The labels "liberal" and "conservative" have been so mis-applied that they’ve lost their meaning. For example, most people think of the Bush administration as being "conservative." This is simply not true and such labeling further confuses what conservatives, real conservatives, stand for. The political identity of the Bush administration is more akin to neoconservatives (or neocons). You can think of neocons as "liberals who’ve been mugged by reality." Doug Casey does a nice job of distinguishing the major political stripes in American politics today:
Libertarians share some practical views with both liberals (who have a purported belief in social and intellectual liberty), and conservatives (who claim to have a belief in economic liberty). Both liberals and conservatives, however, tend to dislike and distrust libertarians. The liberals feel threatened by libertarians’ sincerely held views advocating economic freedom; the conservatives feel threatened by their sincerely held views advocating social and intellectual freedom.
The neocons tend to be the polar opposite of libertarians � they’re authoritarians. They’re like liberals because they believe in economic controls. And they’re like conservatives because they believe in social and intellectual controls. The neocons believe they actually know what’s best for everybody in all areas of life, and they’re happy to use the power of the state to enforce their opinions.
An example might help illustrate these concepts and what better example than yourself? Take the World’s Smallest Political Quiz and see where you fit in the political landscape. You might surprise yourself!