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What is a liberal?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008 by Dave Winer.

A picture named minuteman.gifI listened to part of Fresh Air today in the car and they were talking about arms control in Reagan's presidency, and were throwing around terms like liberal and such as if they were technical terms that had well-established definitions.  Permalink to this paragraph

Then I realized I had no idea what it meant. What makes a liberal different from a conservative? What I'm looking for is an explanation that takes into account the derivation of the words. Aren't conservatives liberal too? Forget the labels -- explain the words. Permalink to this paragraph

BTW, it's an interesting question because in the United States the term liberal and conservative ought to mean the same thing. We are a liberal country. Our philosophy is that if it's not illegal you can do it. In an older country to be a conservative means you want to bring back the king, pope or ayatollah. The United States is what conservatives in other countries hate. Permalink to this paragraph


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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

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