Liberalism is the ideology of liberty and equality, conservatism is the ideology of authority, hierarchy, tradition, and order.

Liberalism is a political philosophy based on the principles of liberty and equality that grew out of the Age of Enlightenment.

If you don’t want the King or Church taking your life, liberty, and property, if instead you believe you have “the right” of “consent”… you might be a liberal.

Likewise, conservatism is the opposition philosophy of liberalism. It is the check that balances liberalism.

both liberalism and conservatism come in classical and social forms and speak to issues of state, social issues, and economics. In terms of economics there are also classical and social forms of liberal and conservative economics.

There are a number of different forms of liberalism and conservatism which each denote differing ideologies, but they generally all share core principles (like all liberal ideologies share basic liberal and left-wing planks and all conservative ideologies generally share basic conservative and right-wing planks).

With the above said:

  • Liberalism is generally understood as an ideology containing the principles of democracy, republicanism, separation of powers, popular sovereignty, free speech, free trade, freedom of religion, and other general ideologies that favor human rights and the liberties and the well being of individuals and groups.
  • Conservatism is the ideology of governmental, cultural, and economic order, tradition, hierarchy, and authority that seeks to keep to the old ways and use authority to ensure order.
  • Somewhat confusingly, in the social forms, social conservatism tends to want to conserve back to some classical liberal values and social liberalism tends to embrace the authority of the state to ensure social welfare. Thus their left-right ideologies are somewhat mixed in the social form.

What is the General Will?

Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s concept of the General Will roughly means “that which is in the best interest of the people” or “the public good”, and not just popular consensus.

Hume’s Fork Explained

“Hume’s fork” describes how we refer to Kant’s critique of Hume, who separated knowledge into two types: facts based on ideas and facts based on experience.