I never call Leftists "liberals", unless in inverted commas, for several reasons, the most important of which is that they are not liberals.
Classical liberalism, a political philosophy born in 17th-18th-century Europe, may have had many defects but it did not descend to the hellish depths of socialism and communism.
The reason why socialists and communists today call themselves "liberal" is because "socialist" and "communist" would be much more unpalatable to the public.
But changing your name doesn't alter the reality of what you are; it merely deceives others.
The term "liberal" instead has a nice ring to it. Beyond the political sphere, the dictionary is full of positive meanings for it: "willing to respect or accept behaviour or opinions different from one's own; open to new ideas", "favourable to or respectful of individual rights and freedoms", "favouring individual liberty, free trade, and moderate political and social reform", "(of a person) giving generously".
In addition, it has the same root as the word "liberty", and here is where the deception is at its worst: "liberals" are usually people who much prefer a big to a small state and want to shut up dissidents and silence opposing views, in the good old socio-communist tradition.
Incidentally, the difference between socialism and communism is not as great as many erroneously think. Karl Marx theorised them as two stages of the same process. After the social revolution, he said, a dictatorship of the proletariat will be established, and that he named "socialism"; after some time such dictatorship will wither away, because socialism will make the presence of the state unnecessary, and will be replaced by communism, which ultimately coincides with anarchy or absence of the state (from its Greek root, which means "absence of power"), which Marx termed "communism", characterised by the formula "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" (of which the present system of welfare state and high taxation adopted by modern Western countries, also known as "redistribution of wealth", is an only slightly lesser form).
There are still many individuals, very often in high places of command (like politics) or influence (like the media and Hollywood), who have not abandoned the ideas of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky, or of anarchists like Proudhon and Bakunin, or - even closer to us - of the Cultural Marxism that emerged from the Frankfurt School, with Adorno, Marcuse, Horkheimer.
They know that, after the mass-murderous experiences of failed attempts to establish communist societies that have opened many people's eyes to the evil of those ideas, they cannot overtly declare themselves to be what they are.
Hence the origin of the widely-employed label "liberal".
But they every so often show their true colours when they reveal their appreciation and admiration for the worst communist dictators and killers, as US President Obama did when he praised Ho Chi Minh. Similarly, when Venezuelan communist President Hugo Chavez died, it turned out that he had many friends among our Western "liberal" leaders, like British hard-Left politicians George Galloway, Labour Ken Livingstone and Jeremy Corbyn.
It's true that those blessed with political awareness do know that, when the word "liberal" is used - particularly in America -, the opposite of its sense is actually meant.
But why use it at all in that sense, then? Why accept the socialists' and communists' ploy to disguise themselves? Why not call a wolf a "wolf" - noble as these predatory animals are -, even if in sheep's clothing? Why call it a "lamb"?