|Source: Learn Liberty- Aeon Skoble-|
There are many types of of governments in the world, governments where freedom is vast economically and socially and people have the right to elect their own leaders with open and free multi-party elections and can freely speak out against their leaders. This is called a liberal democracy, America for example.
Governments where freedom is tightly controlled and limited and government has a huge say in how people live, where you can even risk going to prison without a fair trial for speaking out would be an authoritarian government, with Iran a good example. Then there are governments where social freedom is vast, as in a liberal democracy with open and free multi-party elections where people can speak out against their leaders and government but where economic freedom might be limited and where the people are subjected to high taxes and the economy is tightly regulated. Sweden would be a good example.
With liberalism and individualism, people have the right to live their own lives as they see fit for the most part as long as they are not hurting anyone else and where people can be as successful as their skills and production will allow, which is determined by a private market, and are not subjected to high taxes and controlled by excessive regulations. That is a liberal democracy, with America being the perfect example. In a liberal democracy, people have the liberty to live their own lives without worrying about government intrusion.
With a socialist collectivist society, the government tightly controls economic freedom and taxes it highly, so when people "make too much money" compared with the rest of society, that money is taken away from them and given to people who do not have enough and lack the ability to make a lot more money and be more successful. Even if their skills and production call for it, government will take it away. This is called a social democracy, where you are no stronger than your weakest link.
What makes America great and the greatest country in the world and why we're still the envy of the world and people still emigrate here is our freedom and form of government, where if you get a good education and skills, you can live your own life as you see fit and be as successful in life as your skills and production will allow, which is determined by a private market.
America has been a liberal democracy for 234 years now and overall it's worked very well. We are the best country in the world and when we move away from that foundation, we slip back.