What is Liberalism?
Historically, there have been many uses of the term liberal.
Four popular conceptions include: philosophical liberal,
originating during the Enlightenment period with philosophers such
as Hobbes, Locke, and Hume, who supported the fundamental freedom
of human beings and legitimacy of government stemming from consent
of the governed;economic (classical) liberal, originating during
the 19th century, which fought government interference in the
economy, supported free trade, and created open enterprise;liberal
in political position, originating from the French Revolution,
where being 'left' of the current political climate made one
liberal, regardless of what system existed (e.g.) one could exist
in a communist system, support more radical communism, and be
considered a liberal);social liberal (modern US understanding),
originating after the Second World War, where many philosophical
and economic liberals supported welfare reform and more socially
equitable wealth distributions. In Britain and Canada, they are
usually called 'social liberals' to distinguish them but, in the
US, where socialism and communism have become stigmatised, many
refer to anyone who supports higher social equality of wealth a
liberal. Technically, social liberals support capitalism with some
degree of government intervention and, therefore, are neither
communist nor socialist.