Political liberalism is a political tradition marked by the claim to defend individual liberty, although without any clearly specified definition for liberty. Liberal politicians typically defend a democratic constitution (as opposed to monarchic or aristocratic) that guarantees civil rights. More precise liberal claims vary often considerably from country to country.
As of 2001, some parties using the name "liberal" are currently (within the political spectrum of their country) conservative (Japan and Australia), some are socialist (USA), some are far right (Austria's FPÖ), some are almost classical liberals (France? UK?).
Modern American political liberalism holds (or is widely perceived to hold) many of the following views:
- Support for the rights of women and minorities, particularly racial and religious minorities, the disabled, and homosexuals. Some further support such programs as affirmative action and multi-lingual education.
- Support for abortion rights.
- Support for government social programs such as welfare, medical care, unemployment benefits, and retirement programs.
- Support for strong environmental regulations.
- Support for trade unions and strong regulation of business.
- Support for animal rights.
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Liberalism, Gerald F. Gaus a comprehensive description of liberalism