Liberal conservatism

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Edmund Burke, called the "father of conservatism," was a member of the WhigsWikipedia, a British classic liberal party.
In a global context:
Ideological roots
Political parties
Adjacent ideologies
Sometimes I'm liberal, sometimes I'm conservative and sometimes I'm Christian Social.
Angela Merkel[1]

Liberal conservatism is a center-right idea that combines classical liberalism and conservatism. Though it is an idea close to economic liberalism, it is distinguished from general conservatism in that it values traditional values socially and culturally embraces moderate elements. Liberal conservatism is generally considered part of conservative liberalism, but both are often used in a similar sense.

In the United States, "Liberalism" (=center-left modern liberalismWikipedia) is recognized as the opposition camp to "Conservatism", but in Europe, "Liberalism" (=Mainly classical liberalism or moderate economic liberalism) is perceived as a Conservative-friendly idea and is at odds with "Socialism"(=Mainly social democracy and democratic socialism) and social liberalism. In other words, in the case of 'liberal' conservatism in Europe, there is no link to 'liberal' in the American political context.

Regional liberal conservatism[edit]

In Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party claims to be a liberal conservative party itself,[2] but in reality, it shows a strong right-wing tendency that borders on social conservatism or national conservatism. This is a mixture of hard-line conservatism and Japanese nationalism based on traditional Japanese culture.[3] Moreover, "liberal conservatism" and "neo-conservatism" are not clearly distinguished in Japan, and the 1998 Liberal PartyWikipedia also advocated neo-conservatism.

In Western Europe and Northern Europe, the mainstream center-left to left is often social democracy, while the mainstream center-right to right is often liberal conservative (Christian Democratic Union of Germany, Austrian People's PartyWikipedia, Moderate Party of SwedenWikipedia, French "Republicans"Wikipedia, People's Party of SpainWikipedia, etc.).

"Liberalism" in Italy mainly means "Liberal conservatism". It is the main ideology of Forza Italia, no different from Silvio Berlusconi's shrine. However, this side also shows social conservatism or some nationalist tendencies compared to other European liberal conservative parties. Australia's Liberal Party is also more of a conservative or liberal conservative party than general liberalism.

In Italy and Eastern Europe, liberal conservatism is considered liberalism, but in Western and Northern Europe, liberal conservatism is distinct from liberalism. In Western and Northern Europe, liberal conservatism sometimes conflicts with ordinary liberals. The reason is that liberal conservatism is basically more like moderate conservatism than liberalism, although it is basically seasoned with classical liberalism.

The Conservative Party of Canada is also classified as a liberal conservative party, but there are a few social conservatives.

In the United States[edit]

American conservatism is based on republicanism and classical liberalism from birth. However, in the United States, the term "liberal" refers mainly to progressives and social liberals, so the term "liberal conservative" is not used in the United States.

The Rockefeller Republicans were basically culturally liberals, and economically advocates of the New Deal. Some European and Asian liberal conservatives partially embrace Keynesianism, but most support economic liberalism. Also, most European and Asian liberal conservatives are NOT socially liberal and tend to be socially "moderate". That's why Rockefeller Republicans are hard to see as liberal conservatives.

Of course, there are socially moderate and (appropriately) fiscally conservative(=economic liberal) people in the United States. These will be mainly people like John McCain and Mitt Romney, who has a moderate tendency within conservatives. However, they are likely to deny that they are "liberal conservative" because they are not "liberal" in the American context. (Liberal conservatives support civil liberties based on classical liberalism.)

Some of the (outside the U.S.) liberal conservatives are very moderate and liberal politicians like Angela Merkel, but others are reminiscent of soft-Trumpism like Silvio Berlusconi and Sebastián Piñera. Therefore, it is not known exactly who of the conservatives in the United States is the liberal conservatives in the United States. This is because the concept of liberal conservatism itself is not actually a strict ideology, but abstract and relativistic.

Since democratic socialism has never been a mainstream political force in the United States, people who actually support social democratic policies call themselves "liberal". Therefore, the term "liberal" used in the United States is a concept that cannot be applied in other countries. But we don't know the future. If Democratic Party become mainstream politicians who advocate "socialists" such as Bernie Sanders and AOC, the day may come when moderates in the Republican Party call themselves (anti-socialist and classical-)"liberals". In fact, it is used in this sense in Australia.

See also[edit]



  1. Sueddeutsche Zeitung: "Dinge tun, die aus dem Rahmen fallen," 03.22.2009
  2. William D. Hoover, ed (2011). Historical Dictionary of Postwar Japan. Scarecrow Press. p. 211. ISBN 978-0-8108-7539-5. 
  3. Magara, Hideko; Sacchi, Stefano, eds (2013). The Politics of Structural Reforms: Social and Industrial Policy Change in Italy and Japan. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-85793-292-1. Retrieved November 22, 2020.