What Are the Differences Between Conservatives and Liberals?


Quick Answer

Some of the major differences between conservatives and liberals hinge on their opposing views on the role of government, the economy and social issues. In general, conservatives believe in limited government and take more traditional views on social issues, while liberals believe in government problem solving and hold more progressive views on social issues.

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Full Answer

Conservatives believe in individual responsibility and liberty, holding that the government should intervene in citizens’ affairs as little as possible. Liberals believe the government’s duty is to solve social problems and protect the welfare of all citizens. Liberals typically support social safety net programs such as Medicaid and Food Stamps, while conservatives often paint these services as wasteful and inefficient.

Differing views on the role of government also play into both sides’ perspectives on the economy. Generally, liberals believe that government regulation is necessary to protect citizens from the self-interest of big business, which rarely serves the public. Conservatives see excessive regulations as stifling to business and believe the economy works best when the government stays out of the way.

The two ideologies also differ wildly when it comes to social issues. In general, conservatives adopt more traditional, religious-affiliated values, decrying practices such as abortion, gay marriage and more open immigration policies, while liberals support these and other progressive causes.

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