Liberalism, usually, happens to be recreational exercises for the well to do to look like they are doing something useful.
Its a Sisyphusian task, but I must protest the Newspeak use of liberalism by three posters in a row.
At the start of the Twentieth Century the term "liberal" meant the same in America as it still does in the rest of the world - essentially, what is called "conservatism" in American Newspeak. Of course we "American Conservatives" are not the ones who oppose development and liberty, so in that sense we are not conservative at all. We actually are liberals.
But in America, "liberalism" was given its American Newspeak - essentially inverted - meaning in the 1920s (source: Safire's New Political Dictionary). The fact that the American socialists have acquired a word to exploit is bad enough; the real disaster is that we do not now have a word which truly descriptive of our own political perspective. We only have the smear words which the socialists have assigned to us.
And make no mistake, in America "conservative" is inherently a negative connotation - we know that just as surely as we know that every American marketer loves to boldly proclaim that whatever product he is flogging is NEW!FA Hayek, in a preface to the 1956 edition of the unabridged The Road to Serfdom text, discusses the American inversion of the word liberalism."The fact that this book was originally written with only the British public in mind does not appear to have seriously affected its intelligibility for the American reader. But there is one point of phraseology which I ought to explain here to forestall any misunderstanding. I use throughout the term "liberal in the original nineteenth-century sense in which it is still current in Britain. In current American usage it often means very nearly the opposite of this. It has been part of the camouflage of leftist movements in this country, helped by the muddleheadedness of many who really believe in liberty, that "liberal" has come to mean the advocacy of almost every kind of government control. I am still puzzled why those in the United States who truly believe in liberty should not only have allowed the left to appropriate this almost indispensable term but should even have assisted by beginning to use it themselves as a term of opprobrium. This seems to be particularly regrettable because of the consequent tendency of many true liberals to describe themselves as conservatives.American conservatism" is a strange duck. Conservatism nurtures tradition, but American tradition is freedom - and freedom allows change. It is for that reason that conservatism is, in America, not really such a terrible name for Hayek's "liberalism.
It is true, of course, that in the struggle against the believers in the all-powerful state the true liberal must sometimes make common cause with the conservative, and in some circumstances, as in contemporary Britain, he has hardly any other way of actively working for his ideals. But true liberalism is still distinct from conservatism, and there is danger in the two being confused. Conservatism, through a necessary element in any stable society, is not a social program; in its paternalistic, nationalistic, and power-adoring tendencies it is often closer to socialism than true liberalism; and with its traditionalistic, anti-intellectual, and often mystical propensities it will never, except in short periods of disillusionment, appeal to the young and all those others who believe that some changes are desirable if this world is to become a better place. A conservative movement, by its very nature, is bound to be a defender of established privilege and to lean on the power o f government for the protection of privilege. The essence of the liberal position, however, is the denial of all privilege, if privilege is understood in its proper and original meaning of the state granting and protecting rights to some which are not available on equal terms to others.
Note that, from my perspective, "the denial of all privilege, . . . understood in its proper and original meaning of the state granting and protecting rights to some which are not available on equal terms to others" would certainly include the dismantling of the FCC's licensing of some few of us to be broadcasters and its consigning of the rest of to the role of mere listeners.
The Road to Serfdom (Link to the original ReadersDigest Condensed version in PDF) (Warning - the link in that thread is outdated, and the actual current link to the PDF is http://www.iea.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/files/upldbook43pdf.pdf