That might sound crazy, but the conversation almost always either gets lost in blue-skies philosophical maxims ("the greatest amount of individual freedom possible that does not constrain the freedom of others"), or else becomes bogged down in specifics (school choice; welfare reform). I guess the fact that I'm usually in a pub does not help, but the simple explanation has always failed me.
Thanks to Rob Knight (who takes his lead from The Devil - read into that what you will!) I am remineded that at the heart of liberalism is self-ownership: "I own my life and all that results from it. Therefore nobody may take my life or its product from me, nor impose their will upon me; neither may I do so to others." Tristan Mills mentioned this six months ago, but it seems it takes a cartoon to help me remember.
This 8 minute Flash film sums it up brilliantly. Sadly, it is also slightly spooky: as I commented to Rob,
"I agree with everything they say, but I do feel like a 6 year old in Brave NewStill, it's a good basic introduction to the premis of liberalism. Having explained the bases, it should be easier to move on to the specifics without assuming I'm mean, selfish or a Tory.
World, getting my latest lesson in how to be a constructive citizen. Pass me the