Who is a Liberal?

A Liberal person supports individual freedom in both Economic and Social lives. By freedom, we mean lesser restrictions from the government.

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Government is an entity that people have created to manage few collective requirements of the society. Allowing that government to control more and more aspects of our lives is counter-intuitive. Legitimate areas for govt intervention include security, justice, foreign relations, maintenance of public records, regulation of industries, managing natural resources, and protection of forests and environment.

A Liberal person is against socially conservative restrictions and opposes government intervention in unnecessary areas of business, like those listed below.

Socially Conservative Restrictions

  • Govt restrictions on Freedom of Speech (Article 19(2) of the Constitution).
  • Prohibition of alcohol.
  • Ban on Cow Slaughter and restrictions on people’s food habits.
  • Criminalisation of Gay, Lesbian and Transgender relationships (Sec 377 of IPC).
  • Ban on Religious Conversions.
  • Bans on books, movies and documentaries.
  • AFSPA which overrides people’s legal rights during Army deployment.

Economically Conservative Interventions

  • Government acquisition of private land, to help private companies.
  • Support for Subsidies – Food, LPG, Fertiliser, Electricity, Water
  • Govt run schools, RTE, School Vouchers – funded by taxes or forcing other parents to pay by way of higher fees.
  • Ban on private companies in city bus service and railways – Indian Railways, BMTC/BEST are govt monopolies.
  • Restrictions on Auto-rickshaw ownership.
  • Restrictions on News – bans on FM news and terrestrial TV/Radio broadcast
  • Opposition to Foreign Direct Investment in Indian companies.

So, are you Liberal?

This short article was originally published on a newsletter edited by Loksatta Party. Reproduced here with permission from the author.
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