American Hertage Dictionary entry for liberalism: A political theory founded on the natural goodness of humans and the autonomy of the individual and favoring civil and political liberties, government by law with the consent of the governed, and protection from arbitrary authority I'm tired of the word "liberal" being used as a dirty word. I'm not defending any particular political party either, because all political parties are full of slimebags, but to me there's something to be said for social responsibility, in the sense that the government has a duty to protect the welfare (lower-case w) of its citizens. I'm not a socialist, but I don't think it's far-fetched to believe that people should have adequate health care, the environment should be protected, schools, fire/police departments, and libraries should have adequate funding, people should have a right to privacy, and equal rights should be shared by all. This requires taxes, but taxes are what you pay for the privilege of having maintained roads, safe drinking water, school for you or your children, public transportation, police...the list goes on. There is a great deal to be said for self-determination and individual responsibility, but to me, to make the argument that "poor people are poor because they're lazy" is to reject common sense. There is a limit to reasonable government assistance, but again, the government should have an interest in the welfare of all its citizens, rich and poor. Let's make this a respectful discussion, guys, and that goes for all sides. Please.