The answer probably depends on which Classical Liberal you speak to, although you can probably take the following principles for granted:

  • Personal Freedom
  • Toleration
  • Minimising Coercion
  • Limited and Representative (Democratic) Government
  • In favour of Property, Free Trade and Markets
  • Free Speech

Butler monographSome would add other principles, or emphasise some principles more than others. Some would hold that only a totally secular state can be properly free, whereas others would not hesitate to classify, for example, Pope St. John Paul II as a Classical Liberal.

(Classical Liberals tend to be called Libertarians in the US, because ‘Liberal’=leftard over there.)

For a more detailed description and explanation, this book is available as a free PDF download from the Institute of Economic Affairs.