Liberal vs Conservative
The terms “liberal” and “conservative” are relative to a standard and therefore change over time as conditions change. For example, if a nation is governed by a monarchy, and there is movement to remove the monarchy and replace it with a democratic government, those individuals supporting the movement would be labeled “liberal.” (The term liberal originates from the Latin, liber, meaning “free.”) Those who wished to retain the monarchy would be called “conservative.” (From the Latin conservare, “to preserve or retain.”)
Now, suppose the monarchy is finally replaced, and a democratic government is installed; then the “liberals” will have won. Now, suppose after a generation or so, there is another movement to change the democratic government to a socialist government. Then those in favor of the new movement would again be “liberals,” and those wanting to retain the democracy would be “conservatives.”
The same definition is in force regardless of the kind of government that exists: those working to change the government are the liberals, and those wanting to retain it are conservatives.
American Liberals and Conservatives
Our Founding Fathers were “liberals.” They wanted to change their government from a monarchy to a democracy. After they succeeded in declaring independence from the English monarchy and instituting a democratic constitution, our new nation came into existence. We then had a democratic republic, not a monarchy.
Because our nation has existed as a democratic republic for several generations, those who support the ideals of those liberal Founding Fathers are now conservatives, and those who wish to change our government’s basic principles are now liberals.
Modern American Liberals
Modern American liberals are those who wish to change the democratic republic to a socialist from of government. They do not use the term “socialist” because the term connotes negativity to most Americans. But liberals promote the growth of government by high taxation and regulation, which leads to government control of every aspect of daily life.
Socialism is the springboard to communism. According to Karl Marx, at the socialist stage from capitalism to communism, the government owns all means of production under a dictatorship until that means of production can be turned over to the “people.”
The Marxist-Leninist Theory, of course, may sound good, at first. How utopian for all the people equally to own and profit from the means of production! Yet, how utterly unfeasible, unwieldy, and impossible! That is why the practical outcome of that theory has never been realized. Historically, it stops at the government-as-dictator stage, as we see with Fidel Castro’s Cuba, Mao’s China, Stalin’s Soviet Union, and other nations suffering long-term dictatorships.
For more information about socialism, please see Socialism