It is one of the ironies of modern politics that the same word can be susceptible to more than one meaning, creating confusion for everyone.
One of the reasons for the confusion is that liberal values are generally shared by moderates on both the left and right of politics. Not by the far left — Marxists, Leninists, Trotskyites, and Stalinists or Britain’s Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn – or by the far right – Germany’s Alternativ für Deutschland, Hungary’s Jobbik, Austria’s Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, or Greece’s Golden Dawn.
Leftist values underpinned both the American and French revolutions, helping to create the liberal democracies that remain our chief defence against Communism at one end of the political spectrum and Fascism on the other. Most of those values are taken for granted by mainstream populations in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and much of Europe. Writing in American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia, Ralph Raico describes classical liberalism as
“the term used to designate the ideology advocating private property, an unhampered market economy, the rule of law, constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and of the press, and international peace based on free trade. Up until around 1900, this ideology was generally known simply as liberalism.”