I can't believe I missed this one by Mike Liccione, "Pinning 'liberalism' down" (Sacramentum Vitae, February 13, 2012). He's not concerned, he says, with the liberalism of John or the New Deal, which coincided in ways with what Robert Bellah calls an American "civil religion." Rather, he's concerned with "The Thing that Used to Be Liberalism," which, he says has grown scarier and scarier over the last several decades.
On matters of domestic policy, says Liccione, today's "liberals" are actually authoritarian about everything except sex. About sex, they are as laissez-faire as anyone could be. Ah, there it is again: as Peter Kreeft once said (in A Refutation of Moral Relativism),our contemporary society is more moralistic than ever about everything except "the pelvic issues." Liccione provides a provocative and extensive review of the issues in light of current politics.
A book I would recommend highly for a review of "liberalism" with respect to political economy is Christopher Ferrara's The Church and the Libertarian: A Defense of Catholic Teaching on Man, Economy and State. Here one finds sorted out in marvelous detail the shifting meanings of "liberalism" from Lockean "liberalism" to contemporary Democratic "liberalism." The focus of the book, however, is on the Austrian tradition of "liberalism" stemming from Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Lew Rockwell, et al., and it's alliance with sectors of contemporary Republican "conservatism" and incompatibility with Catholic Social Teaching at critical points. Well worth reading.
[Hat tip to J.M.]