Original Liberalism

The irony of the first Liberals being the Spanish supporters of the 1812 constitution cannot be overstated. Not only were they Conservative Liberals, supporters of a still rather powerful monarchy and Catholicism as the state religion as well as opponents of the French Revolution, but they didn’t abolish aristocratic privileges either. They weren’t egalitarians, they weren’t radicals, they weren’t dogmatic progressives, they weren’t secularists, many weren’t materialists, nor were they ideological individualists, secularists or libertines.

What is liberalism?

Liberalism can mean many things, but for now I just want to focus on the political meaning. Even political liberalism is an extremely broad term. Liberalism is an even broader concept than socialism, conservatism or the popular slur fascism. It can refer to economic liberalism (generally viewed as the economic right) or to a liberal attitude regarding social issues (social progressivism/social and moral leftism) or once upon a time merely the support for constitutionalism as a shield against tyranny whether by an absolute monarch or the majority mob.