Difference between a Liberal and a Conservative

By: | Updated: Feb-21, 2018

In the U.S., the Democratic party generally believes in liberal ideas while the Republican party generally supports conservative principles. Let’s highlight the difference between the two.

Summary Table

Government should have enough power to resolve social problems.Government should equip people with the knowledge and power to help themselves.
Acknowledges homosexuality, euthanasia and protecting the environment.Does not acknowledge homosexuality, doctor-assisted suicide and global warming.
Subscribes to the separation of Church and State, including freedom of religion.Supports Christianity and tradition.


Where a conservative provides equal opportunities, liberals give the small guy another box to view the games.

A liberal in the most basic sense believes in a government that forms policies based on the ideals of liberty and equality. Classic liberalism promotes liberty, while social liberalism believes in the importance of equality. All these definitions point to one thing: that liberalism is a political viewpoint firmly based on the concept of upholding each and every person’s rights.

Liberals stand for a lot of things and generally support issues and programs based on how they understand the issue. They tend to protect fundamental principles such as free speech, press freedom, the separation of church and state, freedom of religion and the right to due process. Liberals also seek to create policies that encourage democratic movements, the growth of free markets, protection of civil rights, gender equality, voting rights, environmental protection and a society free from want. Liberals also believe that people should have access to equal education, health care and safe transportation.

A conservative holds that it is the government’s role to empower the people to resolve problems. The U.S. Republican party has been associated with conservatism since the 1950s. They are known to uphold adherence to tradition and religion, particularly Christianity. Conservatives have strong anti-communist sentiments and place great importance on building a strong military to fight the spread of totalitarian regimes and modernist cultures.

Economic conservatives prefer a limited government that encourages free enterprise and imposes low taxes and fewer regulations. There are conservatives who oppose abortion and denounce homosexuality. It is also common for conservatives to view euthanasia (mercy killing) as immoral, as it could lead to a surge in doctor-assisted suicides for non-terminally ill patients.

As conservatives emphasize the fact that the U.S. is rich in oil, they believe in capitalizing on this by increasing oil exploration on both land and sea. They believe that this action not only reduces the price of oil, but also ends dependency on oil imports. Conservatives also agree on the importance of nuclear energy.

Liberal vs Conservative

So, what’s the difference between a liberal and a conservative?

As far as U.S. politics is concerned, Democrats are generally liberals and Republicans generally uphold conservative ideals. Liberals believe that the government should create policies based on solving social problems and observing human rights, while conservatives prefer a limited government that empowers each member of society to solve their own problems.

Where liberals seek to regulate the economy to prevent corrupt and abusive corporations from exploiting the people, conservatives believe that a free market ruled by competitive capitalism can present people the opportunity to realize the highest standard of living. According to the conservative view, a government that interferes with free enterprise interferes with the creation of more jobs that can improve the people’s economic well-being.

Conservatives generally uphold Christian beliefs. This is possibly why liberals and conservatives have completely opposing views regarding homosexuality, freedom of religion and abortion. Liberals also believe in imposing high taxes that can help fund social projects, which conservatives have openly opposed by imposing low taxes and cutting government control in health care.

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