CONSERVATIVES tend to favor economic freedom, but frequently
support laws to restrict personal behavior that violates "traditional
values." They oppose excessive government control of business,
while endorsing government action to defend morality and the
traditional family structure. Conservatives usually support a strong
military, oppose bureaucracy and high taxes, favor a free-market
economy, and endorse strong law enforcement.
Liberals usually embrace freedom of choice in personal
matters, but tend to support significant government control of the
economy. They generally support a government-funded "safety net"
to help the disadvantaged, and advocate strict regulation
of business. Liberals tend to favor environmental regulations,
defend civil liberties and free expression, support government action
to promote equality, and tolerate diverse lifestyles.
Libertarians support maximum liberty in both personal and
economic matters. They advocate a much smaller government; one
that is limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence.
Libertarians tend to embrace individual responsibility, oppose
government bureaucracy and taxes, promote private charity, tolerate
diverse lifestyles, support the free market, and defend civil liberties.
Centrists espouse a "middle ground" regarding government control
of the economy and personal behavior. Depending on the issue,
they sometimes favor government intervention and sometimes
support individual freedom of choice. Centrists pride themselves on
keeping an open mind, tend to oppose "political extremes," and
emphasize what they describe as "practical" solutions to problems.
Statist (Big Government)
Statists want government to have a great deal of power over the
economy and individual behavior. They frequently doubt whether
economic liberty and individual freedom are practical options in
today's world. Statists tend to distrust the free market, support
high taxes and centralized planning of the economy, oppose
diverse lifestyles, and question the importance of civil liberties.