Conservative and Liberal are two words that work their way into just about every politically focused discussion or article one comes across. These two views basically represent the opposite poles of the political spectrum. This article will highlight the key perspectives of the two and help you understand the big differences that exist when you see something labelled as Conservative vs. Liberal.

Conservative

Politics and the Economy

  • Conservative views or affiliations reflect the right-wing of the political spectrum. The common political views associated with this are support for small government, less regulation, lower taxes, and the idea that private business can address the needs of the people in a free market.
  • Government should spend less and tax less and get out of the way of private business.
  • Less government involvement will drive increased investment and profits from both companies and high income individuals This is generally encompasses in the oft used phrase 'trickle down economics'.
  • A strong embrace of capitalist economic policies and the belief that a fair market and supply and demand will be the strongest economy.
  • Conservative views are considered to oppose social issues like gay marriage, abortion, and addressing the gender pay gap.
  • Also linked to a strong support of a strong military and the right for individuals to bear arms.

Social Issues

Essentially the Conservative view places far more emphasis on the individual to manage their own affairs and not have the interference of government in doing so. The government exists to enforce law and order but should stay out of most other issues.

Liberal

Politics and the Economy

  • Liberal views or affiliations reflect the left-wing of the political spectrum. The common political views associated with this are a more involved government that actively manages things like health care and the environment, more regulation and guidance, and often higher taxes to pay for this 'larger' government.
  • The government should provide more support for individuals who are less fortunate, i.e. low income individuals and the sick.
  • Socialist economic policies are generally supported here in terms of shared responsibility and administration of aspects of the economy that service everyone (i.e. healthcare).
  • Support for legalization of gay marriage and abortion are two issues considered to be Liberal views.
  • Increased regulation of gun ownership is also considered a Liberal view.

Social Issues

The Liberal view is generally seen to involve a more active and communal social view and the need for government to ensure everyone is taken care of. The government doesn't solely exist to enforce law and order but also to support the people and help those who need it.

Closing Point

One thing to always consider is that labeling something as Conservative or Liberal is easy to do but doesn't necessarily reflect the nuances of a government policy, an organization, or an individual. While it is all too common for media to label something or someone as Conservative or Liberal there is often a blend of the two there. A government bill can be passed that increases regulation (Liberal) but through process reduces taxes (Conservative). Similarly an individual can support small government (Conservative) but also believe that gay marriage and abortion should be legal (Liberal). When the Liberal vs. Conservative label is used, always apply some skepticism and consider the points above.