Information icon.svg

Campaigning for the RationalMedia Foundation 2021 board of trustees election is underway!


From RationalWiki
(Redirected from Social liberalism)
Jump to: navigation, search
In a global context:
ideological roots
Type of liberalism
Political parties
Adjacent ideologies

Liberalism is an ideology based on free trade, individual freedom and equality. Liberalism has had a profound effect on both left and right sides of the West, and opposition to liberalism (in traditional contexts, not in American contexts) is usually classified as far-right or far-left. Liberalism is accepted as the ideology that shaped almost everything in modern politics.

Liberalism can be used in different contexts in different countries. Liberalism is also generally regarded as one of the three major political ideologies along with conservatism(right-wing) and socialism(left-wing).[1] Therefore, in many countries, simply liberalism is used in a similar sense to centrism.

Three major liberalism[edit]

Since the 20th century, liberalism has largely become mainstream thought in three forms. In general, in European political context, classical liberalism is classified as center-right, conservative liberalism as center to center-right, and social liberalism as center to center-left.[2]

Classical liberalism[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Classical Liberalism

Classical liberalism is a branch of liberalism that advocates civil liberties based on the rule of law, and after the 20st century, it is used in a similar sense to economic liberalism. Classical liberalism is generally classified as right-wing liberalism in modern times.

Ideas derived from classical liberalism are as follows.

  • RadicalismWikipedia : Radicalism in the classical sense means liberals who were historically considered left-wing to far-left until the 19th century, as the name suggests. It is deeply related to civil nationalism, social liberalism, and utopian socialismWikipedia. Social liberalism and utopian socialism, in particular, is not considered far left in modern times, and nationalism is often considered far-right.
  • Laissez-faire : Laissez-faire is a concept derived from classical liberalism, which many classical liberals still support.
  • National liberalism : It is an ideology that combines civic nationalism and classical liberalism. However, unlike ordinary civic nationalism, it is closer to the center-right than the center-left.

Conservative liberalism[edit]

It is literally liberalism that values the conservative side of liberalism. Conservative liberalism is generally classified as 'center to center-right', but some are hard-line right-wing. Right-wing conservative liberalism generally inherits the classical liberal philosophy, but centrist conservative liberals partially accept elements of social liberalism.(In this case, it is simply referred to as liberalism in Europe.) European liberalism is more like conservative liberalism than social liberalism in modern times.

The following are ideologies derived from Conservative liberalism.

  • Liberal conservatism : This is a centre-right ideology that combines classical liberalism and conservatism. It pursues a moderate form of liberalism based on a conservative philosophy. It is one of the representative conservative political ideologies. The philosophical origin of liberal conservatism is Edmund Burke. In a global context, 'liberal conservatism' is used in a similar sense to what is called moderate conservatism in the United States.
  • American Neoconservatism : Some scholars see American neoconservatism as an idea based on conservative liberalism. The values of private property rights, independent individuals, small governments, and the spread of liberal democracy around the world pursued by neoconservatives in the U.S. clearly have elements to be seen as liberalism in academic sense, albeit right-wing.[4]

Social liberalism (= U.S. style liberalism)[edit]

This is an ideology that focuses more on social justice than on general liberalism. It is an ideology that is simply referred to as liberalism in the United States. The idea of radicalismWikipedia, a kind of left-wing classical liberalism, can be seen as a moderated form. Social liberals see the market as a power and support a balance of power between the government and the market.

Social liberalism in Europe and Asia means 'center to center-left', but 'center-left to left-wing' social democrats such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are also called "liberal" or "social liberal" in the United States. This is only an American exceptional term, and they are not described as "liberal" outside the United States because they are negative about free trade.

In the United States, left-wing democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is called "Ultra-liberal"(=radical left).[5] In most countries other than the United States, Emmanuel Macron is called "Ultra-liberal"(=radical centrist). In the United States, 'liberal' means 'leftist', but in most countries other than the United States, 'liberal' means 'centrist', so Americans need to understand world politics considering that the concept of 'liberal' is an American exceptional concept and does not exist in other countries.


  2. Liberal Parties in Europe: The liberal party family ideology
  3. Fujii, George (2013). "Liberalism". Encyclopedia of the Cold War. Routledge.
  4. Peter Lawler, Liberal Conservatism, Not Conservative Liberalism, The Intercollegiate Review, Fall 2003/Spring 2004