The word liberal is traced to the word Liber which in Latin means free and which also describes liberty which is the state of freedom. The root of the word liberal can also be linked to libertine which means a person leading a rakish life. In modern times the liberal word is used for someone who is left-wing in political beliefs and is not at all conservative. Someone who is a liberal is more tolerant to change and is termed as having a liberal attitude. Though there are many definitions for a liberal, it is mostly to do with being open to change. It can also mean generous, broad-minded or politically it can mean that the government should take steps to changes for improvement.
A liberal teacher is more forgiving if classes are missed, a parent is said to be liberal if the child is not grounded for mistakes. In many countries, the word liberal is used on political parties the position they take in matters is not in the true sense liberal. For some people, this word brings a negative feeling when used in the political context while for some it is a matter of pride. The word liberal is mostly referred to politics in many countries.
Types of Liberals:
There are many factions which come under the preview of liberalism, and it is difficult to find the exact definition of it, but some of the types of liberals are:
- Classical liberals: These are people who do not want any or at the most have less involvement by the state in the lives of the people. They are of the belief that for someone to be free, the state or anyone else should not prohibit people to behave in a certain way and they should do as they wish.
- Modern liberals: The modern liberals interpretation of freedom is different from that of a classical liberal. The moderns think that to be free, the state should provide specific services which enable socioeconomic growth. These services can be concerning health, education, law, police and such. Whereas the classical liberals believe private companies should handle these services. The modern liberals think and believe in a society which is collective and also accept the duty towards having a collective society.
- Progressive liberals: It is a comprehensive term and applies to all forms of political ideology. These liberals accept that progress and development happen from receiving life and opting liberal policies through research.
- Leftist: This is also another broad category of liberalism which is a group with left-wing views. This word is used in context with the country they live in. The leftists in America are considered right-leaning or centrist in England and ring-wing or center-right in Europe.
The word liberal has many meanings, and its exact usage can be determined based on the context. When it is multiple, and related meanings are related to politics, it can become quite difficult to distinguish. It further gets messed up when two groups mean differently about the meaning of a liberal. One of the definitions that are commonly provided for a liberal is someone who thinks that the government should be responsible for the social and political change. Liberal means many things but certain people, places or states are not liberal in all matters as certain factors cannot be let loose as intended.