If you understand both liberalism and conservatism and don’t just go by what the “mainstream media” reports about them and actually get passed the negative stereotypes about them, you understand that they don’t sound very different. To someone who doesn’t follow politics closely. They both believe in individual liberty, they are both based on the U.S. Constitution, they both believe in fiscal responsibility, for the whole budget, not just parts of it.
Conservatives believe in both strong defense and an internationalist foreign policy. They both are against big government and worry about government becoming too big. These are the things that they have in common. Liberalism vs conservatism, is not about Al Sharpton vs Rush Limbaugh. Because neither represents either side very well. But are both on the fringes.
When you think of liberalism and conservatism, the two dominant political ideologies in the United States, they represent the mainstream politics in America. Unlike progressivism or democratic socialism and its hard to tell the difference between those two on the left. Or neoconservatism on the right. Liberalism vs conservatism is not about Dennis Kucinich on the Left and Rick Santorum on the Right.
But more like Jack Kennedy or Bill Clinton or John Kerry on the left, vs. Barry Goldwater, Ron Reagan or Rand Paul on the right. They are somewhat similar, but with different approaches. Liberals believe in empowering individuals who need to be empowered and protecting individual liberty for all. Where Conservatives tend to have more of a free market approach to these issues.
Liberal vs. Conservative is not about the Far-Left vs the Far-Right. With only centrism being the mainstream political ideology in America. Liberalism is Center-Left, where the Democratic Party tends to be. As much as today’s so-called Progressives want us to move farther left. And conservatism is Center-Right where the Republican Party use to be. Up until about the late 1990s or so when the GOP moved away from Newt Gingrich and started listening more to religious and Neoconservatives. And nominated George W. Bush as their Leader.