The difference between socialism and liberalism

IMO, many of the policies that Americans call “liberal” are usually associated with socialism. Things like Alcohol regulations are socialist, but alcohol/drug legalization are liberal.

Positive discrimination or Affirmative Action are socialist policies, not liberal ones.

Who says? What is the difference between liberal policy and socialist policy, according to you?

I had no idea that socialism was so popular in Utah, Missouri, and Kentucky.

Liberalism tends to lean towards “freedom” while socialism tends to lean towards "social equality ".

Liberalism might prefer freedom of speech while socialism might ban hate speech.

OK, let’s stop right there. This is GD, not IMHO. Please offer some cites for your claims about socialism. No need to refute something where no attempt has been made to prove it correct in the first place.

Socialism uses micromanagement and laws to create social equality, in a less radical manner to communism

Liberalism tends to liberalize. It tends to shy away from micromanagement and creating too many laws, in a less radical manner to libertarianism.

Conservatives can micromanage and create laws to push their agenda, often based from religious ideology or a historic culture, and can easily overlap with other ideologies.

(If Christianity said that humanity should have a PBS, conservatives would create it and defend it, even though it was socoalist.

That’s more opinion, not a cite.

I’m seeing more unsupported opinion, here.

Off to IMHO.

Who cares what labels we use? The important question is whether alcohol regulation, or affirmative action, or whatever, are good or bad. And it may well turn out that some good policies are “liberal”, and some good policies are “conservative”, and some are “socialist”, or whatever other label you choose, while other policies bearing those labels might be bad.

I’m fairly new to these forums so I apologize for putting this in the wrong forum section.

At what point do we just let things happen? When Republicans start wanting the Queen back? When Democrats support a dictatorship? When pacifists support increased military spending?

Most liberals don’t want people to be able to own firearms, or allow tobacco use in private businesses, state opinions that might offend someone, want to force people to wear seat belts and helmets (“for their own good” of course) and want to take my money to give to failures. Whose “freedom” are you talking about?

Liberalism is socialist fascism with a smug look on it’s face. And my definition of it is just as valid as yours or anybody elses!

I’m not sure you know what either of those words mean.

You mean like the banks and the auto industry?

What would you like them to mean?

We “let things happen” when they are good things to happen. If the Republicans convince a large majority of the American population that the Queen is the best option going forward, it is the right of that majority to reinstitute a monarchy.

Adhering to some ideology just for the sake of consistency serves no purpose if that ideology no longer meets the needs and desires of the people. Why would you WANT to prevent the best option from being considered?

Is it the right of the majority to reinstitute slavery, prohibit gun ownership, restrict what religions are legal, etc.? If not, then one has to come up with some set or rules that determines what the majority may insist upon.

The fundamental issue here, which the OP seems unable to recognize, is that the complexity of social and political and economic considerations in a large and diverse society means that it is completely impossible to encompass all of the possible social and political and economic permutations and combinations in a few labels like liberal, social, conservative, progressive, libertarian, etc.

And simply trotting out single characteristics, one after the other, as the OP has been doing, does more to obscure the problem than to clarify it.

Take something as simple as public schools. They constitute one of the few institutions in American society that are supported, at least in principle, by almost all parts of the political spectrum. Plenty of Republicans and conservatives love and support public schools; plenty of liberals and Democrats love public schools. About the only people who rail against the basic principle of public education are some hardcore libertarians.

And yet public schools are, in some very important ways, socialist institutions. They are not user-pays organizations; rather, they take wealth gathered from all parts of society, and provide services free of charge to anyone who needs them. I don’t have children, but i pay for public schools, because the presence of such schools is deemed to be a social good that transcends my individual liberty to refuse my contributions.

Police and fire departments, public roads, parks, the Smithsonian, and a whole bunch of other things that most Americans like and take for granted work in a similar way. The military fits into this too, although some libertarian types place it in a special category as one of the few services that only a national government is capable of providing.

While it’s reasonable to draw distinctions between socialists and liberals and progressives and moderates and conservatives and whatever, the fact is that the divisions between these groups are very broad and very grey, rather than clearly-defined black lines. And it’s also true that, with the exception of a few people on either extreme of the authoritarian/libertarian spectrum, the majority of Americans (indeed, the majority of people in the democratic world) favor some sort of mixed political and economic system, where some issues are left to individual choice or the free market, and others are regulated or controlled to a greater or lesser degree by society as a whole, often through the mechanism of government.

Another problem with talking about things like freedom is that it’s one of those concepts that every American agrees is important, but that different people define in different ways. It’s also one of those things where every person thinks that their own definition should trump everyone else’s definition.

Look back over American history, and you can see times when freedom has been defined more in a negative sense (as an absence of state intervention in individual choices), and times when it has taken more of a positive definition (as a government responsibility to promote and guarantee certain levels of opportunity or a minimum level of existence). And when i say negative and positive, i’m not making a value judgment about bad and good, i’m talking about ideas of non-intervention versus intervention.

John Ryan talked about freedom in both of these senses when he made a call for a living wage back in 1906.

FDR made a similar distinction in one of his fireside chats, arguing that true freedom involved the government acting in ways that might restrict certain activities, but that would (in his opinion) expand freedom more generally:

For some people, though, the promotion of government intervention in the name of providing economic security or welfare or broader equality is antithetical to the idea of liberty. Classical liberals and libertarians promote the idea of individual freedom and liberty of contract, and argue that the government interfering with those things serves to reduce liberty. Milton Friedman is possibly one of the best-known recent advocates of this sort of argument, which got its modern start in America largely from F.A. Hayek’s Road to Serfdom. Some even deny (although Hayek did not) that there should be any concessions made to the “public good” or “general welfare,” because defining those things is always going to be subjective and arbitrary, and we should leave each individual to decide what is best for him or her.

As i said above, though, the fact is that we’re all willing to make some sacrifices in individual liberty for the sake of the general welfare. The key differences are exactly where each of us draws the line between individual freedom and a (perceived) broader public good. And it is those differences that largely constitute the broad grey lines between different types of political ideology.

We have this set of rules in the U.S.–it’s called the Constitution. However, that document contains an entire section on how the rules may be changed via amendment, and 1776 and 1787 provide evidence that when enough people get fed up with the rules, the rules can be changed abruptly.

What kind of “rules” do you envision that can irrevocably bind future generations?

IMO, its also true that many American conservatives are usually associated with Nazi fascism. Things like targeting a minority group with violence are fascist, but controlling a woman’s body is conservative