When you hear the term Classical Liberal today, it tends to be used to describe Libertarians, people who tend to be viewed as Right Wingers. When Liberals tend and correctly be viewed as Left Wingers, whereas Liberals today are people who are viewed as Progressives or Social Democrats, people. Who are Collectivists, that no one should have so much money that they shouldn't be dependent on the State, that wealth should be spread around so one has too much of it etc. And that it governments job to make sure these things happen, that people like George McGovern, Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Jim McDermott are todays Liberals, people with this Collectivist. Mindset and people like Ron Paul are the Classical Liberals people who are really Libertarians but I would argue that Libertarianism, Liberalism and Progressivism are three different and separate ideologies. That Liberals and Libertarians are very close on Social Issues, more like Progressives on Economic Policy, that government does have a role in the economy but Liberals. Would differ on how large of a role that would be, that governments role in the economy is to protect innocent people from being abused and empower people who can't take care of themselves. With the power to become Self Sufficient.
Progressives have more of Statist approach when it comes to the economy and even on some Social Issues. Like we've seen in New York this summer, with the soda bans, crackdowns on marijuana and even pornography, thanks to the Mike Bloomberg Administration, that governments job really is. To look out for people and even prevent them from doing things that Progressives would view as harmful to them, whether its the economy or some of these Social Issues, Liberals are just different there. We don't see governments job to protect us from ourselves but to protect the innocent from people who do harm to them, not outlaw things that may be dangerous but put out all. The necessary information for us to make these decisions for ourselves and if some of these things are actually dangerous, regulate it and even discourage it, not by taking it away but. Providing incentive so that we won't want to do it as often, things like taxes on alcohol, tobacco and even marijuana, that might sound similar but its a big difference.
Wendell Willkie a Liberal Democrat up until the 1930s with the FDR Administration but then became a Republican. Because he saw President Rosevelt take the Democratic Party from more of a Liberal Party, to a Party that was more Socialist or Progressive, dramatically increasing the size. Of the State in peoples lives, Wendell Willkie understood exactly what Liberalism was, that is was about Individual Freedom and that government should only be doing the things that the people. Can't do for themselves, which was a very limited list of operations for government.