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Cultural liberalism (Social liberalism in the United States) is a liberal view of society that stresses the freedom of individuals from cultural norms and in the words of Henry David Thoreau is often expressed as the right to "march to the beat of a different drummer".[1]

In following the harm principle, cultural liberals believe that society should not impose any specific code of behavior and they see themselves as defending the moral rights of nonconformists to express their own identity however they see fit as long as they do not harm anyone else.[dubious ] The culture wars in politics are generally disagreements between cultural progressives and cultural conservatives.[2][failed verification] The cultural progressives believe that the structure of one's family and the nature of marriage should be left up to individual decision and they argue that as long as one does no harm to others, no lifestyle is inherently better than any other.[citation needed]

Because cultural liberalism expresses the social dimension of liberalism, it is often referred to as social liberalism, especially in countries such as the United States. However, it is not the same as the broader political ideology known as social liberalism. In the United States, social liberalism describes progressive moral and social values or stances on socio-cultural issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage as opposed to social conservatism. A social conservative or a social liberal in this sense may hold either more conservative or liberal views on fiscal policy.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Thoreau, Henry David (1854). Walden. "Conclusion".
  2. ^ "Article 19 of the 'Universal Declaration of Human Rights'". a resolution adopted in 1948 by the UN General Assembly as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. published by the United Nations General Assembly. 1948. Archived from the original on March 27, 2020. Retrieved July 23, 2010. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
  3. ^ Chideya, Farai (2004). "The Red and the Blue: A Divided America". Trust: Reaching the 100 Million Missing Voters and Other Selected Essays. Soft Skull Press. pp. 33–46. ISBN 9781932360264.