The words “liberal” and “conservative” have devolved to hold mostly negative connotations, even though both are by definition inherently positive.
Merriam-Webster’s Online says a liberal is someone “believing that government should be active in supporting social and political change,” someone “not opposed to new ideas or ways of behaving that are not traditional or widely accepted.” By this definition, I am a liberal … and proud of it. I support social and political change, and I’m not opposed to new ideas. Like, for example, term limits for all elected officials; there’s an idea that is certainly not widely accepted.
Merriam-Webster’s Online defines a conservative as someone “believing in the value of established and traditional practices in politics and society,” someone “not liking or accepting of new ideas.” It would appear that I am a conservative too … and proud of it. I believe in a great many established and traditional practices — democratic elections and freedom of speech, to name but two. I also do not like certain new ideas, such as Obamacare, which, while good-intentioned, is quite burdensome on small to moderate-size businesses.
I don’t expect people’s political attitudes to change any time soon. But consider this: The next time someone calls you a liberal or a conservative, simply smile and say, “Yup, I sure am.”