I think many people are confused by the liberal/conservative label. Most people think that liberals/conservatives have to be 100% diametrically opposed to each other and they are mutually exclusive. This does not have to be the case. Ron Paul is an example of someone who can be both, an original liberal and an original conservative. I have included a graph and supplied definitions for terms in the graph. While many would argue that my definitions are inaccurate, from the standpoint of the free market and freedom they carry the essence of what liberal/conservative have stood for and what they have become today.
Original Liberal - Also know as classical liberal. Someone who values rights over traditional values. Someone who espouses personal rights and freedom over state rights. Advocates a free market, non-government interventionist approach. Sees government as a necessary evil, whose only function is to protect people's rights and freedom. See Classical Liberalism for more info.
Original Conservative - Also known as classical conservative. Someone who values traditional values over rights. Someone who espouses traditional personal rights and freedom over state rights. Advocates a free market, non-government interventionist approach. Sees government as a necessary evil, the only function of which is to protect people's rights and freedom. See Classical Conservatism for more info.
Liberal, Left Wing - Someone who leans toward state-socialism and the right of the state to interfere in people's lives. Believes everyone should think, talk and act just like he does and is willing to use the power of the state to force people to comply.
Conservative, Right Wing - Someone who leans toward state-capitalism and the right of the state to interfere in people's lives. Believes everyone should think, talk and act just like he does and is willing to use the power of the state to force people to comply.
Neo-Liberal - Someone who believes in state-socialism and state-capitalism, as long as it is the "liberal" type (i.e. he gets credit for it), the right of the state over the individual, the need for the state to intervene and control all aspects of a person's life. He thinks your life and property belong to the state, and a person's only purpose is to serve the state.
Neo-Conservative - Someone who believes in state-capitalism and state-socialism, as long as it is the "conservative" type (i.e. he gets credit for it), the right of the state over the individual, the need for the state to intervene and control all aspects of a person's life. He thinks your life and property belong to the state, and a person's only purpose is to serve the state.
Liberal versus conservative is a false dichotomy. Both are not mutually exclusive of one another. The more one embraces either the free market or the state, the more conservatives/liberals converge on one another. The true issue that people should be focusing on is freedom versus slavery, personal rights versus state rights, the free market versus the state interventionist economy.
A person can hold traditional values, like religion, family, marriage, and still be liberal in enforcing those values. There will always be people, like F. A. Hayek, who actively endorse conservative moral values while promoting the free market and freedom. Are these people conservative liberals or liberal conservatives? Does it really matter as long as they endorse the free market and freedom? Hayek himself disdained both labels, conservative and liberal, and called himself an "Old Whig." See "Hayek and Conservatism" by David Dieteman.
Democrats (liberals) vs. Republicans (conservatives)
So how do the Democrats, the supposedly liberal party, compare to the Republican Party, the supposedly conservative party? Let's compare the presidential candidates, Kerry and Bush, who are the main representatives of their parties. This way, we can compare Kerry versus Bush, Democrat versus Republican, at the same time.
Both are pro war, pro big business, pro Israel . Both think your life, and property, belong to them. Both think the interests of a foreign nation override American interests. Both are war criminals and have actively engaged in and endorsed crimes against humanity. Both are willing to sacrifice American blood to further the interest of corporate America and a foreign nation. Both believe in murder, genocide, rape, torture, destruction of private property, looting, and the police state. Both are traitors, enemies of the free market, bane of freedom lovers, enslavers of humanity. Both are liars, deceivers, charlatans, and con artists. Both are servants of Leviathan, ready to squash anyone who stands in its way. Let's be perfectly clear. There is only one major difference between Bush (Republicans) / Kerry (Democrats): Bush prefers to do all the murdering, destruction, and looting by himself, only looking for international support when his crimes fail; Kerry prefers to internationalize his crimes by getting others to join in the murdering, destruction, and looting from the start, but will not make that a requirement that would prevent any bloodletting rampage he desires.
Note that Kerry's policy is actually a return to the traditional warmongering policy of the first Bush and Clinton regimes. Kerry's is the actual "conservative" position. GWB's policy of unilateral preemption, or more properly naked war of aggression, is actually a departure from the traditional way, and is the "liberal" position. See how confusing trying to use the label conservative/liberal really is?
Liberal/Conservative and Democracy
Leviathan is a two headed monster, one head being Democratic (neo-liberal), and the other being Republican (neo-conservative). While one can change which party controls the state, whether a nominal liberal or conservative leads it, one cannot change the policies of the state. Voting is an exercise in futility; there is no "lesser evil," only a different brand of evil (neo-liberal or neo-conservative). The complete failure of democracy and voting has brought us to this sad state of affairs. Alexander Fraser Tytler had this to say about democracy in 1776 when America was just starting out: "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years." Tytler describes the life cycle of civilization as from Bondage to Spiritual Faith to Great Courage to Liberty to Abundance to Selfishness to Complacency to Apathy to Dependency and back into Bondage. (1776 - from The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic)
The solution to ending this madness is for people to realize that the state is an obsolete, unnecessary evil. We do not need better people, or a different party, a liberal or conservative, at the head of Leviathan; we need the rampaging beast defeated before it destroys us all. The free market, and free choice, is the answer. Only then will we have the freedom that all people desire.
Liberal/conservative are meaningless expressions. The neo-liberals and neo-conservatives who dominate both the Democratic and Republican parties endorse the exact same policies. If someone tries to tell you that they are a liberal or conservative, or that someone else is, you should evaluate where they stand on the free market and freedom versus the state and state interventionism. That will determine if they are a friend or enemy of the free market and freedom.