Liberalism : The Ideology Of Freedom

Liberalism is alive! It's about being free, and wanting to ensure that everyone else is free! It's about making society as a whole better by making life for the individual better - by looking at the world as a collection of individuals who each have their own needs, their own aspirations, their own individual abilities - and by ensuring that everyone, regardless of who they are, where they come from, or what they look like, has the opportunity to make the world around them a better place and live life to their full potential.

Freedom
The word Liber is Latin for free person. As you could therefore guess, Liberalism is the ideology of freedom.
We would like to see all individuals having freedom of speech, belief, and action so long as they don't interfere with those same freedoms of other individuals.
Example:
Liberals demand the legalisation of 'recreational' drugs such as Cannabis, as we believe that individual human beings must have absolute authority over their own bodies, and that no one should have the right to dictate what we do to ourselves.
Problem ? :
The subject of Abortion is a difficult issue for Liberals to address. Whilst all Liberals believe that life is important and must be cherished, we also agree that individuals must have the right to choose for themselves. The difficulty is that some Liberals are Pro-choice in that they place the mother's right to choose over the right to life of the foetus, whilst other Liberals are Pro-life in that they see the foetus as having its own individual rights which must be protected. In short, it is down to the individual Liberal to determine what they think is best, but there is definitely no prescribed Liberal view on Abortion as a result of this. Contrary to what you might hear - Liberals are NOT always Pro-choice when it comes to Abortion.

Individuality
We believe that all individuals have unique ways of seeing the world and interacting with other individuals. We respect that no two cases are alike and so we try as much as possible to deal with individuals on their own terms. We love expression of individuality - whether it be in your social interests, in the way you dress, your hairstyle, whatever! Be yourself, and be proud of who you are, because there's noone else like you!
Example:
Society should never override your emotions and feelings. Liberals find Homophobia totally abhorrent, and we firmly believe that no one has the right to determine how another individual acts or feels. Whether you're straight, gay, bisexual or not interested in anyone, it's right to be honest about yourself to others and proud of who you are.
Problem ? :
We acknowledge that individuals have a right to be homophobic, but there must be guarantees to ensure that their moral values are not imposed prejudiciously.

Equality And Good Conduct
We believe fundamentally in the equality of all individuals before the law, and that in order to preserve order, there must be an accepted written bill of rights and a constitution to limit the power of government and to ensure individual freedom. We do not believe in punishing individuals for their crimes for the sake of punishment alone - we want all those convicted of felonies to come to terms with why their actions were wrong so that they can join society again without fear of a repeat of their crimes.
Example:
Liberals don't look upon punishment and forgiveness of crime in moral or religious terms. Let's say that a man is found unquestionably guilty of murder and he consistently says he's glad he did it. That individual has no respect for the most important freedom - the right to live - and therefore should not be put in a position in which he could kill others. On the other hand, if the man was truly full of remorse for his actions and most importantly understood why his actions were unacceptable, (and this is where psycologists and character witnesses come in) then he should be released as there is [hopefully] little chance of him doing it again. Liberals don't believe in a simple forgive and forget policy. Nor do we believe in a policy of revenge or an eye for an eye. Our aim is to prevent individuals from using their freedom to deny freedom to others - that is our primary basis for 'punishing' an individual.
Problem ? :
The question is - who are we to determine what is right and wrong and to impose that on others. If an individual believes that murder is OK, why should we claim that they are immoral and they must be reformed to our way of thinking? Liberals believe that the right of the indivual to hold an opinion, nomatter how ludicrous we believe it to be, should be protected unquestionably. We of course need to ensure, however, that just as in the case with homophobics, that they are not put in a position to deny freedom to others.

Power To The People
We seek to ensure that power is kept at the lowest, most practical level, in order to fulfil the democratic principle of government of the people, for the people and by the people. Our aim is a world in which all individuals can take an active role in the legislative affairs of the state, but we are committed in the short-term to establishing open and  accountable democracies based on popular representation.
Example:
We believe that the affairs of state should be organised on two levels - local and federal. Liberals would want to ensure that local government was sovereign on matters which affected only the people and resources within their area.
We would also want to have an over-arching system of government where decisions which affected everyone and  issues common to all areas, such as the environment and health, would be taken.
We also believe in a written Constitution which would lay down in stone the rights of all individuals and ensure that no government, regardless of what level they were, could deny the right of individual sovereignty.
Problem ? :
If Liberals truly believe in the will of individuals, what would happen if everyone in 'The Liberal State' had facsist tendencies? Would the constitutional Liberal values override their individual wishes or would the fascists be able to overthrow the constitution and set up their own form of democracy?
The first step to solving this problem is to acknowledge that any written constitution must be able to be amended - but to do this must have A LOT of support from the people. Remember - Liberals favour progressive and constructive reform. By imposing how we want to be governed upon others is not Liberal.

What is Liberalism ?


Don't worry if people tell you that you're not a Liberal because you haven't read enough political books on the subject. Liberal values come from within - they're not something that can be learnt or taught.  No one sets out to become a Liberal - it's not like shopping for an ideology. But if the definition of Liberalism applies to you, and you agree with our views, then don't be afraid to 'come out' as a Liberal.
We put freedom first. Your freedom. Join us. Get involved. Make a difference!