(1) the liberal believes in liberty.
But, even ignoring the vagueness of “believes in”, this tells us even less about liberalism than,
(2) the Catholic believes in God,
tells us about Catholicism. Neither statement distinguishes one creed from its rivals. Socialists, conservatives, anarchists and Buddhists can all believe in liberty (sometimes, but not always, different concepts of liberty); just as Protestants, Jews, Muslims and Hindus all believe in God (sometimes, but not always, different gods). (2), though, has at least the virtue of conveying one definite, fundamental and necessary belief of the Catholic: that there exists a supreme being. It is agreed, even by sympathizers, that (1) gives the liberal no such thing. “By definition, a liberal is a man who believes in liberty,” says Professor Cranston, “but because different men at different times have meant different things by liberty, ‘liberalism’ is correspondingly ambiguous.” If Liberty be its god, it should come as no surprise that liberalism is a schismatic church.