Are liberals really "liberal?"
This debate title is a tautology.
Liberals are liberal, hence their name.
Do you mean the American Democratic Party? They're pretty damn center, but nowhere near as bad as they could be. It is a shame, Americans, that you don't know what it is like to live in a nation that is so afraid of change, so afraid of all these scary banned words. In regular countries, children fear the bogeyman in the closet. In America, children fear the communist going around taking away anything that makes him better than his age-mates.
"Immense" really is a matter of perspective. We don't have public ownership of production and the means of distribution (socialism), so I'd hardly say such "immense central control over socio-economic affairs" doesn't exist here. That is doubly true if you employ comparative politics to see what political and economic systems are like elsewhere, particularly within the Western World.
I think the only liberals AND only conservatives who are 100% one way or the other are a small fraction of the most extreme zealots. And as a moderate I value those exceptions in liberals or conservatives which others would call flaws because life really is a balance and we can find value all across the political spectrum.
In terms of states rights that too is a balance. States can look out for their own best interests but they shouldn't be allowed to violate civil rights for example.
The term Liberals in the past was used to describe of Liberty. Probably closer to Libertarian.
Today it is used to apply to Left and especially far left.
Like everything left wing liberals say and do, they use a familiar term or concept and apply a different meaning.
When you discuss views with lefties, you almost have to define the word to know you are not saying the same thing or to draw a line of difference in what it sounds like their saying and what they actually are saying.
Not sure if any of you debaters watched the NetFlix series "House of Cards" I just started watching it, and wow! You can see why media is left wing liberals. Democrats learned how to effectively use them to steer decisions, bills, elections, public opinions, and to remove anything that becomes an obstacle.
And before anyone disputes on Republican or Right wingers do it to, and comment on Fox News.
Ill address it here.
If the Right wingers did it too, the Media wouldn't across the board be so far to the left and in such extreme bias and opposition to the right.
House of Cards is an excellent show to watch to see the craft behind the scene.
Lefties made lots of journalist careers excel. They love each other! And need each other.
Lefty politicians call the reporters to be 1st on the scene for situations they set up, or to slam the right side, or to push an opinion they want the public to support.
Fox news is actually fair and balanced. They'll slam both and report both sides. And any opinion that looks to be right or far right, or bias only looks that way because of the left is so far left that being fair or moderate looks extreme, and far right in contrast looks insane.
People don't read between the lines when following stories and social media is explosive with extreme left and inaccurate information. Add to that the terms they redefine or create and make popular, and you have twisted information with a massive following. The blind leading the blind started by the media in the pocket of the lefties. Everyone is too convinced of steered opinions to verify details, ask themselves questions, and apply common sence.
There is no "really" Liberal. The word "Liberal" has a variety of different definitions, depending on the area and the time you are referring to. If you are asking if Modern American Liberalism is still the same as Classical Liberalism, then the answer is definitely not. As you say, Modern Liberalism is definitely more statist (that your reference to socialism is incorrect and off base).
The main issue is the social/economic dichotomy. Liberals in the United States still maintain classical liberal thought when it comes to social issues, whilst adopting a more statist approach to economic issues, while Conservatives in the US have done the opposite.
I think the term "progressive" largely continues to represent the same general ideas it originated with in the late-19th/early-20th century: regulation of large corporations, labor laws, elimination of corruption, etc.
As for "liberal", I could argue both ways. "Classical Liberals" fought absolute monarchies and aristocracies for civil liberties, political self-determination, and equality. Now, you could argue that they were fighting against centralized big government and control in general. That they would be opposed to any large coercive government program, no matter the motivation. This would imply that the liberals of today have hijacked the term from traditional liberals (the libertarians of today).
However, you could also argue that classical liberals were fighting against unrepresentative government specifically. That they simply believed the coercive power of government could only be justified by the will of "the people" and not by heredity or divine right. Then you could argue that those traditional liberals would approve of modern liberals use of the collective power of government to execute the will of the people.