Richard Ebeling emails:
I have a new article out based on a talk I recently gave at the Classical Liberals of the Carolinas conference in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The current presidential election cycle easily makes friends of freedom despairing and despondent concerning the future of liberty. However, the situation looks very different if we look passed everyday politics, and put it in the context of the improved human condition during the last two hundred years or so.
From this perspective, it is easier to see and appreciate the profound and momentous impact the ideas of freedom have had on mankind in the form of classical liberalism. This is the liberalism of individual freedom, private property, free enterprise and free trade, rule of law and constitutionally limited government.
The ideas of classical liberalism transformed the world in the nineteenth century, including ending slavery, reining in the rule of absolute kings, insisting on individual rights for all impartially protected under rule of law, freed men and markets from Mercantilist planning, and attempted to harness the violence and cruelty of war. And improved the material condition of a growing number of mankind.
The twentieth century did see a collectivist counter-revolution in the forms of socialism, communism, fascism, Nazism, interventionism and the welfare state. But a hundred years of political paternalism, social engineering and types of government planning and control have all been disastrous in terms of human lives and standards of living.
It can be said that all these forms of collectivism have failed, and bred regimes of political plunder, corruption, violence, and social conflict. There remains only one “ism” left that offers real and true hope for freedom and prosperity for humanity, and that is classical liberalism.
Looking to the remainder of the twenty-first century, friends of freedom must understand classical liberalism’s glorious past and accomplishments, and its ideas of human freedom, dignity, peace and prosperity to once again defeat the forces of coercive collectivism in the way the champions of liberty did in that earlier era. If enough friends of freedom take up the task, true freedom can once again offer mankind a future of prosperity, peace, and personal and market freedom never experienced before in human history.