Liberal politicians hold to and champion the views of liberalism. Modern-day liberal politicians are considered to be those who advocate not only for personal liberties, but also for a variety of programs that provide a social safety net for members of society. Often referred to as left-wing or leftist, a liberal generally supports the development of government regulations and programs that help ensure and protect equality for all people.
Present-day liberalism, in most parts of the world, is considered to be social liberalism. It is characterized by the idea that liberalism and social justice are intertwined and cannot be separated. Liberal politicians consider the responsibilities of the state to include protecting civil rights while at the same time undertaking social and economic initiatives. They generally regard the good of society to be congruent with individual liberty.
Traditional liberalism was born of the idea of individual freedom. In contemporary society, however, particularly in the democratically governed countries of the west, liberalism has taken on a different connotation. Liberal politicians are noted for espousing personal rights, such as the right to seek an abortion, freedom of expression, and freedom from discrimination. Additionally, they generally promote the development of government-mandated and managed programs or laws geared toward assisting those members of society who are in need or are disadvantaged in some way. Such programs might include welfare and child-care assistance, education grants and loans, unemployment benefits, and minimum wage standards.
Additional areas of concern often include environmental issues. Most liberals pursue an agenda that looks to protect the environment with such initiatives as designated wildlife habitats and forest preservation. Environmental questions extend to the development of lands and areas for the harvesting of natural resources, such as offshore drilling for oil or cutting down trees in forests. Additionally, a liberal will tend to support measures to limit emissions from factories and automobiles.
Support for greater amounts of government assistance often goes hand in hand with calls for higher levels of taxation. Liberal politicians usually encourage progressive taxation, resulting in higher tax rates for the more affluent. In addition, they commonly advocate for higher taxes upon businesses. As a result, they are often labeled, whether rightly or wrongly, as being anti-business.
Adding to the anti-business debate is the liberal politician’s usual stance on employee protections and rights. Included is a long-standing backing of labor unions. Liberals will most often advocate for minimum wage thresholds, workplace safety standards, and fair labor practices for the betterment and protection of workers.