't like that tended to bugger off to the colonies where they were free to interpret the Bible in their own way. So in the US there were lots of religious exiles who have created a thriving competitive market in religion. In the UK there has been a religious monopoly which became rather smug and people have just lost interest. I think it is a paradox that Schlafly should consider, that by separating religion from the state it has actually benefited religion. Redchuck.gif ГенгисmaraudingModerator 16:09, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

The American Dream[edit]

What Britain, and indeed, the rest of the world, doesn't have is the American Dream where, by dint of hard work and hard work alone, the refugee can rebuild their life in the land of plenty. From this comes the self dependence and the attitude that, if you haven't made it, then you're not working hard enough. We Europeans feel that Americans work too hard and have too little in the way of vacation. Average of seven days off per year - I get thirty and the French hardly bother turning up at the office.

Compare this self reliance and 'log cabin to White House' with a pretty rigid class structure where the 'lower' classes were expected to 'know their place' and not to wish to rise. As part of this there was a paternal aspect within the ruling classes who felt it part of their duty to look after their staff. Port Sunlight, as far as I am aware, could never happen in the States (OK, prove me wrong).

In modern times the US still has this emphasis on self reliance whereas, in Europe the ruling classes have been, for a greater part, replaced by government.

OK, so this is massively broad brush and an over generalisation but the basics are there. Jack Hughes (talk) 16:22, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

"Prove me wrong" P-FosterThe Grateful Dead were neither grateful nor dead. Discuss.Moderator 16:27, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
Oh well, there goes that theory! Jack Hughes (talk) 16:35, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

As we are using the Assfly's definitin of 'liberal'...[edit]

...and to him liberalism and socialism are the same thing; I shall spout forthwith...

I recently read a good book (explaining the financial crisis in simple terms) which in its first chapters spoke about the 'battle' between laissez faire capitalism and socialism. In both the USA and Europe, governments were in favour of capitalism (overall). In the US, it was simply framed as capitalism vs 'evil communist dictatorships', and so the government could get away with following a capitalist agenda as the people thought the alternative was tyranny. However in Europe, there were many socialist and workers-type parties in mainstream politics, whilst none off them ever gained any real power to push a full-on socialist state, the 'threat' to capitalism was always there - therefore those in favour of capitalism had to show that capitalism was better for the people, thus they made many concessions to win people over and show they didn't need socialism. This is why workers Europe have much better holiday entitlements than their US cousins, along with universal healthcare and a stronger social security system.
Of course, this is framing things very simplistically. I think what the author was getting at was that although out-and-out socialism never gained any traction in Europe, its very presence caused our capitalism to be a bit softer than in the States. DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 17:44, 17 July 2011 (UTC)