Catallaxy Blogger Andrew Norton has an article in the Oz arguing, among other things that labels like “neoconservative” aren’t really applicable in Australia. In general, the piece is both informative and accurate.
There is, however, one characteristic error. Norton suggests the use of
liberalism or classical liberalism to describe the free marketers who, in the old line, want to keep the government out of the bedroom as well as the boardroom.
This definition omits the crucial preoccupation of classical liberals like John Stuart Mill, freedom of political speech and thought. The problem is illustrated by, say, Jeff Kennett, who fits Norton’s definition perfectly, but would certainly not have been recognised as a liberal by Mill in view of his sustained, and largely successful, efforts to intimidate and silence his critics. A lack of concern with freedom of speech and political thought is the main distinguishing feature of neoliberals, as compared to classical liberals.